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What's Happening in Senior Softball

East Coast Gems Win Dalton for Jones

The 55 East Coast Gems 2-9 played the 2017 SPA 55 Worlds with an empty spot on the bench but Vivian Jones was still in their thoughts as they won the tournament for number 2-9.

“Vivian played her last game with us at the Dalton Worlds last year,” Gems manager Wendy Ledford said. “She passed away after the tournament and our team dedicated this season to her memory.”

Number 2-9 would have been extremely proud of her teammates as they easily won the Women’s 55 World Championship going 6-0 (3-0 pool, 3-0, bracket).

“I know she was watching us,”Ledford said “She was always here for her teammates and I know she is proud of us.”

The 55 East Coast Gems 2-9 beat the Suuny Beaches 21–11, Serious Fun 12-11 and the Sunny Beaches again, this time in the finals 28-6f for the title.

In pool play they handled Sluggers 16-11, Serious Fun 11-6 and Sunny Beaches 16-1.

“We were not trying to run up scores,” the manager said. “We just started hitting and it became contagious and I wasn’t going to tell everyone to make outs.”

The Gems have been doing a lot of hitting this year in winning five out of seven tournaments and a runner-up in another.

The team is made up of players from ten different states but primarily from the East Coast.

Tournament MVP was short stop Cynthia Smith while players selected to the All-American All-Tournament team were Mona Onyemelukuve, Deborah Franklin, Carol McCoy, Jeanette Bailey, Brenda Jones and Ledford.

Assistant coach Bryan Vandagriff received the SPA 2017 Manager-of-the-Year Award.

Members of the 55 Champs are: Onyemelukuve, McCoy, Donna Vandagriff, Bailey, Brenda Jones, Smith, Sherri Clark, Kathy Keys, Anita Kimery, Theresa Houpus, JoAnn Jones, Misty McGill, Louise O’Donnell, Cynthia Nelson, Judy Ann Trimmer, Deborah Franklin, Ledford, Evelyne Evans, Rebecca Atkins, Chris Pike, Joan Maurer, Donna Foley, Sylvia Jones and coaches Bryan Vandagriff and Ed Maurer.

Final results of SPA 55 Worlds: 1. 55 East Coast Gems 2-9, runner-up Sunny Beaches, 3. Serious Fun. The Sluggers beat Sho Me 55’s 25-12 in the consolation game for fourth place.

Carolina Brings “A” Games Wins SPA 55 AAA World

The Carolina A’s went seven-for-seven in winning the SPA 2017 ten team 55 AAA Worlds September 7-10 at Dalton, Georgia’s Heritage Point Park.

“We couldn’t afford to lose a game and fall into the loser’s bracket, “Carolina SPA 55 AAA Manager-of-the-Year Jack Rule said. “We only brought ten players and any extra games would have worn us out completely.”

The “Iron Ten” beat DT Express 27-21 and 22-13, 1 Undercraft 14-11 and JJ Financial 16-10 in bracket play and Tenn. Connection 26-25, DT Express 18-13 and Daryl Harris and Associates 19-17 in pool play.

“Nothing was easy, we had to battle each game,” Rule said. “A lot of our games were decided in the sixth or seventh inning. All the teams we played were very good and with a bounce here or there could have easily been the champs instead of us.”

Although Carolina has seven World championships, this was their first SPA 55 AAA World title.

Ryan Roberts was the tournament MVP. Selected to the All-American All-Star team were James Pearson, Ted Harris, Mark Rippy, Keith Ayers, Buck Josey and Ricky Tucker

Other team members are: James Pearson, Rickie Brown, Perry Clark, Scott Limerick, Carroll Gallagher, Dola Holt, Keith Ayers, Tim Furr, who is also the team sponsor, and team statistician and base coach Dane Pitts.

DT Express was runner-up followed by Detroit Connection, 1 under Craft, TN Connection, Nebraska Silver, Dayton Legends, J.R.Smith, Darryl Harris and JJ Financial.

Sylvania Continues to Grow

The SPA Sylvania Ohio Great Lakes Classic is closing in on the "50" team attendance figure as 45 teams attended this year's tournament.

The event held at Pacesetter Park, one of SPA's top facilities, drew 45 teams for the August 3-6 tournament.

