SPA News

What's Happening in Senior Softball


More umbrellas were in demand than bats at the SPA WOMEN'S ROCKY TOP NIT held in KNOXVILLE’S CASWELL COMPLEX JULY -8.

“It was a shame because we had such a great turnout for the tournament and the weather didn’t cooperate, “SPA President and CEO RIDGE HOOKS said.

Despite the weather problems ROCKY TOP was still able to declare champs in the 50, 55, 60 and 65 division with only the 35 and 40/45 groups coming up empty.

The OHIO CARDINALS flew away with the 65 PLUS crown beating the GOLDEN GALS 7-1 and SR DIAMONDS 12-2.

The GOLDEN GALS reached the finals with a 2-1 win over the SENIOR DIAMONDS. SMOKEY MOUNTAIN STARS rounded out the bracket.. The CARDINALS left no doubt as to who was champ, having also gone 3-0 in pool.

SUNNY BEACHES went 3-0 in pool and 2-0 in double elimination to easily take the 60 PLUS bracket.

In bracket play they defeated HAMEL LADIES 10-7 and SHO ME 60’S 12-1 to win the crown.

HAMEL LADIES were the finalist followed by third place MARYLAND ROAR RUNNERS.

EAST COAST GEMS took the 55 PLUS title with SERIOUS FUN the finalist. SHO-ME 55’s rounded out the field..

FIRE & ICE took the 50 PLUS title followed by JWP AR MIX . WAYPOINT FINANCIAL was the third team in the bracket.

No bracket play was started in the 35 and 40/45 Division.

Teams in the 35’s with pool play records were TZKG SOFTBALL (1-1), pitches be crazy (1-0), MIDWEST BALLERS MAYHEM (0-1), OUTER LIMITS (1-0), HILTON 40 PLUS (1-0) and SAVE SECOND BASE (0-2) .

40/45 PLUS pool play results.

TM FORCE (40) 2-0, KRYPTONITE (45) 1-1 and PITCHES BE CRAZY (40) 0-2.


The SPA TWITTY SENIOR WOMEN’S NIT TOURNAMENT honored the 25thanniversary of CONWAY TWITTY’s passing with 33 teams participating in the tournament named in his honor.

Held at DRAKES CREEK PARK ATHLETIC COMPLEX at HENDERSONVILLE, TENNESSEE the tournament saw an increase in teams from the previous year.

“I believe there is a bigger and brighter future out there for all women in slow pitch softball,” JUDY LEE SCHREIBER, SPA NATIONAL WOMEN’S DIRECTOR said. “This tournament named for CONWAY is typical of how the program is growing.”

Nine division winners were crowned during the event held MAY 16-20 with two teams EAST COAST GEMS (55) and GOLDEN GIRLS of VIRGINIA (70) the only repeat champion.

Adding another 2018 tournament title after winning the SPA WOMEN’S SPRING NATIONAL, the GEMS also remained undefeated for 2018 taking four team 55 DIVISION crown.

On the way to the title the EAST COAST GEMS downed the SLUGGERS (4-7), SERIOUS FUN (28-10) and SHO ME 24-8..

The SLUGGERS beat SERIOUS FUN 13-11 for runner-up honors.

The GOLDEN GIRLS OF VA took their title beating the CALIFORNIA SPIRIT 20-5 and 18-8 as well as CHATTANOOGA CHARGERS 10-9.

The. Bested the CHARGERS 17-8 for second place.

The three-team 75 Crown went to the OHIO TRI STARS who beat the TENNESSEE STARS 22-4 and FREEDOM SPIRIT 10-2 in bracket play. The STARS beat the SPIRIT 15-12 to reach the finals.

Four teams squared off in the 65+ group with JOLICO SENIORS 65’S taking home the top prize.

JOLICO took care of the OHIO CARDINALS twice (11-10, 10-6) and SENIOR DIAMONDS 10-6 for the title.

The CARDINALS dropped their first game in bracket play to JOLICO but fought back through the loser’s bracket beating DIAMONDS (12-3) and SMOKEY MOUNTAIN STARS (18-4) to reach the finals.

The JOLICO 60’S followed their sisters’ lead winning the 60 + crown besting five other teams.

