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What's Happening in Senior Softball

TEAM ELITE /CC / MIKEN WINS SPA 2014 50 AAA WORLDS

MARYLAND TEAM RUNS MARATHON AT TO TAKE CHAMPIONSHIP

 DALTON, GEORGIA – TEAM ELITE CC MIKEN got their money's worth at the SPA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS at DALTON, GEORGIA'S HERITAGE POINT PARK, using three pool games and six bracket games to win the SPA 2014 50 AAA TITLE.

 The MARYLAND team went 2-1 in pool play and 5-1 in bracket play, winning their last three loser-goes-home games to win the championship.

 Our backs were definitely to the wall,” SPA 50 AAA MANAGER-OF-THE-YEAR and TEAM ELITE MANAGER RAY 'RINGO” JONES said, “ But we went into the tournament with the attitude the tougher it was going to be, the tougher we would play.”

 Not a real unique strategy but the first-year team was definitely unique in another way. You sure needed a program to know who was playing where. It was almost like the ABBOTT and COSTELLO routine “WHO'S ON FIRST.”

 Where other teams have names like BOB, BILL, JOHN, etc, TEAM ELITE'S roster was sprinkled with names such as HILLBILLY, POPS, J HOLLYWOOD, BUZZ, 50/50, RAZ and RINGO. And they all were versatile and played different positions from one game to the next.

 Those nicknames are the ones you can print, they also have others you can't print,” JONES laughed. “When we put this team together this year our main objective was the players would have versatility and be able to play at least a couple of different positions.”

 They needed the versatility because only twelve players made the 11-hour trip to DALTON. All 12 played in the pool games but only 11 were used in each of the bracket games with one player being kept in reserve in case of injury.

 The versatility we had played a huge part in us winning the championship,” JONES said, “I had to constantly manipulate the line-up in regards to both batting order and defensive positions due to injuries.”

 Falling into the loser's bracket and playing all those extra games didn't help us either,” he added, “Guys were really wearing down and it was hard to find fresh legs.”

 After falling in the pool opener to the DAYTON HITMEN 17-12, they ran off four wins in a row beating STILL SWINGING (20-15) and NORTH GEORGIA OUTLAWS (23-15) in pool play and then SOUTHERN HURRICANES (29-23) and FINANCIAL EAGLES (15-11) in bracket playing before losing again.

 We lost to DAYTON again, this time 23-18,” assistant coach JIM “50/50” GALLAGHER said, “They just beat us, it looked like we weren't ready to play. We were really inconsistent at bat and in the field.”

 From there on things changed for the better. What changed them?

 Let's just say we had some good dialogue between everyone,” GALLAGHER said, “It wasn't a gripe session, we just discussed what we had to do better so we could really focus in on what we were here to do.”

 The session worked as TEAM ELITE opened SUNDAY beating FINANCIAL EAGLE 20-15 then forcing an “IF” game with a 26-17 victory over DAYTON and followed that with a 21-14 decision against DAYTON in the title game.

 That was a great feeling,” JONES said, “To win a tournament against the competition in this tournament was fantastic. There really were a lot of great teams here and everyone was capable of winning it all, we just got hot on SUNDAY and that carried us through.”

 Earning MVP TOURNAMENT honors was SAM MANNS. The first baseman hit .861, including nine HR'S and 38 RBI'S. In addition he was involved in several key defensive double plays.

 Joining MANNS on the ALL-AMERICAN TEAM were JIM “50/50” GALLAGHER (2B,.722), DARYL (HILLBILLY) BILLINGS (LCF, .727), ROBBIE WINNER (OF, .784), JIM “RAZ” RASNAKE (P,.600) and ROBERT “BUZZ” SMITH (OF, .778)

Other members of TEAM ELITE CC MIKEN are: MIKE BEDELL (DNP), MANAGER-OF-THE-YEAR RAY “RINGO” JONES (OF, .676), RANDY LOTT (DNP), BRIAN (CAVEMAN) WEIMAN ( LF, .677), CLIFF (BIG DOG) CURTAIN (DH,.583), CHRIS “POPS” FLEISCH (SS, .586), HOWARD COHEN (DNP), DANNY PIPER (DNP), BARRY LYNN (3B,.594), JIM “HOLLYWOOD” SMITH (DNP) and KEITH DELANEY (C,EH, .697)

 It hasn't been an easy first year for TEAM ELITE despite winning the 50 AAA SPA WORLDS. Injuries have been common, just notice the “DNP'S” on the above roster.