"We had great turnouts in all age groups except the 75 AAA," SPA rep Jerry Keefe said. "I think that was due in part to Thee Buckeye Classic and Shelbyville tournaments being so close scheduling wise. The eastern 75's do not look forward to traveling to. Ohio and Indiana three times in a space of two months.

"The Great Lakes Classic made up for the loss of the 75 division by bringing in eight 55, 65 AAA and 70's teams.

The 65 AAA bracket saw Doc Martens/Rope Course finally put it together to win a big tournament. The "Doc" gang went 5-0 in bracket play to win the 65 AAA crown.

Doc Marten beat Universal 23-5, CAVCO 15-14, Michigan Lakers 20-12, Brantford Nissan 23-22 and Rochester Royals 21-16.Universal. Softball was second followed by CAVCO, Ohio Silverado's, Rochester Royals, Chicago Pride, Rush Trucking and Sylvania 65'sThe Dayton Legends bounced back from an earlier 18-23 bracket loss to Rush Trucking beating the Michigan team twice 23-15, 21-13 to win the 70's AAA crown.

COSSA was third followed by Windsor Chiefs, Chicago Strikers, Steel City, Frickers Sports Bar and Hewcor Bandits.

Another Dayton team, the Dayton Legends 55's ran the table got win the 55 bracket. The Legends beat Team Elite twice 17-6, 21-20 and Buckeye Classics 18-10 and Allshred 33-13.

Team Elite was second with JJ Financial, DC Connection, Buckeye Classics, CPOA, Jackson Merchants and All Shred finishing out the bracket The seven team 50 AAA bracket was won by Canada's Homer Lovers but beating Trinity Rizzo 30-18 in an "IF" game.

The Ohio Hitmen were third followed by Flytime, Diversified Machine, Lakeshore Trucking and Dayton Legends.

Windsor Chiefs gave Ontario Province two champs as they won the 60 AAA crown beating Detroit Lugnuts 22-7, 23-12 to seal the deal.

The Lugnuts were second followed by JP Motormen, Minutemen/Pepco and Sideline Sports/Bull Moose.

Canada's Durham Silver Stix won the three-team 60 AA bracket beating Dayton Diamond Dawgs twice 18-0, 25-14. Hewcor finished third.

Pfeiffer Grey Sox bested Peachtree 27-11 to win the 80's championship. Hamel was third and Syracuse Cyclones fourth.

Canterbury beat Michigan Merchants 17-4, 21-5 for the 75 Major crown.

Culliman Red, White and Blue Tops 30

Alabama topped the 30-team mark July27-30 with six bracket winners earning spots in the SPA Triple Crown tournament.

The biggest gathering was the 60 AAA which saw RPR 60's rising from a ninth seed winning five games and the bracket crown.

RPR beat Boys of Summer 19-4 in the title game but along the way beat Carriage Homes 20-16, Atlanta Recycling 21-20, GAS 29-22 and (by) Grace Redeemed 15-2.

Boys of Summer were second followed by Carriage Homes, Seasoned Vets, Atlanta Recycling, Columbus LX, GAS, RDG and (by) Grace Redeemed. 

The Tennessee Seniors took the 65 AA crown beating Deep South 12-10, 8-20 and 18-8 for the title. 65 AAA crown was claimed by the Travelers with wins over The Firm 17-13, 16-3 and TAG 21-6. TAG was third and Crystal Heat fourth.

Time Bandits went 3-0 in bracket play to claim the 70 AAA title. The Bandits defeated runner-up For Freedom 8-7, 25-13 and fourth place Senior Moments 20-12 during the charge.

Tennessee Seniors were third and Bank of Rison fifth.

Tennessee Connection came out of the losers bracket going 5-1 to win the 55 AAA championship, The Connection beat James R. Smith 16-15 to force and "If" game and 22-12 win.

They lost to Darrell Harris 18-24 before downing Southern States 18-3, Darrell Harris 23-16 and DT Express 15-10 to make it to the finals.

James R. Smith was second, DT Express third, Darrell Harris fourth and Southern States fifth.

SE Water Swarm beat Tennessee Comets two out of three in one-run games in bracket play 23-22, 23-24 and 22-21 for the 50 AAA crown.

They also beat third place Major League 19-4. Kents Players was fourth and Team Adiktiv fifth.

