WISCONSIN TEAM HAS TITLE FROM FOUR AGE DIVISIONS
COLUMBUS, OHIO – PROHEALTH CARE 80'S added the SPA 80'S WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP AUGUST 11-14 in COLUMBUS, OHIO to their growing list of accomplishments.
They have now won NATIONAL TITLES in 65, 70, 75 and 80 age divisions.
“We won our first at the SPA WORLDS at PANAMA CITY in 2000 when we won the SPA 65 AA title, “PROHEALTH CARE and SPA 80 AAA MANAGER-OF-THE-YEAR DON BARDONNER SAID,” In 2005 we won the SPA 70 AAA WORLDS at DALLAS and in 2010 we won the HUNTSMAN and SSUSA PHOENIX 75 AAA, so this year's 80's title keeps our string intact.”
In their run, they couldn't have had many easier titles then COLUMBUS. In five games they averaged 19 runs to their opponent's 12.8 and also compiled a lofty TEAM .697 batting average.“We didn't do very well in pool play but made up for it in bracket play,” BARDONNER said, “We lost two close games at the start but after that we were pretty much at the top of our game, playing better defense and especially hitting better,”
After losing a pair of one-run games in pool play (20-21 TEXAS CLASSICS and 12-13 SOUTHWEST STARS), the WISCONSIN team defeated TEXAS CLASSICS (23-11), JIMMY'S MINNESOTA LEGENDS (19-4) and the TEXAS CLASSICS again, 21-15 in the title game.
According to BARDONNER competing in and even winning tournaments is fun. "The biggest problem for PROHEALTH CAREis finding 80 old tournaments to play,” he stated, “The only other one we played in this year was THEE SPA BUCKEYE CLASSIC, who had an 80's division. We will probably go to VEGAS and FORT MYERS because they will have more than two teams in an 80's bracket.”
BARDONNER is also hoping that in 2015 and future years, that the number of teams in the 80 age group will increase.
“SPA, thanks to THEE BUCKEYE CLASSIC has been a huge promoter of the 75's Division and now the 80's,” he explained, “ I'm expecting a lot of those 75's teams will soon be moving up to 80's and SPA will probably be the organization that will have tournaments for them.”
The PROHEALTH CARE team was started in 1997 by BARDONNER, BOBBY JOHNSON, LARRY RODABAUGH and CHUCK JOHNSON. In the early years they were sponsored by a BINGO HALL and AMERICAN LEGION.
“We were fortunate to obtain PROHEALTH CARE as our sponsor,” BARDONNER said, “If SPA had an award for the top sponsor each year, PROHEALTH would win it hands down.”
WISCONSIN'S PROHEALTH CARE, which has been the team's sponsor since 2009, has taken care of obtaining uniforms, equipment, entry fees and team jackets.“They are tremendous people and very highly respected in our area,” BARDONNER explained, “They take a huge interest in senior activities and are just an outstanding community asset for the people in this area.”
The PROHEALTH CARE DOCTORS, although being great sponsors. come up a little short as softball players.“Every year we have a small outing where our team plays a team of doctors and administrators from PROHEALTH CARE,” BARDONNER joked, “ The Doctorshave won only one game out of the five (5) games played."
If the next game between the sponsor and the team will feature the roster of the SPA WORLD CHAMPS, the doctors will be in for another rough outing, because that roster is loaded with ALL-AMERICANS .
Winning the MVP AWARD at COLUMBUS was DON SCHREINER. The left center fielder batted .688, with five extra base hits and over 15 RBI's.
Joining SCHREINER on the SPA 80's WORLD ALL-AMERICAN squad were PAUL HERRMANN (P,.733), CHUCK JOHNSON (LF, ,692), JIM O”CONNOR (P, .889), BLAKE WATERHOUSE (SCF, .846) and WILLIE WOOD (SS, .778).
Others on the 2014 PROHEALTH CARE 80'S ROSTER are: ANDY ANDERSON (3B/1B, .538), JAY AVERY,JR 2B,.800), JOE DEFRAIN (3B,.643), LARRY RODABAUGH (1B. .529), MEL SCHEIBEL (RC, .714), ROGER SCHRODER (2B, 5/5 1.000), HAL SCHWIND (C/RF,.600), BILL JANKOVICH (RF, .692), WILF ANTONATION (RC, .500), HENRY SMITH (DNP), DICK STEINMETZ (DNP). and BOBBY JOHNSON (DNP).
WATERHOUSE, STEINMETZ and ANDERSON also serve as assistant coaches on the team. BARBARA ANTONATION is the team's scorekeeper.
Heading up the cheering section at COLUMBUS were, RONI O'CONNOR, AUDREY WATERHOUSE, SUZANNE JOHNSON, BARABARA ANTONATION. and LYNDA AVERY.
“We have a great group including players, wives and sponsor,” BARDONNER said, “We are really a very close family and get together at most tournaments. The majority of our team has played together for several years. I think our closeness off the field is also an important factor in the success we have on the field.”
As for his take on the SPA 80's program, the manager had this to say.
“The COLUMBUS tournament was great especially the fields, umpires and number of teams,” he said, “To be able to get back on the field right after a huge rain storm was amazing.”
“I still think SPA has to look at their scheduling when you only have five-or-six teams in a group. Three days is enough, we don't need four days. Also I think it would help to have official scorekeepers and if the whole tournament (75 AAA, M and 80's) continues to grow, they need a couple of more fields. But all-in-all it was a great tournament.”
BARDONNER had comments on the SPA SENIOR PROGRAM in general.
“Thanks to the efforts of THEE SPA BUCKEYE CLASSIC, SPA is ahead of the other organizations for 75 & 80 teams he said, “ The promotion and communications between SPA and the teams via e-mails and phone calls shows SPA really IS INTERESTED in building the 75 and 80's Divisions.”
“I just wish SPA could have a few more tournaments west of OHIO like maybe Des MOINES, IOWA to make it easier to travel to a tournament.”Right now, most of the tournaments PROHEALTH CARE attends are over 450 miles away. They drive to the OHIO/INDIANA tournaments but the others require flying.
Finally, BARDONNER had this to say.
“RIDGE and SPA have really shown they do care for the 75 and 80 program but I am worried that some of the things they have planned for 2015 might set us back,” he said, “The “birthday rule” will not help the older teams, it will hurt them. I also wouldn't change the age levels , we have a good program going. Why change it?”
“I would think it would be better to have the other organizations try to adjust their rules to SPA'S rules and not the other way around. SPA is the leader in the 75 and 80 age groups, let's keep it that way.” All organizations should have the same age rules.