SPA News

What's Happening in Senior Softball

LEFTOVERS ANYTHING BUT!!

         GEORGIA TEAM ROLLS TO SPA 75 MAJOR WORLD TITLE

 COLUMBUS, OHIO – Who called them the LEFTOVERS?

The 2014 SPA 75 MAJOR WORLD CHAMPS were more like “fresh out of the package” as opposed to leftovers. The PEACH STATE team went 3-0 in bracket play at COLUMBUS, OHIO'S BERLINER PARK, AUGUST 7-11 to take their first ever 75'S SPA MAJOR TITLE.

 Some of us have been playing together for ten years,” SPA 2014 75 MAJOR MANAGER-OF-THE-YEAR and the LEFTOVERS head man KEN GRIFFITH said, “ But this was the first year the SOUTHERN LEFTOVERS played as a 75 MAJOR in the SPA WORLDS.”

 "Although we could have used any players that live east of the Mississippi, we only have players from GEORGIA and our border states (NC, SC.FLA,TN,AL)." he proudly stated.

 In winning the 75 MAJOR CROWN, the LEFTOVERS disposed of JIMMY'S MINNEOTA GOLD 27-12, HAMELS 75'S 21-20 and HAMELS 75's again, this time 23-8 in the CHAMPIONSHIP GAME.

 Hey, those were all good teams,” GRIFFITH said, “We lost to MINNESOTA in pool play and everyone knows HAMELS is a good team.”

 According to GRIFFITH tournament play always seems to boil down to one of the teams having a little extra advantage in one secondary aspect and that is what usually tips the scale.

 All of the teams in the tournament could hit and all played great defense,” he explained, “The one part of the game we had a big edge on the other teams was our speed and double plays. We turned several double plays."

 GRIFFITH also was more anxious to talk about the tournament itself instead of his team winning the championship.

 This was great, twenty-two teams in the 75's and 80's divisions, that was fantastic,” GRIFFITH said, “Any 75 or 80 Division teams that are not playing SPA tournaments do not know what they are missing. We've played all the other organizations events and SPA by far has the best tournaments for our age group.”

 GRIFFITH was especially excited about the artificial turf at BERLINER and TOURNAMENT DIRECTOR DON CHERRY as well as the way SPA communicated prior to the tournament and kept the teams informed.

 To stand in a torrential rain for twenty minutes and as soon as it stops we are back on the field playing was amazing,” GRIFFITH said, “DON CHERRY did a great job adjusting the schedule as the tournament progressed and allowing teams to finish their brackets earlier.”

 SPA constantly kept us informed as to who was attending, what hotels were available and what the schedule would be,” GRIFFITH said, “They showed that they just don't stop talking with you once they receive your entry fee. They follow through all the way and they definitely are the player's organization.”

 One thing, the LEFTOVERS' MAIN MAN would like to see reinstated at the WORLD TOURNAMENT are official scorekeepers.

 I know it may raise the entry fee a little, but it certainly helps when you have one book which is officials. It gets rid of all the 'which score is right' debate,” he stated.

 However, there was no debate as to who the LEFTOVERS' MVP was. TOM SIDES and his .780 batting average was an easy choice. He also added to his tournament credentials with tremendous play on defense as the teams midfielder.

 Joining SIDES on the ALL-AMERICAN team were DUFFIE STONE (P 2-0 .830), WALT TAYLOR (3B, .710), RAY KENT (RCF,.790), WAYNE YATES (SS, .715) and JIM BAVIS (LF,.780). As a team the LEFTOVERS hit in the high .600's.

 Others on the roster were: PETE BURGER, BEN DUPREE, DAVID FOLTZ, PHIL JOHNSON, RON BOYER, MIKE DE SORBO, RON PFEIFFER, JAKE WOOD and HAROLD HAMMOND.

 Although not making the ALL AMERICAN TEAM, pitcher MIKE DESORBO received special recognition from his manager.

 "MIKE DESORBO, as usual, pitched three outstanding games and assisted in many other ways," GRIFFITH said, "MIKE really had a good tournament." 

