SPA News

What's Happening in Senior Softball

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.

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."

Rocky Tops Welcome SPA Ladies

Knoxville Tennessee  put the welcome mat out for the SPA Women Rocky Top NIT tournament and 24 teams took advantage of the invitation.

Seven champions were crowned in the 70+ Gold, 70-75+ Silver, 50+, 55+, 60+ and 35/40+ divisions in the July 6-9 SPA event..

The 35/40+ was the biggest bracket with seven teams competing for the championship with Hilton Forty Plus ending up on top of the heap.

Hilton 40 Plus earned their title with two wins over runner-up Motown Magic 12-5, 22-14 and another against third place Batgirls Return. Others in the bracket were Pitches Be Crazy, Signmasters, Outer Limits and Save 2nd Base. Batgirls was the only 40+ team in the tournament as the other six were 35.

East Coast Gems ran the table in the five-team 55 bracket beating Sunny Beaches 12-3, 21-1 and Sluggers 10-4 to claim the crown. Sunny Beaches was second followed by Sluggers, Serious Fun and Sho-Me 55's.

The Hamel Ladies beat Nor'Easters 15-6 and 24-11 after losing to them 7-5 in the first round to win the 60 division. Nor'Easters were second and Southern Stars third.

In a best-two-of-three showdown Fire & Ice downed Sassy Seniors 11-9 and 12-10 for the 50 Division crown.

Four teams battled it out for 70/75 Silver title with Ohio Tri-Stars beating Blue Chicks 21-8, 12-7 and NW Mountain Moma's 19-4 for the title with Blue Chicks taking second. The Classics were third and NW Mountain Mama's fourth.

Chalk Line beat Golden Girls (Virginia) 8-7, 10-5 and Chattanooga Chargers 4-3 to claim the 70 Gold crown. The Golden Girls were second.

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.

Rain Wins Lone Star

Rain was the big winner at the Waxahachie, Texas Lone Star tournament.

Only the 60 Plus and 50/55 Major Plus were able to play the June 6-June 11 event.

Texas Thunder won the 60 AAA title, Dallas Spurs took the 60 AA crown and Texas Legends was 60 AA runner-up.

Escobar Body Shop won the 50 Major crown beating Team Texas WoodLawn 29-17, 25-22 , Oklahoma Rhino and Texas Players,

Texas Mavericks were the 50 Major Plus champ, Bulletts 50 AAA champ and Legend of Texas 55 Major champ. Others in the bracket were Texas Wood Lawn, Texas Players, Mixed Breed, Oklahoma Rhino and Team Arkansas,

All other brackets were cancelled.

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.       

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."

Teams Turnout at Valley City NIT

The Men's Mid-South NIT at the Valley Sportsplex Valley City, Alabama saw thirty-eight teams suit up for the April event.

Nine teams went home with championship trophies during the April 21-23 event.

"We has some weather problems but we got through it and all divisions got a lot of games in," Pete Fowler. tournament director said. "It was a very competitive tournament with "if" games and close games throughout the tournament."

One of the "IF" games was in the 70 AAA bracket where Time Bandits after losing 16-18 to Freedom bounced back to edge them 14-13 for the title. LA Legends were third.

In the 65 AAA Crystal Heat beat The Farm 17-0 and 22-18 for the championship while Tag was third and Deep South fourth.

Edge beat the Travelers 28-6 and 26-14 in a best two-out-of-three in the 65 Major bracket.

GAS never ran out of it running the table for the 60 AAA crown. The champs downed RDG 20-0, Atlanta Recycle 23-9 and Boys of Summer 13-12. Following GAS in the standings were RDG, Atlanta Recycle, Boys of Summer and Columbus LX.

The Tennessee Comets did not have time to take a breath in winning the 50 AAA bracket. The Comets beat runner-up SE Water Swarm 14-12 and 19-17 to go along with 24-23 first round decision over third place Maj LG Miken.

Kent's Players and Atlanta 50's rounded out the five-team bracket.

Team One took the rain shortened 50 Major Crown. Others in the group were Walker Bothers, Monster Softball, Lighthouse, Doc C's, Team Kitty, Good Times and Atlanta Monarchs.

Rain also shortened the 55 Major bracket with Florida Automated the winner. Others in the six-team field were Montgomery Swarm, Alpha Life, Tennessee Connection, Next Level and Darrel Harris,

Carolina A's were the 55 AAA champs while David Bowen won the 60 Major crown. Others in the mixed 55 AAA/60 Major bracket were JR Smith, Southern States and DT Express.