SPA News

What's Happening in Senior Softball


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”


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

Following is the result of the 2017 tournament.




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.

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.

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."

SPA 80 Division News


First off let me thank the nine 80's, excuse me eight 80's and one very talented 85 team who was too good to play in the 90's division, for attending THEE SPA 2017 BUCKEYE CLASSIC.

Despite the rain the first day, with some schedule adjustments  we were still able to get the games in the next two days.

For those of you who have not heard, PEACHTREE, PFEIFFERS and BARBERTON HERALD all tied with 5-1 records. We had to go to, I believe, the third tiebreaker with PEACHTREE winning and PFEIFFERS two and BARBERTON third.

It was also the first use of pitching screens in a SPA tournament and RED will be contacting you all for your feedback.


Both the HOOSIER CLASSIC (7/13-7/23) and GREAT LAKES SPA NIT (8/3-8/6) are drawing interest from a number of teams who are considering attending at least one.

If I had an 80's team, I would definitely start calling other 80's managers to see where they are planning on attending, so you at least have four teams (not bad two games against each and they are all 80's).

If you need contact telephone numbers, give me a call at 330-336-3958 and I will be happy to give you the number you need.


Remember, the SPA 75 and 80 Division Worlds will be played at DALTON, GEORGIA 9/10-9/13 this year.

One reason it was moved from Columbus, Ohio this year was to allow Florida, Texas and other southern teams a chance to attend the Worlds.


Plans are currently in the works for at least four 80's tournaments in different regions for 2018.

Barberton has been the main draw in the mid west region, Glen Burnie in the east and Shelbyville, Ind in the west and the south is on the drawing board..

If you want more 80's tournaments in your area you have to step up to the plate. Ridge has found a couple of locations in the east, south and west to host an 80's and 75's event but no one has stepped up to be the director or organizer.

If someone is interested in organizing a tournament, you can count on me to work on getting the teams and scheduling. Ridge will have someone there to help registration.

So if you want a tournament close to home, don't complain just step up to the plate and volunteer..


Some of you who are not yet 80 are receiving this because I am not 100 % sure who is an 80 team and who isn't.

If you are not and 80 this year or next, please pass the info onto an area team who may be an 80.


Thanks for your time and interest and hope you will be able to attend other 80 tournamnets if not this year, next.

Looking forward to seeing most of you at THEE 2018 SPA BUCKEYE CLASSIC.

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.       

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."



COLUMBUS, OHIO – PROHEALTH CARE 80'S added the SPA 80'S WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP AUGUST 11-14 in COLUMBUS, OHIO to their growing list of accomplishments.

 They have now won NATIONAL TITLES in 65, 70, 75 and 80 age divisions.

  We won our first at the SPA WORLDS at PANAMA CITY in 2000 when we won the SPA 65 AA title, “PROHEALTH CARE and SPA 80 AAA MANAGER-OF-THE-YEAR DON BARDONNER SAID,” In 2005 we won the SPA 70 AAA WORLDS at DALLAS and in 2010 we won the HUNTSMAN and SSUSA PHOENIX 75 AAA, so this year's 80's title keeps our string intact.”

  In their run, they couldn't have had many easier titles then COLUMBUS. In five games they averaged 19 runs to their opponent's 12.8 and also compiled a lofty TEAM .697 batting average.We didn't do very well in pool play but made up for it in bracket play,” BARDONNER said, “We lost two close games at the start but after that we were pretty much at the top of our game, playing better defense and especially hitting better,”

  After losing a pair of one-run games in pool play (20-21 TEXAS CLASSICS and 12-13 SOUTHWEST STARS), the WISCONSIN team defeated TEXAS CLASSICS (23-11), JIMMY'S MINNESOTA LEGENDS (19-4) and the TEXAS CLASSICS again, 21-15 in the title game.

  According to BARDONNER competing in and even winning tournaments is fun. "The biggest problem for PROHEALTH CAREis finding 80 old tournaments to play,” he stated, “The only other one we played in this year was THEE SPA BUCKEYE CLASSIC, who had an 80's division. We will probably go to VEGAS and FORT MYERS because they will have more than two teams in an 80's bracket.”

 BARDONNER is also hoping that in 2015 and future years, that the number of teams in the 80 age group will increase.

  SPA, thanks to THEE BUCKEYE CLASSIC has been a huge promoter of the 75's Division and now the 80's,” he explained, “ I'm expecting a lot of those 75's teams will soon be moving up to 80's and SPA will probably be the organization that will have tournaments for them.”

  The PROHEALTH CARE team was started in 1997 by BARDONNER, BOBBY JOHNSON, LARRY RODABAUGH and CHUCK JOHNSON. In the early years they were sponsored by a BINGO HALL and AMERICAN LEGION.

  We were fortunate to obtain PROHEALTH CARE as our sponsor,” BARDONNER said, “If SPA had an award for the top sponsor each year, PROHEALTH would win it hands down.”

