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What's Happening in Senior Softball

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.

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.

Tom Williams Memorial Celebrates 25th

Johnson City, Tennessee 's Tom William Tri-Cities Memorial Classic celebrated its 25th tournament year July 14 and 16 with twenty teams turning out for the event.

You always hope for more teams but we had a good turnout as the tournament continues to grow, Tournament Director Terry Widener said.

Six champions were crowned in the 50, 60 Gold, 60 Silver, 70 Gold, 70 Silver and 75 AAA divisions.

None were closer than the 50's group where the Tennessee Comets edged RB Lawncare 20-19 and Blackburn Trucking 22-21. In earlier bracket games Blackburn beat RB 24-23 and lost to them 20-18.

Tennessee Comets were first RB Lawncare second and Blackburn third.

The 60 Gold bracket saw Reality Check run the table beating RPR twice 26-23 and 21-11 along with a first round 16-15 win over the Carolina Patriots.

Reality Check was first, RPR second, Carolina Patriots third and Boys of Summer fourth.

The 60 Silver saw Steel Creek go 3-0 in bracket play to win the crown, The Steel Creek gang beat RDG Chattanooga 17-16 and 23-14 as well as Tri-Cities 20-15 in their run.

RDG Chattanooga was second and Tri-Cities third.

The 70 Gold division went to an "IF" game with Charlotte Seniors beating Tennessee Seniors 12-7 in the showdown match.

The two split earlier games with Charlotte winning 16-13 and losing 12-15. Flip Dow lost 15-0 to Charlotte in an opening round game. Flip Dow was third and Time Bandits fourth.

Only two teams took part in the 70's Silver bracket with Eagles II winning 13-12 and 22-16 over Tri-Cities 70's for the title.

The 75's wrapped up the tournament with Sports Lettering winning 17-16 over Carolina Blue Sky in the title game. Blue Sky had lost 18-22 earlier to Sports Lettering in the opening round before beating Tri-Cities 75's 15-3 to get another chance at them.

Georgia Classics were third and Tri-Cities fourth.

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.