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What's Happening in Senior Softball

UMBRELLAS REPLACE BATS AT ROCKY TOP

More umbrellas were in demand than bats at the SPA WOMEN'S ROCKY TOP NIT held in KNOXVILLE’S CASWELL COMPLEX JULY -8.

“It was a shame because we had such a great turnout for the tournament and the weather didn’t cooperate, “SPA President and CEO RIDGE HOOKS said.

Despite the weather problems ROCKY TOP was still able to declare champs in the 50, 55, 60 and 65 division with only the 35 and 40/45 groups coming up empty.

The OHIO CARDINALS flew away with the 65 PLUS crown beating the GOLDEN GALS 7-1 and SR DIAMONDS 12-2.

The GOLDEN GALS reached the finals with a 2-1 win over the SENIOR DIAMONDS. SMOKEY MOUNTAIN STARS rounded out the bracket.. The CARDINALS left no doubt as to who was champ, having also gone 3-0 in pool.

SUNNY BEACHES went 3-0 in pool and 2-0 in double elimination to easily take the 60 PLUS bracket.

In bracket play they defeated HAMEL LADIES 10-7 and SHO ME 60’S 12-1 to win the crown.

HAMEL LADIES were the finalist followed by third place MARYLAND ROAR RUNNERS.

EAST COAST GEMS took the 55 PLUS title with SERIOUS FUN the finalist. SHO-ME 55’s rounded out the field..

FIRE & ICE took the 50 PLUS title followed by JWP AR MIX . WAYPOINT FINANCIAL was the third team in the bracket.

No bracket play was started in the 35 and 40/45 Division.

Teams in the 35’s with pool play records were TZKG SOFTBALL (1-1), pitches be crazy (1-0), MIDWEST BALLERS MAYHEM (0-1), OUTER LIMITS (1-0), HILTON 40 PLUS (1-0) and SAVE SECOND BASE (0-2) .

40/45 PLUS pool play results.

TM FORCE (40) 2-0, KRYPTONITE (45) 1-1 and PITCHES BE CRAZY (40) 0-2.

SPA TWITTY ROCKS WITH 33

The SPA TWITTY SENIOR WOMEN’S NIT TOURNAMENT honored the 25thanniversary of CONWAY TWITTY’s passing with 33 teams participating in the tournament named in his honor.

Held at DRAKES CREEK PARK ATHLETIC COMPLEX at HENDERSONVILLE, TENNESSEE the tournament saw an increase in teams from the previous year.

“I believe there is a bigger and brighter future out there for all women in slow pitch softball,” JUDY LEE SCHREIBER, SPA NATIONAL WOMEN’S DIRECTOR said. “This tournament named for CONWAY is typical of how the program is growing.”

Nine division winners were crowned during the event held MAY 16-20 with two teams EAST COAST GEMS (55) and GOLDEN GIRLS of VIRGINIA (70) the only repeat champion.

Adding another 2018 tournament title after winning the SPA WOMEN’S SPRING NATIONAL, the GEMS also remained undefeated for 2018 taking four team 55 DIVISION crown.

On the way to the title the EAST COAST GEMS downed the SLUGGERS (4-7), SERIOUS FUN (28-10) and SHO ME 24-8..

The SLUGGERS beat SERIOUS FUN 13-11 for runner-up honors.

The GOLDEN GIRLS OF VA took their title beating the CALIFORNIA SPIRIT 20-5 and 18-8 as well as CHATTANOOGA CHARGERS 10-9.

The. Bested the CHARGERS 17-8 for second place.

The three-team 75 Crown went to the OHIO TRI STARS who beat the TENNESSEE STARS 22-4 and FREEDOM SPIRIT 10-2 in bracket play. The STARS beat the SPIRIT 15-12 to reach the finals.

Four teams squared off in the 65+ group with JOLICO SENIORS 65’S taking home the top prize.

JOLICO took care of the OHIO CARDINALS twice (11-10, 10-6) and SENIOR DIAMONDS 10-6 for the title.

The CARDINALS dropped their first game in bracket play to JOLICO but fought back through the loser’s bracket beating DIAMONDS (12-3) and SMOKEY MOUNTAIN STARS (18-4) to reach the finals.

The JOLICO 60’S followed their sisters’ lead winning the 60 + crown besting five other teams.

JOLICO had a close call in the finals edging HAMEL LADIES 15-14 but had an easier time beating HAMEL 19-6 the first time around. The champs slipped by the NOR’EASTERS 13-10 in their opening round game.

HAMELS beat SUNNY BEACHES 13-1`0 to reach the title game. MD ROADRUNNERS and SHO ME were the others in the bracket.

TN SR STARS downed FIFTY CALIBER 20-8 in the “IF” game to take the 50’s division crown. The STARS lost 11-15 to FIFTY CALIBER forcing the “IF” game. In earlier bracket play the STARS beat FIFTY CALIBER 17-12 forcing them into the loser’s bracket.