 BURGER and JOHNSON in addition to their playing assisted GRIFFITH with the coaching duties. DIANNA DUPREE, who GRIFFITH said "...was very important to the team as any of the players", was the team's scorekeeper, statistician and traveling secretary.

 This was just a tremendous tournament,” GRIFFITH repeated, “ There is no doubt in my mind that it will continue to grow as the 70's teams get older and SPA'S great reputation of how they treat the 75's and 80's teams continues to spread.”

 You can bet we will not only be back next year but we will also be attending other SPA REGIONAL tournaments. Wwe want to play where other 75's and 80's are playing and there is no doubt they are playing SPA.!!

PROHEALTH CARE TAKES SPA 80'S WORLD CROWN

    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.

GONZALEZ INSULATION HEATS UP AT SPA WORLDS

     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.”

DLB SOFTBALL ON A ROLL, WINS SPA 50 MAJOR PLUS WORLDS

    IRON MEN WIN THEIR FIFTH 2014 TITLE

  

DALTON, GEORGIA – Nobody is hotter in senior softball this year than the DLB 50 MAJOR PLUS team.

The WISCONSON squad stayed on fire during the SPA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS at DALTON, GEORGIA'S HERITAGE POINT PARK JULY 17-20 adding the SPA 50 MAJOR PLUS TITLE to their growing list of 2014 tournament championships.

 That (SPA WORLDS) was our first SPA WORLDS CHAMPIONSHIP title,” DLB MANAGER and SPA 50 MAJOR PLUS MANAGER-OF-THE-YEAR LARRY TOSTRUD said, “but it was our fifth Major championship this year.”

 At DALTON, DLB after losing an opening pool play game to BRYSON'S PUB (30-27), who was the number two seed in the eight team group, the WISCONSIN team went to work.

 DLB finished pool play with a 34-26 win over TSC TRI-STATE and then began their roll through the competition in bracket play. First up was 43-38 win over TEAN 1 SPORTS, followed by a 30-14 pounding of TEAM ADIKTIVE

 DLB edged 2013 50 MAJOR CHAMP OKI 24-21 before disposing of top seed MID-ATLANTIC 26-11 in the title game.

 Once we got it rolling, we just kept going,” TOSTRUD said, “We hit over .750 with seven guys over .800.”

 TOSTRUD also emphasized the balance on the team from one-through-twelve.

 There are no easy outs on the team, so when they have us with two outs, they (opponents) still don't have a breather,” he explained, “Our 12th batter GENE SNOWDEN was 19-for-22 (.864), not too many teams have an .800 hitter batting last.”

 We all laugh when the other team says, 'their 10-11 and 12 hitters are up this inning', they (opponents) have no idea what they are getting.”

 What they do get when they play DLB is a solid group of players who put as much emphasis on defense as they do offense.

 Oh yeah, we do concentrate on our defense a lot,” TOSTRUD said, “ These are major plus teams we play and you can't give them extra outs with errors and by the same token you want to take outs away with double plays and great fielding plays.”

 The team's top ring leader at DALTON was MVP BOB WOLDYK. The first baseman hit .800 with eight home runs and some sparkling defense including a couple of diving stops.

 Joining WOLDYK on the ALL-AMERICAN teams were PAUL STANLEY (LF,.862), TIM FREDENBURG (P 5-1, .840), TOSTRUD (2B, .872), KEITH LESMEISTER (OF, .868) AND SNOWDEN (C, .864).

 Others on the team were VINNIE CHAMBERS (OF/C/DH .625) , JIM CUSHING (OF,.840), JIM MOLENCUPP (3B,.590), JIM OLSON INF/OF, .850), DOUG KEIT (SS/.785), MARVIN LIBERTY (INJ/ASST MGR/COACH), AL VANCAMPLER (DNP), KURT KOZLOWSKI (DNP) and TERRY DUNN (DNP).

 As you can see by our roster, we down to the bare minimum,” ASSISTANT MGR/COACH MARVIN LIBERTY said, “If we would have lost our last game and had been forced to play the”IF” game, I doubt if we would have had enough healthy people to play the game.”

 TOSTRUD also gave special mention to team statistician LAURIE LESMEISTER.