We started with eighteen players on the roster,” GALLAGHER explained, “But we were never able to have more than 12-or-13 at any tournament because of injuries and other commitments. We were lucky to make it here with 12 players.”

 Besides all the sponsor names listed as TEAM ELITE CC MIKEN, the team is self sponsored except for some help from teammate CLIFF CURTAIN, who has a trucking company in CATONSVILLE, MARYLAND and HARDESTY HEATING AND AIR CONDITIOING plus a few other anonymous sponsors.

 As you can tell by all our nicknames, this team is really loose and has fun together,” GALLAGHER said, “We all enjoy traveling and playing ball together. The chemistry is so good and everybody is willing to go that extra mile to help the team win. Playing with these guys makes playing senior softball just a much more enjoyable experience.”

 GALLAGHER and JONES both had high praise for RIDGE HOOKS and the SPA WORLDS.

 Other organizations can take a lesson from the way RIDGE runs the SPA tournament.” they said, 'Having three umpires for the championship game is something we have never seen before and all the umpires who worked the tournament were the very best we have ever had.”

 We loved the complex and the opening ceremony was just fantastic,” they added, “It was really worth the long drive and it was a great experience, we will always remember.”

 

CHICAGO GRAY SOX 70'S WIN FIRST SPA WORLD TITLE

            REBOUND FROM LOSER'S BRACKET TO WIN 70 AA CROWN

DALTON, GEORGIA - The CHICAGO GRAY SOX made their first appearance as a 70's team in the SPA WORLDS a memorable one by winning the 70 AA TITLE at DALTON, GEORGIA'S HERITAGE POINT PARK SEPTEMBER 4-7.

This wasn't just our first time winning the SPA WORLDS as a 70's team,” MANAGER MIKE FOSTER said. ”This was also our first ever SPA WORLD title at any age level.”

 The GRAY SOX, who still have eleven players (CHARLIE BYRUM, RICHIE DOUGLAS, JACK FELVER, FOSTER, GARY HEIFNER, ROY IVERSON, KENNY KIRK, ROGER LENART, WAYNE MARKETT, JERRY SANTERELLI and GARY STONE) from the original 2003 team, had to really work to win the championship.

They started out fine winning both pool games against LEIDEN'S LEGENDS (24-10), DAYTON LEGENDS (20-16), and their first bracket game 11-4 against LEIDEN’S again. But an 18-12 loss to DAYTON in the second round ushered the GRAY SOX into the dreaded losers' bracket.

We were surprised how strong the 70 AA competition was,” FOSTER said. “Nobody was able to run away with the title and every team was capable of winning it all.”

After catching their second wind, The GRAY SOX knocked off the INDIANAPOLIS CLASSICS (13-10) and then forced an “IF” game with DAYTON by escaping with a 10-9 win.

  That was a close one,” FOSTER said. “Our defense was the difference.

 ” The GRAY SOX had everything working in the title game beating the OHIO team 20-11 for the championship.

 We were really tired after that championship game,” FOSTER said. “It was our fourth game of the day (11:00,12:30, 2:00, 3:30) and third against DAYTON. We were really worried about them coming into the tournament because they handled us pretty well at SYLVANIA, OHIO.”

 FOSTER said the biggest key to them winning the tournament was the entire roster.

  We play everyone on the roster and rotate them not only every game but even every few innings,” he explained. “It keeps everyone fresh and makes a huge difference, especially at age 70. We don't lose anything with the changes because most of us are about even in playing ability.”