DLB Wins SPA 55 Major for Sponsor

The DLB 55 Major Plus team showed their appreciation to sponsor Dan Bishop by rolling undefeated (4-0) in bracket play to win the 2017 SPA Worlds title July 20-21 in Dalton, Georgia.

“We really wanted to win this one for Dan (Bishop),” manager Larry Tostrud said. “I've being playing on his sponsored teams for over 21 years and a lot of times he never gets the recognition he deserves”.

“Without his help and sponsorship there never would have been a DLB 55 Major softball team,” the manager added.

Bishop is the owner of DLB Purchasing Company in Racine, Wisconsin

This has been a good season for DLB who have won World titles in all senior softball tournaments plus a handful of others to go 5-0 in tournament play.

This is the second SPA World title for DLB having won the 50 Major Plus title in 2014.

In this year's tournament DLB defeated Klover Tool 29-7, San Antonio 24-16, High Street Bucs 25-18 and Florida Automated Shade 24-9 in their four bracket games.

Klover Tools was runner-up in the seven-team field followed by San Antonio, Next Level, High Street Bucs, Florida Automated Shade and TSC Miken Reload.

Members of the champion DLB squad are manager Tostrud, Joseph Ausec, Cliff Carpenter, William Chambers, Marlin Cox, Joseph Curtis, Mark Horn, Douglas Kett, Keith Lesmeister. Marvin Liberty, Terry McGlothlin, Robert Woldyk, Jim Cushing and Paul Stanley.

Tostrud says defense has been the difference this year between winning and losing.

“In Major Plus everyone can hit so defense has to be the difference,” Tostrud stated. “We turned 14 double plays in the tournament plus some great individual outfield and infield play. We pride ourselves in never taking a play off on defense and it has paid off for us.”

The majority of the team has been together for seven years and looking forward to eight years in 2018 and hopefully another title for their sponsor.

Domino's/Bob Johnson Win 55 Major Worlds

When you have two names as your sponsor you have to be twice as good and Domino's/Bob Johnson Chevrolet was just that in winning the 2017 SPA 55 Major Worlds June 21-23 at Dalton.

The 55 Major team sponsored by both Mark Gaiser Domino's and Bob Johnson Chevrolet ran the table in the double elimination bracket going 2-0.

The champs beat SW Thunder 25-23, 22-7 and Colorado's Scrap Iron RMT. The fourth team in the bracket was Legends of Texas.

“We have win five tournaments this year,” team spokesman Chris Schello said. “We are probably somewhere around 19-5 for the year.”

Domino's/Johnson is a building block organization. The Rochester based team have a 40, 50,55 and hope to have a 60's team next year.

The group is made up of players from Canada, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and other area states.

“We (sponsor and team) decided that was the best way to go,” Schello, who also plays on the 50 team said. “Everyone gets along so well and we want to keep the camaraderie going up through the next levels of play.”

“Surprisingly with players from different states who only see each other for a few tournaments in the summer we get along greatly,” he said. “It is similar to a yearly family reunion where we talk about last year, what we did during the offseason and where we want to play this year. It is really a fun and great group of guys and wives.”

Mark Gaisser managed the team in Dalton and was named SPA 50 2017 Manager Manager-of-the-Year while Tom Mastrodinato won a similar ISSA award managing the team in Richmond.

Members of the team are: Schello,manager, David Anderson, Michale Balta, Jerry Blair, John Fitzgerald, John Fontaine, Ronald Hargrove, Peter Madafferi, Tony Masciotra, Mastrodinato, Rick Moyer, Kirby Parent, David Parsnik, William Perkins, Stephen Skotnicki, David Tokanel, Joe Guiducco, Jeff Silveiro, Steve Deschence, Kevin Hayes, Robert Bennett, Michale Conway and Gaisser

Weather Hampers SPA Eastern Nationals

Threat of inclement weather hampered the turnout for the SPA Eastern National Men's Henrico, Virginia tournament but the show still went on and produced five bracket champions.

The tournament held July 7-9 had winners in the 50 AAA, 55 AAA, 65 AAA, 70 AA and 70 AAA divisions.

Virginia's Team 757 outlasted Pennsylvania's Roadhouse Blues for the 50 AAA crown.

Maryland teams finished 1-2 in the 55 AAA bracket with Maryland Cougars winning and Sneaky Pete Softball taking runner-up honors.

