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What's Happening in Senior Softball

Ohio Cardinal 65 Ladies Fly High at Dalton

The 65 women's Ohio Cardinals went 6-0 at the SPA Dalton Georgia World Championship September 20-22 to win the 65 Division crown.

It was the second World title for the Cards and they made sure they would win this one.

After going 3-0 (Cards 18 Golden Gals 12, Cards 16 Jolico 65's 10, Cards 12 Smokey Mountain 11) they left o doubts who was the champion going flying through bracket play.

"It wasn't as easy as it looks," Ohio Cardinal and SPA Women's 65's Manager-of-the Year Colleen Needham said. "We had to beat the Fun Bunch twice in the finals and no lead is safe against them. I think they have won it the last two years."

The Cardinals beat the Golden Gals 14-11 before beating the Fun Bunch twice by 21-4 and 17-2. It was the team's third title in four tournaments this season. They also won the Birmingham Senior Games and a large tournament in Arizona. They also took runner-up honors in a St.Louis event.

"We do a lot of traveling and we play our own way," Needham said. "Everyone gets along well together and we all look forward to the tournaments and sharing the fun with each other"

The coach also said a big factor in her team's success is that the majority of the ladies all live in the same Ohio area and before each tournament they have three or four long practices to work on their game, especially defense.

"Defense is key, every team can hit," the coach said. "You do not want to give teams extra hits by making errors, so we really work on our defense."

The Cardinals can also hit. They bat 12 and are balanced and loaded from 1-thru-12.

Taking MVP honors at Dalton was Linda Davis. Selected to the All-American All-Star team were: Jeanette Worley, Maureen Fitzgerald, Avis Taylor, Sue Minnich and Teresa Merickel.

"I really hate to see us have to pick six players who should be All-Stars because we could have put all the names in a hat and pulled out six names and they would have been All-Stars," Needham said. 'What makes us so good is our roster from top to bottom are All-Star players."

Members of the 2017 65 Champion Ohio Cardinals are: Needham, Davis, Worley, Fitzgerald, Taylor, Minnich, Merickel, Barbara Krack, Judith Peele, Teresa Ann Smith, Marilyn Lovette, Janet Deters, Peggy Meacham, Kathryn Sowers, Mary Bullen, Cathy Fletcher, Ophelia Miley, assistant coach Gary Igo and team statistician

Karen Jones.

Finishing second at Dalton was Fun Bunch followed by Jolico Sr 65's, Golden Gals and Smokey Mtn Seniors.

Chicago Hitmen SPA 65 AA World Champs

The Chicago Hitmen survived a loss to the Dallas Spurs forcing an "if" game to win the title game and claim the 65AA SPA crown.

The Hitmen lost to the SPURS 19-2 before bouncing back for a 19-13 win and the championship.

Chicago had also beaten the Spurs 8-7 in the opening round of the three team bracket. The third team in the 65 AA group was the Deep South.

Chicago Hitmen team member: Mike Sabatino manger, Steve DeCori, Greg Poliska, Felix Garcia, Jim Kupiec, Rick Masino, Mike McLennand, Paul Whitman, Steve Gajda, Daniel Serrato, Michael Chastain, Warren York, Daniel Todd, Patrick Jops, Archie Aaron and Art Corral.

Jim & Joe’s Cool As Ice Team Wins SPA 65 AAA World

Kentucky's Jim & Joe’s Ice out dueled ten other teams to win the 2017 SPA 65+ AAA Worlds September 7-10 in Dalton, Georgia.

The Icemen went 4-0 in bracket play beating The Firm (Tenn) 18-9, The Firm 22-17, The Travelers 16-12 and Boyd Metal 18-14. They went 2-1 in pool play with a 9-8 win over Travelers and 18-14 over Tennessee’s Tag. Their only loss in the tournament was 8-17 to Maryland’s Simmons Day All-Stars.

“I think the difference between us and the others was our speed, especially in the outfield,” Jim & Joe’s SPA 65 AAA Manager of the Year John Coffman said. “We also had a full roster so we were able to rest players and have plenty of runners to give guys a chance to rest.”

The four outfielders Coffman praised were Chris Stenger, Mike Howell, Jimmy Nageleisen and Ed Perry.

The Icemen qualified for Dalton by winning Thee 2017 SPA Buckeye Classic. They also won the Heart of Ohio.

“We enjoyed playing the SPA tournaments, they are always among the best in Senior Softball, especially the Dalton Worlds,” Coffman said.

