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SPA and BUCKEYE CLASSIC Give Scholarship

SPA and THEE BUCKEYE CLASSIC each donated $500 to the KAREN LEE BURNETTE SCHOLARSHIP FUND June 19 at Thee Buckeye Classic tournament.

Burnette taught at Barberton High School for 29 years in addition to serving as a counselor. She passed away February 2, 2018.

A scholarship fund has been set up by her husband MARCO BURNETTE with the BARBERTON COMMUNITY FOUNDATION to award two $1,000 scholarships each year to a Barberton graduates.

The requirements are they must live in the city and carry a 2.00 GPA.

As a teacher BURNETTE concentrated on underprivileged, under-served and what many considered average students

"Those are the types of students KAREN would have wanted her scholarship to serve," MARCO BURNETTE said. "Kids who are on the border line of being college eligible but are hard working and trying to improve and have a true desire for a college education."

"Karen was a very caring, loving and giving person who always thought of others before herself," he added. " She touched the lives of many people over the years, both students and adults.I know she would really appreciate the kind scholarship contributions by SPA and THEE BUCKEYE CLASSIC'

This was the first scholarship donation by THEE BUCKEYE CLASSIC but the 65th for SPA and its second to a BARBERTON student.

In 2014 SPA awarded a $500 scholarship to TYLER OWEN who attended AKRON U.

"We (SPA) has been awarding $500 scholarships for the past 18 years," HOOKS said. "It may not seem like much but to families which do not have much money, it is a lot."

"When my dad died, I was 16 and the local church donated $500 to my college education," HOOKS said. "To me it was a lot of money and I try to repay what the church did for me to others who have the same situation."


For the eighth straight year THEE BUCKEYE CLASSIC is not only SPA’s top drawing qualifier tournament but the highest attended AA/AAA senior tournament east of Vegas.

“Some point to ISSA tournaments who draw 90+ teams as the highest attended,” BUCKEYE CLASSIC director RED BOLE said. “But if you subtract their majors and women’s teams they draw around 50-to-55 teams while we have averaged 76 for the past eight years.”

The year 2017 was no different. Despite a threat of rain and teams which had not paid entry fees pulling out at the last minute THEE SPA 2018 BUCKEYE CLASSIC drew 74 teams.

“We will be making changes on when entry fees are received next year,” BOLE said. “It really hurts your schedule when teams you are expecting pull out one-or-two weeks prior to the tournament.”

No problems on the field JUNE 12-24 as none of the 222 games were canceled due to rain.

There were also no repeat champs from 2017 as 15 new champs were crowned.


SCARLET – INDY CLASSICS (6-0,4-0) took the top sot ahead of MONKEY JOE’S (4-2,2-2) and PITTSBURGH GOLD (3-3,-2). MICHIANA MERCHANTS (2-4,1-3) and BAILEY TALENT CAVALIERS (3-2,1-3) rounded out the five-team bracket.

GREY – JERSEY MASTERS (5-1,4-0) beat COSSA (3-3,3-1) 13-11 to win the 75 GREY BRACKET. SYRACUSE (3-3,1-3), BROOKHOUSE (1-5,1-3) and FRICKERS (1-5,1-3) were also in the bracket.


SCARLET – JP MOTORMEN (5-1) beat MADALINA (5-1) 16-4 for the 60’s GREY title. CHICAGO PRIME (3-3), BUELL FUEL, CINCINNATI 60’s and BULLMOOSE were also in the six-team bracket.

GREY – ROC CITY beat the MINUTEMEN 26-12, 5-9 and 9-7 to take the AAA GREY crown.



The 80’s were split into two complexes at FIRESTONE STADIUM and BARBERTON.

PROHEALTH (5-1) outlasted FITTEAM (4-2) and CENTER FOR SIGHT 85’s (4-2) to win the FIRESTONE group. Others at AKRON were CHICAGO GEEZERS, SYRACUSE and LOUISVILLE THUNDER.

PFEIFFERS (5-1) edged PEACHTREE (4-2) at BARBERTON to the MAGIC CITY 80’s crown. The rest of the six-team group were KV SPORTS, HAMELS, LEFTOVERS and LOTA SOFTBALL.


