SPA News

What's Happening in Senior Softball

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.

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.

Golden Gals Perfect Win SPA 75 World

The Villages Golden Gals 75+ team was a perfect "6" in winning the 2017 SPA Women's 75 division World Tournament 9/20-22 at heritage Point Park in Dalton, Georgia..

The Village team went 3-0 in bracket play and 3-0 in pool play for a perfect 6-0 record, beating every team in the six team division.

According to SPA 75 Manager-of-the-Year Chris Evans, the Golden Gals worked hard for the title.

"We just don't get together on a weekend and practice, we have a routine we follow each week," Evans said. "Each day we get together and field a 100 batted balls and also work on our hitting."

The defensive training paid off big time as they allowed only 41 runs in the six games while they scored 74 runs.

"When Midge Ferrero started the Villages program a couple of years ago most of the girls had never played softball before," the manager said. "Midge worked hard getting this team where we are today. We owe her a lot."

The Golden Gals, who are all from The Villages, has taken the training and extra work to heart. This was their second successive SPA World title to go along with Senior Nationals in Birmingham and the SPA Pensacola tournament.

In Dalton they beat Canada's Sportaculars 13-9, 16-5 Ohio Tri-Stars 13-4 in bracket play. In pool play they defeated Tenn. Sr. Stars 11-10, Florida's Freedom Spirit 9-7 and the Virginia Golden Girls 12-6.

The Sportaculars took runner-up honors followed by Ohio Tri-Stars, Tn Sr Stars, Freedom Spirit  and Golden Girls.

The Champs also raked in a number of individual awards. In addition to Evans being manager-of-the-year, Fred Greenlee was named assistant manager-of-the-year. Selected to the All-American All-Tournament team were Barbara Bailey, Dolores Fahrney, Marcia Halvorson, Virginia Rowand and Bonnie Kyle Blamphin. LindaSoos and Cookie Cook were awarded championship game balls.

Team members are Bailey, Fahrney, Lois-Jean Harrington, A.Darlene Hedrick, Carol Walther, Barbara Harju, Patricia Hurd, Leadema Radford, Borie, Dorothy Burrell, Marie Panza, Noreen Murphy, Marian Milham, Judy Lewis, Soos, Rowand, Halverson, Judy Lewis, Joyce Turner, Florence Cook, Kyle-Blamphin, Evans and Greenlee.

Weather Deciding Factor for Dalton 75/80

The weather was the deciding factor for the 75/80 Spa Worlds Sept 10-13 at Dalton, Georgia..

Originally twenty teams signed up for the tournament but the concern about winds, rain and being stranded in Dalton saw all but four withdraw. "I can’t blame them," SPA President Ridge Hooks said. “They were all coming from long distance and the uncertainty of the weather was the factor in them pulling out.”

The four teams who braved the conditions were two Georgia teams (Southeast and East Coast Leftovers, 85’s Center for Sight from Florida and the New York Statesmen.

The down side was lack of teams to play but the up side was everyone won a championship.

Center for Sight was 85 Champs, East Coast Leftovers claimed the 80 Crown, the Statesmen went home with the 75 crown and Southeast Leftovers took the 75 Major title.

The teams played a round robin format.

75 CHAMPS – New York Statesmen, manager Richard Clark

Team members: Al Castaldy. Tony Castaldy, Clark, Larry Deschaine, Carmine DeStefane, John Johnson, Thomas Ladd, James Nugent, Thomas Strickler, Roger Thresher, Robert Wardle, Clarnce Dieter, Jack Westbrook, Doug Hogue, Dennis Leach, Roland Gomez, John Tortora, Robert Magyar, Robert Lowery and William Mulligan.

75 MAJOR CHAMPS – Southeast Leftovers, manager Ken Griffith

Tem members: Jim Bavis, Bill Burger, Glynn Grantham, Harold Hammond, Herman Hydas, Bill Ingram, Dale McCracken, Cecil McLeod, Ron Pfeiffer, Mike Pickett, Thomas Sides, Walter Taylor, Jacob Wood jr, Wayne Yates, Greg Foster, John Ramage, Ron Boyer, Richard Durbin and Griffith.

80 CHAMPS – East Coast Leftovers, manager Ken Griffith

Team members: Ivan Barnes, Mike DeSorbo, Raymond Dupree, Howard Gunn, Philip Johnson, Jay Moyer, Francis Murth, Ron Pfeiffer, James Self, Thomas Sells, Brad Smith, James Stone, Harford Gibbs, Griffith, Robert Martin, Dan Dupree, Clinton Smith, Ray Kent and Donald Manek.

85 CHAMPS – Center for Sight, manager Hugh Brotherton

Team members: Everett Arnold, David Bush, Bob Darnell, Donald Gsell, Jerry Jones, Willard Kittrell, Jose Merced, Al Murray, Harold Oliver, Howard Schoen, Edward Schultz, Forrest Parks, James Thomas, Tom Ingham, Bernard Sciacca and Stuart Sellinger.

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.

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.
 

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."

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.