SPA News

What's Happening in Senior Softball

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.

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/

SPA On The Move!!

The 2017 softball season looks to be the best in the history for the Softball Players Association.

Fifty-six tournaments have been scheduled for this summer from Colorado in the west, Maryland in the east, Ohio in the north, Alabama and Texas in the south and states like Indiana , Illinois and Missouri in the mid-west.

"This is our best schedule ever," SPA president and CEO Ridge Hooks said. "I mean best in both terms of tournaments and teams."
Hooks also pointed out SPA has been asked to put on tournaments in Florida, Arizona. Michigan, Pennsylvania and the Carolina's but just does not have the manpower to handle it.

"We would love to set up men's or women's tournament in those areas but we need directors to run them," Hooks said. "If you know of a site with quality fields and a director who would like to run a tournament, have them give us a call. We definitely would love to work with them."

Actually that is the way the Ohio corridor of tournaments (Dayton, Barberton, Sylvania)  started.

Six years ago Columbus was the only SPA tournament in Ohio but in succession Barberton, Dayton and Sylvania called SPA to set up a SPA tournament in their area. Today the four Ohio tournaments average 50 teams an event and next year Cincinnati may also become part of the Ohio group.

"That is the way it starts, just a phone call and we will help in anyway to get a tournament started in the callers area but he or she has to work with us," Hooks said,

In addition to new tournaments old reliable ones at Glen Burnie, Shelbyville, Georgetown, Pensacola, College Station, Hendersonville, Waxahachie, Hot Springs and Powder Springs rerun in 2017.

Dalton, Georgia is the site for all men and women World Championships.

Exact dates for these and other SPA events may be found at: http://softballspa.com/

You may also call the SPA office for information at 405-376-7034.

"I am really excited about our 2017 schedule," Hooks said. "This promises to be our greatest year ever."

 

Oh No, My Roster’s Been Frozen! …. What Now?

 The question is asked again and again at softball events everywhere, and the answers may not be the same depending upon the sanctioning organization rules for any particular tournament.  So let’s talk about SPA’s rules, what they mean, and why they might be the way that they are.

 Why do we have such rules?

 When softball players or athletes in general come to the park to compete, it’s just human nature that everybody wants a chance to be competitive or at least a glimmer of hope that they might win.  For that reason, most softball organizations, SPA included, try to “classify” the teams, such that similar skill levels wind up competing together.  Let’s face it nobody (win or lose) enjoys the “run-away” games that wind up forty to nothing embarrassments.  So teams are grouped and classified to try to give everybody a sporting chance.

 Classifying teams is a difficult task at best, when one considers that these teams are traveling and playing all around the country, sometimes with one organization and sometimes with another.  The task of evaluating and classifying teams becomes almost impossible, when the teams show up with different players at every tournament.  Let’s face it there are too many teams out there that will “load-up” with new and better players at every opportunity.  While we all understand that it is a necessity for teams to occasionally replace players, constant wholesale change just to “sandbag” and build a team that is stronger than its classification is wrong, and destroys any chance of proper classification for that team as the season progresses.

 To make classification meaningful in both its men’s and women’s programs, SPA has chosen to “freeze” each team’s roster, when that team plays its first tournament of the year.  In other words, when a team “qualifies” for the World Tournament by playing in any SPA tournament, that team’s roster is going to be held to rules designed to maintain the team’s classification.

 What does “frozen” mean? Are we stuck?

 Does this mean that I can’t play anywhere else?

 There is a great deal of misunderstanding as to what a “frozen roster” really is in SPA, so let’s see if we can answer some of the concerns.  First of all, a player is NOT stuck on a roster once it has been “frozen”.  SPA has no restrictions on players being dropped from a qualified roster, except to say that once dropped a player may not return to that same qualified team.  No releases or approvals are required. So if a player wants to leave their team to join another team, he/she may certainly do so, as long as he/she is eligible to be added to their new team’s roster.  Likewise, it is legal in SPA for a player to be on more than one roster and play with more than one team, as long as those rosters are for different age groups. There are special rules concerning “double-rostering” that allow for playing on two teams in the same tournament with restrictions, but as long as a player is playing with another age group on separate weekends, then there is no problem or restriction.

  What if a player is sick or injured? Are we just out of luck?

 Once a team’s roster has been “frozen”, everybody understands that there will be times when illness, injury, or unforeseen circumstances will require an additional player.  To try to accommodate these needs, SPA allows any team to add 2 players to its “qualified” (frozen) roster, but to try to keep the classification issues in line they require that these players come from a higher age division.  This way a team can still keep their qualification to World, continue to compete, and yet still remain within their current classification rating.

 Is there any way that a roster can be “Unfrozen” so that we can start over?

 Sure, we all know that a situation may arise that forces a team to have to totally regroup and just start over.  Whatever the circumstance that might cause this to happen, because now we are dealing with groups of new players from the same age group, it necessitates the need for a brand new evaluation of that team’s classification rating.  For that reason, SPA requires a team that needs to be “unfrozen” to officially register that need, so that the roster can be opened and the classification review process can begin anew for that team.  In line with this review, the team is required to “re-qualify” for the World tournament by playing in an additional SPA event.  This re-qualification gives the classification committee an opportunity to evaluate the newly formed team in a game situation.

 We all wish that this was an ideal world, where every team is competitive and the old “you get yours and we’ll get ours” mentality could work, but that’s just not the world that we live in.  The rules that SPA has put in place represent a very honest attempt to make the game more enjoyable for all.

  

EDITORIAL BY JUDY LEE - 2014

I began putting some of my thoughts down on paper and wanted to share them with you.  To find out about True Friends, read below.  Enjoy….. 

“SOFTBALL FRIENDS ARE FOREVER"

 

      Softball is not just a sport where you play a few
games and then you go home.
    There is more that comes out of it than
winning or losing.
With softball comes some of the best friends that you will ever
encounter.
You play on teams together, you laugh together you cry together.
You meet new friends through softball
from other teams too.
It’s a never ending chain.
    A real softball friend is one who is there for you on the
field and off the field.
A real softball friend is there to help you with your bumps and bruises.
A real softball friend is there to pick you up after a rough game or
congratulate you
after a great one.
    A real softball friend keeps in touch with you after the
season has ended and
for many years to come.
    I just wanted to let you all know that you are my real
softball friends.
    I will always be there for you and will always keep you in
my heart.
    This is not a chain letter. It is a poem written to let you
all know that someone does care about
you and will
never forget you. Send this to all the
    people you consider your real softball friends and when you
get it back you
    will know who your real softball friends are,

 

SOFTBALL HISTORY

 

 HOW  SLOW PITCH SOFTBALL WAS SET IN MOTION

  

The earliest known softball game was played in Chicago, Illinois on Thanksgiving Day, 1887.  It took place in the Farragut Boat Club at a gathering to hear the outcome of Yale and Harvard football game.  When the score was announced and bets were settled, a Yale alumnus threw a boxing glove at a Harvard supporter.  Another person grabbed a stick and swung at it.  George Hancock called out “Play ball” and the game began, with the boxing glove tightened into a ball, a broom handle serving as a bat.  The first contest ended with a score of 41-40.  The ball, being soft, was fielded barehanded and thus, the game became softball.