SPA News

What's Happening in Senior Softball

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.

Thirty Test Twitty

Thirty teams took part in the Women's Twitty SPA Senior NIT tournament in Hendersonville, Tennessee with seven taking home a championship trophy.

The event held May 17-20 had to battle the weather but still crowned winners in the 75. 70, 60 plus, 55, 50, 40 plus and 35 divisions.

The 60 plus had the largest turnout with Hamel Ladies beating Md. Road  Runners 16-15 and Noreasters 19-18 to escape with the title. Road Runners were second and Jolico Sr 60's third. Noreasters, Sho-Me 60's and Southern Stars filled out the bracket.

The 35 Division had the double-elimination tournament washed out but were still able to complete pool play. Hilton 40 Plus won the 35 Division followed by Signmasters 35's, Patches Be Crazy 35's, Save 2nd Base 35's and Outer Limits 35's..

The 40 Plus division was also decided by pool play with Arizona Saints finishing first followed by Arkansas Synergy and Bat Girls Return.

East Coast Gems ruled the roost in the 55 division with Serious Fun second. Jolico 55's, Sluggers and Sho-Me 55's completing the field.

The 50's saw Dreamgirlz 50+ take the title followed by Tn Sr Stars 50+, Sho-Me 50 plus and Fire and Ice 50 plus.

Ohio Tri Star lost their first round game 15-10 to the Golden Girls and proceeded to run the table beating Golden Girls 12-6, Tn Sr. Stars 12-0 and 15-6 to take the 75 Division title. Tn Sr Stars were second and Golden Girls third.

The 70's saw Golden Girls leave no doubt as to who was the champion by beating Blue Chicks 23-16. 16-12 and Chattanooga Chargers 12-9. The Blue Chicks finished second followed by Chattanooga Chargers and the Classics.

"Considering the weather the tournament went very well thanks to the high quality of play by the participating teams," SPA president and CEO Ridge Hooks said. "The caliber of the women's teams who participate in SPA events is second to none. I am very proud of our women's division."

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.

Dayton First Flight Soars

Dayton's First Flight tournament continues to grow  reaching 32 teams this year.

The event held April 11-14 had contests in 70 AAA, 75 AAA, 65 AAA, 60 AAA, 60 AA, 55 AAA, 50 AAA and 50 Major. The 70 and 60 AAA divisions were the most popular with each drawing six teams.

The Dayton Legends won the 70 AAA bracket beating COSSA twice (24-14, 20-16) and Chicago Strikers 15-11 on the way to the title. COSSA was second followed by the Strikers, LifeGuard, Fricker's Sports Bar and Indy 70's.

The Golden Vipers took the 60 AAA bracket ahead of Universal Softball. Cincinnati 60's, Steel Dawgs, Chicago

 Prime 60's and Sideline Financial.

Doc Martens won their first tournament of the year beating Jim N' Joes 21-18 in the finals of the 65 AAA bracket. Jim N' Joes was second followed by Sylvania 65's,Universal softball  and Dayton Legends.

In a neighborhood battle Legends of Dayton beat the Dayton Legends 16-2 and 14-13 for the 70 AA  crown.

Indy Classics beat Kindred Healthcare two-out-of-three (19-0, 8-13, 15-0)) to win the 75 AAA bracket.

The two-team 60 AA championship was won by Indy Fog with 19-15, 12-11 wins over Dayton Diamond Dawgs.

The Dayton Legends 55's kept another title in the home city beating Detroit Connection 18-16, 23-20 for the 55 AAA crown. Buckeye Classics were third.

Flytime kept Dayton from winning another championship beating Dayton Legends 36-14 in the title game of the 50 AAA bracket. Ohio Hitmen finished third.

Team Champion beat LS Softball in the "if" game 34-25 to win the 50 Major crown. The two teams split the previous two games with Team Champion winning 27-12 to force the "if" game. LS Softball won the opener 29-28. Gem City Merchants finished third.

"It was a great tournament with a lot of new teams and larger brackets," tournament director John Zampatti said."I really expect us to have 40 teams and more four-team brackets in 2018."

Eyes of Texas on Layla Bryan Memorial

The Layla Bryan Memorial Georgetown, Texas SPA tournament played host to 32 teams with eight champions crowned.