 She does an A+ job with the scoring and stats,” TOSTRUD said, “She also keeps us on our toes in the field telling us where the batter normally hits and Lord help you if you screw up at bat or in the field, she will let you know. LAURIE is a very important part of our team.”

 Another special person in the DLB FAMILY is sponsor DAN BISHOP, owner of DLB PURCHASING COMPANY in RACINE,WISCONSIN.

 DAN has been with us for over seventeen years,” TOSTRUD continued, “He takes care of our entry fees, hotels, uniforms and a few other items. He is the ULTIMATE SPONSOR and more like a team member then a sponsor. We really appreciate what he does for us and we probably wouldn't be a team without him.”

 However, TOSTRUD forgot to mention another individual who has been contributing far more than his share to the team's tournament fund.

 Larry will never tell anybody because of his modesty but he also has contributed a lot of money to support the DLB team, “ LIBERTY said,” He just does it quietly so nobody else will know but believe me, I know.”

 The DLB team although made up of players from adjoining four states, have either played with each other or against each other over the years and are not strangers to each other.

 We all have known each other for years coming up through all the younger “alphabet organizations” and shared each others e-mail addresses and phone numbers,” the manager said, “ So when we put a senior softball team together it was just a matter of some phone calls and e-mails.”

 According to TOSTRUD, the team has great chemistry on and off the field.

 No head cases on this team, we all get along great and really look forward to getting together after the games,” he said, “The wives are also a huge part of our group. They go to the games, cheer us on and help organize off-the-field things. This is just like a big family reunion when we get together. It really is a special group.”

 The DLB manager also said the SPA DALTON TOURNAMENT was special and praised RIDGE HOOKS for his leadership.

 This (DALTON WORLDS) is the way a MAJOR PLUS tournament should be run,” he said, “Getting EIGHT MAJOR PLUS teams together for such a high-class event is fantastic. With the quality of teams we had here, who needs those sandbagging major teams who are afraid of competition.”

 This is the best run and player friendly senior tournament we have ever attended,” he added, “The SPA umpires were without a doubt the best umpires we have had in any other organization's tournament this year. This was really a great tournament and we look forward to returning next year.”

EDITORIAL BY JUDY LEE - 2014

I began putting some of my thoughts down on paper and wanted to share them with you.  To find out about True Friends, read below.  Enjoy….. 

“SOFTBALL FRIENDS ARE FOREVER"

 

      Softball is not just a sport where you play a few
games and then you go home.
    There is more that comes out of it than
winning or losing.
With softball comes some of the best friends that you will ever
encounter.
You play on teams together, you laugh together you cry together.
You meet new friends through softball
from other teams too.
It’s a never ending chain.
    A real softball friend is one who is there for you on the
field and off the field.
A real softball friend is there to help you with your bumps and bruises.
A real softball friend is there to pick you up after a rough game or
congratulate you
after a great one.
    A real softball friend keeps in touch with you after the
season has ended and
for many years to come.
    I just wanted to let you all know that you are my real
softball friends.
    I will always be there for you and will always keep you in
my heart.
    This is not a chain letter. It is a poem written to let you
all know that someone does care about
you and will
never forget you. Send this to all the
    people you consider your real softball friends and when you
get it back you
    will know who your real softball friends are,

 

SOFTBALL HISTORY

 

 HOW  SLOW PITCH SOFTBALL WAS SET IN MOTION

  

The earliest known softball game was played in Chicago, Illinois on Thanksgiving Day, 1887.  It took place in the Farragut Boat Club at a gathering to hear the outcome of Yale and Harvard football game.  When the score was announced and bets were settled, a Yale alumnus threw a boxing glove at a Harvard supporter.  Another person grabbed a stick and swung at it.  George Hancock called out “Play ball” and the game began, with the boxing glove tightened into a ball, a broom handle serving as a bat.  The first contest ended with a score of 41-40.  The ball, being soft, was fielded barehanded and thus, the game became softball.

CHICAGO GEEZERS TWENTY-TWO YEAR QUEST FINALLY ENDS

      LONGTIME SENIOR TEAM WINS SPA 75 WORLDS

 COLUMBUS, OHIO – Perseverance paid off for the CHICAGO GEEZERS 75'S AAA team when after TWENTY-TWO YEARS and SIX BRACKET GAMES they finally won their first SPA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP JULY 7-11 at COLUMBUS,OHIO

 It has been a long time,” CHICAGO GEEZER and SPA 75 AAA MANAGER-OF-THE-YEAR BILL DOELL said,” But it certainly is worth the wait.”

