Thee Buckeye Classic still remains not only SPA's highest attended qualifier tournament but also the biggest draw of any non-national or world senior AA/AAA tournament east of Vegas.
The June 5-17 event in Barberton, Ohio drew 74 teams this season. Since they joined SPA in 2001 Thee Buckeye Classic has drawn 539 AA/AAA teams. It is also the organization's round-robin non-major only tournament.
"Thee Buckeye Classic is by far the best run and team friendly of any other tournament of any organization," 80's manager Bill Reagon said. "Out team has been attending since we were a 70's team. They are the only tournament which sends out a newsletter each month starting in October, sends managers Christmas cards, has their own web site and makes personal calls at least three-or-four times to all teams just to keep in touch."
Reagon's team Peachtree Restaurant may be a little bias since they won the 80's division this year.
It was the first Thee Buckeye Classic title ever for Peachtree since they have been attending and it wasn't easy. Peachtree, Pfeiffer's and Barberton Herald all finished 5-1 in the nine-team round robin event. Prachtree won the tiebreaker with Pfeiffer's second and the Barberton Herald third.
Others in the 80 division were Back Office 80's 3-3, ProHealth 80's 3-3, Hamel's 80's 2-4, Center for Sight 85's 2-4, Syracuse 80's 1-5 and Louisville Thunder 1-5.
Center for Sight was also awarded a team trophy and individual awards for winning the 85 division despite being the only 85 team.
"If you are a 75, 80 or 85 team you are missing the boat if you do not attend Thee Buckeye Classic, " Hugh Brotheron, manager of the Florida based Center for Sight team said. "The 80's group was the largest collection of 80-year young teams we have ever seen. It may have been a long trip but to play six different teams in our own age group was worth it."
The only Major teams in the tournament were the the 75 Majors.
"It is hard enough for 75's to find tournaments, let alone other 75 Major teams, so we bring them in each year but they are the only major teams we invite, "co-tournament director Red Bole said,
Canterbury Cruisers 6-0 won the 75 majors followed by Michiana 4-2, Hamels 75's 2-4 and Pittsburgh Gold 0-6.
In the seven-team 75 AAA Grey bracket Rochester's Brookhouse Restaurant won their first SPA Barberton tournament going 6-0 and beating runner-up Indianapolis Classics 19-18 in the deciding game. Carolina Blue Sky 4-2 was third followed by Syracuse Cyclones, Chicago Geezers, Nami Construction and Mississauga Legends..
The Senior Red Birds from Illinois tied with the Dayton Legends at 5-1 but had the edge in previously beating Dayton to win the 75 Scarlet bracket. COSSA was third followed by Jersey Masters, ProHeakth 75's, New York Statesmen and Akron 75's.
The 5-1 Windsor Chiefs came down from Canada to edge both Rush Trucking 4-2 and Steel City 4-2 for the 70 Scarlet title. Columbus (Indiana) Silver Sticks, Lifeguard Financial and Syracuse Cyclones also played in the six-team bracket.
In the Grey six-team 70 bracket the Chicago Strikers went undefeated to finish ahead of second place Frickers Sports Bar and COSSA 70's. Rochester Classics, Canada's Hewcor Bandits and Magic City Sports Card rounded out the field.
Steel Dawgs 5-1 won the 65 Scarlet bracket followed by the Michigan Lakers 4-2 and Chicago Blue Chips 4-2.
Others in the eight team bracket were Ohio Silverado's, Sylvania 65's, Indiana Legends, Syracuse Cyclone 65's and Rochester Royals.
Sylvania won the 65 AA with Indiana Legends second and the Royals third.
Jim n Joe's Ice went undefeated to take the 65 Grey crown. West Virgiinia's Pill N' Pill was second and Canada's Cavco was tied with Lifeguard financial, Rush Trucking, Rochester Brewing and Universal Softball 3-3. Doc Marten'Rope Course was eighth in the bracket.
Cardot Madelina Construction 6-0 edged Flex Strut 5-1 for the 55 AAA title. Roc City 4-2, Eagle Tavern 3-3, Minutemen 2-4, Silver Stars 1-5 and Buzzards 0-6 completed the seven-team 60 division.
1 Under Craft and Beer went 6-0 to capture the 55 AAA crown. Griffith Brothers 4-2 was second followed by Pittsburgh North 4-2 in third
Buckeye Classics 3-3, CPOA 3-3, JJ Financial Eagles 2-4, Jackson Merchants 2-4 and Sylvania All-Shred 0-6 filled out the eight team bracket.