Batters sink Puddle Pirates in CG softball tourney final

The Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival Softball tournament has always had bloated offensive numbers, a tribute to the slugging athletes the event features. The Batters - a team made up of United States Coast Guard personnel primarily from the Mid-Atlantic region of the country - took the offensive production to new heights this week and capped an undefeated record with a 29-13 victory over the Puddle Pirates on Friday morning in the championship game at Mulligan's Hollow in Grand Haven.
Nate Thompson
Aug 6, 2011


Dale Locker, stationed in Barber’s Point, Hawaii, made the biggest splash, totaling a whopping 13 RBIs, which included two grand slams, a solo home run, two singles, and a double in the championship game. This is Locker’s first visit to the Grand Haven Coast Guard Softball tourney.

Teammate Dre Jenkins added a 5-for-6 effort with a home run in the victory.

With his team comfortably ahead in the sixth inning, Locker’s teammates notified him he was just a triple shy of hitting for the cycle. He missed out on the milestone, however, as his blast off the bat carried well over the left field fence for a solo homer.

Batters’ team manager Tony Cella said he’s been playing in the annual tournament for seven years and they won the championship the first two, then endured a five-year drought before this year’s title.

“Our secret is we have no holes in our lineup,” the New Jersey native said. “(Locker) came along with one of our other guys, Marvin Rodgers, and he said he was a good hustler, so we picked him up. And every time he came up to bat, he crushed the ball.”

Locker grew up in Union City, located just south of Battle Creek. He’s currently an AET3 (avionics electrical technician) in the Coast Guard.

“This is my first time (at the Coast Guard Festival),” he said. “It’s great to be able to come back home (to Michigan). It was a great time throughout the week. The guys said they always look forward to this.”

“Five of us have been together all seven years,” added Cella, who’s stationed in Elizabeth City, N.C. “It’s become a tradition playing in this.”

The black-clad Puddle Pirates — an annual fixture in the tournament’s championship game — were competitive in the opening two innings, but Locker blew the game open with his pair of early grand slams.

The Batters’ defense — especially their slick-fielding infielders — kept the Pirates’ offense anchored down the rest of the way. The Pirates tried to mount a comeback with back-to-back home runs in the top of the sixth, but it was too little, too late.

For their victory, each Batters’ player received an individual plaque, and more importantly, bragging rights until next season’s showdown.

Other team members were Steve Dannemiller, Eric Ludwigson, Curtis Rust, Jeff Jackson, Beau Hussey and Todd Grote.



Thank you GH Tribune for NOT using the entire name for this team. Frankly it is disgusting and not representive of the high quality of CG personnel who come to this yearly tournament. I have come to watch this tournament for years, and have seen some rather distastful antics from this team (their attitudes and the true team name), to the team that they broke apart from years ago - the Bucket Heads. Both teams show poor sportsmanship year after year and I wish the CG festival would stop allowing them in the tournament.


Don't be such a sore sport OC STEVE. I would be proud to have my son play on this team with this great group of guy's. The CG should be very proud of these men. My family had the pleasure of staying in the house next door to where the "Batters" were staying and I can say nothing but wonderful things about these men. Not only are they great athletes but they are very kind, giving and loving men. I have a son with special needs and these men took him under their wings like he was one of their own. "The Batters" made my son feel so very special and loved and for this I will forever be grateful. I am so proud of our Coast Guard and the wonderful men and women who serve.


Wow...OCSteve must be a Puddle Pirates fan. Funny how nothing was ever posted about "The Batters" when the Puddle Pirates won the tournament the two years prior. They deserved to win then, just as The Batters deserved to win last week. The players all talk and cheer for their own team during the game but they all know they are on the same team when the game is over...the U.S. Coast Guard. In fact, many of the players play with each other in other CG tournaments around the country. The Master Batters' team name is used in many other CG tournaments and nothing has ever been brought up before. The Bucket Heads are a class act as they are year after year in this tournament and many of those players have given their entire life to the CG and would never do anything to discredit the men and women of this fine service. Sorry OCSteve, but I watched those batters put on a "Masterful" display of softball...hence the name. Get your mind out of the gutter. I hope you are never in need of the CG's service when those guys are on duty.


OCSteve... I hope to god you aren't a Puddle Pirate Fan. Lighten Up!!! I thoroughly enjoy playing these teams (the Bucketheads and the Batters) every year. If the CG Festival quit allowing them to participate I'd honestly quit coming. Go read a book... or a manual... or catch up on the latest episode of The View. toodles


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