 The GEEZERS were started as a 55'S team by SAM GEATS and DAN WATERS and have played in the 55, 60, 65, 70 and 75 Divisions of Senior Softball. DOELL, who succeeded GLEN GROBELI as the team's manager two years ago says it has been a long time coming.”

 We've gone through a lot of players, changes and finances ever since 1993,” DOELL said, “and being self sponsored, I don't even want to venture a guess how much it has cost everyone to play.”

 Playing nine tournaments a year can be an expensive ordeal. Each member contributes $275, FEDERAL ENVELOPE of CHICAGO paid for new uniforms.

 The team's hunt for it's first SPA WORLD TITLE even looked in the early going at COLUMBUS that maybe it would take another year to win a championship.

 The GEEZERS who have played at .500 pace (9-9) the past two years started off the same way they have played in that span, as a .500 team.

 We lost our first game in pool by one run and then won our next one on a walk-off walk,” DOELL explained, “We won our final pool game but lost to the ANTIQUES 13-8 in our first bracket game.”

 However, good things sometimes come to those who wait and such was the case for the GEEZERS.

 I was just hoping for one more win in bracket play and then we could go home happy,” DOELL said, “But then we beat HARRIS AUCTION 28-23 and the STATESMEN 30-29 and all of a sudden we were in the finals of the loser's bracket.”

 The GEEZERS continued their run through the loser's bracket beating PROHEALTH CARE 24-16 in the loser's bracket finals to earn a shot at number one seed and undefeated JERSEY JAGS.

 We were tied at 21-21 in the bottom of the seventh against the JAGS, when JAY AVERY delivered a bases loaded two-out single to force the “if” game,” DOELL said.

 The GEEZERS finished off their five-game consecutive winning streak with a 22-15 win over the JAGS in the title game and earning them that long awaited first-ever SPA WORLD title.

 The championship was totally unexpected,” DOELL explained, “We have played in a bunch of tournaments the past two years and haven't won a thing,” he said, “To win the SPA 75 WORLDS with such a large field of great 75's is a tremendous experience.”

 The team also took home a number of individual honors highlighted by DOELL being chosen as the TOURNAMENT'S MVP. He earned the award with sparkling defensive play in left center field and a .786 batting average and a team high five home runs.

 Others earning spots on the ALL AMERICAN team were MATT BARONE (1b, .750), TOM BRIGLIO (LF, .697), PAUL DAILEY (RF, .667), JIM DEDELOW (2B, .636) and JERRY HANDEL (C, .533).

 We actually feel anybody on our team could be ALL AMERICAN and earn ALL-TOURNAMENT honors,” DOELL explained, “So throughout the year we spread the awards around to make certain everyone on the team has received that honor at least once.”

 Others on the team were AVERY (2B,.824), FRED GRUNINGER (C,.786), TONY GURDAK (RCF, .559), RAY HAFERTEPE (3B, .697), HARVEY KOST (P,.700), JESSE MANUEL (RC, .774), JACK MILLER (P, .594) and MICKEY MILLS (SS,.774).

 Also coming in for special recognition were BARONE, who served as the team's assistant manager and the team scorers, MYRNA MILLER and JUDY HAFERTEPE.

 SPA has done a great job for the 75's and 80's teams,” DOELL said, “With their tournaments in BARBERTON, COLUMBUS, SHELBYVILLE and the COLUMBUS WORLDS they show that they really do care about the teams.”

 The personal touch they add to call teams and e-mailing them to keep them informed of tournaments in our age group is really appreciated,” he added, “ They are definitely the top senior softball organization for 75's and 80's teams.”

 Although DOELL loved the COLUMBUS WORLDS and especially the astroturf fields, he still has a soft spot in his heart for DALTON.

 We always loved DALTON and hope SPA can move it (75 WORLDS) back there occasionally and especially later in the year,” DOELL said, “The WORLDS should be the final tournament of the year and held in SEPTEMBER and OCTOBER and if they could move it to later that would be great.”