 WISCONSIN'S PROHEALTH CARE, which has been the team's sponsor since 2009, has taken care of obtaining uniforms, equipment, entry fees and team jackets.They are tremendous people and very highly respected in our area,” BARDONNER explained, “They take a huge interest in senior activities and are just an outstanding community asset for the people in this area.”

  The PROHEALTH CARE DOCTORS, although being great sponsors. come up a little short as softball players.Every year we have a small outing where our team plays a team of doctors and administrators from PROHEALTH CARE,” BARDONNER joked, “ The Doctorshave won only one game out of the five (5) games played."

 If the next game between the sponsor and the team will feature the roster of the SPA WORLD CHAMPS, the doctors will be in for another rough outing, because that roster is loaded with ALL-AMERICANS .

  Winning the MVP AWARD at COLUMBUS was DON SCHREINER. The left center fielder batted .688, with five extra base hits and over 15 RBI's.

  Joining SCHREINER on the SPA 80's WORLD ALL-AMERICAN squad were PAUL HERRMANN (P,.733), CHUCK JOHNSON (LF, ,692), JIM O”CONNOR (P, .889), BLAKE WATERHOUSE (SCF, .846) and WILLIE WOOD (SS, .778).


  WATERHOUSE, STEINMETZ and ANDERSON also serve as assistant coaches on the team. BARBARA ANTONATION is the team's scorekeeper.


 We have a great group including players, wives and sponsor,” BARDONNER said, “We are really a very close family and get together at most tournaments. The majority of our team has played together for several years. I think our closeness off the field is also an important factor in the success we have on the field.”

  As for his take on the SPA 80's program, the manager had this to say.

  The COLUMBUS tournament was great especially the fields, umpires and number of teams,” he said, “To be able to get back on the field right after a huge rain storm was amazing.”

 I still think SPA has to look at their scheduling when you only have five-or-six teams in a group. Three days is enough, we don't need four days. Also I think it would help to have official scorekeepers and if the whole tournament (75 AAA, M and 80's) continues to grow, they need a couple of more fields. But all-in-all it was a great tournament.”

  BARDONNER had comments on the SPA SENIOR PROGRAM in general.

  Thanks to the efforts of THEE SPA BUCKEYE CLASSIC, SPA is ahead of the other organizations for 75 & 80 teams he said, “ The promotion and communications between SPA and the teams via e-mails and phone calls shows SPA really IS INTERESTED in building the 75 and 80's Divisions.”

  I just wish SPA could have a few more tournaments west of OHIO like maybe Des MOINES, IOWA to make it easier to travel to a tournament.”Right now, most of the tournaments PROHEALTH CARE attends are over 450 miles away. They drive to the OHIO/INDIANA tournaments but the others require flying.

  Finally, BARDONNER had this to say.

  RIDGE and SPA have really shown they do care for the 75 and 80 program but I am worried that some of the things they have planned for 2015 might set us back,” he said, “The “birthday rule” will not help the older teams, it will hurt them. I also wouldn't change the age levels , we have a good program going. Why change it?”

  I would think it would be better to have the other organizations try to adjust their rules to SPA'S rules and not the other way around. SPA is the leader in the 75 and 80 age groups, let's keep it that way.” All organizations should have the same age rules.



COLUMBUS, OHIO – TWENTY-TWO 75 and 80 AAA teams along with the 75 MAJOR DIVISION surprised even SPA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR RIDGE HOOKS with the turnout for the SPA WORLDS at COLUMBUS, OHIO'S BERLINER PARK AUGUST 11-14.

“It was a pleasant surprise though,” HOOKS said, “ Think about this. In 2010 we had SEVEN TEAMS in those DIVISIONS (75 AAA, 75 M, 80 AAA) play at the SPA WORLDS in DALTON and in 2011 there were only four.”

 “We took a small survey and it showed the majority of that age group is from the mid west and mid east, so we moved the tournament to COLUMBUS, OHIO where teams suggested we hold it,” HOOKS explained, “I am certainly glad we listened.”

 The total of 22 teams may not sound like a big deal but when you consider how many teams actually are in those divisions it is amazing.

 SPA has 23 registered 75 AAA TEAMS which means 56-percent (13 teams) attended the tournament. It was even higher for the 80's as 5 of 7 (71-percent) made the trip to COLUMBUS while 4 of the 9 registered 75 MAJORS participated.

 The attendance was also spread among 15 states, so the attendance was definitely not regional as teams from INDIANA, MICHIGAN, ARKANSAS, NEW YORK, KANSAS, ILLINOIS. NEW JERSEY, WISCONSIN, TEXAS, OHIO, MINNESOTA, GEORGIA, MARYLAND, KENTUCKY and PENNSYLVANIA attended.

 Four DIVISION champs were crowned with WISCONSIN'S PROHEALTH CARE 80's going undefeated in bracket play, ending it up with a 21-15 win over the TEXAS CLASSICS finals to win the 80 AAA crown. Others in the bracket were SOUTHWEST STARS, COSSA 80'S and JIMMY”S MINNESOTA LEGENDS.

