Category Archives: Youth League

Dunno to Bring Perfect Game to Indiana, Four Other States

Soon, baseball and softball players in and around northeast Indiana will have the opportunity to take part in the world’s largest baseball/softball scouting service. Last summer, Rich Dunno, the owner of the Strike Zone baseball/softball training facility and Les Edgerton traveled to Cedar Rapids, Iowa to meet with the president and founder of Perfect Game USA, Jerry Ford.

Edgerton was finalizing interviews for his book on the history of the organization, Perfect Game USA and the Future of Baseball: How the Remaking of Youth Scouting Affects the National Pastime (McFarland Publishing, Spring 2009) while Dunno met with Ford to interview for a scouting position.

But Dunno left that session with more than a job. Rather, Ford offered Dunno the opportunity to develop five states — Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and western Pennsylvania — for the Perfect Game organization.

Rich DunnoSince that meeting, Dunno and Edgerton and several other key players — Brian Kreager, Steed Williams, Brad Burlew, Dean Ehle and Colleen McNutt — have worked tirelessly to plan the initial showcases and tournaments in the five-state area. Six showcases and tournaments are currently being planned for 2010.

Dunno has since begun training with Perfect Game, working on several events as Field Director and Scout, including the recent week-long 17U tournament in East Cobb, GA; which featured 189 of the top travel teams in the nation and close to 300 pro and college scouts in attendance.

Perfect Game is the largest youth baseball and softball scouting service in the world. 1,191 players out of 1,504 taken in the most recent June amateur draft have attended Perfect Game Showcases.

Dunno will head the baseball operations, assisted by Kreager, Williams and Burlew. Edgerton, Ehle and McNutt will create the softball showcases and tournaments. Tentative talks have been held with the Fort Wayne TinCaps, with at least one forthcoming event to be held at Parkview Field in downtown Fort Wayne.

Meanwhile, Dunno continues to operate Strike Zone. He and the other members of his management team are hosting a Juco Baseball Showcase at the Glen Oaks Community College diamond on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2009.  It is open to high school ballplayers who are graduating in 2010 and 2011 as well as other players who have not yet secured a baseball scholarship. At least a dozen college coaches and scouts will be in attendance.

For directions, costs, participating institutions and other particulars, or to sign up for one of the few remaining spots, visit the Strike Zone website at or phone Rich Dunno at 260-705-7424. For information on Perfect Game USA, visit their website at

Photo contributed by Rich Dunno

Fort Wayne 16U Cubs Qualify for NABF World Series

Congrats to the Fort Wayne 16U Cubs. They have qualified for the 2009 NABF Baseball World Series which starts this weekend. The club features local high school standouts, several of whom are NABF veterans. Former San Francisco Giants farmhand and former Canterbury and Purdue standout, Simon Klink is the team’s assistant coach.

For more information about the team and a roster listing, please see this article in the Dupont Times.

John Grantham, Wildcat Magnate Passes

I’m a little slow in getting to this – and the public calling has passed – but I would be remiss to not post. John S. Grantham Sr. who served as president of the Wildcat Baseball League for 42 years until 2007, has passed away. He was 74 years old.

Grantham was instrumental in getting Sports Illustrated to publish an article on the league and NBC Nightly News to feature the organization on its broadcast, Derbyshire said.

“He was always promoting Wildcat baseball, its value, its worth to the community, to the kids, to the parents,” Derbyshire said.

Grantham also taught at Kekionga Middle School for four years and at Jefferson Middle School for 13 years. He retired in 1991 after being at North Side High School for 11 years, where he served as an administrator, counselor and assistant athletic director.

Grantham was bestowed a number of awards, including the Summit Athletic Conference Coaches Award; the Charles W. Wilt Sr. Memorial Award; the Hilliard Gates Lifetime Achievement Award; and Indiana’s highest civilian award, the Sagamore of the Wabash.

Former Fort Wayne Mayor Paul Helmke honored Grantham’s commitment to the youth of Fort Wayne and he was inducted into the Fort Wayne Baseball Hall of Fame in 1998 and into the Indiana Baseball Hall of Fame in 2001.

Memorials may be made to the Allen County SPCA. or SCAN.

Torii Hunter Has Hectic Week

I’ve been following several storylines regarding Torii Hunter as of late. I guess it all started when he got into a scuffle with the Yankees’ catcher, Ivan Rodriguez. The twosome got into a bench-clearing incident in the sixth inning as the Angels scored six runs en route to a 12-1 victory. Both men were tossed from the game. Both men were suspended for two games as a result.

But this was just the beginning.

I’ve followed Hunters The Torii Hunter Project for several years as he has set out to restore urban baseball for today’s youth. On Wednesday, things reached a new level.

Forming a Web site called, Hunter and Christopher “Ludacris” Bridges created “WeMix Diamond Cut,” a contest for the best original song made for an athlete. To the winner went the opportunity to record with Ludacris.

