SPA News

What's Happening in Senior Softball

SPA 2018 TOURNEY SEASON UNDERWAY

The SOUTHERN SPRING NIT kicked off the SPA 2018 tournament season March 15,16,17,18 in Montgomery, Alabama with thirty teams taking part in the event which saw winners crowned in eight divisions.

“It was a very competitive tournament,” SPA Director Lonnie O’Haver said. “We also had great weather which made it a very enjoyable tournament.”

The TENNESSEE COMETS won the 50 AAA eight team division going undefeated (6-0) in both pool and bracket play. It wasn’t a walk though as the COMETS edged SE SWARM 21-18 in the title contest and Brickyard 21-18 in the winner’s bracket game.

The SE SWARM (5-3) got their money’s worth in the tournament when after losing their opener in bracket play they had o beat BLUEGRASS, KENT PLAYERS, and BRICKYARD Sunday to reach the finals.

Final standings: 1. TENNESSEE COMETS (6-0), 2. SE SWARM (5-3), BRICKYARD (4-2), KENT PLAYERS (2-3), BLUE GRASS (2-3), MAJOR LEAGUE SENIORS (2-3), ATLANTA 50’S (0-4) AND TEAM ADIKTIVE (0-4)

Eight teams also squared off in the 50 Major with the same result – an undefeated winner.

TEAM ARKANSAS ran the table with wins over RIVERROCK VENTURES (38-25), WALKER BROS (28-24), RESOLVE 50’S (30-14 and 27-14 in the finals.

RESOLVE 50’S (4-3) took runner-up honors. Filling out the bracket were WALKER BROS (4-3), LIGHTHOUSE LOOKOUTS (3-3), DOC’S (3-2, ATLANTA MONARCHS (1-4), SR SOFTBALL SOFTIES (1-3) AND RIVERROCK VETERANS (0-4).

The five-team 55AAA/MAJOR saw AAA MONTGOMERY SWARM beat DARRELL HARRIS 17-12 in the finals for the title. The SWARM also went undefeated in pool and bracket play at 5-0.

In bracket play they earned their way to the finals beating DT EXPRESS 2-19 and JR SMITH 27-21.

AAA DARRELL HARRIS (4-3) took second place after playing four games on Sunday.

The rest of the field were AAA JR SMITH (3-2), MAJOR DT EXPRESS (1-4) AND TENNESSEE CONNECTION (0-4)

The SWARM also took the 207 title going 5-0.

SEASONED VETS (5-1) won the 60AAA/MAJOR crown beating GAS SOFTBALL (5-2) 23-11 in the title game. GAS reached the title game with a 28-27 cliff hanger over ELITE SOFTBALL (3-3).

Also in the bracket were BAND OF BROTHERS (2-4) and SOUTHERN SILVERBACKS (0-5).

The 65AAA,70AAA and 70 MAJOR saw three teams walk away with crowns.

COLUMBUS XLV (4-1) won the 65 title, LA LEGENDS (4-1) were the 70 AAA champions and MATADOR CLUB (2-3) took the 70 MAJOR trophy. DEEP SOUTH (0-5) was the other team in the bracket.

“This was a good way to start off our 2018 season,” SPA president and CEO RIDGE HOOKS said. “Great competition and great weather. You really couldn’t ask for much more. NATALIE NORMAN and her staff did an excellent job, I really appreciate her effort.”

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”

SPA SENIOR TOURNAMENTS READY FOR 2018

Teams from all over are anxiously awaiting the start of the SPA 2018 tournament schedule and they will not have to wait long.

Alabama's LAGOON PARK starts the SPA Tournament schedule 3/15-3/18 with the SOUTHERN SPRING NATIONALS in Montgomery. Last year 37 teams attended the event as SPA tournament attendance was up across the board.

"We set records last year for tournament attendance with most drawing 30 teams, six in the 40's and THEE BUCKEYE CLASSIC with 76." SPA President and CEO Ridge Hooks said. "This year we expect to continue to grow with over 30 men's tournaments and six women's. We are now in 17 states with a possibility of two new states yet to join."

Ohio has the most tournaments with six with Texas, Alabama and North Carolina each having three. Tennessee, Virginia, Georgia, Florida and Missouri have two events while Louisiana, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Maryland, Illinois and Indiana one.