 Now with a WORLD TITLE under their belt, the GEEZERS main concern is where can they play next year.

 We know we will be moved to MAJOR and this past year there were no SPA tournaments for 75 MAJORS until the WORLDS,” DOELL said, “We hope SPA can set up some four-team major brackets at some of the tournaments. We certainly don't want to have to wait another twenty years for a chance to win another tournament.”

75'S AND 80'S FLOCK TO COLUMBUS, OHIO SPA WORLDS

    TWENTY-TWO TEAMS PARTICIPATE AAA AND MAJOR TOURNAMENT

COLUMBUS, OHIO – TWENTY-TWO 75 and 80 AAA teams along with the 75 MAJOR DIVISION surprised even SPA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR RIDGE HOOKS with the turnout for the SPA WORLDS at COLUMBUS, OHIO'S BERLINER PARK AUGUST 11-14.

“It was a pleasant surprise though,” HOOKS said, “ Think about this. In 2010 we had SEVEN TEAMS in those DIVISIONS (75 AAA, 75 M, 80 AAA) play at the SPA WORLDS in DALTON and in 2011 there were only four.”

 “We took a small survey and it showed the majority of that age group is from the mid west and mid east, so we moved the tournament to COLUMBUS, OHIO where teams suggested we hold it,” HOOKS explained, “I am certainly glad we listened.”

 The total of 22 teams may not sound like a big deal but when you consider how many teams actually are in those divisions it is amazing.

 SPA has 23 registered 75 AAA TEAMS which means 56-percent (13 teams) attended the tournament. It was even higher for the 80's as 5 of 7 (71-percent) made the trip to COLUMBUS while 4 of the 9 registered 75 MAJORS participated.

 The attendance was also spread among 15 states, so the attendance was definitely not regional as teams from INDIANA, MICHIGAN, ARKANSAS, NEW YORK, KANSAS, ILLINOIS. NEW JERSEY, WISCONSIN, TEXAS, OHIO, MINNESOTA, GEORGIA, MARYLAND, KENTUCKY and PENNSYLVANIA attended.

 Four DIVISION champs were crowned with WISCONSIN'S PROHEALTH CARE 80's going undefeated in bracket play, ending it up with a 21-15 win over the TEXAS CLASSICS finals to win the 80 AAA crown. Others in the bracket were SOUTHWEST STARS, COSSA 80'S and JIMMY”S MINNESOTA LEGENDS.

 In the four-team 75 MAJOR group, the LEFTOVERS claimed the title with a 23-8 win over HAMEL'S 75's in the championship game. The LEFTOVERS also defeated JIMMY'S MINNESOTA GOLD 27-12 and HAMELS 75's in an earlier game 21-20. CANTERBURY CRUISERS was the fourth team in the field.

 PEACH TREE RESTAURANT took no prisoners in rolling through the seven-team 75 AAA SILVER bracket. The PENNSYLVANIA team beat LOUISVILLE THUNDER 27-13, INDIANA SILVER FOXES 32-9, INDY CROWNS 15-0 and LOUISVILLE THUNDER 14-8 in the championship game.

 Others in the group were COSSA 75'S, MICHIGAN LAKERS and NAMI CONSTRUCTION.

 The CHICAGO GEEZERS lost their first game in bracket play 13-8 to the ANTIQUES and had to come out of the loser's bracket winning five in-a-row to take home the 75 AAA GOLD top prize.

 Along the way the GEEZERS beat HARRIS AUCTION28-23, NY STATESMEN 30-29, PROHEALTH 75'S 24-16, JERSEY JAGS 22-21 and the JAGS again, this time in the :IF” game 22-15.

 “I thought it was a great tournament,” TOURNAMENT DIRECTOR DON CHERRY said, “BERLINER PARK was an excellent facility. We had thunderstorms all over the place on MONDAY and I mean big ones but when they stopped we went right out and played.”

 “They have artificial turf and you just go back on them and play without needing grounds work,” CHERRY added, ”there was really some great competition with over half the games going to the last inning to decide the winner.”