NORTHER VIRGINIA FORCE went 5-0 with a 14-13 victory over LIFEGUARD (4-1) to take the 70’s Scarlet BRACKET. RUSH TRUCKING, INDY 70’S, FRICKERS and DELAWARE AUTO SALVAGE filled out the six-team bracket.

ROCHESTER CLASSICS (4-0-1) TOOK THE 70’S AA GREY GROUP followed by ROCHESTER ROYALS (2-2-1). COSSA, MAGIC CITY and HEWCOR BANDITS also were in the AA group. SYRACUSE 70’s (4-1) took the AAA crown.


The 65’s SCARLET title went to undefeated SPRING FORD (6-0,5-0) by virtue of a 15-3 win over runner-up BULL MOOSE )5-1,4-1). CAVCO was a close third followed by LIFEGUARD, BOMB SQUAD and RUSH TRUCKING.

AKRON SILVERADOS beat the ROCHESTER ROYALS 17-12 for the AA 65 Crown. DOC MARTENS ROPE COURSE (5-1,4-0) edged ROCHESTER BREWERS (5-1,3-1) 15-14 for the GREY 65 AAA title. Other AAA teams in the hunt were MICHIGAN LAKERS and STEEL DAWGS.

55 and 50

The nine-team 50’s group went down to the final game and second tie-breaker with DIVERSIFIED MACHINE (5-1) edging GTO (5-1) and LAKESHORE CONTRACTING (5-1) for the championship. OHIO HITMEN (4-2) just missed. Others in the group were BRICKYARD SOFTBALL, POTOMAC SPORTS, OREA BLACK SHEEP. MJ LOWE and FREDERICKS WINE AND DINE.

Also going down to the final game BUCKEYE CLASSICS (6-0) beat BUELL FUEL (4-2) to win the 55 title.

Others in the bracket were CPOA, SENIOR PSYCHOSIS and BULL MOOSE.


Over 40 teams showed up to play in the June 7-10 STEVE SIMMONS MOSQUITALAND CLASSIC at LITTLE CANADA, MN PIONEER PARK.

“STEVE was a director for both SPA and SSUSA and TERRY (HENNESY) and I decided to honor his memory with a combined tournament in his home state,” SPA President and CEO RIDGE HOOKS said.

SIMMONS, who also played for the MINNESOTA PRIDE was 67 years old when he died September 2012 in tragic boating accident.

In tournament play Wisconsin’s PROHEALTH won the 75/80 group with a 10-9 win over MINNESOTA MASTERS. Others in the bracket were MIDWEST RIVING SCHOOL and MN LEGENDS 80’S.

The 70 Major crown went to the MINNESOTA PRIZE who after losing to P5/ANCELL 8-22 came back to win 11-4, 12-6 for the title.

MIDWEST EXPRESS downed the CHICAGO STRIKERS 18-12 to win the 70 AAA Crown.


STUDZ beat MN BLIZZARDS 21-16 to take the 65 AAA title. FOSSILS, BAGBYS and MN LUMBERJACKS rounded out the field.

The MN MASTERS/ANCEL downed the WISCONSIN MASTERS 19-12. 18-14 for the 65 Major championship award.

The 55 MAJOR/MAJOR PLUS title was won by SPEEDEX with a 19-18 win over the MN MERCHANTS. NEBRASKA SILVER BULLETS and J&J’S were the others in the bracket.

POPE TRANSPORT took the wind out of WINDY CITY”S sails winning 22-13 for the 60 MAJOR title. TASTY PIZZA, NEBRASKA 60’S, MN MASTERS/ANCEL and MILWAUKEE MERCHANTS were also in the hunt.

PLAYMAKERS beat MN BLIZZARD 16-12 to take the four-team 60 AAA championship. OSHKOSH AMBASSADORS and MN MASTERS rounded out the bracket.

The 50 AAA saw KAFKA CONVEYOR down MN LUMBERJACKS 14-9 to win the top spot.

The largest group was won by CPP/ANCEL who edged POPE TRANSPORT 18-17. Others in the bracket were MN MERCHANTS, MN LUMBERJACKS, MIDWEST CONNECTION, IOWA DEMONS, GOLDEN GEEZERS and KAFKA.


DIVERSIFIED MACHINE left THEE SPA 2018 BUCKEYE CLASSIC TOURNAMENT in BARBERTON June 23, 24 with no skin on their teeth.