JOLICO had a close call in the finals edging HAMEL LADIES 15-14 but had an easier time beating HAMEL 19-6 the first time around. The champs slipped by the NOR’EASTERS 13-10 in their opening round game.

HAMELS beat SUNNY BEACHES 13-1`0 to reach the title game. MD ROADRUNNERS and SHO ME were the others in the bracket.

TN SR STARS downed FIFTY CALIBER 20-8 in the “IF” game to take the 50’s division crown. The STARS lost 11-15 to FIFTY CALIBER forcing the “IF” game. In earlier bracket play the STARS beat FIFTY CALIBER 17-12 forcing them into the loser’s bracket.

The STARS also beat FIRE and ICE 19-4, JWP AR MIX 18-4 and SUNNY BEACHES 17-12 in bracket play.

ARKANSAS ENERGY defeated PITCHES BE CRAZY 40’S 14-13 AND 28-9 for the 40/45 title. PITCHES beat WICKED 21-18 to make the finals.

OUTER LIMITS beat WICKED 13-5 in the “IF” game to capture the 35’s division bracket...

MiIDWEST MAYHEM, SAVE 2ND BASE and PITCHES BE CRAZY rounded out the five-team bracket.

“Two great tournaments and turn out for the ladies,” SPA PRESIDENT RIDGE HOOKS said about the TWITTY and SPRING NATIONAL. “The SPA women’s program is going great thanks to JUDY, MIKE DESORBO, SHELBY WILLIAMS, the teams and the managers.”

“We look forward to seeing everyone back in TENNESSEE for the ROCKY TOP TOURNAMENT July 5-8 in KNOXVILLE at CASCADE PARK>”


Even the famous MLB double play trio of the 2010 CHICAGO CUBS’ TINKER-TO-EVERS-TO-CHANCE couldn’t hold a candle to the DP combination of the EAST COAST GEMS.

The Ladies turned not one, not two, not three but six double plays in one game in winning the 55 Division of  the PENSACOLA 2018 WOMEN’S SPRING NATIONALS.

It just wasn’t two or three ladies participating in the accomplishment, eight of the GEMS contributed in the record setting show.

“The girls looked like they had played together every single day since 2017 “ coach WENDY LEDFORD said, “But in fact most of the ladies haven’t picked up a ball since January when we won the TOC in TAMPA.”

Leading the gold glove defense for the GEMS was SHERRI CLARK (3B). The All-Tournament infielder figured in three of the DP’s with three assists and three putouts.

CYNTHIA SMITH (SS), DIXIE DALTON (2B), ANITA KIMERY (2B) and, JEANETTE BAILEY-BROWN (1B) each handled three chances. DEB FRANKLIN (2B) and LCF JOANN JONES had an assist and putout while pitcher BRENDA JONES added an assist. All-in-all, the group contributed 12 putouts (11 assists) in a 21-put out game.

Although not a DP. right fielder JODY TRIMMER made an ESPN highlight film catch saving three runs in the championship game against the PLAYERS with the GEMS holding a 6-2 lead.

“The girls really made VIV proud today,” LEDFORD said.

VIV was VIVIAN JONES who along with team manager TERRI HOUPOS founded the team.

“VIV passed away in 2016 and every single game is played for VIVIAN,” LEDFORD said. “We wear her number over our heart every game.”

Defense wasn’t the only highlight in the GEMS tournament win.

All-Tournament LOUISE O’DONNELL led the offense with a .813 average as the GEMS outscored their opponents 82-40 in the four games. 

The team took no prisoners in their run through the tournament beating SHO-ME 19-0 , SUNNY BEACHES 21-16, THE PLAYERS 20-10, SERIOUS FUN 12-11 and THE PLAYERS 10-3.

Also receiving All-Tournament honors were MVP FRANKLIN, DALTON and TRIMMER.



Move over Hank and Babe there is a new long ball basher in the neighborhood. Her name is PATRICIA ROE, a third baseman for the 35-year young MICHIGAN MIDWEST MAYHEM BALLERS.


Batting in the last inning with the bases loaded, ROE sent one over the 300-ft fence and not just over the fence. Easily clearing the 12-ft fence the ball hit high up on the 60-ft net behind the fence.

"I would estimate the shot about 350-ft," Tournament Director MIKE DESORBA said. "It was the longest ball I have ever seen hit out in a women's tournament."

