SPA News

What's Happening in Senior Softball

SPA 2018 TOURNEY SEASON UNDERWAY

The SOUTHERN SPRING NIT kicked off the SPA 2018 tournament season March 15,16,17,18 in Montgomery, Alabama with thirty teams taking part in the event which saw winners crowned in eight divisions.

“It was a very competitive tournament,” SPA Director Lonnie O’Haver said. “We also had great weather which made it a very enjoyable tournament.”

The TENNESSEE COMETS won the 50 AAA eight team division going undefeated (6-0) in both pool and bracket play. It wasn’t a walk though as the COMETS edged SE SWARM 21-18 in the title contest and Brickyard 21-18 in the winner’s bracket game.

The SE SWARM (5-3) got their money’s worth in the tournament when after losing their opener in bracket play they had o beat BLUEGRASS, KENT PLAYERS, and BRICKYARD Sunday to reach the finals.

Final standings: 1. TENNESSEE COMETS (6-0), 2. SE SWARM (5-3), BRICKYARD (4-2), KENT PLAYERS (2-3), BLUE GRASS (2-3), MAJOR LEAGUE SENIORS (2-3), ATLANTA 50’S (0-4) AND TEAM ADIKTIVE (0-4)

Eight teams also squared off in the 50 Major with the same result – an undefeated winner.

TEAM ARKANSAS ran the table with wins over RIVERROCK VENTURES (38-25), WALKER BROS (28-24), RESOLVE 50’S (30-14 and 27-14 in the finals.

RESOLVE 50’S (4-3) took runner-up honors. Filling out the bracket were WALKER BROS (4-3), LIGHTHOUSE LOOKOUTS (3-3), DOC’S (3-2, ATLANTA MONARCHS (1-4), SR SOFTBALL SOFTIES (1-3) AND RIVERROCK VETERANS (0-4).

The five-team 55AAA/MAJOR saw AAA MONTGOMERY SWARM beat DARRELL HARRIS 17-12 in the finals for the title. The SWARM also went undefeated in pool and bracket play at 5-0.

In bracket play they earned their way to the finals beating DT EXPRESS 2-19 and JR SMITH 27-21.

AAA DARRELL HARRIS (4-3) took second place after playing four games on Sunday.

The rest of the field were AAA JR SMITH (3-2), MAJOR DT EXPRESS (1-4) AND TENNESSEE CONNECTION (0-4)

The SWARM also took the 207 title going 5-0.

SEASONED VETS (5-1) won the 60AAA/MAJOR crown beating GAS SOFTBALL (5-2) 23-11 in the title game. GAS reached the title game with a 28-27 cliff hanger over ELITE SOFTBALL (3-3).

Also in the bracket were BAND OF BROTHERS (2-4) and SOUTHERN SILVERBACKS (0-5).

The 65AAA,70AAA and 70 MAJOR saw three teams walk away with crowns.

COLUMBUS XLV (4-1) won the 65 title, LA LEGENDS (4-1) were the 70 AAA champions and MATADOR CLUB (2-3) took the 70 MAJOR trophy. DEEP SOUTH (0-5) was the other team in the bracket.

“This was a good way to start off our 2018 season,” SPA president and CEO RIDGE HOOKS said. “Great competition and great weather. You really couldn’t ask for much more. NATALIE NORMAN and her staff did an excellent job, I really appreciate her effort.”

HUGH BROTHERTON ā€“ BATTERIES INCLUDED

Eighty-seven Hugh Brotherton is senior softball’s answer to the Eveready Bunny, he just keeps going, going and going. 

It is pretty surprising for someone who never took up the game until he was 62 years old.

“I played baseball when I was a kid but not after high school.” he explained. “I didn’t have time for sports because Carol and I got married and all our free time was raising our five sons and five daughters.”

The Brothertons have been married 64 years and in addition to their ten children, they have 23 grandchildren and 17 great-grand children, with the oldest ten years old.

“I didn’t decide to play senior softball until I was 62,” the Senior Hall-of-Famer said. “I am glad I did, it has been a wonderful experience both on and off the field. I hope I can play another 25 years.”

The Michigan native hasn’t been just a player, he has been an All-Star player.

Logging most of his time with Florida’s Center For Sight team he has received so may awards and honors he doesn’t know what to do with them all.

“I gave each grandchild one of my rings and still have a drawer full left,” he said. “I also have won so many MVP, All-American and All-Star Awards I can’t remember them all. What he does remember are team awards and the players he played with or against.

“That is the biggest thing about playing senior softball, it is the friends you make,” he explained. “Awards are nice but friendships last a lifetime.”

“Carol and I have met so many wonderful people and visited so many different cities and states, it would not have been possible without playing senior softball,’ he added. “We look forward to tournaments where we can renew old acquaintances and make new ones. It is just like a big family reunion.”

Brotherton also proves you are never too old to try new things.

A couple of years ago at the Huntsman Games he had some time before the softball tournament started so he entered some senior running events.

Running in the 85-and up division he set Senior Games records in winning the 500, 1,500 and 3,00 meters.

“Never tried it before but I walk three miles a day and play about 100 softball games each year, so I figured I was in pretty good shape to try it,”he said.

Brotherton figures he has played well over 10,000 softball games since he started playing twenty-five years ago.

“I thank the Lord every day for giving me the ability to participated in athletics at my age,’he said. “Praise be to God for giving me the opportunities.”

The Hall-of-fame athlete also appreciates his sponsor.

“Center For Sight has been with us over twenty years,” he said. “They have not only been an outstanding sponsor but a wonderful and appreciated friend.”

What changes has he seen in his twenty-five years in senior ball.?

“Mainly the growth. When I started, a 67-year old was the oldest players, now 67’s are kids,” Brotherton said. “The players keep getting older and is great to still be playing competitive ball at 85.”

“Organizations like SPA and SSUSA and big tournaments like the SPA Buckeye Classic offer us those opportunities and we appreciate it.”

“Still haven’t figured out why the younger players need those high powered bats and ball to play, must be an ego thing,” Brotherton added. “We started with wooden and single wall bats and were still able to score runs and play the game and it was safer for the pitcher and corner infielders.”.

Brotherton considers the players like himself himself who started playing in the 1990’s as Senior Softball Trailblazers.

“When I started I never dreamed I would  be playing softball at 87 years nor would there be others my age playing in a league or tournament with me,” Brotherton. “I consider myself truly blessed and hope I played a part in growing senior softball so you are never too old to play”