The women have two in Tennessee and Florida with one in Georgia and Indiana.

 

GO TIDE ALABAMA
3/15-3/18 MONTGOMERY SOUTHERN SPRING NIT
4/19-4/22 VALLEY MID SOUTH NIT
7/26 -7/29 CULLMAN RED/WHITE/BLUE 

GATOR TIME IN FLORIDA
10/18-10/21 PENSACOLA SOUTHERN NIT

TY COBB'S HOME GEORGIA
6/21-6/24 PEACH STATE CLASSIC, MARIETTA
8/2-8/5 MID-SOUTH INVITATIONAL, CARTERSVILLE

DA BEARS! ILLINOIS
5/22-5/26 TROY JIM WELCH MEMORIAL SPA CLASSIC

HOOSIER COUNTRY INDIANA
7/20-7/22 INDIANA HOOSIER CLASSIC,SHELBYVILLE

POST MARDI GRAS IN LOUISIANA
4/12-4/15 MONROE SPRING QUALIFIER NIT

LOVE THE CRAB CAKES MARYLAND
5/2-5/6 GLEN BURNIE CLASSIC 

WHERE THE OKEY DOKEYS ARE MADE MINNESOTA
6/7-6/10 STEVE SIMMONS MOSQUITOLAND  CLASSIC LITTLE CANADA 

SHOW ME STATE MISSOURI
6/21-6/24  ISENHOWER MID-AMERICA NIT, RAYMORE
8/3 - 8/5 MID AMERICA QUALIFIER, LIBERTY 

HOW ABOUT THEM HEELS? NORTH CAROLINA
4/6-4/8 CONCORD SPA WARM-UP
5/18-5/20 CONCORD AWARDS EXPRESS
7/27 - 7/29 CONCORD PLAYER/AWARDS EXPRESS SHOOTOUT 

OH -H EYE-O OHIO
4/11  DAYTON 10TH ANNUAL ASA/SPA DICK ERNST
5/9-5/13 COLUMBUS HEART OF OHIO BERLINER
6/12-6/24 THEE BUCKEYE CLASSIC BARBERTON
7/5-7/8 DAYTON FIRST FLIGHT
8/2-8/7 SYLVANIA GREAT LAKES SPA NIT

BOOMER SOONER OKLAHOMA
4/26-4/29  MUSTANG MILITARY SERVICE APPRECIATION MUSTANG 

LOOKING FOR VOLUNTEERS TENNESSEE
7/13-7/15  JOHNSON CITY 26TH ANNUAL TOM WILLIAMS TRI-CITIES CLASSIC 

THE EYES OF TEXAS
4/5-4/8 COLLEGE STATION SALUTE TO VETERANS
4/19-4/26 GEORGETOWN LAYLA BRYAN MEMORIAL
6/7 - 6/10 WAXAHATCHIE LONE STAR STATE CHAMPIONSHIP

CARRY ME BACK TO 'OLE VIRGINIA
6/1-6/3 SPA DEMARINO SPRING FLING , HENRICO (RICHMOND)
8/25-8/26 MENS VIRGINIA CLASSIC, HENRICO

MENS WORLDS

50,55,60 MAJOR & MAJOR PLUS WORLDS
7/19-7/22 DALTON, GEORGIA

75-80 WORLDS
8/6-8/29 COLUMBUS, OHIO BERLINER 

75-80 WORLD SERIES
9/9-9/12 DALTON. GEORGIA HERITAGE PARK

50,55,65 ALL DIVISIONS
9/6-9/9 DALTON. GEORGIA 

60 AA 60 AAA, 70 ALL
9/13-9/16 DALTON, GEORGIA 

WOMEN'S TOURNAMENT

FLORIDA
4/12-4/15 SPRING NATIONAL. PENSACOLA
11/7-11/11 SPA WORLD SERIES, PANAMA CITY

INDIANA
8/22-8/26 SHELBYVILLE WOMENS NIT

TENNESSEE
5/16-5/20  TWITTY WOMENS NIT, HENDERSONVILLE
7/5-7/6 ROCKY TOP, KNOXVILLE

GEORGIA

SPA WOMENS WORLDS DALTON GEORGIA
9/19-9/23    50-70 AGES

SPA WOMENS MASTERS WORLD SERIES
9/22-9/23   30,40,45 AGES

MORE TOURNAMENTS AND TOURNAMENT INFO AT

http://softballspa.com/

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.

