About the 2021 Elections
The 2021 elections are now completed. To view the incoming officers and board of directors elected, navigate to NBBA 2021-2022 Board of Directors.
During the 2021 World Series, members had the opportunity to cast their vote for several leadership positions within our league, electronically.
During the election, 6 positions were up for re-election; they are 1st Vice President, Secretary and four Board of Director positions.
These positions were held by:
- 1st Vice President Jan Traphagan
- Secretary Stephen Guerra
Board of Directors
- Director Adam Rodenbeck
- Director Andrew Bernet
- Director Jerry Windell
- Director Tanner Gers
As a note, NBBA Officer positions last for two years and are eligible for re-election for as many times as the individual is nominated.
Additionally, Board of Director positions are for three-year terms and can only serve consecutively for two terms.
An electronic voting system is being created for use during the 2021 World Series, more information will follow.
Office of the 1st Vice President
- Cassie Nipp, Tyler, Texas
- Michael Woodard, Yale, Illinois
- Darnell Booker, Indianapolis, Indiana
Office of the Secretary
- Stephen Guerra, Rochester, Minnesota
Board of Directors
- Andrew Bernet, Austin, Texas
- Brandon Chesser, Austin, Texas
- Axel Cox, San Antonio, Texas
- Mike Coughlin, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Kalari Girtley-Jackson, Chicago, Illinois
- Kyle Lewis, Indianapolis, Indiana
- Marc Morris, Indianapolis, Indiana
- Jerry Windell, Fletcher, North Carolina
Office of the 1st Vice President
Hey, I’m Cassie Nipp, and I currently live in Tyler, Texas. I have 3 amazing grown kiddos and added a son-in-law to the mix during our COVID year in 2020.
I was introduced to beep ball in 2013 by the Tyler Tigers, and the passion and love for it has continued to grow over the years. I have been a spotter, catcher, pitcher and all-around volunteer in many ways. I pitched and caught and helped with the Southwest Bombshells since the beginning, was the social media specialist for three years and will be assisting the Tournament Director this year. I serve in many ways behind the scenes – on the Board of Directors, PR Committee, Projects Committee, Tournament Committee, Operations Committee, Equipment Committee, etc. I want to do whatever I can to help our organization be successful and keep moving forward in the right direction.
In the “real world”, I have worked for over 7 years at a large church in Tyler. Being a people person, I love that my job is engaging people and getting them involved. This includes senior adults, widows, ministries that work with adoption and foster care and many others in the community. I schedule and plan events, and all the things that go with them. I also get the privilege of partnering with and working with a ministry in Kenya that rescues girls and gives them a chance at a better life. My past jobs have included public speaking and PR as well.
I love sharing with people about beep baseball and what our amazing athletes can do and take every opportunity I can to promote the NBBA and the league. Being nominated for 1st Vice President and Tournament Director is an honor and a privilege, and one I don’t take lightly. My day-to-day job takes organization and handling a lot of details, and I do it with honor and integrity. Details make a huge difference, and I’m learning those from the team who has made our World Series successful for years. Know that if you elect me as 1st VP, you will be placing things in good hands. Thank you for your consideration.
To the NBBA membership
Those that are new to the league, my name is Darnell Booker. I’m running for 1st VP tournament director of the NBBA. This position is overseeing our Annual World Series. A little bit about me. I’ve been involved in Beepballl since 1985. I played competitively From 85-05
I founded and started the Indy Thunder in 2000. We joined the NBBA in 2001. I have served in several positions on the Board of directors as a board member and as 2nd VP
My resume shows why I feel I’m ready to lead this organization as 1st VP/ tournament director, here is why I’m ready to take on the challenge. I’ve ran a local tournament for 21 years, I during the pandemic . I have the experience to organize and surround myself with a great team to make sure that the World Series will go off smoothly. I take pride in making sure things are ran great for the officials, players and volunteers. I also will make sure off the field will be ran smoothly with a great team around me. I appreciate your consideration and vote .
I will hit the ground running to make sure the World Series from a tournament perspective is well ran on and off the the field you can BOOK IT!!!!
Office of the Secretary
Hi, I am Stephen Guerra and am currently your NBBA Secretary and a resident of Rochester, Minnesota.
I have a happy, beautiful and full of energy 11-year-old daughter Kaylee who is the love of my life.
As a career, I am a Technology instructor/trainer for the state of Minnesota where I guide those who are blind and deaf to learning and using technology to allow them to accomplish their goals.
I also am employed on the tech support team for Computers for the Blind.
I began playing beep baseball in 1988 with a team in Long Island, New York, called “Out of Sight”.
Having not attended my first World Series until 2002, my first appearance was with the Long Island Bombers.
I began the Long Island Bombers team with others in 1997, and continued with the team until 2008.
I moved to Minnesota at that time, and helped start the Minnesota Millers, who I continue to play with and attend the World Series with annually.
Proudly, I joined the NBBA Board of Directors in 2001. I served as Bylaws chair during my first two terms. I also served in several other roles within the organization which I hope has made a difference in the organization now and will in the future.
I was elected as the NBBA Secretary in 2006, and continue to proudly hold that position.
