SPA News

What's Happening in Senior Softball

TWO REPEAT AT MID-SOUTH NIT

The TENNESSEE COMETS (50 AAA) and GAS (60 AAA) defended their 2017 crowns at the VALLEY, ALABAMA SPA MID-SOUTH NIT.

The April 19-22 held at the VALLEY SPORTSPLEX facility saw 33 teams battle it out for titles in eight divisions.

The TENNESSEE COMETS went undefeated in pool and bracket play finishing it off with two wins over MAJOR LEAGUE (21-17, 24-20) for the 50 AAA title.

MAJOR LEAGUE took runner-up honors in the five-team bracket followed by BLUEGRASS, ATLANTA 50's and KENT"S PLAYERS.

GAS bested ELITE SOFTBALL 21-16 and 20-18 along with a 25-9 win over SEASONED VETS in bracket play for the 60 AAA crown.

ELITE SOFTBALL was second followed by SEASONED VETERANS and SOUTHERN THUNDER in the four-team bracket.

DUDLEY rolled over the competition going 5-0 in pool and bracket play to take the 55 MAJOR CROWN.

The champs beat DT EXPRESS 38-21, MONSTER 55 SOFTBALL 23-19 and MONTGOMERY SWARM 29-27 in bracket action.

DT EXPRESS finished second followed by MONSTER SOFTBALL and MONTGOMERY SWARM.

DOC'S also went 5-0 in taking the 50 MAJOR title.

DOC'S beat LIGHTHOUSE LOOKOUTS 31-30, 33-24 and RIVER ROCK RENTALS 30-21 in bracket play.

LIGHTHOUSE LOOKOUTS was second in the five-team group followed by WALKER BROTHERS, S.E.SWARM. RIVER ROCK RENTALS and ATLANTA MONARCHS.

The 65 AAA title went to T.A.G. in the five-team bracket. T.A.G. edged COLUMBUS LXV twice 19-18 and 22-20 in the finals. They also defeated RPR 31-22 in bracket play.

COLUMBUS XLV who only lost to T.A.G. (4-2) in the tournament was second. RPR, (BY) GRACE REDEEMED and THE FIRM rounded out the bracket.

TRAVELERS beat 2017 champ TIME BANDITS in the "IF" game 21-6 to win the 70 AAA title. In the march to the crown, TRAVELERS beat FOR FREEDOM 24-11, TIME BANDITS 17-2 and lost 19-15 to the TIME BANDITS forcing the "IF" match.

FOR FREEDOM was third followed by DEEP SOUTH (who went 2-0 in pool play) and SOUTHERN HEAT.

ATLANTA RECYCLING 60'S took the 60 MAJOR TITLE while JR SMITH was 55 AAA champ. Others competing in the 55AAA/60M bracket were TENNESSEE COMETS, SOUTHERN SILVERBACKS and DARRELL HARRIS.

"After last year's rain problems this was quite an upgrade," SPA CEO RIDGE HOOKS said." PETE (FOWLER) did a great job in setting this year's event up and making it an enjoyable experience for the participating teams and their fans."

WEATHER DAMPENS SALUTE TO VETERANS EVENT

The weather all but washed-out the SPA SALUTE TO VETERANS TOURNAMENT at COLLEGE STATION. TEXAS April 5-6.

“We had 25 teams set up for the tournament in all ages,” SPA president and CEO RIDGE HOOKS said. “The weather wasn’t kind and we were only able to get the 65,70 and 75 groups played.”

HILL CONTRACTING won the 75 MAJOR while SAN ANTONIO DESPERADO’S edged out the TEXAS LEGENDS for the 75 AAA title.

The TEXAS CLASSICS out gunned the GREY SOX 25-16 and AUSTIN MERCHANTS 14-11 to take home the 70 AAA crown.

HOUSTON CLASSICS claimed the 65 AAA championship while ROBSON RANCH went home with the 65 AA trophy. The 70 AA title was won by the TEXAS GREYHOUNDS.

SPA 2018 TOURNEY SEASON UNDERWAY

The SOUTHERN SPRING NIT kicked off the SPA 2018 tournament season March 15,16,17,18 in Montgomery, Alabama with thirty teams taking part in the event which saw winners crowned in eight divisions.

“It was a very competitive tournament,” SPA Director Lonnie O’Haver said. “We also had great weather which made it a very enjoyable tournament.”

The TENNESSEE COMETS won the 50 AAA eight team division going undefeated (6-0) in both pool and bracket play. It wasn’t a walk though as the COMETS edged SE SWARM 21-18 in the title contest and Brickyard 21-18 in the winner’s bracket game.