RAYMORE ROUND ROBIN

The SPA Raymore, Missouri Mid-America Qualifier August ROUND ROBIN tournament was a nail biter  with winners not decided until the final games in a couple of brackets.

"It was a well balanced field with a lot of close games," Tournament Director Jerry Hinton said. "They really liked the concept of six games against six different teams, although in a few instances they only had five. But all-in-all it was a great event and we are looking forward to 2018 to increase the turnout."

This year TWENTY teams squared off with EIGHT bringing home titles in the event played  August 11-12 at Rec Park in Raymore.

The 65 AAA was a tournament director's nightmare with three teams having identical 4-2 records, with the winner decided on the tie breaker runs allowed rule.

KC Kids, Boyd Metals and USA Patriots all finished at 4-2 with KC KIDS winning the tie-breaker for the 65 AAA crown. R&D Leverage went home with the 65 AA Crown.

The 70 AAA title went to Bank of Rison who went 6-1 to edge Oakies 70 AAA (5-2).  Midwest Express (3-4) and Mokando (2-5) finished 3 - 4 while MidWest Driving School was the 75 AAA champ.

KC Classics won the 50 AAA championship  and Arkansas 50 won the 50 Major title. Midwest Construction rounded out the field.

SCRAP IRON THUNDER went 4-2 to take the 55 Major crown with Nebraska Silver Bullets (3-3) claiming the 55 AAA championship. Others in the field were Southwest Thunder and JR Logistics.

KC Thunder went 5-0 in winning the 60 AAA title while Bagby's won the  60 AA crown. Also competing were Carriage Homes and KC Monarchs.

The 2018 SPA MID-AMERICA TOURNAMENT will be held in Liberty, Mo's Fountain Bluff Sports Complex August 10-12.

SPA 2017 SEASON WRAPS UP IN PENSACOLA MEN'S WINTER NIT

A highly successful SPA 2017 softball season came to an end with the WINTER NIT at MICHAEL J. DESORBO EXCHANGE PARK in PENSACOLA/ FLORIDA October 13-15.

Twenty-two teams brought down the curtain competing for titles in five divisions.

GAS took the 60 AAA/MAJ Division coming out of the loser's bracket after losing their first game to win five in a row for the crown.

GAS lost to CARRIAGE HOMES 25-26 in the opening bracket game before going on a streak beating BAND OF BROTHERS 21-18, SOUTHERN SLAM 26-22, CARRIAGE HOMES 20-5 and SEASONED VETS twice 18-16 and 33-15.

Following GAS in the standings were SEASONED VETS, CARRIAGE HOMES, SOUTHERN SLAM, BAND OF BROTHERS.

TAG ran the table in the 65 AAA/M bracket running the table beating BOYD'S METAL 20-9 in the title game.. In the run they also disposed of DALLAS SPURS 25-13 and THE FIRM 21-7.

Order of finish was 1. TAG, 2. BOYD'S METAL, 3. DALLAS SPURS, 4. THE FIRM and 5. INDIANA LEGENDS.

The TRAVELERS went undefeated in both and bracket play going 5-0 to capture the 70/75 AAA/ M crown.

The TRAVELERS beat MATADOR CLUB 17-2 in the championship game. They reached the final game by beating FOR FREEDOM (21-6) and MATADOR CLUB (35-15)

MATADOR CLUB was runner-ups followed by FOR FREEDOM, SOUTHEAST LEFTOVERS 75'S and MISFITS.

DOC C'S beat TEAM ARKANSAS three out of five for the 50 MAJOR CHAMPIONSHIP.

TEAM ARKANSAS had beaten DOC'S twice in the first thgree games but had to forfeit game four and five.

TEAM LOUISIANNA won the 50/55 title but not without a battle. Although going 3-0 in bracket play they had a pair of nail biters.in wins over SOUTHEAST SWARM (19-18), DT EXPRESS (20-18) and ADIKTIV (32-9).