A Maryland representative also won the 65 AAA bracket as Simmons Day All Stars outplayed Virginia's second place Tidewater Sixty Fives for the championship.

Jersey Masters won the 70 AAA bracket with two Virginia reams Ancient Mariners and Richmond Classics finishing 1-2 in the 70 AA group.

SPA Mens Southern NIT Draws 30

Thirty teams took part in the SPA May 4-7 Pensacola Men's NIT tournament with seven bracket winners crowned.

The 50 Plus and 55 AAA/60 Major each drew seven teams

Southern States beat runner-up DT Express 17-13 and 11-9 as well as Smith Mason Dudley 22-21 to win the 55 AAA/60 Major title.

David Bowen was third followed by Tn. Connection, J.R. Smith Trucking and Smith Mason Dudley.

South East  Water took five games to win the 50 Plus title after an early bracket 23-22 loss to the Montgomery Swarm. Southeast Water beat Alpha Life 22-13, Doc C's 28-25 and Montgomery Swarm 25-24, 23-13 to swim home with the crown.

Montgomery Swarm was second followed by Doc C's, Alpha Life, Panhandle All-Stars, Major LG Seniors and Team Adiktiv.

The 65 AAA title was decided by the "IF" game as Travelers and The Firm split two bracket games with the Travelers winning 19-5 and losing 16-25. The nail biter 22-21 verdict went to the Travelers.

The Firm was second. Others in the five team bracket were TAG, Matador and Deep South.

RPR took no prisoners beating GAS Softball 22-12, Columbus LX and Band of Brothers 24-15 on the way to the 60 AAA title. GAS Softball was second followed by Columbus LX, Band of Brothers and Slug-A-Bug

In a three-out of-five show down Center for Sight beat Southern Old Hats 23-15, 21-9 and 16-7 for the 80-85 Plus title.

LA Legends won the 70 Plus crown beating Freedom 22-8 and 19-5 along with a 21-4 win over the SE Leftovers 21-4. The Misfits  were the fourth team in the bracket,

"It was a good turnout and great competition," tournament director Mike Desorbo said. "Next year I am shooting for forty teams which is possible."

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.

Heart of Ohio Beating Strong

The Columbus, Ohio Heart of Ohio tournament shows no signs of slowing down as 42 teams participated in the Berliner Park event.

Eight champs were crowned in the 6/21-6/25 tournament.

The Dayton Legends WHC started the titles flowing winning the 75+ division besting Akron 75's 28-14 and 16-9. Central Ohio COSSA was third.

The  five-team 70 bracket saw another Dayton team take home the bacon with the Legends 70's finishing on top. Second place went to Lifeguard Financial/Pepco followed by Central Ohio COSSA 70's, Frickers Sports Bar and the Dayton Legends Farm Team.

Jim & Joe's Ice out of Louisville broke the Dayton monopoly winning the seven-team 65 bracket. Universal Softball Team took runner-up honors. Third went to Chicago Classic Bobcats, followed by Ohio Silverado's, Dayton Legends 65's, Lifeguard Financial/Strategies For Success and Doc Martens/Ropes Course.

Indiana's Brickyard Classic was crowned 60 AAA champs. Universal Softball was second followed by Sideliners/Bull Moose, Cincinnati 60's an Central Illinois Chiefs. AstroTurf

The 60's AA bracket had three teams with Dayton Legends Diamond Dawgs besting Indy Fog for the crown. McMahon-Coyne-Vitantonio was third.

The 1 Undercraft Beer and Eats continued their winning ways taking the Heart of Ohio 55 AAA championship besting Antiques Road Show 18-17 and 21-16.

The Antiques were second with Team Elite third and Dayton Legend 55 fourth. Rounding out the bracket were DC Connection, Windsor Chiefs and Central Illinois Chiefs.

It was Brickyard Softball winning the 50 bracket followed by Circle City Playmakers, Dayton Legends 50's, Ohio Hitmen, Blacksheep and Lakeshore Contracting.

Ohio Elite A/B won the 50/55 Major title. Team Champion Real Estate, Kluver Snap on Tools, Gem City Merchants and Six Pac/Louisville Thunder finished behind the champs.

"It was a great tournament," SPA director Larry Milliron said. "We had some rain which caused delays but with Astro Turf fields once the rain stopped we were back on the fields."

"It was a good turnout and we are hoping for 50 teams in 2018," he concluded.