It was also ROE's first since it was her first game in senior softball and also her first trip to Florida.

"I have been playing co-ed ball and women's fast pitch in Flint,' the Michigan resident said. "This was my first game ever in senior softball."

Roe, who coaches a high school girls FAST PITCH team at CARMAN AINSWORTH in FLINT thinks coaching others helps her own game.

"Softball is a game of fundamentals and you need proper fundamentals to succeed," she said. "By teaching them everyday it has helped me keep focused, especially at the plate."

Roe, who hit .750 in her first senior softball tournament says there is a difference in senior softball.

"The game is not as fast because everyone is older but talent wise it is really good," she said. "I didn't know what to expect in my first tournament but I was really impressed with the abilities of the ladies who played at Pensacola."

She and her team, the MIDWEST MAYHEM BALLERS are looking forward to the TWITTY SR WOMENS' TOURNAMENT later this month.

Their roster is made up half of MICHIGAN ladies and the rest from MARYLAND, OHIO, FLORIDA, MISSOURI and TENNESSEE.

"We had one practice together before our first game in Florida," ROE said. "Now that we know each other we should do much better at the Tennessee tournament, I am really looking forward to it."

It will be interesting to see how she does at the plate because she only needs 59 more homers to catch BABE RUTH.


The rain tried but it couldn't stop the 2018 SPA WOMEN'S SPRING NATIONALS April 14-15 at PENSACOLA, FLORIDA EXCHANGE PARK .

"The weather tried but we were able to come up with results in all age groups," TOURNAMENT DIRECTOR MIKE DESORBO said."We didn't get all the bracket games completed but enough games were completed to determine the winners in all five brackets."

ARKANSAS JWP and Florida's HILTON FORTY PLUS were co-champs in the 35-division.  Michigan's MIDWEST MAYHEM BALLERS , Kentucky's OUTER LIMITS, SAVE SECOND BASE of Tennessee and Alabama's PITCHES BE CRAZY were also in the  six team bracket.

The STAR of the 35-division was MIDWEST MAYHEM BALLERS PATRICIA ROE. ROE smashed a 300-ft over the fence grand slam home run.

KRYPTONITE gave the home towners something to cheer about as the Florida squad took the 45 Division crown.

ARKANSAS SYNERGY nosed out TM FORCE, Florida for the 40 bracket title Tennessee's BATGIRLS RETURN was the third team in the bracket.

The 50 Title stayed in Florida as FLORIDA GIRLS came home ahead of ARKANSAS's runner-ups JWP and third place finisher FIRE AND ICE of Tennessee.

 H TOWN SISTERS WITH BATS (Texas), JWP AR MIX (Arkansas) and PENSACOLA SENIOR LADIES rounded out the six - team group.

EAST COAST GEMS (Virginia), THE PLAYERS (Florida) and SUNNY BEACHES (Florida) finished 1-2-3 with the GEMS taking home the top prize in the 55 group.

SHO ME (Missouri), SERIOUS FUN (Tennessee) and LA SPORTS also participated in the six-team bracket.

"It was the best tournament we ever held here in terms of competition and quality of the teams," DESORBO said. "I just wish we could have gotten all the games in on the last day."

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.

Tennessee Stars Shine, Win SPA 50 Women World

The Tennessee Senior Stars 50’s team taught the younger 50 teams at Dalton a lesson in winning the SPA 50’s Women’s World Championship September 22-24 in Dalton, Georgia.

The Nashville area team is made up mostly of 55 and older ladies.

“We are a little older than most of the teams in the 50 division and in senior ball those five years make a big difference,” Senior Stars and SPA 50 20117 Manager-of-the-Year Will Grandstaff said. “We are thinking next year of having a 50’s and 60’s team and then in two years going 55 and 60 if we can get enough players to fill the rosters”.

At Dalton, the Tennessee Senior Stars looked anything but “senior” as they won all three bracket games plus their three pool games for a 6-0 record.

“This was probably our best total (offense/defense) of the year,” Grandstaff said. “We won our first tournament of the year in Pensacola and now our last. We had a great start and outstanding finish. We will forget about the middle.’

