PENNSYLVANIA TEAM WIN SPA 75'S SILVER WORLD TITLE
COLUMBUS, OHIO – PENNSYLVANIA'S PEACHTREE RESTAURANT finally won their first-ever senior WORLD TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONSHIP earning the 75 AAA TITLE August 11-14 at the SPA 75/80 WORLDS in COLUMBUS, OHIO.
The team, which still has NINE of the original players who formed the team twenty years ago did it by besting the six other teams in the 75 AAA SILVER DIVISION.
“Don't make it sound like it has been a twenty year wait for us to win a major tournament,” SPA 75 AAA MANAGER-OF-THE YEAR and PEACHTREE headman BILL REGAN said, “The reason we haven't won any WORLD titles is because we normally don't enter the WORLD tournaments.”
“It is too expensive,” he continued, “Figure a $600 entry fee, four nights of hotel rooms, meals, transportation and when guys take their wives it is really expensive. It just isn't worth it to us.”
“ The SPA WORLD TOURNAMENT was different, it was only a few hours away and we knew they were going to have a lot of teams which made it a great tournament.”, he added.
Despite not normally attending the major tournaments for any of the senior organizations, that is not to say they don't play a lot of travel ball.
“We play about six qualifier or regional tournaments a year,” REGAN said, “They are of course mostly SPA because that is where the 75's Division teams play. We played GLEN BURNIE, THEE BUCKEYE CLASSIC, the independent tournament in ROCHESTER and a couple of other tournaments in the SOUTH.”
REGAN pointed out PEACHTREE is definitely not a powerhouse team but one which has always been competitive ever since when they started playing together as 55's.
“ART BARNES, BOB DEVLIN, JERRY DRAPER, JOHN GROLLER, KARL HORST, JOEL MEDVIDOVICH, TOM STRICKLER, FRED GUTSHALL and myself started playing together in 1993 and we have always been competitive,” REGAN said, “We are not like the “revolving door teams” (picks up players from everywhere for a couple of tournaments and then releases them), most of our players are from the same area and play in the same senior league.”
The League the guys play in is the twenty-two year old SUSQUEHANA SENIOR SOFTBALL LEAGUE which has ten teams of which REGAN is the League President.
“But here is another reason why we avoid WORLD TOURNAMENTS," REGAN said, " How can you expect a team made up primarily of players from a small area (HARRISBURG,PA) compete in a WORLD tournament with teams who draw from large cities and other states?.”
“SPA does it right in setting the brackets,” REGAN said, “Both THEE BUCKEYE CLASSIC and the SPA WORLDS really checked out each of the team's records and 2014 performance leading up to the tournaments and divided us accordingly.”
In pool play PEACHTREE lost to both PROHEALTH CARE (17-16) and the INDY CROWNS (20-11) going 2-2 in that portion of the tournament.
But in bracket play it was “lights out” for the Pennsylvania team as they ran the table going 3-0 to win the 75 AAA SILVER bracket.
“We were pretty fortunate, “REGAN said, “ The SILVER FOXES upset the number #2 seed MICHIGAN LAKERS. So we played the FOXES and beat them (32-9). We were then supposed to play the INDY CROWNS but they left the tournament and forfeited to us which automatically put us in the finals.”
“Next we got to play the LOUISVILLE THUNDER, who was playing it's fifth game and we beat them 14-8 and we were champs.” he explained, “Things worked out right for us and we will take the championship with no regrets, after twenty years, we earned it.”
Earning the MVP AWARD in the tournament was PEACHTREE pitcher JOEL MEDVIDOVICH. Joining MEDVIDOVICH on the TOURNAMENT ALL-AMERICAN TEAM were SHORT STOP DON GERMER, KARL HORST (LCF), DAN MCDONALD(1B) and RON WEIDMAN (3b).
Others on the team are: ART BARNES, BOBDEVLIN, JERRY DRAPER, JOHN GROLLER, JIM HARRIS, JIM MCKAY, PETE PETITO, TOM STRICKLER, BILL DEPUTY, TOM SIEWIOREK, MARV KRAVITZ, MORT TIRNAUER, CHARLIE HYDE and FRED GUTSHALL.
SUE MCDONALD was the team's scorekeeper and statistician.
“We were really happy to win the tournament, not just for ourselves but also our sponsor, GIANNANAKOPOULOS FAMILY RESTAURANT,” REGAN said, “They have sponsored us for over fifteen years and have been a great sponsor, they take care of all our entry fee's and some extra's. This award will be a nice addition to their trophy shelf.”
As for the TOURNAMENT and SPA in general, REGAN had this to offer.
“Having this many teams was fantastic, SPA really did a great job in getting the teams there,” REGAN said, “I have nothing but high admiration for TOURNAMENT DIRECTOR DON CHERRY. He did a fabulous job.”
“SPA tournaments always seem to have the top umpires and the COLUMBUS WORLDS were no exception,” REGAN added, “They were not only knowledgeable but very personable, it was just a well run tournament from top-to-bottom.”
REGAN also had some advice for the SPA ORGANIZATION.
'Currently everyone knows that SPA is the senior softball organization which is the most friendly to 70, 75 and 80 teams,” he said, “I have heard next year SPA is planning on changing some age requirements and even adding a birthday rule.”
“I can only say, 'If it isn't broke don't fix it',” REGAN added, “We have had these age rules and current birth date rule in effect for at least three-or-four years and the program keeps growing. Don't you think if teams had a problem with those issues they would be playing elsewhere? They aren't so if you are number one now, why do you want to be number two.?”
As for the entire program, the 75's AAA MANAGER OF THE YEAR said, “RIDGE HOOKS had done a great job for the older teams, he really has shown the older teams are important to the SPA program and not just a dollar sign, SPA is by far the top senior program for 70's, 75's and 80's teams.”