 One player, who did not rotate much was tournament MVP JIM DUCHARME, who led the team in hitting.

  Joining DUCHARME on the ALL-AMERICAN team were DOUGLAS, IVERSON, STONE, JACK ZUZAK and JIM MANNING.

 Others on the team are: EDDIE ACCOMANDO, ROGER LENART, JACK WATKINS, EDDIE DUNN and JIM HANDLEY.

 KIRK Received the SPA 70 AA MANAGE-OF-THE-YEAR AWARD. KIRK, who has been the third base coach and assistant manager all year, ran the team in DALTON.

 In addition to the large travel team roster, the GRAY SOX also have a faithful fan base which accompanies them. Serving as cheerleaders, social planners and “nurses” to the team are BARB DOUGLES, CONNIE DUCHARME, RONI WIDRI, KATHLEEN DUNN, BONNIE BYRUM, DIANNE FOSTER, and LINDA HEIFNER

 . The wives have been a great support group to us at all of our tournaments and we really appreciate them,” FOSTER said.

 Even though the team is self sponsored, they do attend a lot of tournaments.

 DALTON was our EIGHTH this year and the only we one we won,” FOSTER said. “We usually try to attend 10 or 11 each year, with most being around our area.”

 Comparing the SPA WORLDS to others the GRAY SOX have played, FOSTER had this to say,

  The SPA WORLDS are great. It is a tremendous facility, the umpires are outstanding and the competition is excellent.", the manager said, " The OPENING CEREMONIES and the WIVES BREAKFAST are just fantastic. No other organization has anything like that. RIDGE (HOOKS) and SPA really do a great job with their WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP. We certainly look forward to attending it again.”

CHICAGO HITMEN LIVE UP TO THEIR NAME

         POWER ATTACK LEADS TO 65 AA SPA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

 DALTON, GEORGIA – If ever a team lived up to their name it was the CHICAGO HITMEN, who captured the SPA 2014 WORLD 65 AA CHAMPIONSHIP at DALTON, GEORGIA'S HERITAGE POINT PARK, SEPTEMBER 11-14.

Over seven games (3 pool, 4 bracket) the HITMEN batted .769 outscored their opponents 152 (21.7) to 90 (12.8) and won all seven games in the nine-team 65 AA field.

We did hit well but it wasn't as easy as it sounds,” SPA 65 AA MANAGER-OF-THE-YEAR MIKE SABATINO said, “In three of the games including the final two we trailed by at least five runs heading into the 5th inning.”

The games SABATINO was referring to were the tournament pool play opener against the DAYTON LEGENDS and the two final bracket games against THE FIRM.

Against DAYTON, the WINDY CITY guys trailed 21-12 heading into the seventh and erupted for 10 runs to win 22-21.

Against THE FIRM in the winner's bracket, the HITMEN rallied from a 17-12 deficit in the fifth inning to erupt for 22 runs in the final innings for a 34-17 win.

The championship game against THE FIRM was almost a duplication as the HITMEN trailed 18-12 fifth inning. They responded by scoring five runs in the sixth inning and 14 in the seventh for 31-20 championship clinching win.

SABATINO claims the way his team continually responded was due to patience, attitude and never giving up, even when they were behind. They gave it best they had.

We just had less talk and more action,” SABATINO said, “We never lost our confidence, kept our composure and always we believed we had the talent to rally back and win every game we played.”

The manager also stated they never take any team for granted and are usually prepared when they face that team in the tournament.

I scout each team during pool play and early bracket games so as to know what to expect,” he stated, “You can never take any team for granted and in tournament play you need every edge you can have and I believe scouting and knowing your opponent is a huge edge.”

Another edge the HITMEN have is they have nine players who who have been together since 2008. Over that span the team has won 70-percent of their tournament games but this is their first SPA WORLD TITLE.