 The SPA office also took a survey among the managers dealing with 2015 age rules, tournament locations, etc. and the results will be released as soon as they are compiled.

SPA TOURNAMENTS TOP DRAW FOR 75 AND 80 TEAMS

MUSTANG, OK - For 75 and 80 teams it has become a "no brainer", if you want to play tournaments where you will find other 75 and 80 teams you play the SPA MID-WEST and MID-EAST CIRCUIT.

That was verified again in 2014 when five SPA TOURNAMENTS again proved to be the top draw east of VEGAS in all SENIOR TOURNAMENTS hosting 75 and 80 Division teams.

"Over the past six years we have seen the attendance at just our WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS for 75 and 80 quadruple in attendance," SPA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR RIDGE HOOKS said, "This year alone we are expecting 22 teams (13 75 AAA, 4 75M, 5 80'S)  in that age group. That is expecting not projecting."

The high attendance figure is not only in the SPA WORLDS. THEE BUCKEYE CLASSIC drew fifteen 75's and three 80's to the JUNE BARBERTON,OHIO tournament while the JUNE COLUMBUS,OHIO HEART OF OHIO tournament has six 75's. SHELBYVILLE, INDIANA'S JULY HOOSIER CLASSIC pulled in seven 75's while GLEN BURNIE, MARYLAND had five 75's. 

That may not soul like many teams but when you are a 75 or 80 team it is a breath of fresh air.

"We just got back from the SSUSA MID-WEST NATIONALS in Kansas and we had to play 70's teams," TOM NORMAN, manager of the TEXAS CLASSIC'S 80's said, "It isn't much fun playing teams 10-to-15 years younger than you."

What the TEXAS CLASSICS experienced is not an exception but more like the norm. Out of all the SSUSA and ISSA tournaments east of VEGAS this year only one had three or more 75/80 teams entered.

"The 75 Division teams all know, if you want to play in a tournament where you see a lot of different 75's teams you have to play SPA and mainly in the mid-west," BILL REGAN, manager of PENNSYLVANIA'SPEACHTREE RESTAURANT team said," "You would hope the other organizations would try to put on a few "75/80 division friendly" tournaments together but that hasn't happened."

These aren't just local teams making the trip to the mid-west tournaments for 75's and 80's, they are coming from KANSAS, TEXAS, MINNESOTA, WISCONSIN, NEW JERSEY, NEW YORK, MARYLAND, GEORGIA, INDIANA, ILLINOIS, KENTUCKY, MICHIGAN, PENNSYLVANIA and the CAROLINA's.

"You go where the other teams go and right now they are playing in INDIANA and OHIO," BOB NAMI, managerof NEW JERSEY'S NAMI CONSTRUCTION said, "I don't know what their (SPA) secret is but they sure turn out the 75 and 80 teams at their tournaments." 

JACK HAYDEN of the 75's LOUISVILLE THUNDER said it best.

"Teams have to decide if they want to pay $450 to go to a tournament a hundred miles away and play 70's teams and/or one 75 team or pay the same price and travel 400 miles and play different teams in their own age class," HAYDEN asked. "We prefer to go those extra miles and play lots of different teams in our own age group." 

Another manager said, "If we are going to travel a hundred miles or more to play in a tournament and there is only one other 75 team, we would be better off staying home and inviting that other team to visit us and play a few games over a week-end and both can save the $400 entry fee."

So this winter when you start planning where to play in 2015 be sure and put the SPA MID-WEST tournaments on your list, especially if you want to play 75's and 80's and not 70's. You will not regret it.

Speaking for SPA, we hope to see you in 2015.

HOOSIER CLASSIC KEEPS ON TICKING WITH 33 TEAMS

        SPA'S GRANDADDY TOURNAMENT CELBRATES 19TH YEAR

SHELBYVILLE, INDIANA – Senior Softball's longest running MID-WEST tournament, the HOOSIER CLASSIC celebrated its 19th consecutive year entertaining thirty-three teams July 15-20 at SHELBYVILLE'S BLUE RIVER PARK.

“The HOOSIER CLASSIC is by far one of the best senior tournaments going,” SPA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR RIDGE HOOKS said, “How can you argue with success. Nineteen consecutive years, that is fantastic.”

