TEXAS TEAM WINS 60 MAJOR WORLD TITLE
DALTON, GEORGIA - GONZALEZ INSULATION made it two SPA WORLD titles in two years as they added the 2014 SPA 60 MAJOR title to their growing list of achievements July 17-20 at DALTON, GEORGIA'S HERITAGE PARK.
Two years ago the GONZALEZ team claimed the 2012 55 AAA SPA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP CROWN.
“That 2012 was a good year for us,” SPA 60 MAJOR MANAGER-OF-THE-YEAR and GONZALEZ INSULATION head man BILLY STARRY said,” We won DALTON, VEGAS and TOC, This is our first big tournament win this year, so we hope it will be a repeat of 2012.”
The GONZALEZ team has been together for eight years with five of the originals still on the roster. STEVE BURRIS, DAVE ESCALANTE, JOE RAMON,JR, DAN SILKWOOD and STARRY were all on that first team.
“We have only been playing senior ball for eight years, but most of us have been playing together off-and-on for thirty years,” STARRY corrected.
Over those thirty years, the gang probably hasn't won many tournaments in a quicker fashion then they did in DALTON.
Counting two pool games and two bracket games, they only played four games, winning them all and most by a very wide margin.
They beat K.C. KIDS 35-14 and HIGH STREET BUCS 15-13 in pool play and COLUMBUS LX 26-11 and CRYSTAL COBRAS 34-20 in bracket play.
“We hit pretty good, around .760 as a team,” STARRY said, “But actually it was our defense which was the difference.”
You score 110 runs and hit .760 in four games and defense was the difference?
“Exactly, “ STARRY replied, “Everybody in major can hit and if you give them extra outs in an inning they will pound you. We did not give any teams extra outs, but they were giving us extra outs and that was the difference.”
Leading the attack in DALTON was TOURNAMENT MVP TYRONE MCCLELLAN. The speedy gold glove outfielder was retired only once in four game compiling a .928 batting average.
Joining MCCLELLAN on the ALL-AMERICAN squad were DH BILLY BLAKE (.866), ROVER STEVE BURRIS (.866), PITCHER RON FOREE (.846), SS DAN SILKWOOD (.866) and OF JULIAN TAMEZ (.857).
Others on the GONZALEZ INSULATION team are: DAVE ESCALANTE (OF,.666), RANDY FULTON (DNP), WILL JOHNSON (2B,.615), DAVE PERKINS (P,.714), JOE RAMON, SR (3B,.555), JOHNNY SUTTON (1B,.642), DAVE WHITE (DNP), KENNY MORGAN (OF, 733), RICHARD WILSON (OF, .769) and RICHARD GIDDENS (INF, .692).
“We also have a great cheer leading squad which always travels to the tournaments,” STARRY said, “They do a great job keeping our spirits up.”
Members of the group are MARY SILKWOOD, BEVERLY ASHER, CHRISTIE PERKINS, JULIE STARRY, KAREN MORGAN, DIANE BLAKE, KATHY ESCALANTE and ERMA GIDDENS.
So far this year GONZALEZ INSULATION has played in six tournaments compiling a winning percentage of.800 and hope to equal that or better it in the remaining two tournaments.
“It has been tough to find good tournaments with other 60 major teams,” STARRY said, “ Usually we have to play 55'S and in one TEXAS tournament we played 50'S. Giving away ten years in age is a rough way to go.”
STARRY also said the reason they are able to play so many tournaments and travel long distances to do it is because of their sponsor, GONZALEZ INSULATION.
“ARNULFO GONZALEZ is in my opinion, one of the top sponsors in senior softball,” STARRY said. ' He covers our entry fee, uniforms and some other incidentals”
“We are fortunate to have him as a sponsor and we really do appreciate everything he does for us. Having a sponsor like him also makes it easier on recruiting players,” STARRY explained.
The big question for STARRY right now is what division will they play in 2015.
“If we end up winning the SSUSA title then we should be moved to 60 MAJOR PLUS but if we don't win it then we should stay at 60 MAJOR,” STARRY said, “ I don't think a team should be raised a level just for winning two games in a WORLD TOURNAMENT and that is all we played at DALTON.”
Due to a heavy downpour the 60 MAJOR tournament was called prior to the finals (losers bracket winner vs winner's bracket top team).
Regardless of what happens and what DIVISION they are placed STARRY has only one request for SPA.
“Give us some tournaments to play where there will be other teams in our rating group,” he requested, “We don't mind playing at a higher level, that should be every team's goal but finding tournaments which take majors and major plus teams is pretty tough.”
“It seems like the only tournaments where there are more than two or three teams in MAJOR or MAJOR PLUS are the WORLD events and that requires big money to enter and a big travel expense,” STARRY said.
As for the SPA organization and DALTON tournament, STARRY had a positive take.
“I really like the SPA tournaments and we play everyone we can,” STARRY said, “They are all well run and competitive. I just wish they (SPA) could get more teams involved.”
Finally STARRY had this to say.
“We have had a great year,” STARRY said, “But you know it takes an entire group to accomplish winning a WORLD TITLE. For us it starts with our sponsor GONZALEZ INSULATION, the players, the manager and the support we receive from the wives and girlfriends. It really did take a village to be a champion.”