By Alex Strouf, The Denmark News
A lot goes into planning one of the most competitive fastpitch softball tournaments in the Nation, and Circle Tap owner Darren Derricks will tell you that himself.
Featuring teams from Wisconsin, California, North Dakota, Kansas, Minnesota, Illinois, Massachusetts, and even Saskatoon, Canada, the 15th annual Boys of Summer fastpitch tournament at Circle Tap in Denmark was anything short of exciting. The A1 Bombers of Massachusetts would take the six-foot, six-inch trophy home.
“It takes a lot of time [organizing], but Dean Kane helps out a lot, getting all the teams together and that,” Derricks told me on Friday, the opening day of the tournament, “We’ve been doing it for 15 years so it gets a lot easier.”
Something that didn’t take a lot of time was deciding who would be 2015’s inductees into the Circle Tap Hall of Fame.
It was a group of eight brothers who all almost always had a uniform on growing up and into the mid-2000’s.
Marty, Tom, Steve, Dan, Burt, Jeff, and Pat Umentum all immensely helped the sport of fastpitch, starting in the 1960’s, playing all the way until 2007. The third-oldest Umentum brother, Mike, was unable to play due to a disability, but that did not stop him from supporting his seven brothers.
All brothers have had incredible fun and success playing the game throughout their lives. The one who will talk with you about it for hours has had debatably the most success of the eight brothers.
Burt Umentum was a natural shortstop, winning the 1994 International Softball Congress World Championship in Prince Edward Island, Canada, with the All-Car Roadrunners of Green Bay. Burt also planned to skip his high school graduation, but his parents wouldn’t allow it. Instead, he just had the two teams move the game two hours earlier.
“It’s really nice for the family,” Burt told me just after the ceremony, “Without the sponsors and players around us, and of course our parents, this would not have been possible.”
“I don’t want to say I don’t care, because obviously I do, but without the players around me I’m just, well, me, and this would not have been possible with only me on the field.”
You could tell how happy the community was for the Umentum’s on Friday night. It was hard to find a seat during the ceremony. Once inducted, the standing ovation roared throughout the stadium and it was just a very nice couple of minutes.
“They all played for years,” Derricks said, reminiscing on the Umentum’s past in at Circle Tap, “They would all always split up on different teams and it would be a lot easier to fill tournaments and all that good stuff.”
“It was a no-brainer, they’ve been playing ball forever and they’ve all played for Circle Tap so it was a real easy [decision].”