At Dalton they disposed of Fire & Ice 15-13, 22-2 and JWP AR Mix 8-2 in bracket play. Pool play saw them beat ShoMe 50’s 18-7, Sunny Beaches 18-12 and JWP 13-7.

Unlike a lot of the teams the Stars are mostly “home-grown” with all but four players from Tennessee.

“You will senior teams from players from all over the country because it is not easy to find senior ladies who still play softball,” the manager said.

Jackie Wright is from Kentucky, Terry Rhian Florida, Deeneen Benson Florida and Patrice Maxwell South are the out-of-state players.

Tournament MVP was Myra Goodson while Eula Daniels, Debra Gill, Wright, Rhian and Connie Morland were selected to the All-American All-Tournament team.

“If they would have had an MVP Defensive player we would have had another Award winner,” Grandstaff said. “Deenen (Benson) was the best shortstop in the tournament, she was a huge factor in us winning the title.”

Members of the championship team are: Andera Hinton, Daniels, Sheila Classock, Mary Wesson, Natalie Baugh, Martha Ann Cowan, Barbara McKissack, Gill, Teresa Pendergrast, Goodson, Wright, Rhian, Patrice Maxwell, Pamela Dedmon, Morland, Regina Kirk, Benson and assistant coach Sherry Chamin.

So the million dollar question, “How did Grandstaff become coach on a women’s team?”

“I managed a class A team in Tennessee for 40 years and when I retired my wife (Juanita) asked me to coach her women’s team.” Grandstaff, who also managed the team to a title in 2012 said. “Now my wife has moved up to 60-ball and I am still enjoying this team but maybe next year if we have a 60’s team I can do both.”

The 50’s order of finish 1, Tennessee Senior Stars, 2. Fire & Ice, 3. ShoMe 50’s, 4. Sunny Beaches, 5. JWP AR Mix and 6. Diamond Girls.

Jolico “Rookies” Take SPA Women’s 60 World

The Jolico 60’s graduated from last year’s SPA women’s 55 bracket and took the 60 AAA Worlds in their first try Sept ember 22-24 at Heritage Point Park in Dalton, Georgia.

“This was our first tournament ever in the 60’s bracket,” Jolico manager Lynda Hart said. “We played 55 last year and most of us could have moved up but we were waiting for the (2016) 60’s team to move up to 65’s, so our team could move up as a team.”

The “rookie” Jolico squad made their opponents wish they had waited another year as they not only went 6-0 but outscored them 89-36 in the pool and bracket games.

The only game they were really tested was in the winner’s bracket game against the Maryland Road Runners (who were 3-0 at the time) winning 12-11.

“We railed in that game but came back in the last innings to go ahead and hold the lead for the win.”, Hart said.

In the other bracket games, Jolico beat Sunny Beaches 10-4 and Nor’ Easters 12-1. In Pool play they beat the Nor’ Easters 17-5, Sunny Beaches 15-5 and Southern Stars 23-10.

“We were really at the top of our game and relaxed,” the manager said. "The last couple of years we have been playing teams three-to-six years younger than us. At Dalton we were the younger team."

The Jolico 60’s like all Jolico teams are wizards with the glove and have a balanced batting order from top-to-bottom but in every tournament a number of people received special recognition.

Assistant coach Bob Crick received the SPA 60’s Women’s Manager of-the-Year Award.

“I have had health problems this year and Dalton was the first tournament I had been able to perform my duties,” Hart said. “Since Bob has been handling my responsibilities all year, I just felt he deserved the Manager-of-the-Year award more than me.”

Papati Wing received the tournament MVP Award. Selected to the All-American All-Star team were Kim Kendrick, Linda Faulkner, Debra Langevin, Karen Barclay and Jeri Kern.

Members of the World Championship 60’s are: Sharon Yoder, Kendrick, Faulkner, Susan Warner, Amy Argo, Mary Foerg, Tamra Marinello, Hart, Patt Tomaselli, Sonequa Daniels, Wing, Debra Ruthruff, Julie Dooney, Langevin, Lisa Policastri, Susan Johnson, Barclay, Kern Shirley Cummins and Crick.

Sunny Beaches took runner-up honors in the tournament followed by Maryland Roadrunners, Nor’ Easters, Southern Stars and Show Me. The Southern Stars won the consolation championship game 15-4 over Show Me.