I was the first recipient of the “Stephen Guerra Humanitarian Award” in 2015 and had it named for me. This was a very humbling honor to receive.
My love for the sport of beep baseball, the teams of our league and all the members of the NBBA give me drive to serve you all each day.
Board of Directors
My name is Drew Bernet. I have been in the league since 2010. I found out about our beloved sport shortly after going blind due to diabetic retinopathy. I ran into a gentleman during an O&M lesson who was restarting the Lone Star Roadrunner team after they had been gone for close to a decade. Beepball has been a major part in my life since my first practice. This sport has allowed me the opportunity to make multiple connections which have all let to amazing improvements in my life. Beepball help me find my first job out of college, helped me find my way through the chaos of vocational rehabilitation, and introduced me to some of the most amazing friends ever. I currently work as an Orientation & Mobility Instructor at a residential training facility in Austin, TX. I have a bachelor’s degree in O&M from Stephen F. Austin and am just shy of completing a master’s degree in Adapted Physical Education from Texas Women’s University. I currently play on the Bayou City Heat and volunteer as the NBBA Vision Committee Chair. I am responsible for writing our bylaw which requires there to be certified professionals interpreting the league’s vision forms and the adoption of the new B1 Certification which exempts players from patching during our World Series Tournament. I would appreciate your vote for a Board Director position and look forward to seeing everyone this year at the series!
Hello Beep Baseball Maniacs,
My name is Brandon Chesser. I play for the Austin Black Hawks. I’ve been a member of the Blackhawks since 2007. Growing up, I played baseball until I was about 12 years old when a decline in My vision, due to Retinitis Pigmentosa, prevented me from seeing the ball coming into play at such a fast pace. In 2007, when I joined the Blackhawks, I was able to turn my attention to the love I have always had for Baseball, with a slight variation. Since then, I’ve been a part of two international teams, selected by the Blackhawks, to travel to two different countries, Dominican Republic and Argentina, in order to provide instruction on how to play beep baseball and to share knowledge about blindness awareness. I was featured on the CBS Sunday Morning News, speaking about and promoting beep baseball and blindness awareness. I’ve served as a board member for SportsVision 2020, the non-profit organization who sponsors the Austin Blackhawks. Currently I serve on NBBA’s awards and projects committees. I’ve been influential in assisting with development of the youth program and the KOOL Clinic that has been held at the NBBA World Series in 2019. I have also been a registered Coach through the Little League and have Coached Youth Baseball, Coach Pitch Baseball, and T-Ball for eight years. I feel strongly about growing our youth participation in the league. I have ideas and thoughts on how to take our league in to tomorrow. With your votes, not only will I work on achieving a higher level of Media and sponsor ship for our League, but for the better growth and development of our Youth League as well. Without the development and recruitment of youth, our beloved sport with not grow into tomorrow’s vision.
Since 2008, I have taken all the great sport of beep ball has to offer. I have attended every world series, been a defensive all-star, played in five championship games; coming out victorious in two of them; traveled to the Dominican Republic to help start what we now know as the Caribbean Hurricanes; as well as being a founding member of my current team, the “San Antonio Jets.” For all the reasons listed above; I felt it was time for me to finally give back to the sport that has given so much to me. This summer I will be running for a position on the NBBA board of directors. I hope to bring new blood and fresh ideas to the board, such as, getting more ideas to expand the “Kids of our League” (KOOL) initiative for the future of our league lies with them; I would also like to revisit the World Series having a permanent city to call home; I think this would increase volunteer numbers immensely; these are just a couple of my ideas. I hope you will consider voting for me when you see my name on this year’s Ballot.
My name is Kalari Girtley-Jackson. I often say that my life was broken into two parts, before my vision loss and afterwards when my world went dark. As one can imagine, losing my sight at an early age sent me through a wave of emotions. I had bad anger issues and I was consumed by a world of darkness.
At the age of nine-years-old however, my world changed significantly. I discovered Beep Baseball and it saved my life. I finally had an outlet to release my anger and I could also channel energy into something positive. I was able to swing a bat, tackle a base and most importantly, I was able to run again. Beep baseball gave me my life back and saved me from a world of darkness and pain. When I am on the field, I feel alive. I can’t express how much I love this game. I have traveled around the country because of this sport and I have also gone to other continents because of my passion for this game.
With everything that this sport has given to me, I want to give back. I would love to serve on the board. I have been playing for the last 20 years and I would love to help better the game. I have fresh ideas that I think will bring in more revenue and also publicity. I feel the board has been doing a great job, but I feel I will provide fresh blood. I feel this sport has come a long way, and I would love to see the sport continue to grow. I would love to serve as your next board member. Thank you for taking the time to read this.
My name is Marc Morris and I’m from Indianapolis. I have two little ones who you will most likely hear on the sideline at some point if you play against the Indy Edge. Currently I’m studying Accounting at Indiana Wesleyan University with graduation set for December of 2021. I will then be pursuing my Master’s in Accounting so that I can sit for the CPA exam in 2023. Throughout my time in school, I’ve had the great opportunity to work for a couple large corporations where I have been a key leader in innovating certain processes to either save the corporation money, time, or both. This innovative spirit is what I hope to bring to the NBBA if elected to the Board of Directors.