 

DAYTON SPA TOURNAMENT BACK WITH A BANG

The Dayton, Ohio First Flight Senior Tournament is back on the SPA schedule but with a new name and new date.

"We were never really gone," tournament director John Zampatti said, "it was just a matter of seeing when our Dayton fields were available and what SPA dates were available so we could match them."

The new dates correspond with the new name "Dayton First Flight Fire Cracker" SPA Tournament.

The dates are July 5-6-7-8 and is open to all ages and depending on teams entered, all divisions.

Entry fee is $450.

For more info or to get an early signing contact Zampatti at 937-371-9717.

With Dayton having a July date it means Ohio will have five SPA senior tournaments, once a month May thru August.

Two other SPA Ohio tournaments have also changed dates for 2018.

Columbus heart of Ohio is now may 9-13 and Thee Buckeye Classic June 12-24.

Distances from PA, Mich, KY, Ind, WVa are all within 400 miles while NY, NJ, VA and MD are about seven hours drive so each Ohio event is within driving distance.

The Ohio tournaments are:

   Columbus Heart of Ohio - May 9-13  $450/$495

   Thee Buckeye classic - Barberton - June 12-24  $475

   Dayton First Flight Firecracker July 5-8  $450

   Great Lakes Classic -- Sylvania August 1-5 $450/$495

   Spa 75-80 World - Columbus August 6-9

For more info on Thee Buckeye Classic and SPA tournaments as it becomes available visit:

 http://softballspa.com/

Hilton 40 Plus Fast Learners Win 35+ World

Hilton 40 Plus received on-the-job-training in their first year of senior softball and it paid off in winning the 2017 SPA 35+ Division Women’ s Worlds September 23-24 at Heritage Point Park in Dalton, Georgia.

Hilton even did it the hard way losing their first bracket game and having to play nine games (3 pool, 6 bracket) to wrap up their first SPA Worlds Title.

“It was a long second day,” Hilton 40 Plus and SPA 2017 35 Manager-of-the-year Ann Humble said. "This was our first Worlds and when we went 3-0 in pool, we thought we may have an easy time. Then Wham! We lose our first bracket game and have to fight our way out of the loser’s bracket."

After losing 11-17 to Outer Limits in the opener, Hilton beat Arkansas Synergy 15-9, Save Second Base 21-6, Outer Limits 28-11, Pitches Be Crazy 18-10 to force the “IF” game.

In the title game they led a 13-11 lead going into the seventh. PBC had two runners on and two out and their top hitter to hit a shot to LCF when LF Gretchen Gruber raced over to make the game saving last out catch.

The way the season ended for Hilton 40 Plus was not the way it started.

“We knew absolutely nothing about the rules or even the bats and we learned on the fly,” Humble said.

Hilton went into the Pensacola Tournament with regular bats, it was the first they ever saw a Miken, but the next tournament they bought a pair.

They didn’t know your age division is based on the youngest player on the roster. Loaded with 50’s and 60’s players they were expecting to play at least 55’s...until they were told one of their players was 38 years young and they would have to play 35.

Other surprises were the double home plate, courtesy runners and 5-run rule.

“We learned pretty quick and won our next two tournaments (Rocky Top and Twitty),’ Humble said. “It was a shock at Pensacola but we learned quickly.”

At Dalton the ladies had their “big girl pants” on having team batting average of .546 but more importantly an On Base percentage of .680.

Gruber was the tournaments MVP while Karen Laymon, Kendra McDaniel, Mindy Rankin, Jackie Speacer and Bear Brooks were selected to the All-American All-Tournament team. Speacer was Hilton’s pitcher for all nine games.

On the roster were: Cristina Flogerzi, Humble, Bonnie Curry, Laymon, McDaniel, Rankin, Jena Rhea, Teresa Robertson, Triska Scott, Speacer, Brooks, Daphne Beagles, Karrie Warren, Gruber, Ryann Ellingsworth and Kelly Allen.

Humble also received some other good news. Apparently SPA will be holding a November 2018 tournament in Panama City, Hilton’s home area.

“This was such a great year, I am really happy we joined the SPA organization.” the manager said. “The tournaments were very well runs, the other teams were really friendly and the umpires and directors were just great. We had a great experience and are looking forward to 2018.”