Playing in the nine-team 50 AAA division DIVERSIFIED lost their second game of the tournament Saturday 19-20 to LAKESHORE CONTRACTING and had to hope for a miracle to have a chance for the title.

It didn't look like it was going to happen as GTO and LAKESHORE were both 5-0 and on a collision course to see who the 50 champs would be.

"It was really tough  losing a game we should have won by one run and then sitting back and watching that team keep winning" DIVERSIFIED manager .MIKE BIELEK said. "I knew they had to lose two games or one and we would have to beat GTO for a three way tie. Then we would have a chance."

DIVERSIFIED beat HITMEN 16-15, OREA 17-10 and BRICKYARD 24-11 to keep their hopes alive

It didn't look like BIELEK'S team had much of a chance as LAKESHORE kept winning with only a game left with the .500 HITMEN and DIVERSIFIED was being beat by GTO.

Then it happened...the miracle.

DIVERSIFIED cane back to beat GTO 12-11 and LAKESHORE lost to the HITMEN to force a three way tie with each team 5-1. Since there wasn't a head-to-head tiebreaker because they all did not play each other the "runs against common opponents" was the decider.

With the only common opponent being BRICKYARD and OREA even that was close. DIVERSIFIED  allowed 21 runs while the others 24.

"We have won and lost tournaments by a game but never like this," BIELEK said. "It was worth it because we not only won THEE BUCKEYE but also got the TRIPLE CROWN bid. I hope our next tournaments are not as gut wrenching, I don't know if I can take another one like this, despite the outcome.".


The 80’s and 85’s went MAJOR LEAGUE at THEE 2018 SPA BUCKEYE CLASSIC June 18,19, 20.

Due to too many 80/85’s (13) and 70’s (12) THEE BUCKEYE CLASSIC had to find an additional complex to carry the overflow.

AKRON FIRESTONE STADIUM despite it’s dimensions fit the bill.

Built in 1925 the STADIUM has been home to minor league baseball, NCAA Regional softball, Ohio High School state championships, Ohio fast pitch men's, industrial, church and open state championships as well as woman’s fast pitch championships.

Lately it has been home to the 16U and 18U girls state and regional championships. The AKRON RACERS of the womens professional softball league played irs home games at FIRESTONE as well as games against the US Olympic teams.

Five SPA 80’s and one 85 team played their six-game bracket in THEE BUCKEYE CLASSIC bracket of the round-robin tournament at FIRESTONE


The current layout was perfect for the elder statesmen with the dimensions being 210 down the lines and 220 in center.

“It gives us a chance to hit home runs over the fence also,” said five ft-eight MIKE GUY of FITTEAM who hit a pair out in one game. “It was really a thrill and made the game so much more enjoyable to me and other players my age and size who can no way reach the 300-ft fences.”

Forty plus home runs were hit by the 80 group in their 27 game schedule. However, the long ball wasn’t all they liked about FIRESTONE.

“The complex was outstanding,” BILL DOEL of the GEEZERS said. “Step down below field level major league style dugouts, manicured outfield, true hops in the infield, 4,500 seating stadium, it was major league all the way.”

"I think FIRESTONE was a great idea for the 80’s,” SPA President and CEO RIDGE HOOKS said. “We (SPA) are going to look into it a little more as a possibility for a women's tournament with the 6’s, 65’s and 70’s playing there and the others in Barberton.”

“If we can work something out, it would be great,” he said.



The 85-year young CENTER FOR SIGHT team invaded THEE SPA 2018 BUCKEYE CLASSIC in BARBERTON, OHIO June 18,19, 20 and surprised the competition nearly winning the 80 PLUS title straight-up.

Playing without the equalization extra player and additional runs the FLORIDA team went 4-2 just one game behind PRO HEALTH 5-1 in the FIRESTONE STADIUM division of the 12-team 80 field.

“What a thrill,” CF S manager HUGH BROTHERTON said. “We have never won more than one game in a tournament when we play against the kids (80 year old). This is real great !!

Brotherton’s team beat LOUISVILLE THUNDER 23-14, SYRACUSE 20-13, PRO HEALTH 19-16 and the THUNDER again. Their only defeats were 20-11 to the CHICAGO GEEZERS and second place (AKRON) FITTEAM 17-15.