Tournament MVP was Jim & Joe’s Bobby Mefford with Charles Marrero, Dickie Vaughn, Billy Heim, Larry Metcalf and Billy Brown all selected to the All-American team.

Other members of the 2017 SPA 65 AAA champs are: Bill Brutscher Jr, Greg Ellerkamp, Michael Robey, Anthony Steel Sr, Lamon Tucker, Daniel Vogt, Harry Young, Herman Cottrell and Larry Gray.

Finishing behind Jim&Joe’s Ice were: 2. The Firm, 3. Boyd Metals. 4. Simmons Day AllStars, 5. Trvelers, 5. Tag, 7. Dayton Legends, 7. Blue Chips, 9. Ohio Silverado’s, 9. Cavco Sports and 9 Crystal Heat.

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.

Hoosier Classic turns "Silver"

Shelbyville celebrated the Hoosier Classic Silver Anniversary tournament July 13-28 with 45 teams in attendance. The longest running event in the SPA family of softball tournaments was started 25 years ago by Duane Laird at Blue River Park and is still packing them in there today.

This year (2017) they had their highest attendance total 0f 45 teams. The 65 AAA division had the highest total of teams with nine.

Universal Softball won the five team Gold Bracket but beating Dayton Legends 19-11, Doc Martens 21-7 and Jim and Joe's Ice 17-9. Dayton was second, Doc Martens third, Jim and Joe's Ice fourth and Rush Trucking fifth. Mid-State won the Silver group beating Michigan Lakers 20-11, Blue Chips 13-12 and Sylvania 14-10. Michigan Lakers was second, Blue Chips third and Sylvania 65's fourth. Indiana Legends won the 65 AA bracket followed by Chicago Hitmen and Kentuckiana 65's.

Rush. Trucking won the 70 AAA/Major bracket beating Dayton Legends twice 16-8,18-11, Silver Sticks 16-4 and Central COSSA 17-11. Dayton was second followed by Silver Sticks, Central COSSA and Indy 70's. Canterbury Crusiers won the 75Major over Michigan Merchants.

The 60 AA title went to Indy Fog with Dayton Legends second, Buzzards third and McMahon/Coyne fourth. Brickyard captured the 60 AAA crown with Universal softball second, Glory Daze third and Chicago Prime fourth. Senior Redbirds beat Indianapolis Classics 13-12, PROHEALTH 20-9 and Minnesota Masters 12-7 to take the 75 title. Indianapolis Classics was second, ProHealth third, Chicago Geezers fourth, Minnesota Masters and Akron 75's fifth with Kindred Health Care seventh.

Kentuckiana won the 70AA followed by Dayton Legends and Dayton Farm Team. Brickyard finished first in the 50 AAA bracket followed by Dayton Legends, Circle City, Ohio Hitmen and Bluegrass. Antique Roadshow outplayed Sylvania 55's for the 55 crown.
 

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.

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.

Thee Buckeye Classic Still #1

Thee Buckeye Classic still remains not only SPA's highest  attended qualifier tournament but also the biggest draw of any non-national or world senior AA/AAA  tournament east of Vegas.

The June 5-17 event in Barberton, Ohio drew 74 teams this season. Since they joined SPA in 2001 Thee Buckeye Classic has drawn 539 AA/AAA teams. It is also the organization's round-robin non-major only tournament.

"Thee Buckeye Classic is by far the best run and team friendly of any other tournament of any organization," 80's manager Bill Reagon said. "Out team has been attending since we were a 70's team. They are the only tournament which sends out a newsletter each month starting in October, sends managers Christmas cards, has their own web site and makes personal calls at least three-or-four times to all teams just to keep in touch."

Reagon's team Peachtree Restaurant may be a little bias since they won the 80's division this year.

It was the first Thee Buckeye Classic title ever for Peachtree since they have been attending and it wasn't easy. Peachtree, Pfeiffer's and Barberton Herald all finished 5-1 in the nine-team round robin event. Prachtree won the tiebreaker with Pfeiffer's second and the Barberton Herald third.

Others in the 80 division were Back Office 80's 3-3, ProHealth 80's 3-3, Hamel's 80's 2-4, Center for Sight 85's 2-4, Syracuse 80's 1-5 and Louisville Thunder 1-5.

Center for Sight was also awarded a team trophy and individual awards for winning the 85 division despite being the only 85 team.

"If you are a 75, 80 or 85 team you are missing the boat if you do not attend Thee Buckeye Classic, " Hugh Brotheron, manager of the Florida based Center for Sight team said. "The 80's group was the largest collection of 80-year young teams we have ever seen. It may have been a long trip but to play six different teams in our own age group was worth it."