The SE SWARM (5-3) got their money’s worth in the tournament when after losing their opener in bracket play they had o beat BLUEGRASS, KENT PLAYERS, and BRICKYARD Sunday to reach the finals.

Final standings: 1. TENNESSEE COMETS (6-0), 2. SE SWARM (5-3), BRICKYARD (4-2), KENT PLAYERS (2-3), BLUE GRASS (2-3), MAJOR LEAGUE SENIORS (2-3), ATLANTA 50’S (0-4) AND TEAM ADIKTIVE (0-4)

Eight teams also squared off in the 50 Major with the same result – an undefeated winner.

TEAM ARKANSAS ran the table with wins over RIVERROCK VENTURES (38-25), WALKER BROS (28-24), RESOLVE 50’S (30-14 and 27-14 in the finals.

RESOLVE 50’S (4-3) took runner-up honors. Filling out the bracket were WALKER BROS (4-3), LIGHTHOUSE LOOKOUTS (3-3), DOC’S (3-2, ATLANTA MONARCHS (1-4), SR SOFTBALL SOFTIES (1-3) AND RIVERROCK VETERANS (0-4).

The five-team 55AAA/MAJOR saw AAA MONTGOMERY SWARM beat DARRELL HARRIS 17-12 in the finals for the title. The SWARM also went undefeated in pool and bracket play at 5-0.

In bracket play they earned their way to the finals beating DT EXPRESS 2-19 and JR SMITH 27-21.

AAA DARRELL HARRIS (4-3) took second place after playing four games on Sunday.

The rest of the field were AAA JR SMITH (3-2), MAJOR DT EXPRESS (1-4) AND TENNESSEE CONNECTION (0-4)

The SWARM also took the 207 title going 5-0.

SEASONED VETS (5-1) won the 60AAA/MAJOR crown beating GAS SOFTBALL (5-2) 23-11 in the title game. GAS reached the title game with a 28-27 cliff hanger over ELITE SOFTBALL (3-3).

Also in the bracket were BAND OF BROTHERS (2-4) and SOUTHERN SILVERBACKS (0-5).

The 65AAA,70AAA and 70 MAJOR saw three teams walk away with crowns.

COLUMBUS XLV (4-1) won the 65 title, LA LEGENDS (4-1) were the 70 AAA champions and MATADOR CLUB (2-3) took the 70 MAJOR trophy. DEEP SOUTH (0-5) was the other team in the bracket.

“This was a good way to start off our 2018 season,” SPA president and CEO RIDGE HOOKS said. “Great competition and great weather. You really couldn’t ask for much more. NATALIE NORMAN and her staff did an excellent job, I really appreciate her effort.”

HUGH BROTHERTON – BATTERIES INCLUDED

Eighty-seven Hugh Brotherton is senior softball’s answer to the Eveready Bunny, he just keeps going, going and going. 

It is pretty surprising for someone who never took up the game until he was 62 years old.

“I played baseball when I was a kid but not after high school.” he explained. “I didn’t have time for sports because Carol and I got married and all our free time was raising our five sons and five daughters.”

The Brothertons have been married 64 years and in addition to their ten children, they have 23 grandchildren and 17 great-grand children, with the oldest ten years old.

“I didn’t decide to play senior softball until I was 62,” the Senior Hall-of-Famer said. “I am glad I did, it has been a wonderful experience both on and off the field. I hope I can play another 25 years.”

The Michigan native hasn’t been just a player, he has been an All-Star player.

Logging most of his time with Florida’s Center For Sight team he has received so may awards and honors he doesn’t know what to do with them all.

“I gave each grandchild one of my rings and still have a drawer full left,” he said. “I also have won so many MVP, All-American and All-Star Awards I can’t remember them all. What he does remember are team awards and the players he played with or against.

“That is the biggest thing about playing senior softball, it is the friends you make,” he explained. “Awards are nice but friendships last a lifetime.”

“Carol and I have met so many wonderful people and visited so many different cities and states, it would not have been possible without playing senior softball,’ he added. “We look forward to tournaments where we can renew old acquaintances and make new ones. It is just like a big family reunion.”

Brotherton also proves you are never too old to try new things.

A couple of years ago at the Huntsman Games he had some time before the softball tournament started so he entered some senior running events.

Running in the 85-and up division he set Senior Games records in winning the 500, 1,500 and 3,00 meters.

