REUNION: Randy Wackerle (2nd from left) was reunited with his former paddleball students. (L/R) Chad Krager, who was Wackerle's partner, and Eric Williams and Chad Schwall, their opponents in a semifinal of the Open Division.
Bay Area Family YMCA Host 30th Annual Bean-Smith Paddleball Tourney
Wisniewski-Pratt of Bay City Claim Local Championship
January 28, 2007
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By: O. J. Cunningham
The names Herb Bean and Fred Smith are still going strong at the Bay Area Family YMCA. Bean, a circus clown and acrobat, and Smith, a local businessman, were both paddleball players from Bay City.
When Bean passed away during surgery, Fred Smith started a paddleball tournament in his honor. The following year, Smith passed away unexpectedly and thus the Bean/Smith title was born - Now in its 30th Annual Paddleball Tournament year.
This year, thirty players from Bay City, Midland, Lansing and Ann Arbor fired up kill shots on the four courts at the Y on Saturday afternoon.
Randy Wackerle, who played in the Open Division, has taught and conducted a juniors paddleball program in Bay City for 30 years, in conjunction with the Bay City schools.
Three of the best players ever to come out of the program were involved in a match with Wackerle in the 2007 tourney.
They are Chad Krager, who was Wackerle's partner, and Eric Williams and Chad Schwall, their opponents in a semifinal of the open division.
Williams and Schwall won, 21-18, 21-17, despite the fact that Wackerle-Krager had a 14-4 lead in the first game.
The win put Williams-Schwall in the final against Mike Wisniewski and Earl Pratt.
The one-day tournament saw Mike Wisniewski and Earl Pratt outshoot Eric Williams and Chad Schwall 21-16, 21-17 in the all Bay City final in the tourney's top open division.
The Bay City team of Scott Wittbrodt and Paul Chritz won the Open Consolation trophy.
In the Men's A Division, Rich Rahal and Brett Lewless from Bay City defended their title against Ann Arbor's Bill Lott and Ron Harris 21-5, 21-9 in the finals.
The Men's B Division saw two Midland teams battle for the title. Don Traxler and Dave Coffey defeated Chris Malecki and Ivars Krakulis 21-12, 21-18 in the B Title match.
Randy Wackerle poses with "The Big Paddle" which he has used for the past 30 years to promote 4-Wall Paddleball in Bay City and across Michigan and the United States.
O. J. Cunningham
O. J. Cunningham is the Publisher of MyBayCity.com. Cunningham previously published Sports Page & Bay City Enterprise. He is the President/CEO of OJ Advertising, Inc.
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