We have come close a few times but this is the first time we have all been healthy coming to the tournament and that really made a difference,' SABATINO said.

The nine who have been with the team for the ten years are: STEVE DECORI (RC, .741), JOHN DOYLE (DNP), FELIX GARCIA (3B,.680), CO-MANAGER JIM KUPIEC (P. .800), RICK MASINO (P,.610), SABATINO (RF,.680), PHIL WHITMAN (C, .650), STEVE GAJDA (SS, .680) and DAN TODD (LF, .667).

Others on the team are: DAVID ABNEY (DVD), MIKE MCLENNAND (1B, .778), RICHARD DAHM (DNP), MIKE CHASTAIN (2B, .679), BUBBA RUSSELL (C/1B, .739) and TOURNAMENT MVP WARREN YORK (LC,.852).

The speedy left center fielder in addition to making outstanding defensive plays with both his arm and glove batted .852 to lead the team in hitting.

Joining YORK on the ALL-AMERICAN team were DECORI, KUPIEC, WHITMEN, CHASTAIN and GAJDA.

The team's sponsor is SUPREME LOBSTER OF VILLA PARK, ILLINOIS, owned by DOMINIC STRAMAGLIA..

DOMINIC has been sponsoring area softball and little league teams for at least 15 years and has been our sponsor since 2004,” SABATINO said, “He is really a great guy and his SEAFOOD is top of the line. He also ships from west coast to east coast and anywhere in-between"

Although the HITMEN have won other tournaments over the years, SABATINO says the team peaked at DALTON.

As a team. That is the best we have ever played in our history,” he stated,”We were patient at the plate and made the big plays on defense, If we needed a big hit or big defensive play we made it happen. We really played great.”

The manager also stated the secret to his team's success over the years is ,”.....we are like brothers, there are no ego trips. We all get along.”

As for the SPA, SABATINO gave both RIDGE HOOKS, the staff and the tournament high marks.

RIDGE (HOOKS) is a tremendous guy and runs a great tournament, it is first class,” he said, “ We loved the opening ceremony and the umpires were the best we have seen all year.. Every team in the tournament was tough and a great bunch of guys. It was a great tournament.”

I just wish SPA had tournaments closer to CHICAGO, so we could attend more SPA events. Maybe they can do that in 2015.”

''OH, CANADA” TOPS THE CHARTS AT DALTON

     CANADIAN DUET BIG HIT IN THE OPENING CEREMONIES

 DALTON, GEORGIA – Some times an unexpected mishap can turn into the biggest positive occurrence which could be experienced.

Such was the case at the opening ceremonies of the SPA 60 AA DIVISION WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS at DALTON, GEORGIA SEPTEMBER 11-14.

We were getting ready for the parade of flags when we realized we couldn't find the MAPLE LEAF CANADIAN flag,” SPA CEO RIDGE HOOKS said, “Fortunately CAVCO SPORTS from WINDSOR, ONTARIO, CANADA brought one they were going to put on the back of their dugout.”

Ah, but HOOKS and his opening ceremonies were still not out of the woods.

The CD we had for 'OH, CANADA' (the CANADIAN NATIONAL ANTHEM) was scratchy and not good at all. We were in a predicament with no other CD available.”

All was not lost as two members of the CAVCO SPORTS 60'S contingent volunteered to sing the anthem a cappella.

Stepping up to do the honors were TOM MCNORTON and AGNES DANDREA. Not only did they sing the anthem in perfect pitch but also added the French version.

It was the highlight of the Opening Ceremonies.

It was tremendous, “HOOKS said, “I wish we could have taped it and be able to use at all future Opening Ceremonies. I can not say enough about MCNORTON and DANDREA, they were fantastic.”

HOOKS also praised the CAVCO ladies for their baskets for the raffle at the LADIES BREAKFAST.

Probably one of the best raffle baskets we have ever had at the tournament,” HOOKS said, “The CANADIAN LADIES certainly brought their “A:” game and we are so pleased they attended the tournament.”