The STARS also beat FIRE and ICE 19-4, JWP AR MIX 18-4 and SUNNY BEACHES 17-12 in bracket play.

ARKANSAS ENERGY defeated PITCHES BE CRAZY 40’S 14-13 AND 28-9 for the 40/45 title. PITCHES beat WICKED 21-18 to make the finals.

OUTER LIMITS beat WICKED 13-5 in the “IF” game to capture the 35’s division bracket...

MiIDWEST MAYHEM, SAVE 2ND BASE and PITCHES BE CRAZY rounded out the five-team bracket.

“Two great tournaments and turn out for the ladies,” SPA PRESIDENT RIDGE HOOKS said about the TWITTY and SPRING NATIONAL. “The SPA women’s program is going great thanks to JUDY, MIKE DESORBO, SHELBY WILLIAMS, the teams and the managers.”

“We look forward to seeing everyone back in TENNESSEE for the ROCKY TOP TOURNAMENT July 5-8 in KNOXVILLE at CASCADE PARK>”

RAIN CAN'T STOP WOMEN'S SPRING NATIONAL

The rain tried but it couldn't stop the 2018 SPA WOMEN'S SPRING NATIONALS April 14-15 at PENSACOLA, FLORIDA EXCHANGE PARK .

"The weather tried but we were able to come up with results in all age groups," TOURNAMENT DIRECTOR MIKE DESORBO said."We didn't get all the bracket games completed but enough games were completed to determine the winners in all five brackets."

ARKANSAS JWP and Florida's HILTON FORTY PLUS were co-champs in the 35-division.  Michigan's MIDWEST MAYHEM BALLERS , Kentucky's OUTER LIMITS, SAVE SECOND BASE of Tennessee and Alabama's PITCHES BE CRAZY were also in the  six team bracket.

The STAR of the 35-division was MIDWEST MAYHEM BALLERS PATRICIA ROE. ROE smashed a 300-ft over the fence grand slam home run.

KRYPTONITE gave the home towners something to cheer about as the Florida squad took the 45 Division crown.

ARKANSAS SYNERGY nosed out TM FORCE, Florida for the 40 bracket title Tennessee's BATGIRLS RETURN was the third team in the bracket.

The 50 Title stayed in Florida as FLORIDA GIRLS came home ahead of ARKANSAS's runner-ups JWP and third place finisher FIRE AND ICE of Tennessee.

 H TOWN SISTERS WITH BATS (Texas), JWP AR MIX (Arkansas) and PENSACOLA SENIOR LADIES rounded out the six - team group.

EAST COAST GEMS (Virginia), THE PLAYERS (Florida) and SUNNY BEACHES (Florida) finished 1-2-3 with the GEMS taking home the top prize in the 55 group.

SHO ME (Missouri), SERIOUS FUN (Tennessee) and LA SPORTS also participated in the six-team bracket.

"It was the best tournament we ever held here in terms of competition and quality of the teams," DESORBO said. "I just wish we could have gotten all the games in on the last day."

Hilton 40 Plus Fast Learners Win 35+ World

Hilton 40 Plus received on-the-job-training in their first year of senior softball and it paid off in winning the 2017 SPA 35+ Division Women’ s Worlds September 23-24 at Heritage Point Park in Dalton, Georgia.

Hilton even did it the hard way losing their first bracket game and having to play nine games (3 pool, 6 bracket) to wrap up their first SPA Worlds Title.

“It was a long second day,” Hilton 40 Plus and SPA 2017 35 Manager-of-the-year Ann Humble said. "This was our first Worlds and when we went 3-0 in pool, we thought we may have an easy time. Then Wham! We lose our first bracket game and have to fight our way out of the loser’s bracket."

After losing 11-17 to Outer Limits in the opener, Hilton beat Arkansas Synergy 15-9, Save Second Base 21-6, Outer Limits 28-11, Pitches Be Crazy 18-10 to force the “IF” game.

In the title game they led a 13-11 lead going into the seventh. PBC had two runners on and two out and their top hitter to hit a shot to LCF when LF Gretchen Gruber raced over to make the game saving last out catch.

The way the season ended for Hilton 40 Plus was not the way it started.

“We knew absolutely nothing about the rules or even the bats and we learned on the fly,” Humble said.

Hilton went into the Pensacola Tournament with regular bats, it was the first they ever saw a Miken, but the next tournament they bought a pair.

They didn’t know your age division is based on the youngest player on the roster. Loaded with 50’s and 60’s players they were expecting to play at least 55’s...until they were told one of their players was 38 years young and they would have to play 35.

Other surprises were the double home plate, courtesy runners and 5-run rule.

“We learned pretty quick and won our next two tournaments (Rocky Top and Twitty),’ Humble said. “It was a shock at Pensacola but we learned quickly.”