The only Major teams in the tournament were the the 75 Majors.

"It is hard enough for 75's to find tournaments, let alone other 75 Major teams, so we bring them in each year but they are the only major teams we invite, "co-tournament director Red Bole said,

Canterbury Cruisers 6-0 won the 75 majors followed by Michiana 4-2, Hamels 75's 2-4 and Pittsburgh Gold 0-6.

In the seven-team 75 AAA Grey bracket Rochester's Brookhouse Restaurant won their first SPA Barberton tournament going 6-0 and beating runner-up Indianapolis Classics 19-18 in the deciding game. Carolina Blue Sky 4-2 was third followed by Syracuse Cyclones, Chicago Geezers, Nami Construction and Mississauga Legends..

The Senior Red Birds from Illinois tied with the Dayton Legends at 5-1 but had the edge in previously beating Dayton to win the 75 Scarlet bracket.  COSSA was third followed by Jersey Masters, ProHeakth 75's, New York Statesmen and Akron 75's.

The 5-1 Windsor Chiefs came down from Canada to edge both Rush Trucking 4-2 and Steel City 4-2 for the 70 Scarlet title. Columbus (Indiana) Silver Sticks, Lifeguard Financial and Syracuse Cyclones also played in the six-team bracket.

In the Grey six-team 70 bracket the Chicago Strikers went undefeated to finish ahead of second place Frickers Sports Bar and COSSA 70's. Rochester Classics, Canada's Hewcor Bandits and Magic City Sports Card rounded out the field.

Steel Dawgs 5-1 won the 65 Scarlet bracket followed by the Michigan Lakers 4-2 and Chicago Blue Chips 4-2.

Others in the eight team bracket were Ohio Silverado's, Sylvania 65's, Indiana Legends, Syracuse Cyclone 65's and Rochester Royals.

Sylvania won the 65 AA with Indiana Legends second and the Royals third.

Jim n Joe's Ice went undefeated to take the 65 Grey crown. West Virgiinia's  Pill N' Pill was second and Canada's Cavco was tied with Lifeguard financial, Rush Trucking, Rochester Brewing and Universal Softball 3-3. Doc Marten'Rope Course was eighth in the bracket.

Cardot Madelina Construction 6-0 edged Flex Strut 5-1 for the 55 AAA title. Roc City 4-2, Eagle Tavern 3-3, Minutemen 2-4, Silver Stars 1-5 and Buzzards 0-6 completed the seven-team 60 division.  

1 Under Craft and Beer went 6-0 to capture the 55 AAA crown.  Griffith Brothers 4-2 was second followed by Pittsburgh North 4-2 in third

Buckeye Classics 3-3, CPOA 3-3, JJ Financial Eagles 2-4, Jackson Merchants 2-4 and Sylvania All-Shred 0-6 filled out the eight team bracket.       

Troy Tourney Hits 20!

The second annual Jim Welch Memorial tournament in Troy, Illinois hit the magic 20  number in terms of teams attending.

The round robin event held May 23-24 showed a big improvement from the first year.

"We had a good turnout this year and I expect to see another big increases in 2018," tournament director Lenny Seuss said. "This is only my second year running a SPA tournament so each year you learn a little more about getting teams to attend."Pallet "Retention is the key," he explained. "If we retain at least 18 and add another 12 teams next year there is no reason we can not draw 30 teams.. We also expect to expand our draw to include more 60,55 and 50's teams."

This year's tournament with the emphasis on the older groups was divided into five groups (80, 75, 70, 65, 50-55-60) with five division winners.

US Pallet ran the table going 6-0 to win the 70's group with Bank of Rison, Indy 70's and Mokando finishing 2-3-4.

Dr.Vinyl bested MidState 65's 27-14 in the title game to finish ahead of them and 50 Caliber  65's in the 65 group.

In the 80's the Texas Greyhounds avenged and earlier loss to Antiques of KC to finish 5-1 on top of the group with the Antiques at 4-2 for second. Texas Classics (2-4) and Louisville Thunder (1-4) rounded out the four-team division.

The Senior Redbirds edged Midwest Driving 17-16 in the semi-finals and Indianapolis Classics 25-23 in the finals to win the 75 division crown.

The Central Illinois Chiefs 60's beat the 50 Caliber 55's 17-10 to win the 50/55/60 bracket. Team Illinois 50's was third.

Next year's tournament will be around the same time, so save a space on your schedule.