“Never tried it before but I walk three miles a day and play about 100 softball games each year, so I figured I was in pretty good shape to try it,”he said.

Brotherton figures he has played well over 10,000 softball games since he started playing twenty-five years ago.

“I thank the Lord every day for giving me the ability to participated in athletics at my age,’he said. “Praise be to God for giving me the opportunities.”

The Hall-of-fame athlete also appreciates his sponsor.

“Center For Sight has been with us over twenty years,” he said. “They have not only been an outstanding sponsor but a wonderful and appreciated friend.”

What changes has he seen in his twenty-five years in senior ball.?

“Mainly the growth. When I started, a 67-year old was the oldest players, now 67’s are kids,” Brotherton said. “The players keep getting older and is great to still be playing competitive ball at 85.”

“Organizations like SPA and SSUSA and big tournaments like the SPA Buckeye Classic offer us those opportunities and we appreciate it.”

“Still haven’t figured out why the younger players need those high powered bats and ball to play, must be an ego thing,” Brotherton added. “We started with wooden and single wall bats and were still able to score runs and play the game and it was safer for the pitcher and corner infielders.”.

Brotherton considers the players like himself himself who started playing in the 1990’s as Senior Softball Trailblazers.

“When I started I never dreamed I would  be playing softball at 87 years nor would there be others my age playing in a league or tournament with me,” Brotherton. “I consider myself truly blessed and hope I played a part in growing senior softball so you are never too old to play”

JIM WELCH MEMORIAL TROY TOURNEY BACK

Good news for mid west softball teams as the TROY ILLINOIS JIM WELCH MEMORIAL SPA CLASSIC is back on schedule for MAY 22-27 at GORDY MAC COMPLEX in TROY..

The tourney was dropped earlier in January due to field availability. It is for 65,.70,.75 and 80 divisions..

"The field problem has been handled and we are ready to go," tournament director LENNY SUESS said. "We may change the format this year depending on amount of teams entered."

Last year TWENTY TEAMS took part in a round robin event but SUESS says, "If there is an increase in teams we will probably go to a five game guarantee of three pool and double elimination."

Dates for the tournament are 75 and 80 groups MAY 22-24 while the 65 and 70 divisions square of May 25-27.

The tournament will also provide 1/2 dozen softball to each team. The cost of the tournament is $325.

The host hotel is the BEST WESTERN ($76) with rooms at RED ROOF ($66), MOTEL 6 ($56) and HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS ($125) also available.

Contact SEUSS at (618) 791-1380 or ljseuss@gmail.com

Following is the result of the 2017 tournament.

 

WELCH TOURNAMENT CONTINUES TO GROW

 

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.

RAYMORE ROUND ROBIN

The SPA Raymore, Missouri Mid-America Qualifier August ROUND ROBIN tournament was a nail biter  with winners not decided until the final games in a couple of brackets.

"It was a well balanced field with a lot of close games," Tournament Director Jerry Hinton said. "They really liked the concept of six games against six different teams, although in a few instances they only had five. But all-in-all it was a great event and we are looking forward to 2018 to increase the turnout."

This year TWENTY teams squared off with EIGHT bringing home titles in the event played  August 11-12 at Rec Park in Raymore.

The 65 AAA was a tournament director's nightmare with three teams having identical 4-2 records, with the winner decided on the tie breaker runs allowed rule.

KC Kids, Boyd Metals and USA Patriots all finished at 4-2 with KC KIDS winning the tie-breaker for the 65 AAA crown. R&D Leverage went home with the 65 AA Crown.

The 70 AAA title went to Bank of Rison who went 6-1 to edge Oakies 70 AAA (5-2).  Midwest Express (3-4) and Mokando (2-5) finished 3 - 4 while MidWest Driving School was the 75 AAA champ.

KC Classics won the 50 AAA championship  and Arkansas 50 won the 50 Major title. Midwest Construction rounded out the field.

SCRAP IRON THUNDER went 4-2 to take the 55 Major crown with Nebraska Silver Bullets (3-3) claiming the 55 AAA championship. Others in the field were Southwest Thunder and JR Logistics.

KC Thunder went 5-0 in winning the 60 AAA title while Bagby's won the  60 AA crown. Also competing were Carriage Homes and KC Monarchs.

The 2018 SPA MID-AMERICA TOURNAMENT will be held in Liberty, Mo's Fountain Bluff Sports Complex August 10-12.

