Scott Truesdell holds the Ryan "Pie" Truesdell Memorial Softball Tournament first-place trophy Sunday before awarding it to M.I.A./Combat. Scott is Ryan's father. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune
Scott Truesdell holds the Ryan "Pie" Truesdell Memorial Softball Tournament first-place trophy Sunday before awarding it to M.I.A./Combat. Scott is Ryan's father. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

Gallery: Keeping memories alive

Published 5:17am Monday, September 9, 2013

Softball players honor Albert Lea baseball player by playing the game he loved

Ryan Truesdell made a name for himself on the baseball diamond, so his family and friends decided to preserve his memory with a softball tournament.

The seventh annual Ryan “Pie” Truesdell Memorial Softball Tournament featured 22 teams and took place on Saturday and Sunday at Snyder Fields.

The event began after Ryan died in a grain elevator accident at Glenville Grain on August 14, 2007.

“This tournament is a good way to remember Pie, because he loved sports, and he loved softball,” said Brock Sorensen, a friend and former classmate at Albert Lea High School.

Ryan held his first baseball at age 2, and by the time he was in eighth grade, he earned a spot on the Albert Lea varsity baseball team, according to his father, Scott Truesdell.

Ryan was a two-time Big Nine All-Conference catcher, and he was a co-captain along with Sorensen on the Albert Lea baseball team.

“We played together, and we were best friends,” Sorensen said. “We play in the tournament in honor of him.”

At Rochester Community and Technical College, Ryan continued his baseball career by playing a variety of positions including catcher, pitcher and centerfield.

Ryan’s nickname originated at home, Scott said.

“When he was really little, his brothers and sisters started calling him Ry-Pie. Ry-Pie led into Pie, and he was known as Pie ever since,” he said. “There are people who don’t even know what his real name is.”

However, Scott said he never called Ryan “Pie” until after he died.

Scott said the tournament is bitter-sweet.

“It’s taking something that’s truly tragic and turning it into something good,” he said.

Scott said he didn’t want to cancel the tournament this year, but he thought about taking a hiatus. However, Ray Bohonek inquired to help Scott organize it and cut expenses.

“When he heard we were thinking of folding it, Ray decided to help out,” Scott said. “It was never due to lack of participation. It was because of all the work that goes into it.”

The tournament champions were M.I.A./Combat, a team with a mix of players from Albert Lea and the surrounding area. Shameless, a team from Mason City, Iowa, took second place.

By winning the tournament, M.I.A./Combat gained free entry to next year’s tournament to defend its title, and the team’s name will be engraved on the tournament trophy, Scott said.

A team from Albert Lea featured coaches and friends of the Albert Lea Knights baseball program.

“This is what he (Ryan) loved to do,” said John Ball, a tournament participant and coach for the 12AAA Knights. “The kids like it, because they get to come out and watch us play.”

The Albert Lea American Legion team won the consolation bracket.

Proceeds from the tournament will go to the Ryan Truesdell Memorial Fund.