Final Standings in the 35 Division was Hilton 40 Plus, 2. Pitches Be Crazy, 3. Outer Limits, 4. Save 2nd Base and 5. Arkansas Synergy.

Kryptonite Mimics Name, Wins SPA 40/45+ World

Kryptonite used its “powers” to win the SPA 40/45+ World Championship September 23-23 Heritage Point Park in Dalton, Georgia.

Kryptonite beat Bat Girls Return two-out-of-three for the title as others in the age group did not wish to match talents with the top two teams in that age bracket.

“We are used to playing only one other team in our age brackets at tournaments” manager Veronica Shaw said. “There are only five 35’s, one forty and one forty-five teams in our age bracket.”

At Dalton It was an even battle until Bat Girls Return couldn’t get their wings going in the rubber game losing 20-2. The teams split the first two games with Kryptonite winning 20-16 and losing 8-16.

“We didn’t hit in pool play or in our second game with the Bat Girls,” Shaw said. “In the title game we only played eleven players to allow their top hitters more at bats.”

The champs have won six out of seven tournaments they have played this year.

“Most of us have been playing together for twenty + years,” Shaw said. “We also have been fortunate to have Ed Bouchard SPA 40/45 Manager-of-the-year coaching us. He is the biggest asset to our team".

It isn't only softball on the team's mind as they promotes Autism awareness on their uniforms, especially the jerseys.

Valorie Mullins was the tournament MVP, she was 16-for-17 at the plate. Selected to theAll-American All-Tournament team were: Colleen Smith, DJ White, Sara Payne, Karen Hunger and Shaw.

Members of the Kryptonite team are: Smith, April Blke, Rhonda Cline, Carolyn Deeb, Theresa Walburger, White, Verbia Behe, Payne, Mullins, Hunger, Sonja Brooks-White, Lynelle Westra, Shaw, Coleen Dague and Bouchard.

 

East Coast Gems Win Dalton for Jones

The 55 East Coast Gems 2-9 played the 2017 SPA 55 Worlds with an empty spot on the bench but Vivian Jones was still in their thoughts as they won the tournament for number 2-9.

“Vivian played her last game with us at the Dalton Worlds last year,” Gems manager Wendy Ledford said. “She passed away after the tournament and our team dedicated this season to her memory.”

Number 2-9 would have been extremely proud of her teammates as they easily won the Women’s 55 World Championship going 6-0 (3-0 pool, 3-0, bracket).

“I know she was watching us,”Ledford said “She was always here for her teammates and I know she is proud of us.”

The 55 East Coast Gems 2-9 beat the Suuny Beaches 21–11, Serious Fun 12-11 and the Sunny Beaches again, this time in the finals 28-6f for the title.

In pool play they handled Sluggers 16-11, Serious Fun 11-6 and Sunny Beaches 16-1.

“We were not trying to run up scores,” the manager said. “We just started hitting and it became contagious and I wasn’t going to tell everyone to make outs.”

The Gems have been doing a lot of hitting this year in winning five out of seven tournaments and a runner-up in another.

The team is made up of players from ten different states but primarily from the East Coast.

Tournament MVP was short stop Cynthia Smith while players selected to the All-American All-Tournament team were Mona Onyemelukuve, Deborah Franklin, Carol McCoy, Jeanette Bailey, Brenda Jones and Ledford.

Assistant coach Bryan Vandagriff received the SPA 2017 Manager-of-the-Year Award.

Members of the 55 Champs are: Onyemelukuve, McCoy, Donna Vandagriff, Bailey, Brenda Jones, Smith, Sherri Clark, Kathy Keys, Anita Kimery, Theresa Houpus, JoAnn Jones, Misty McGill, Louise O’Donnell, Cynthia Nelson, Judy Ann Trimmer, Deborah Franklin, Ledford, Evelyne Evans, Rebecca Atkins, Chris Pike, Joan Maurer, Donna Foley, Sylvia Jones and coaches Bryan Vandagriff and Ed Maurer.

Final results of SPA 55 Worlds: 1. 55 East Coast Gems 2-9, runner-up Sunny Beaches, 3. Serious Fun. The Sluggers beat Sho Me 55’s 25-12 in the consolation game for fourth place.