“We should have beat FITTEAM,” Brotherton said. “We just made some mistakes at the wrong time.”

However the win over PROHEALTH was a huge bright spot for the 85-team.

“We never had never beaten PROHEALTH ever since we started playing them ten years ago,” BROTHERTON said. “That is a high point for us, to beat a quality team of kids like PROHEALTH just makes participating against the younger teams worthwhile.”

The CFS team has a hard time finding 85-young opponents to play and some times even 80-young teams.

“That is why we like coming to BARBERTON, there are always nine-or-ten 80’s to play and we do not have to play 75’s.” BROTHERON said. “Those kids are catching up with us and will soon be our age.”

When reminded the CFS team will be 90 when the 80’s are 85, Brotherton replied.

“We will still play them, they will just have to give us more runs and two extra players.”


Hugh Brotherton, FL; Willard Kittrell, FL; Harold Oliver, FL; Edward Schultz, FL; Bernard Sciacca; Tommy Hicks, FL; Bob Darnell, GA; Howard Schoen, GA; Ferrell Sparks, GA; Alan DeWerth, OH; Dwight McVicker, OH; Roger Thresher, OH; David Goldberg, MN; Jerry Jones, AL; James Thomas, MI; William Weddle, TN; Joe Sykes, TN and Stuart Sellinger.


Two dozen teams visited WAXAHACHIE, TEXAS June 7-10 to take part in the SPA MENS LONE STAR NIT.

TEAM ARKANSAS got the most for their money playing seven games (two pool/five bracket) on the way to the 50 major title.

ARKANSAS lost their opening bracket game 22-34 to MIXED BREED before coming through the loser’s bracket to beat MIXED BREED twice (27-23, 27-26) to win the championship.

OKLAHOMA RHINO and. BEATTEX VETS were the others in the four team bracket.

MAN CAVE had an easier time in the 50 AAA group going 2-0 in pool and 3-0 in bracket play.

The 50 AAA champs beat DEMOLITION SOFTBALL 25-11 in the finals after beating them 20-19 in earlier bracket play.

BULLETTS finished third followed by DIAMOND STATE, GULF COAST and ETX.

Lots of winners in the seven team 70’s and 75-80 group.

TEXAS LEGENDS beat SAN ANTONIO 80’s 21-10 for the 75/80 PLUS crown. SA 80’s took the 80’s title with the SAN ANTONIO DESPERADOES the 75 CHAMPS..

The LOUISIANA LEGENDS downed OKIES 24-18 for the 70 AAA title with HILL CONTRACTING going home as 75 MAJOR CHAMP.

AUSTIN MERCHANTS was the fourth team in the bracket.

Five teams went at it for the 60 PLUS championship. GONZALES INSULATION downed TEXAS THUNDER 20-18 in the finals. GONZALES TOOK 60 MAJOR honors with the THUNDER 60 AAA winner. The TEXAS LEGENDS took the 60 AA crown.

Others in the five-team group were CARRIAGE HOUSE and DALLAS SPURS.

Robson ranch bested HOOKS for the 65 title.

“As always the WAXAHACHIE event was exciting and competitive becoming a very popular TEXAS tournament ,” SPA President and CEO RIDGE HOOKS said. “I think by now everyone not only knows how to spell WAXAHACHIE but also pronounce it.”



The 75's and 80's turned out May 22 and 23 for the JIM WELCH SPA TOURNAMENT at GORDY MAC COMPLEX in TROY, ILLINOIS with LOTA  SOFTBALL and INDY CLASSICS the big winners.

The INDY CLASSICS roared through 75 Division going 6-0 with wins over SR REDBIRDS, QUAD CITY ALL STARS and MIDWEST EXPRESS.

the REDBIRDS (4-2) took runner-up honors followed by QUAD CITY (2-4) and MIDWEST EXPRESS (0-6).

LOTA SOFTBALL made the trip from ARKANSAS and went 4-0 to take the 80's Division ahead of second place CHIGAGO GEEZERS and the third place KC ANTIQUES.

"Those who participated had a good time," Director Lenny Suess said. "We had last minute cancellations across the board which cut participation in half and forced us to drop the 65 group.":

"I think next year we will open the tournament up instead of just trying to give the 75's and 80's an extra tournament," Suess said." Last year we drew over 20 with all ages, that is probably the best way to go."