“DWAINE LAIRD started this tournament years ago and today ED WEST along with GEORGE LANE and R.C.BROWN have continued to make the HOOSIER CLASSIC one of the most respected senior softball tournaments not only in SPA but in the entire senior softball program,” HOOKS added.

Limited by only having four fields, the 2014 SPA HOOSIER CLASSIC again reached the maximum amount of teams with thirty-three visiting BLUE RIVER PARK. Ten champions were crowned AA/AAA double-elimination event.

KENTUCKY team BORROMEOS took home the 50 AAA title edging INDIANA'S CIRCLE CITY PLAYMAKERS 17-16 in the championship game. BLUEGRASS SOFTBALL was the third team in the group.

A home state team, ANTIQUE ROADSHOW narrowly held off SIX PACK 22-21 IN THE 55 AAA FINALE. SIX PACK made it to the championship game by slipping by LOUISVILLE OG'S 18-17.

It was a CANADIAN HOLIDAY as CAVCO came south of the border to beat INDY FOG 19-13 for the 60 AA crown. The DAYTON LEGENDS rounded out the three-team bracket.

The ZEPPELINS won a nail-biter in the 60 AAA GOLD brackets. The ZEP'S held on for a narrow 18-17 over UNIVERSAL SOFTBALL. The KC THUNDER finished third.

(BY) GRACE REDEEMED beat THE BOMB SQUAD twice (33-19, 20-19) to finish on top of the podium in the 60 AAA SILVER BRACKET. SYLVANIA, OHIO'S MAUMEE BAY RAPTORS was the third team in the group.

JIM & JOE'S went 3-0 beating the INDIANA LEGENDS 15-7, KENTUCKIANA 16-12 and the INDIANA LEGENDS again, this time 28-12 to win the 65 AA BRACKET.

US JOBS kept the 65 AAA title in the home state beating DOC MARTENS 16-13 in the title game. Leading up to the finale, US JOBS had a pair of close calls edging DOC MARTENS 22-21 and MID STATES SENIORS 18-17.

Five teams went after the bacon in the 70 AA BRACKET and when the dust had cleared, CENTRAL OHIO COSSA stood at the top of the heap.

COSSA beat MID STATE SRS 15-9 and JOB CENTRAL 24-18 before disposing of SENIOR RED BIRDS 26-18 in the championship game. The other team in the field was the COLUMBUS SILVER STICKS.

The INDY CROWNS ran the table beating CHICAGO GEEZERS 23-17, PFEIFFERS AUTO 30-29 and PFEIFFERS AUTO again (21-20) for the 75 AAA GOLD title. PRO HEALTH CARE rounded out the bracket.

The LOUISVILLE THUNDER downed the SILVER FOXES (22-6) and the MICGIGAN LAKERS twice by scores of 14-13 and 24-15 for the 75 AAA SILVER CHAMPIONSHIP.

The seven team tour out for the 75's DIVISION championship was the third highest gathering of 75's in any senior softball tournament, regardless of the organization, east of Vegas. Only THEE BUCKEYE CLASSIC and the SPA 75's WORLDS had more.

DOCS HAVE PRESCRIPTION FOR SUCCESS

       COLUMBUS, OHIO TEAM WINS SPA 55 MAJOR WORLDS

 DALTON, GEORGIA – What a difference a year makes. After going 1-2 in the SPA 55 MAJOR WORLDS in 2013, DOCS came up with a new prescription for success and ran the table at the this year's SPA WORLDS to take the 2014 55 MAJOR CHAMPIONSHIP.

The tournament held JULY 17-20 at HERITAGE POINT PARK in DALTON, GEORGIA saw DOCS with the exception of a tight 29-28 win over SWEET CONSTRUCTION in the second round easily roll to the 55 MAJOR TITLE.

 Our secret this year is we have a balanced attack of one-thru-twelve in the batting order,” DOCS and SPA'S 50 MAJOR MANAGER-OF-THE-YEAR NICK INBODEN said, “Teams can't take a breather at any time in our order, anybody in the line-up can hurt you.”

 That fact is easily solidified by the fact DOCS using all 15 players on the roster had an actual team batting average of .750. In all games pool and bracket with the exclusion of a forfeit win, they outscored the opposition 132-89.