Spirit Repeats, Wins SPA 70 World

The California Spirit made it two SPA 70’s Women’s Worlds in a row winning the 2017 Crown September 20-22 at Heritage Point Park in Dalton, Georgia,

“It wasn’t easy,” tri-manager Diane Hein said. “The round robin was tough and we just beat the Golden Gals by a run in the final game.”

The California team went 6-1 in pool (2-1) and bracket play (4-0). Their only loss was 8-9 to the Golden Girls in pool play but paid them back with 13-12 win in the second round of bracket play.

The Spirit defeated the Blue Chicks 18-12, Golden Girls 13-12, Golden Gals 17-10 and 12-11 for the title.

“We had to come from behind in three of the four bracket games to win,” tri-manager Barbara Howell said. “We were down 4-10 in the final and came back for the win.”

Both Howell and Hein agreed the “never give up” attitude of the team along with their close companionship has been the key factors in the back-to-back titles.

“All our wins have been total team efforts,” Howell said. “We play for each other not for ourselves, we are really like a band of sisters.”

The third member of the coaching staff and the 2017 SPA 70 Women’s Manager-of-the-year is Gilda Ozuna.

“Gilda does all the managing on the field, she is the won who puts people in the right places and winning two straight titles, you know she does a great job,” both Howell and Hein said.

Howell said,” Picking and MVP and All-Americans is a little unfair because we had twenty MVP’s and All-Stars, we win as a team not as individuals.”

Unfortunately for Howell is SPA does not have twenty awards available and tough decisions have to be made.

Connie Wolver and Juanna Cervantez were selected as co-MVP” s with All-American All-Star recognition went to Arlene Gomez, Joni Shirley, Susan Thompson, Marylou Beban, Juanita Lange and Dianne Toomey.

Other members who unofficially according to Howell were All-American in her eyes were Edna Allen, Hein, Judy Pyle, Patricia Craig, Beverly Van Gundy, Patti McCoy, Judith Leipold, Pat Dwight, Ozuna, Lani Neer and Joyce Patterson.

Jersey "Masterful" at SPA 70 AAA World

The New Jersey Masters took no prisoners at the Dalton 70 AAA Worlds going undefeated in pool and bracket play to not only win the World 70 AAA title but also the Triple Crown.

"It was our first World title in ten years," Jersey Master and SPA 70 AAA Manager of the Year Artie Thomas said. "We just got on a roll the first game and never stopped."

The Masters started out in pool play beating Louisiana Legends 14-5, Time Bandits 20-2 (triple crown championship) and Bank of Risson 12-5.

Bracket play saw US Pallet (26-12), For Freedom (18-2) and Columbus ((IND) Silver Sticks 14-12,19-2) for a seven-game sweep.

"Our balanced hitting was the key," Thomas said. "We had hitters from top to bottom. We had seven players who hit over .600".

Leading the way for Jersey was the Most Valuable Player award winner Tom Campitello. Selected for the All-American All Star team were Stan Robinson, Tom Lombardi, Tom Wieczerak, Joe Maikes and Dana Kimmel.

Other members of the team are:Dick Lillich, Karl Eymold, Bob Gallagher, Joe Depierro, Gary Krause, Ray Poyer, Rick Polonitza,Bill McCabe, Joe Starr, Bob Richard, Wayne Westerman, Mike Muldoon and Earl Tapper.

The Columbus Silver Sticks were second in the tournament followed by U.S. Pallet, Chicago Strikers, Midwest Express, Dayton Legends, Chicago Gray Sox, For Freedom, Lifeguard Financial, Time Bandits, Louisiana Legends, Austin Merchants and Bank of Rissin.

Legends of Dayton Win Two and SPA 70 World

The Legends of Dayton needed only two wins to claim the 2017 SPA 70 AA World championship September 14-17 at Heritage Point Park, Dalton. Georgia.

With only two teams in the 70 AA division, the Legends of Dayton and Texas Greyhounds, the teams played two-out-of-three for the title.

It was a sweep for the Ohio team winning the first two games negating a third taking the finale by a 14-4 count.

In pool play, the Legends lost to three AAA teams For Freedom 9-13,  Austin Merchants 11-13 and the Chicago Strikers 9-24.

Team members: Gary Cramer, Marion Jackson, Robert Kender, Robert Kueller,Roger Lane, Terence Lawhorn, Lloyd Nowlin, Herb Rickabaugh, Gary Rodgers, Joseph Szoke, Mark Blount, Mitchell Marinelli, manager Kenn Young, J. Gary Swords, Myren Mitchell, Bobby White, James Macgue, Clyde Smith and Stephen Bennett.

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.