SPA News

What's Happening in Senior Softball

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.       

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."

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.

Pensacola Hosts Womens Spring National

The 50, 55 and 60 women's teams met in Pensacola April 7-9 for a rain shortened Spring Nationals Tournament.

The 50 bracket was won by Tennessee Stars who beat Pensacola Sr. Ladies 30-15, 37-11 and Bat Girls Return 33-6. Fire n' Ice rounded out the group.

Serious Fun had a lot of it beating East Coast Gems twice and Jolico 55's once to take the 55's title. Sunny Beaches was the fourth team in the bracket.

Sunny Beaches downed runner-up Road Runners 30-13 and 13-4 along with a 21-7 win over the Southern Stars for the 60's title.

The 35/40 bracket was rained out.

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."

Southern Spring NIT Nail Biters

If Montgomery, Alabama's Men's Southern Spring SPA NIT tournament is any indication, close games will be the name of the game in the 2017 season.

The March 16-19 tournament saw one-run deciding games in the 50AAA, 60AAA,55 Major, 55 AAA and 50 Major/Major Plus divisions in the semi-finals and finals deciding the title.

'It was a well-balanced tournament in all divisions, tournament director Lonnie O'Haver said of the 32-team event. One-run games were more of the rule than the exception.
Typical was the 60AAA bracket where Atlanta Recycling beat  26-25 RPR Softball in the finals after downing Columbus LX 20-19 in the tournament opener.

Following Atlanta Recycling and RPR Softball in the standings were Columbus LX, RDG Chattanooga and Gas Softball.

Not to be out done, the 50 AAA bracket saw champion Southeast Water Swarm win the title with a 23-19 championship game over Blue Grass after earlier downing Team Akiktiv 19-18 and Blue Grass 19-14.

Blue Grass finished second followed by Team Adiktiv, Maj League Seniors and Atlanta 50's.

Montgomery Swarm had a couple of close calls edging Darryl Harris 21-20 and Alpha Life 28-27 before beating Alpha Life 28-19 in the 55 Major title game. Tn Connection was third with Darryl Harris fourth.

Southern States Seniors had a close call in winning the 55 AAA crown, Southern State Seniors beat DT Express 19-18 in the finals, JR Smith 8-6 in the semi's and DT Express 24-23 in the opener

DT Express was second followed by JR Smith and JR Logistics.

David Bowen took the 60 Major crown beating Smith Mason Dudley 27-12 and 23-7 in a two-game showdown.

The 65 AAA crown went to TAG 65 with Travelers grabbing the 65 Major crown, Also participating were Edge 60 and Deep South Softball 60.

Team Kitty downed Walker Brothers twice including 41-40 in the semi's to win the 50 Major/Major Plus crown,

Lighthouse was third followed by Monster Express, Atlanta Monarchs, Alabama Brick and Team Arkansas.