At Dalton the ladies had their “big girl pants” on having team batting average of .546 but more importantly an On Base percentage of .680.

Gruber was the tournaments MVP while Karen Laymon, Kendra McDaniel, Mindy Rankin, Jackie Speacer and Bear Brooks were selected to the All-American All-Tournament team. Speacer was Hilton’s pitcher for all nine games.

On the roster were: Cristina Flogerzi, Humble, Bonnie Curry, Laymon, McDaniel, Rankin, Jena Rhea, Teresa Robertson, Triska Scott, Speacer, Brooks, Daphne Beagles, Karrie Warren, Gruber, Ryann Ellingsworth and Kelly Allen.

Humble also received some other good news. Apparently SPA will be holding a November 2018 tournament in Panama City, Hilton’s home area.

“This was such a great year, I am really happy we joined the SPA organization.” the manager said. “The tournaments were very well runs, the other teams were really friendly and the umpires and directors were just great. We had a great experience and are looking forward to 2018.”

Final Standings in the 35 Division was Hilton 40 Plus, 2. Pitches Be Crazy, 3. Outer Limits, 4. Save 2nd Base and 5. Arkansas Synergy.

Rocky Tops Welcome SPA Ladies

Knoxville Tennessee  put the welcome mat out for the SPA Women Rocky Top NIT tournament and 24 teams took advantage of the invitation.

Seven champions were crowned in the 70+ Gold, 70-75+ Silver, 50+, 55+, 60+ and 35/40+ divisions in the July 6-9 SPA event..

The 35/40+ was the biggest bracket with seven teams competing for the championship with Hilton Forty Plus ending up on top of the heap.

Hilton 40 Plus earned their title with two wins over runner-up Motown Magic 12-5, 22-14 and another against third place Batgirls Return. Others in the bracket were Pitches Be Crazy, Signmasters, Outer Limits and Save 2nd Base. Batgirls was the only 40+ team in the tournament as the other six were 35.

East Coast Gems ran the table in the five-team 55 bracket beating Sunny Beaches 12-3, 21-1 and Sluggers 10-4 to claim the crown. Sunny Beaches was second followed by Sluggers, Serious Fun and Sho-Me 55's.

The Hamel Ladies beat Nor'Easters 15-6 and 24-11 after losing to them 7-5 in the first round to win the 60 division. Nor'Easters were second and Southern Stars third.

In a best-two-of-three showdown Fire & Ice downed Sassy Seniors 11-9 and 12-10 for the 50 Division crown.

Four teams battled it out for 70/75 Silver title with Ohio Tri-Stars beating Blue Chicks 21-8, 12-7 and NW Mountain Moma's 19-4 for the title with Blue Chicks taking second. The Classics were third and NW Mountain Mama's fourth.

Chalk Line beat Golden Girls (Virginia) 8-7, 10-5 and Chattanooga Chargers 4-3 to claim the 70 Gold crown. The Golden Girls were second.

Thirty Test Twitty

Thirty teams took part in the Women's Twitty SPA Senior NIT tournament in Hendersonville, Tennessee with seven taking home a championship trophy.

The event held May 17-20 had to battle the weather but still crowned winners in the 75. 70, 60 plus, 55, 50, 40 plus and 35 divisions.

The 60 plus had the largest turnout with Hamel Ladies beating Md. Road  Runners 16-15 and Noreasters 19-18 to escape with the title. Road Runners were second and Jolico Sr 60's third. Noreasters, Sho-Me 60's and Southern Stars filled out the bracket.

The 35 Division had the double-elimination tournament washed out but were still able to complete pool play. Hilton 40 Plus won the 35 Division followed by Signmasters 35's, Patches Be Crazy 35's, Save 2nd Base 35's and Outer Limits 35's..

The 40 Plus division was also decided by pool play with Arizona Saints finishing first followed by Arkansas Synergy and Bat Girls Return.

East Coast Gems ruled the roost in the 55 division with Serious Fun second. Jolico 55's, Sluggers and Sho-Me 55's completing the field.

The 50's saw Dreamgirlz 50+ take the title followed by Tn Sr Stars 50+, Sho-Me 50 plus and Fire and Ice 50 plus.

Ohio Tri Star lost their first round game 15-10 to the Golden Girls and proceeded to run the table beating Golden Girls 12-6, Tn Sr. Stars 12-0 and 15-6 to take the 75 Division title. Tn Sr Stars were second and Golden Girls third.

The 70's saw Golden Girls leave no doubt as to who was the champion by beating Blue Chicks 23-16. 16-12 and Chattanooga Chargers 12-9. The Blue Chicks finished second followed by Chattanooga Chargers and the Classics.

"Considering the weather the tournament went very well thanks to the high quality of play by the participating teams," SPA president and CEO Ridge Hooks said. "The caliber of the women's teams who participate in SPA events is second to none. I am very proud of our women's division."