 In the four-team 75 MAJOR group, the LEFTOVERS claimed the title with a 23-8 win over HAMEL'S 75's in the championship game. The LEFTOVERS also defeated JIMMY'S MINNESOTA GOLD 27-12 and HAMELS 75's in an earlier game 21-20. CANTERBURY CRUISERS was the fourth team in the field.

 PEACH TREE RESTAURANT took no prisoners in rolling through the seven-team 75 AAA SILVER bracket. The PENNSYLVANIA team beat LOUISVILLE THUNDER 27-13, INDIANA SILVER FOXES 32-9, INDY CROWNS 15-0 and LOUISVILLE THUNDER 14-8 in the championship game.

 Others in the group were COSSA 75'S, MICHIGAN LAKERS and NAMI CONSTRUCTION.

 The CHICAGO GEEZERS lost their first game in bracket play 13-8 to the ANTIQUES and had to come out of the loser's bracket winning five in-a-row to take home the 75 AAA GOLD top prize.

 Along the way the GEEZERS beat HARRIS AUCTION28-23, NY STATESMEN 30-29, PROHEALTH 75'S 24-16, JERSEY JAGS 22-21 and the JAGS again, this time in the :IF” game 22-15.

 “I thought it was a great tournament,” TOURNAMENT DIRECTOR DON CHERRY said, “BERLINER PARK was an excellent facility. We had thunderstorms all over the place on MONDAY and I mean big ones but when they stopped we went right out and played.”

 “They have artificial turf and you just go back on them and play without needing grounds work,” CHERRY added, ”there was really some great competition with over half the games going to the last inning to decide the winner.”

 The SPA office also took a survey among the managers dealing with 2015 age rules, tournament locations, etc. and the results will be released as soon as they are compiled.


MUSTANG, OK - For 75 and 80 teams it has become a "no brainer", if you want to play tournaments where you will find other 75 and 80 teams you play the SPA MID-WEST and MID-EAST CIRCUIT.

That was verified again in 2014 when five SPA TOURNAMENTS again proved to be the top draw east of VEGAS in all SENIOR TOURNAMENTS hosting 75 and 80 Division teams.

"Over the past six years we have seen the attendance at just our WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS for 75 and 80 quadruple in attendance," SPA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR RIDGE HOOKS said, "This year alone we are expecting 22 teams (13 75 AAA, 4 75M, 5 80'S)  in that age group. That is expecting not projecting."

The high attendance figure is not only in the SPA WORLDS. THEE BUCKEYE CLASSIC drew fifteen 75's and three 80's to the JUNE BARBERTON,OHIO tournament while the JUNE COLUMBUS,OHIO HEART OF OHIO tournament has six 75's. SHELBYVILLE, INDIANA'S JULY HOOSIER CLASSIC pulled in seven 75's while GLEN BURNIE, MARYLAND had five 75's. 

That may not soul like many teams but when you are a 75 or 80 team it is a breath of fresh air.

"We just got back from the SSUSA MID-WEST NATIONALS in Kansas and we had to play 70's teams," TOM NORMAN, manager of the TEXAS CLASSIC'S 80's said, "It isn't much fun playing teams 10-to-15 years younger than you."

What the TEXAS CLASSICS experienced is not an exception but more like the norm. Out of all the SSUSA and ISSA tournaments east of VEGAS this year only one had three or more 75/80 teams entered.

"The 75 Division teams all know, if you want to play in a tournament where you see a lot of different 75's teams you have to play SPA and mainly in the mid-west," BILL REGAN, manager of PENNSYLVANIA'SPEACHTREE RESTAURANT team said," "You would hope the other organizations would try to put on a few "75/80 division friendly" tournaments together but that hasn't happened."

These aren't just local teams making the trip to the mid-west tournaments for 75's and 80's, they are coming from KANSAS, TEXAS, MINNESOTA, WISCONSIN, NEW JERSEY, NEW YORK, MARYLAND, GEORGIA, INDIANA, ILLINOIS, KENTUCKY, MICHIGAN, PENNSYLVANIA and the CAROLINA's.

"You go where the other teams go and right now they are playing in INDIANA and OHIO," BOB NAMI, managerof NEW JERSEY'S NAMI CONSTRUCTION said, "I don't know what their (SPA) secret is but they sure turn out the 75 and 80 teams at their tournaments." 

JACK HAYDEN of the 75's LOUISVILLE THUNDER said it best.

"Teams have to decide if they want to pay $450 to go to a tournament a hundred miles away and play 70's teams and/or one 75 team or pay the same price and travel 400 miles and play different teams in their own age class," HAYDEN asked. "We prefer to go those extra miles and play lots of different teams in our own age group." 

Another manager said, "If we are going to travel a hundred miles or more to play in a tournament and there is only one other 75 team, we would be better off staying home and inviting that other team to visit us and play a few games over a week-end and both can save the $400 entry fee."

So this winter when you start planning where to play in 2015 be sure and put the SPA MID-WEST tournaments on your list, especially if you want to play 75's and 80's and not 70's. You will not regret it.

Speaking for SPA, we hope to see you in 2015.