Viera, FL- November 22, 2017- Bruce Krause, the USSSA fastpitch and volleyball State Director for Colorado and Wyoming has been a State Director for USSSA for 12 years. He is an integral part of the success of USSSA in his region. 11 years ago, he and his Assistant State Director, Chris Hunnel, created a scholarship fund to help their softball athletes afford college. Since the inaugural year in 2006 the scholarship fund has raised a total $125,000 and has helped numerous girls and families.
Krause and Hunnel engineered All-Star Games among the competitive teams around the region to help raise money for the scholarships. “We wanted to figure out a way to help our athletes get to college” Krause said. Six years ago, All-Star Games Fund partnered with the Perri Lang Scholarship Tournament after one of their local athletes, Perri Lang, passed away in a car accident. Perri’s dad, Jay Lang, started the Perri Lang Scholarship Tournament during the season and donated $4000 to the All-Star Games 2017 scholarship fund.
The All-Star Game teams are assembled through a voting system created and managed by Hunnel. Coaches in the region earn votes by playing in USSSA sanctioned tournaments throughout the year and by how well they place in each of those tournaments. Each coach is allowed to designate half of their total votes on their own team and have to use the other half of their votes on girls around the region.
“Everybody knows each other and knows the other athletes from playing against each other all year, so when the coaches are voting they know who they are voting for,” said Krause. Voting opens after the USSSA State Tournament in mid-July.
The All-Star Games take place on the first Saturday of every August. They charge a $5 entry fee and sell t-shirts to help raise more money and keep the event going for the next year. Umpires volunteer their time for the event. The event is about having fun, “We have seen our umpires on the field with umbrellas and lawn chairs. The girls all play different positions and have a great time,” said Krause. The games usually take a whole a day and there are multiple teams in each age group.
During the event, they pause the games and have a ceremony to present the girls receiving scholarships with a giant check. Athletes are selected based on applications that they submit throughout the year and checks are sent to their respective colleges the following week.
At the conclusion of the event Krause and Hemmel take all of the Umpires and their families to dinner. The dinner is funded via the Umpire Fund which is funded by a tournament called “Don’t Call Me Blue”. In 2017, the total amount of money raised was $16,000. The most money they have raised in a single year is $27,000.
Bruce Krause and Chris Hemmel utilized their USSSA platform to help provide academic and athletic opportunities for their athletes. Using their USSSA platform they were able to reach local families and families from all over the country to give back to their community through the All-Star Games each summer.
About USSSA: USSSA is headquartered in Brevard County, Florida. USSSA is the World’s Largest Multi-sport Athletic Organization. Founded in 1968, USSSA has grown to over 3.7 million participants, competing in 13 nationally sanctioned sports including Baseball, Fastpitch, Slow Pitch, Karate, Basketball, Soccer and more! For more information on USSSA and to register your team visit USSSA.com.