While the CAVCO LADIES did their part off the field, the men did theirs' on the field winning the SPA 2014 60 AA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP.

In addition, MCNORTON, who was half of the anthem singing duet was just as good on the field, earning ALL-AMERICAN selection.

Not bad for a CANADIAN.

And guess what. In the flag ceremony, the American contingent even raised the MAPLE LEAF right side up. It was a great day to be CANADIAN.

I hope their (CAVCO) experience was as great for them being here as it was for us (SPA) having them attend,” HOOKS said, “They made the 2014 SPA AA WORLDS a very special event and all of us hope they will be back in 2015. They are very special people.”

CAVCO SPORTS TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY

       CANADIANS WIN SPA 60 AA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

 DALTON, GEORGIA – Southern Hospitality went a long way at the 2014 SPA 60 AA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS held at DALTON, GEORGIA'S HERITAGE POINT PARK, SEPTEMBER 11-14.

 Taking advantage of the PEACH STATES warm welcome, CAVCO SPORTS from WINDSOR, ONTARAIO, CANADA won all five of their games (pool and bracket) to capture the SPA 60 AA WORLD CROWN.

 It was really a great feeling to come down to the States for a SPA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT and end up winning our division,” CAVCO SPORTS MANAGER JOHN GOZ said.

 Although it was their first appearance at the SPA WORLDS and of course their first SPA WORLD title, they are not strangers to other USA SPA regional tournaments.

 We play about five SPA tournaments a year,” GOZ explained, “We play DAYTON, BARBERTON, SHELBYVILLE, SYLVANIA and DALTON. We also play one CANADIAN TOURNAMENT.”

 The reasons GOZ gave for CAVCO playing more tournaments in the States than CANADA is simply more fun playing in the states. They also get to see different teams, use senior bats and have better softballs and above all, they like the way SPA conducts their tournaments.

 We attended our first SPA tournament in the States in 2011, it was THEE BUCKEYE CLASSIC,” GOZ said, “We really enjoyed ourselves and everyone was so friendly. At that point we decided to try some of the other SPA Mid-West tournaments and we are glad we did”

 Over the past years we have played some really good teams and built some great friendships with teams like THE BOMB SQUAD, SYLVANIA and INDY FOG to name a few,” GOZ added.

 Although CAVCO has held its own at SPA tournaments over the years, 2014 did not start off like it would be a banner year.

 We went 2-3 in DAYTON, 0-6 at BARBERTON, won SHELBYVILLE but finished third at SYLVANIA. It sure wasn't looking too good for us,” GOZ explained.

 Even at DALTON things didn't look like it would be a good tournament for the ONTARIO team.

 We played terrible the first pool game and barely beat the STRYKERS (ALABAMA) 16-15.” GOZ remembered, “Maybe it was tournament jitters but it sure wasn't pretty and not a game to give us a lot of confidence for what we would be seeing down the road.”

 GOZ should not have worried because in their next pool game they beat the DALLAS SPURS 23-8. The surge continued in bracket play as they beat the INDY FOG 24-11 in the opener and then the TENNESSEE 60's twice by 19-12 and 18-16 to win the tournament.

 We were lucky, the games against TENNESSEE could have gone either way but we made great plays at the right time and had sustained hitting throughout the order and in every inning,” the manager said.

 CAVCO SPORTS is made up mostly of players from house league and senior leagues in the WINDSOR, ONTARIO area with all the players living in the general vicinity.

 MVP at the DALTON TOURNAMENT was pitcher WES SCOTT, who hit over .700 in addition to solidifying the defense with his pitching and fielding.

 TOM MCNORTON (3B), TERRY JOHNSTON (SS), JOHN CARPENTER (OF/P), GERRY LALIBERTY (C/INF) and CECIL PARR (C/1B) were selected to the tournament ALL-AMERICAN team. RICK ANDERSON (RF) was awarded the SPA 60 AA MANAGE-OF-THE-YEAR AWARD.

