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Class of 2018 announced for Hall enshrinement

By Walt Stack, 03/22/18, 9:15AM CDT


Bense, Harty, Kaeding, Krahler, & the Obergs to be inducted in April ceremony

From the Spring 2018 edition of the "Softball News"....The Hall of Fame selection committee, meeting during the Winter meeting of the North Dakota Softball Association, has voted in six new members to be inducted at the Hall of Fame banquet which is held at the same time and place as the Spring meeting of the softball group. The banquet will be held on Saturday evening, April 7 at the Gladstone Hotel in downtown Jamestown. This year’s group has experience at virtually every aspect of the game. All have played, some have managed, some have sponsored teams, some have administrative experience as League Reps or Board Members and all have been active in recruiting new players.

This year’s inductees include Dennis Bense, who played in both Minot and Bismarck;  Tom Harty, recently retired as the Deputy Umpire in Chief in Jamestown; Greg Kaeding of Fargo, who serves as Secretary/Treasurer of the state softball group; Curt Krahler of Fessenden, who played, managed and sponsored; and Chuck and Marge Oberg of Wahpeton, who are now deceased but who sponsored one of the best slowpitch softball teams to ever play in North Dakota, Chuck’s Off Sale.  The addition of this year’s class will bring total membership in the state softball Hall of Fame to 276 members.  This year’s inductees will receive their Hall of Fame plaques and Certificates at the annual Hall of Fame banquet to be held in the Gladstone Hotel in Jamestown on Saturday evening, April 7, 2018.  All previous members of the Hall of Fame in attendance will be recognized at that time. 


Dennis Bense, now living in Bismarck, played a total of 23 years in North Dakota for teams in Minot and Bismarck.  He retired from the game in 2015 with an approximate batting average near 600.  He describes himself as a base hitter with some power.  He played in 33 state championship tournaments with teams sponsored by Toads Ride and Shine of Minot, Hair Hospital and Stadium of Bismarck and Dustex of Mandan.  His teams played in two National Class A Coed tournaments, a National 35 and over tournament and five additional National tournaments.  He also served as the manager of Toads Ride and Shine and was the sponsor for Scheels.  He is a member of the McQuade Tournament Hall of Fame and played on the Toads Team which set McQuade tournament records for the most runs scored in one inning when they plated 27 runs in the first inning of a game during the McQuade tournament. 


After playing softball for ten years, Tom Harty of Jamestown decided he would try umpiring the game.  He spent the next 33 years actively umpiring and served as Deputy Umpire in Chief for the Jamestown area for 20 of those years before his recent retirement.

Tom has an impressive resume as an umpire, having worked over 100 state tournaments as well as 10 Regional tournaments and 4 Nationals.  He has also volunteered as a working umpire for 15 McQuade Tournaments.

Tom is respected for his knowledge of the rules and his ability to communicate clearly at any level of the game.  He is regarded as an excellent clinician and an umpire who takes pride in sharing his knowledge and experience with new umpires.  Players respect his judgement and his ability to handle difficult situations with a minimum of attention.  He was always prepared for his assignments, properly dressed and equipped.  He gained admission to the National Indicator Fraternity in 1994 and earned Elite status in 2005.


After being recruited by his neighbor Jack Arends to assist with the local softball organization, Greg Kaeding has become an almost indispensable person, not just with the Fargo Slow Pitch Softball Association but with the state organization, USA Softball North Dakota.

After a 29 year career playing slow pitch softball in the state, he holds several positions on the local level, including member of the Board of Directors, Fargo Slow Pitch, Treasurer for 30 years, member of the Fargo Park Board All City Softball Board and tournament manager for a number of state tournaments which hosted over 4,000 teams. On the state level, Kaeding has served on the Board of Directors, been Secretary/Treasurer, is on the Classification Committee, the Hall of Fame Selection Committee the Financial Committee and was awarded a Distinguished Service Award in 2015.

All of those administrative accomplishments have over shadowed his playing career which include over 500 pitching victories, playing in 25 state tournaments, including two state championships and co-sponsoring a girl’s softball team along with fellow Hall of Famer Stan Johnson.


Curt Krahler of Fessenden has played slow pitch softball for over 31 years and has played every position during his career.  His career batting average is approximately .600.  He has been a team manager for 28 of those years as well as a sponsor.  He has played in over 31  state championship tournaments 2 Regionals and 7 Nationals.  His teams have won four state titles, one Regional title and added three runner-up titles at National events. 

Curt is credited with keeping softball alive in Fessenden and surrounding area.  For 20 years, he has built and rebuilt teams almost annually in his home town.  Every year many of his better players move on to college or to bigger cities to find employment.  Curt often sponsored teams as well as playing and managing.  His teams always entered state tournaments as well as invitationals including the McQuade and normally did very well against teams from bigger towns and cities.


One of the most successful and popular softball teams ever to play in North Dakota was the Chuck’s Off Sale team sponsored by Chuck and Marge Oberg.  Their Class AA team won four state titles and had a record of 935 wins and 212 losses over a 16 year span.  They won two Regional titles and became the first team from North Dakota to win a Class AA Regional to advance to the National Tournament.  The team was also named the Non-School Team of the year and captured four McQuade Tournament titles.

Chuck and Marge followed their team to every game and were much more than monetary sponsors.  Softball became their summertime passion including invitational tournaments virtually every weekend. The team won over 100 games in a single season, a nearly impossible feat in North Dakota.  It goes without saying that Chuck and Marge put a lot of time and money into their sponsorship of this highly successful team. They also helped the team with equipment expenses and donated an electronic scoreboard to the softball complex