The April 20-23 event had participants in the 65, 70 Gold, 75 Plus, 80 Plus, 60 AA/AAA, 50 AAA, 50 Platinum, and 55/60 plus, AAA and Major brackets

The largest group faced off in the 70 Gold bracket with San Antonio Legends beating Hendricks Sports 26-19, 27-11 and Texas Legends 26-20 to win the title.

Hendricks finished second followed by Oakies, Austin Merchants, Texas Greyhounds and Still.

Houston Classics captured the 65 Plus title beating second place  Texas Rattlers 12-4, 27-11 and the third place

Texas Legends 26-20. Centex was the fourth team in the bracket.

Hill Contracting with wins over the runner-up Texas Greyhounds 26-14, 21-12 and Alamo City finished on top in the 75 plus group.

Team Classics lost 15-19 to the Kansas City Antiques 16-19 in their  first game but bounced back to win the next two 26-14, 24-18 for the 80 Plus championship. The Texas Greyhounds were third.

The 60 AA/AAA went to Texas Thunder who beat  second place Texas Rangers 23-19 and Dallas Spurs 25-14.

ETX lost to Bullets 21-13 in their first game but rallied to beat them 20-13 and 18-10 for the 50 AAA title.

The 50 Platinum crown went to the Texas Mavericks with two wins (35-27, 30-23) over runner-up Legends of Texas  and a 37-17 victory over Texas Rock 55.Others in the group were Texas Vets and  Mixed Breed.

The 55/60 Plus AAA and Major combination bracket saw Smith Mason, Dudley downing second place Gonzales Insulation 32-10, Crossfire 30-15 and Texas Rampage 22-7 for the crown.

"This tournament continues to grow," SPA president Ridge Hooks said. "Last year we had 28 teams and we get bigger each year. This was Layla's tournament and teams attend to show their respect and honor her memory. We all miss her."

Military Appreciated at Mustang

Mustang, Oklahoma appreciated the Military with  an April 6-9 tournament in their honor.

Carriage Homes won the 60 plus bracket with Nebraska Silver Bullets crowned 55 champs. Second place went to Okla. Street Outlaws and K.C. Thunder.

The 65 Plus crown went to Boyd Metal. Dallas Spurs were second followed by Ola City Relics and USA Patriots.

Midwest Driving School won the 75 tournament with a pair of wins (12-11, 18-1) over the Texas Greyhounds.

SPA Salutes Veterans

College Station, Texas played host to the 27-team SPA Salute to Veterans Tournament crowning eleven divisional champions in the process.

The March 20-April 2 event featured brackets in 50 AAA, 50 major and major plus, 55 AAA, 60 AA, 65 AA, 65 AAA, 70 AAA/Major, 70 AA, 75 AAA and 75 Major.

The largest group was the 50 Major/Major plus bracket with seven teams squaring off for the title. Escobar Body Shop took the top spot by beating Texas Mavericks (31-11) and Texas Players (32-31, 29-24).Texas Players took second followed by Mixed Breed, Team Woodlawn, Texas Mavericks, Texas Vets and Team Arkansas.

The 55 AAA division saw S.A. Softball Club beating Scrap Iron RMT (23-22, 27-13) and Legends of Texas 29-11 to win it all. Scrap Iron RMT was second with Crossfire fourth.

The Bullets beat ETX  50's two out of three (18-9, 12-13, 15-11) for the 50 AAA crown.

Dallas Spurs beat the Texas Legends 9-3 and 11-9 to capture the 60 AA title.

The 65 AA Dallas Spurs echoed the performance of their younger brothers downing Robson Ranch Texas 14-13 and 13-7 for the 65 AA championship.

The Houston Classics needed three games to beat the Texas Legends (26-25, 16-31, 19-8) to win the 65 AAA top spot.

Louisiana Legends downed Austin Merchants 13-12 and Hendricks Sports 16-6 to win the four team 70 AAA/70 Major bracket. with the Merchants second, Hendricks third and Texas Classics fourth.

Texas Greyhounds won the 70 AA with the Alamo City Travelers  75 AAA champs. The 75 Major title went to Hill Contracting.

"I expect next year this tournament honoring our veterans will grow into at least 35 teams," SPA president Ridge Hooks said. "Everyone enjoyed themselves and next year we will try to add more teams to the 70 and 75 groups."




The team, which still has NINE of the original players who formed the team twenty years ago did it by besting the six other teams in the 75 AAA SILVER DIVISION.