 "We really could have had anyone from the team be selected as an ALL-AMERICAN," GOZ explained, "We are so balanced and everyone contributes to our success.

 Others on the team were DON SOULLIERE (RCF), KEVIN SIVELL (OF), TONY D'ANDREA (P/C), KEVIN WOOD (OF), GARY BEACH (LF), DAVE BARIBEAU (LC/1B), BILL DUNNE (3B), BRIAN DOAN (1B/C), BOB TAYLOR (LC/2B), GOZ (1B), JOHN SHEREMETA (2B/SS), JOHN CECILE (3B) and BAT BOY CHARLEY JOHNSTON.

 Although the team is mainly self-sponsored, RICK CAVANAUGH, a former player and now business owner from the MISSISSAUGA area contributes around $1.500 each year to help the team with their expenses.

 Also a huge factor in the success of the team are the wives who accompany them to the tournaments.

 It is like a family reunion,” GOZ said, 'We all enjoy each others' company and it is just great to share an experience like we had here in DALTON together.”

 Making the trip to DALTON were MARY-LOU TAYLOR, KATHY BEACH, MARY-ANN BARIBEAU, AGNES D'ANDREA, LOUISE LALIBERTY, SUE ANDERSON, SAM MCNORTON, WENDY SIVELL and BARB JOHNSTON.

 GOZ credits the team's success to the camaraderie the players share.

 There no ego's on our team,” the manager said, “You either check your ego before you join the team or you don't play. No one player on our team is better than another," he said," We play as a team, win as a team and lose as a team. It is as simple as that.”

 As for the DALTON tournament and SPA tournament in general, GOZ had this to say.

 This (DALTON) is by far the best tournament we have played in,” GOZ said, “From the wives' breakfast, the opening ceremonies, the fields, the teams, the umpires and the tournament staff, especially RIDGE HOOKS, it was just a tremendous experience.”

 Lord willing, we will be back again in 2015,” he added.

PEACHTREE RESTAURANT HAS “PEACH” OF A TOURNAMENT

        PENNSYLVANIA TEAM WIN SPA 75'S SILVER WORLD TITLE

 COLUMBUS, OHIO – PENNSYLVANIA'S PEACHTREE RESTAURANT finally won their first-ever senior WORLD TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONSHIP earning the 75 AAA TITLE August 11-14 at the SPA 75/80 WORLDS in COLUMBUS, OHIO.

The team, which still has NINE of the original players who formed the team twenty years ago did it by besting the six other teams in the 75 AAA SILVER DIVISION.

 Don't make it sound like it has been a twenty year wait for us to win a major tournament,” SPA 75 AAA MANAGER-OF-THE YEAR and PEACHTREE headman BILL REGAN said, “The reason we haven't won any WORLD titles is because we normally don't enter the WORLD tournaments.”

 It is too expensive,” he continued, “Figure a $600 entry fee, four nights of hotel rooms, meals, transportation and when guys take their wives it is really expensive. It just isn't worth it to us.”

 The SPA WORLD TOURNAMENT was different, it was only a few hours away and we knew they were going to have a lot of teams which made it a great tournament.”, he added.

 Despite not normally attending the major tournaments for any of the senior organizations, that is not to say they don't play a lot of travel ball.

 We play about six qualifier or regional tournaments a year,” REGAN said, “They are of course mostly SPA because that is where the 75's Division teams play. We played GLEN BURNIE, THEE BUCKEYE CLASSIC, the independent tournament in ROCHESTER and a couple of other tournaments in the SOUTH.”

 REGAN pointed out PEACHTREE is definitely not a powerhouse team but one which has always been competitive ever since when they started playing together as 55's.

 ART BARNES, BOB DEVLIN, JERRY DRAPER, JOHN GROLLER, KARL HORST, JOEL MEDVIDOVICH, TOM STRICKLER, FRED GUTSHALL and myself started playing together in 1993 and we have always been competitive,” REGAN said, “We are not like the “revolving door teams” (picks up players from everywhere for a couple of tournaments and then releases them), most of our players are from the same area and play in the same senior league.”