I was introduced to the NBBA in 2013 by a member of the Indy Thunder. I spent 3 seasons playing with the Thunder learning the game from people like Dave Benney, Ed Brown and eventually Eric Rodriguez. I then decided that it was time for a change of scenery which led me to joining the Indy Edge as a founding member. I have been on the Edge ever since and have held a “Captain” title for the past 3 seasons.
Beep Baseball for me was my chance to be great at a sport. I grew up with a love of sports but was always told that it would be “unsafe” for me to play alongside individuals who were fully sighted. I ran track for a couple years in high school and college but running does not compare to playing a competitive team sport which I quickly learned. I fell in love with the game the first time I hit a ball while wearing a blindfold. My life has never been the same since that first Thunder practice.
I am a firm believer that even though we are all visually impaired or blind, we are not disabled. We have skills that some people could only dream of having. We can do absolutely anything we set our minds to short of maybe driving a car safely. As a Board Member I would like to focus on increasing the life span of the league by initiating and executing research to increase the production of balls through multiple sources. No business can survive on a single producer/supplier. I would like to improve gameplay by updating rules and finding ways to establish more of a balance between offense and defense. Finally, I would like to focus on the image of the league as a whole. We are a group of players, athletes and volunteers who are not disabled but full of capabilities. I believe that the way a business presents itself makes a huge difference in how outsiders perceive it.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
I have been a member of the NBBA since 1982. I have played on teams from Indianapolis, Albuquerque, Chicago, Denver, and Oklahoma City (sorry if I forgot somewhere). I have been honored to play with some of the greatest players, pitchers, spotters, and catchers that the game has ever known. I have also enjoyed being all of those previously mentioned beepball positions as well as a coach at one time or another. Out of all of those positions, there really isn’t one that I have enjoyed more than being a player. I spent three years as a full-time pitcher with the Indy Eagles from 1989-1981 where I was fortunate enough to help win a World Series in 1990 and make it back to the championship game in 1991. I am proud that I’m the only Legally Blind pitcher to win a World Series.
CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE NBBA:
I have been a NBBA Board Member multiple times in my 40 years with the organization. Things that I have enjoyed contributing to that I believe that I have helped to make advancement in are Rules, Cheating Policy, Vision Policy, and Seeding. There is always room for these things to be improved, but that can’t happen without membership participation.
VISION FOR THE FUTURE:
As other organizations that represent the Blind and Visually Impaired have done, we need to secure sponsorship at a national level. That sponsorship could come from Major League Baseball, equipment and uniform manufacturers, or other sources.
To make the above happen, we need to present a better image of our organization to the public. There is nothing wrong with having a good time or voicing your opinion, but there has to be consequences when it is at the detriment of the organization. I believe that the Code of Conduct/Ethics is a step in the right direction, but it is a work in progress.
As well as getting national sponsorships, I believe that we need stronger relationships other organizations representing the blind such as USABA, NFB, AFB, and others. These relationships could help us in membership and possibly financially.
My last word.
I believe that the NBBA is for the Visually Impaired and Blind and it states that in our Bylaws. We need the inclusion of those with better sight to help us be able to play the game that we love, but the players need to impaired. We need umpires, score keepers, pitchers, catchers, spotters, and other volunteers, so let’s leave the playing to those who can’t play sighted ball. I know that we have addressed this with the Grandfather Clause and Vision Policy, but like all Rules and Policy, there is always room for improvement and enforcement.
- NBBA Hall of Fame.
- NBBA Dan Tracey Award.
- NBBA World Championships 5.
- 1988 Paralympic Silver Medal in Goalball.
- 1986 and 1990 World Goalball team member.
- USABA Wrestling Championships 2.
- USABA Track Championships multiple in middle distance.
I have been married to PJ Windell since August of 2017. We moved to the Asheville/Hendersonville area of North Carolina in July 2020. I have one child, Bailey Buhler, who is married to Zach Buhler of the Indy Thunder. I also have two stepchildren.
Attended the Indiana School for the Blind where I graduated in 1979 (Valedictorian).
Studied Education at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis and Ball State University for three years.
Obtained a Certificate in Computer Programming in 1983. I spent the next 37 years working in Information Technology.
1983-1988 Computer Programmer at Merchants national Bank.
1988-1989 Computer Programmer for Computer Sciences Corporation.
1989-2019 information Security Manager for the United States Department of Defense.
2021 Election Results
Office of the 1st Vice President
Darnell Booker won the race for the Office of 1st Vice President with a total of 75 votes.
Cassie Nipp had 55 votes and Michael Woodard finished with 45 votes.
Office of secretary
Stephen Guerra won the race for the Office of Secretary with a total of 144 votes.
Board of Directors
For the Board of Directors, the following individuals have been elected and showing their vote totals received
- Axel Cox (114)
- Kalari Girtley-Jackson (102)
- Jerry Windell (90)
- Kyle Lewis (70)
A total of 184 vote were casted in the 2021 NBBA Elections.