 Don't make it sound like it has been a twenty year wait for us to win a major tournament,” SPA 75 AAA MANAGER-OF-THE YEAR and PEACHTREE headman BILL REGAN said, “The reason we haven't won any WORLD titles is because we normally don't enter the WORLD tournaments.”

 It is too expensive,” he continued, “Figure a $600 entry fee, four nights of hotel rooms, meals, transportation and when guys take their wives it is really expensive. It just isn't worth it to us.”

 The SPA WORLD TOURNAMENT was different, it was only a few hours away and we knew they were going to have a lot of teams which made it a great tournament.”, he added.

 Despite not normally attending the major tournaments for any of the senior organizations, that is not to say they don't play a lot of travel ball.

 We play about six qualifier or regional tournaments a year,” REGAN said, “They are of course mostly SPA because that is where the 75's Division teams play. We played GLEN BURNIE, THEE BUCKEYE CLASSIC, the independent tournament in ROCHESTER and a couple of other tournaments in the SOUTH.”

 REGAN pointed out PEACHTREE is definitely not a powerhouse team but one which has always been competitive ever since when they started playing together as 55's.

 ART BARNES, BOB DEVLIN, JERRY DRAPER, JOHN GROLLER, KARL HORST, JOEL MEDVIDOVICH, TOM STRICKLER, FRED GUTSHALL and myself started playing together in 1993 and we have always been competitive,” REGAN said, “We are not like the “revolving door teams” (picks up players from everywhere for a couple of tournaments and then releases them), most of our players are from the same area and play in the same senior league.”

 The League the guys play in is the twenty-two year old SUSQUEHANA SENIOR SOFTBALL LEAGUE which has ten teams of which REGAN is the League President.

 “But here is another reason why we avoid WORLD TOURNAMENTS," REGAN said, " How can you expect a team made up primarily of players from a small area (HARRISBURG,PA) compete in a WORLD tournament with teams who draw from large cities and other states?.”

 SPA does it right in setting the brackets,” REGAN said, “Both THEE BUCKEYE CLASSIC and the SPA WORLDS really checked out each of the team's records and 2014 performance leading up to the tournaments and divided us accordingly.”

 In pool play PEACHTREE lost to both PROHEALTH CARE (17-16) and the INDY CROWNS (20-11) going 2-2 in that portion of the tournament.

 But in bracket play it was “lights out” for the Pennsylvania team as they ran the table going 3-0 to win the 75 AAA SILVER bracket.

 We were pretty fortunate, “REGAN said, “ The SILVER FOXES upset the number #2 seed MICHIGAN LAKERS. So we played the FOXES and beat them (32-9). We were then supposed to play the INDY CROWNS but they left the tournament and forfeited to us which automatically put us in the finals.”

 Next we got to play the LOUISVILLE THUNDER, who was playing it's fifth game and we beat them 14-8 and we were champs.” he explained, “Things worked out right for us and we will take the championship with no regrets, after twenty years, we earned it.”



 SUE MCDONALD was the team's scorekeeper and statistician.

 We were really happy to win the tournament, not just for ourselves but also our sponsor, GIANNANAKOPOULOS FAMILY RESTAURANT,” REGAN said, “They have sponsored us for over fifteen years and have been a great sponsor, they take care of all our entry fee's and some extra's. This award will be a nice addition to their trophy shelf.”

 As for the TOURNAMENT and SPA in general, REGAN had this to offer.

 Having this many teams was fantastic, SPA really did a great job in getting the teams there,” REGAN said, “I have nothing but high admiration for TOURNAMENT DIRECTOR DON CHERRY. He did a fabulous job.”

 SPA tournaments always seem to have the top umpires and the COLUMBUS WORLDS were no exception,” REGAN added, “They were not only knowledgeable but very personable, it was just a well run tournament from top-to-bottom.”

 REGAN also had some advice for the SPA ORGANIZATION.

 'Currently everyone knows that SPA is the senior softball organization which is the most friendly to 70, 75 and 80 teams,” he said, “I have heard next year SPA is planning on changing some age requirements and even adding a birthday rule.”

 I can only say, 'If it isn't broke don't fix it',” REGAN added, “We have had these age rules and current birth date rule in effect for at least three-or-four years and the program keeps growing. Don't you think if teams had a problem with those issues they would be playing elsewhere? They aren't so if you are number one now, why do you want to be number two.?”