The contest will benefit baseball education for inner-city and rural youth. And apparently, Hunter and the Angels are a better fit than I had thought. Angel’s owner recentlly was quoted while attending the grand opening of a field that Hunter donated $50,000 to help build.

“One of the things we try to do in the Angels organization is to try to expand youth fields, the RBI program, inner-city baseball and continue to develop, that’s the future of the game.”

Not surprisingly, the field now bear’s Hunter’s name. Kind of makes you wonder if he has sat out recently with an actual injury (as reported), or if he just needs to catch his breath. 🙂

Related BBIFW Posts:

Youth Baseball Thrives in Northeast Indiana 2

I guess this is a follow up to an earlier post about the state of youth baseball in Northeast Indiana. A lot of folks may not realize it, but there’s something going on in Fort Wayne that is a pretty big deal. The 28th Junior League World Series is taking place in several locales throughout the county. And Fort Wayne is serving as one of the host cities to determine who will make the final cuts and earn a trip to Taylor, Michigan for a chance to return as champions.

St. Joe Central Little League and Georgetown Little League will host the Central Region Junior League tournament, which fields 10 teams from the Midwest. Leo-Grabill is playing in the tournament.

but unlike Major League Baseball, this truly is a “world” series; pitting the best teams of 13- and 14-year-old players from around the world. Nine state champions and a tournament host team (from Fort Wayne) are in the running to become USA Central regional champions in Fort Wayne. The championship game is set for 6:30 p.m. tomorrow.

The winner will advance to Taylor on Friday, Aug. 15. The International championship game is scheduled for 5 p.m. and the USA championship game will take place at 8 p.m. The world championship will be decided at 5 p.m. on Aug. 16. That game will be shown live on ESPNU and broadcast via tape delay on ESPN2. All games will be broadcast via streaming audio on the Internet at

There has been a lot of coverage through the nation, and I’ve provided some links below. Oddly, I found very little local press. Please point me in the right direction if you know of an.

Summit City Sluggers Capture CABA Championship

Competing in 10 games over 7 days, the Summit City Sluggers captured the CABA World Series July 25th, held in and around Westfield, IN. The tournament included 37 teams, some from as far away as Panama and Brazil.

The Sluggers came from behind to defeat the Louisville Panthers 10-8 in 8 innings in the final championship game. Tailur Szarenski drove in the game-winning run in the top of the 8th with a double to right-center, chasing home Andy Roser. Justin Bair then drove in the insurance run with a double down the left field line. Ryan Keaffaber earned the pitching victory, throwing the final 3 innings while allowing just 2 baserunners.

In order to reach the championship, the Sluggers advanced through the winner’s bracket by defeating the #9 seed Hilliard (OH) Colts 11-4, the #1 seed Columbus (OH) Cobras 4-1, the #4 seed Indiana Bulls 12-4, and the #7 seed Panthers 12-0. The Panthers beat the Sluggers 12-11 in the first championship game, setting up the dramatic finale. The Sluggers went 3-1 during pool play defeating the Middletown (KY) Bats 5-2, the Springfield (OH) Pythons 13-4 and The First Nine (OH) 14-3, and were beaten by the White Sox Elite (IL) 8-7, resulting in an 8 seed for the Sluggers after pool play.

For the week, Evan Brown (3), Matt Chronister, Keaffaber (2) , Garrett Snyder, and Roser all earned pitching victories. Braydin Stell, Josh VanMeter (2), Snyder (2), Chronister (2) and Austin Dettmer all earned holds, and Keaffaber earned 2 saves . Dettmer and Brown each suffered a loss.

Offensively, the Sluggers were paced by VanMeter, who batted .667 scored 19 runs and had 11 RBI. Brown hit .654 with 15 runs and 20 RBI. Roser hit .455 with 10 runs and 15 RBI. Keaffaber hit 419 with 9 runs and 9 RBI. Szarenski hit .382 with 8 runs and 5 RBI. Zach McKinstry hit .367 with 11 runs and 7 RBI. Dettmer hit .348 with 10 runs and 9 RBI. Bair hit .333 with 5 runs and 7 RBI. Snyder hit .219 with 5 runs and 8 RBI. Chronister hit .200 with a run. Drew Schnitz scored 3 runs and had an RBI.

Summit City Sluggers 2008 CABA Champs

Pictured, left to right: Front row; Justin Bair, Zach McKinstry, Drew Schnitz, Josh VanMeter, Austin Dettmer, Braydin Stell. Back row; Coach Darol VanMeter, Ryan Keaffaber, Andy Roser, Coach Alex McKinstry, Garrett Snyder, Matt Chronister, Coach Neil Brown, Evan Brown, Tailur Szarenski, Coach Greg VanMete

Note: The above photo and information was sent to be today by Jim Shovlin.