 In bracket play they averaged 29 runs a game to their three opponents' 15 run total. After their 29-28 win over SWEET, they easily disposed of HIGH STREET BUCS 27-9, S.A. 55 SOFTBALL (15-0 FORFEIT) and SWEET CONSTRUCTION again, this time in the title game 31-9.

 We were on our game in this tournament,” INBODEN said, “Sometimes you get in one of those grooves where hitting and good defensive plays become contagious with nobody wanting to make the last out and everyone is playing at the top of their game. This was one of those times.”

 This has also been a good year on the tournament trail for DOCS as they have added titles from the BRICKYARD, SMOKEY MOUNTAIN, DAYTON and COLUMBUS,OHIO in addition to their first SPA WORLD TITLE at DALTON.

 We play all the organization's tournaments,” INBODEN said, “ Although SPA is by far our favorite, you have to play tournaments where they have a 55-major division, which isn't always the case at SPA tournaments.”

 With all the traveling we have to do, senior softball is expensive,” INBODEN added, “We foot our own travel bills but we also receive some great help from our sponsor who pays the entry fees and covers the cost of uniforms and other incidentals.”

 DOCS sponsor is a DOC (what a surprise). Chiropractors KEN SCHONE and LYNN RINGHEISER have not only been taking care of the team financially but also in the office.

 Every week either before or after tournaments, we (team) all start limping into their office for weekly adjustments,” INBODEN laughed, “ They are really good and I would recommend them to anybody, especially ballplayers.”

 The team was originally SCHONES when they started as a 50's team in 2005 and today, almost ten years later, still consider softball a way of life.

 Most of us grew up together on the ball field and we just look forward to continuing it,” INBODEN explained, “ Our tournaments are more like a family reunion where everyone , wives included, get together for a fun two-or-three day vacation. Those are great memories and just make playing senior softball that much more enjoyable.”

 INBODEN also mentioned his team is starting to get close to social security age with three-quarters of the squad past the age of 60 years, but he isn't concerned.

 Age is just a number.” he said, “You have to forget that number and just go out and play, have fun and treasure the memories of being together.”

 Five of those teammates came in for special recognition at DALTON.

 CLIFF CARPENTER was honored as the TOURNAMENT MVP. All the second baseman did was compile a team high .945 batting average.

 Being selected to the ALL-AMERICAN team were REX HICKS (3B,,844), GARY PERKINS )P, .824), TEDDY WEINGARTNER (DH/C, .830), KEVIN FARKAS (1B, .834) and CARPENTER.

 Other members of the new SPA 55 MAJOR CHAMPS are: INBODEN , LARRY MCELROY, DAVE SCHERVISH , MIKE SULLIVAN , BOBBY WALKER , ROB HAUKE , DAVID MILLER, JEFF BAUMGARDNER , BRAD WARNER  and DOUG SHANYFELT.

 Coming in for special recognition from INBODEN and his teammates were the “traveling wife's club.”

 They have been really supportive,” INBODEN said, “There is no way we could pursue our hobby without their help. They have supported us all the way.”

 They (wives, friends) are also at the games cheering us on, helping at team's functions. They are a very special part of our success and although maybe we don't say it enough, “we really do appreciate them.”

 The LADIES who were leading the cheers at DALTON were JUDY HICKS, JENNY MILLER, AMY CARPENTER, JUDY WARNER, JERI WEINGARTNER, JENNY PERKINS, MARY BAUMGARDNER, BETTY SULLIVAN and SUSAN INBODEN.

 WEINGARTNER, according to INBODEN, also deserves the “SPA 2014 STATISTICIAN OF THE YEAR AWARD.”

 She is fantastic,” he said.

 As for 2015, the program has not been set.

 With so many 60's players we do not know if we will stay at 55 MAJOR PLUS or go 60, we haven't decided yet,” the MANAGER-OF-THE-YEAR said, “One thing is for certain we want to return to DALTON, whatever age or Division we are in.”

 This is just a great facility and there always lots of great competition with all the other major and major plus teams attending. RIDGE HOOKS and SPA run a tremendous tournament, we really enjoyed it.”