 The League the guys play in is the twenty-two year old SUSQUEHANA SENIOR SOFTBALL LEAGUE which has ten teams of which REGAN is the League President.

 “But here is another reason why we avoid WORLD TOURNAMENTS," REGAN said, " How can you expect a team made up primarily of players from a small area (HARRISBURG,PA) compete in a WORLD tournament with teams who draw from large cities and other states?.”

 SPA does it right in setting the brackets,” REGAN said, “Both THEE BUCKEYE CLASSIC and the SPA WORLDS really checked out each of the team's records and 2014 performance leading up to the tournaments and divided us accordingly.”

 In pool play PEACHTREE lost to both PROHEALTH CARE (17-16) and the INDY CROWNS (20-11) going 2-2 in that portion of the tournament.

 But in bracket play it was “lights out” for the Pennsylvania team as they ran the table going 3-0 to win the 75 AAA SILVER bracket.

 We were pretty fortunate, “REGAN said, “ The SILVER FOXES upset the number #2 seed MICHIGAN LAKERS. So we played the FOXES and beat them (32-9). We were then supposed to play the INDY CROWNS but they left the tournament and forfeited to us which automatically put us in the finals.”

 Next we got to play the LOUISVILLE THUNDER, who was playing it's fifth game and we beat them 14-8 and we were champs.” he explained, “Things worked out right for us and we will take the championship with no regrets, after twenty years, we earned it.”

 Earning the MVP AWARD in the tournament was PEACHTREE pitcher JOEL MEDVIDOVICH. Joining MEDVIDOVICH on the TOURNAMENT ALL-AMERICAN TEAM were SHORT STOP DON GERMER, KARL HORST (LCF), DAN MCDONALD(1B) and RON WEIDMAN (3b).

 Others on the team are: ART BARNES, BOBDEVLIN, JERRY DRAPER, JOHN GROLLER, JIM HARRIS, JIM MCKAY, PETE PETITO, TOM STRICKLER, BILL DEPUTY, TOM SIEWIOREK, MARV KRAVITZ, MORT TIRNAUER, CHARLIE HYDE and FRED GUTSHALL.

 SUE MCDONALD was the team's scorekeeper and statistician.

 We were really happy to win the tournament, not just for ourselves but also our sponsor, GIANNANAKOPOULOS FAMILY RESTAURANT,” REGAN said, “They have sponsored us for over fifteen years and have been a great sponsor, they take care of all our entry fee's and some extra's. This award will be a nice addition to their trophy shelf.”

 As for the TOURNAMENT and SPA in general, REGAN had this to offer.

 Having this many teams was fantastic, SPA really did a great job in getting the teams there,” REGAN said, “I have nothing but high admiration for TOURNAMENT DIRECTOR DON CHERRY. He did a fabulous job.”

 SPA tournaments always seem to have the top umpires and the COLUMBUS WORLDS were no exception,” REGAN added, “They were not only knowledgeable but very personable, it was just a well run tournament from top-to-bottom.”

 REGAN also had some advice for the SPA ORGANIZATION.

 'Currently everyone knows that SPA is the senior softball organization which is the most friendly to 70, 75 and 80 teams,” he said, “I have heard next year SPA is planning on changing some age requirements and even adding a birthday rule.”

 I can only say, 'If it isn't broke don't fix it',” REGAN added, “We have had these age rules and current birth date rule in effect for at least three-or-four years and the program keeps growing. Don't you think if teams had a problem with those issues they would be playing elsewhere? They aren't so if you are number one now, why do you want to be number two.?”

 As for the entire program, the 75's AAA MANAGER OF THE YEAR said, “RIDGE HOOKS had done a great job for the older teams, he really has shown the older teams are important to the SPA program and not just a dollar sign, SPA is by far the top senior program for 70's, 75's and 80's teams.”

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.”