 As for the entire program, the 75's AAA MANAGER OF THE YEAR said, “RIDGE HOOKS had done a great job for the older teams, he really has shown the older teams are important to the SPA program and not just a dollar sign, SPA is by far the top senior program for 70's, 75's and 80's teams.”



 COLUMBUS, OHIO – Who called them the LEFTOVERS?

The 2014 SPA 75 MAJOR WORLD CHAMPS were more like “fresh out of the package” as opposed to leftovers. The PEACH STATE team went 3-0 in bracket play at COLUMBUS, OHIO'S BERLINER PARK, AUGUST 7-11 to take their first ever 75'S SPA MAJOR TITLE.

 Some of us have been playing together for ten years,” SPA 2014 75 MAJOR MANAGER-OF-THE-YEAR and the LEFTOVERS head man KEN GRIFFITH said, “ But this was the first year the SOUTHERN LEFTOVERS played as a 75 MAJOR in the SPA WORLDS.”

 "Although we could have used any players that live east of the Mississippi, we only have players from GEORGIA and our border states (NC, SC.FLA,TN,AL)." he proudly stated.

 In winning the 75 MAJOR CROWN, the LEFTOVERS disposed of JIMMY'S MINNEOTA GOLD 27-12, HAMELS 75'S 21-20 and HAMELS 75's again, this time 23-8 in the CHAMPIONSHIP GAME.

 Hey, those were all good teams,” GRIFFITH said, “We lost to MINNESOTA in pool play and everyone knows HAMELS is a good team.”

 According to GRIFFITH tournament play always seems to boil down to one of the teams having a little extra advantage in one secondary aspect and that is what usually tips the scale.

 All of the teams in the tournament could hit and all played great defense,” he explained, “The one part of the game we had a big edge on the other teams was our speed and double plays. We turned several double plays."

 GRIFFITH also was more anxious to talk about the tournament itself instead of his team winning the championship.

 This was great, twenty-two teams in the 75's and 80's divisions, that was fantastic,” GRIFFITH said, “Any 75 or 80 Division teams that are not playing SPA tournaments do not know what they are missing. We've played all the other organizations events and SPA by far has the best tournaments for our age group.”

 GRIFFITH was especially excited about the artificial turf at BERLINER and TOURNAMENT DIRECTOR DON CHERRY as well as the way SPA communicated prior to the tournament and kept the teams informed.

 To stand in a torrential rain for twenty minutes and as soon as it stops we are back on the field playing was amazing,” GRIFFITH said, “DON CHERRY did a great job adjusting the schedule as the tournament progressed and allowing teams to finish their brackets earlier.”

 SPA constantly kept us informed as to who was attending, what hotels were available and what the schedule would be,” GRIFFITH said, “They showed that they just don't stop talking with you once they receive your entry fee. They follow through all the way and they definitely are the player's organization.”

 One thing, the LEFTOVERS' MAIN MAN would like to see reinstated at the WORLD TOURNAMENT are official scorekeepers.

 I know it may raise the entry fee a little, but it certainly helps when you have one book which is officials. It gets rid of all the 'which score is right' debate,” he stated.

 However, there was no debate as to who the LEFTOVERS' MVP was. TOM SIDES and his .780 batting average was an easy choice. He also added to his tournament credentials with tremendous play on defense as the teams midfielder.

 Joining SIDES on the ALL-AMERICAN team were DUFFIE STONE (P 2-0 .830), WALT TAYLOR (3B, .710), RAY KENT (RCF,.790), WAYNE YATES (SS, .715) and JIM BAVIS (LF,.780). As a team the LEFTOVERS hit in the high .600's.


 Although not making the ALL AMERICAN TEAM, pitcher MIKE DESORBO received special recognition from his manager.

 "MIKE DESORBO, as usual, pitched three outstanding games and assisted in many other ways," GRIFFITH said, "MIKE really had a good tournament." 

 BURGER and JOHNSON in addition to their playing assisted GRIFFITH with the coaching duties. DIANNA DUPREE, who GRIFFITH said "...was very important to the team as any of the players", was the team's scorekeeper, statistician and traveling secretary.

 This was just a tremendous tournament,” GRIFFITH repeated, “ There is no doubt in my mind that it will continue to grow as the 70's teams get older and SPA'S great reputation of how they treat the 75's and 80's teams continues to spread.”

 You can bet we will not only be back next year but we will also be attending other SPA REGIONAL tournaments. Wwe want to play where other 75's and 80's are playing and there is no doubt they are playing SPA.!!