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What's Happening in Senior Softball

JOLICO SR 65’S WIN SPA WOMEN’S WORLDS ON FIRST TRY

Some teams go years before winning a major tournament and others never win one. Not so with the JOLICO SR 65’S who in their initial entry into the SPA WOMEN’S WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS August 19-23 at DALTON, GEORGIA’S HERITAGE PARK, claimed the top prize.

JOLICO took no prisoners, going 3-0 in bracket play outscoring their opponents 69-29. In their win over the SPA 2017 65 WORLD CHAMPS OHIO CARDINALS, they collected 40 hits in a 32-10 win.

“The hitting was just contagious in that game,” JOLICO 65 Coach JAN SANDER said. “We had never hit like that in a game before, it was unreal.”

“Everybody was hitting throughout the tournament,” SANDER said, “Our Catcher ROSE BOLONE had her first ever home runs, one a grand slam. Everybody had big hits.”

JOLICO wrapped up the tournament beating the SR DIAMONDS 17-6 and 20-13 in the title game.

It was JOLICO 65’s second SPA TOURNAMENT title this year. Earlier they won the TWITTY TOURNAMENT at HENDERSONVILLE, TENN. They have also won a pair of non-SPA tournaments.

“We have had a pretty good year so far and it hasn’t just been our offense which has carried us, our defense has been just as good,” SANDER said.

JOLICO 65’s are not done for this year, they have the HUNTSMAN GAMES and the NATIONAL SENIOR OLYMPICS still left to play.

Other teams in the SPA 65 WORLDS bracket were runner-up SR DIAMONDS, OHIO CARDINALS, MN LADY LOONS and SMOKEY MOUNTAIN STARS.

Individual awards taken home by JOLICO were CHRIS SCHNEIDER SPA MANAGER-OF-THE-YEAR and MVP NANCY NEWKIRK.

Selected to the ALL-AMERICAN team were MARGARET VAN ECKOUTE. PAT BAKER. CJ TAYLOR, CHERYL JAMES, ROSE BOLONE and JANET PFAU.

Members of the 2018 SPA 65 WOMEN’S WORLD champs are: SANDER, SCHNEIDER, VAN ECKOUTE, NEWKIRK, BAKER, TAYLOR, BOLONE, JAMES, PFAU, JUANITA GRANDSTAFT, PENNY ZIELINSKI, PATRICIA WEILAND, SANDRA NYENHUIS, JANICE STROZIER,MARY TWEEDY, POPATI WING, CYNTHIA MCCARTHY and ELLEN BOWERS.

 

SUPERMAN CAN’T EVEN HANDLE KRYPTONITE - TEAM REPEATS AS 45 DIVISION WORLD CHAMPS

It is two years and counting as KRYPTONITE won their second 45 SPA WORLDS title AUGUST 19-23 at DALTON, GEORGIA’S HERITAGE PARK.

Last year it was a two-out-of-three showdown with BAT GIRLS RETURN while this year

KRYPTONITE ran the table going 2-and-0 in bracket play and 2-0 in pool. The CHAMPS beat PITCHES BE CRAZY FORTIES 21-5 and 32-10 to win the WOMEN’S 40/45 PLUS title

In pool play they beat a pair of 3 5-year old teams WICKED GAME (20-7) and SPORTS ORTHO WICKED (9-6).

It was a great way for KRYPTONITE to finish off the year which started by winning the SPA SPRING NATIONALS.

Individual Awards went to: MANAGER-OF-THE-YEAR EDWARD BOUCHARD while Tournament MVP was CAROLYN DEEB. ALL-AMERICAN SELECTIONS went to COLLEEN SMITH, RHONDA “DODY’ CLINE, VERONICA “V” SHAW, DIANE “DJ” WHITE and VALORIE MULLINS.

KRYPTONITE team members are: SMITH, APRIL BLAKE, CLINE, DEEB, SHAW, WHITE, VERBIA BEHE, SARA PAYNE, MULLINS, KAREN HUNGER, SONJA BROOKS-WHITE, SUNDAY WRIGHT and LORI LAMONT.

JOLICO 65’S BOLONE BELTS TWO WITH BORROWED BAT

Who need their own bat? Certainly not JOLICO 65’s ROSE BOLONE who used teammate PEGGY VAN ECKOUTE’s Miken to hit her first ever home run.

BOLONE enjoyed it so much she hit another, this one a grand slam.

“I have been playing softball since I was five years old and this was the first time I have ever hit a ball over the fence,” the JOLICO 65 catcher said.

Her first came in pool play during a 15-3 win over the OHIO CARDINALS but the second one was really big.

“We were only ahead by 16-13 in the seventh inning of the championship game with the SENIOR DIAMONDS when I hit the grand slam,” BOLANO said.” I was so excited, it really felt great.”

Her blast helped JOLICO 65’s win the title game 20-13.

Her big disappointment, however, was not getting to trot around the bases.

“Ever since I was a kid, I would dream of hitting a home run and trotting around the bases,” she said. “But darn it, SPA has a rule “hit and sit”, so I was only able to trot to first base.

BOLANO also had a good tournament with the glove making two huge put outs at home plate in the championship game.

You would think softball would be her top sport but it isn’t, golf is her favorite.

“I only get to play around thirty games a year in softball but I golf twice a week in FLORIDA and I can do it year around,” she said.

She even credits golf for her softball swing.

“I am more relaxed with my grip and it helps timing and hand-to-eye coordination,”: she explained. “I use the same swing for both.”

The only difference between golf and softball is she has her own clubs.

“I’m sticking with using PEGGY’s bat, if she lets me,” she said..You can’t change a good thing.”

SERIOUS FUN HAS SOME, WINS SPA 55 WOMEN WORLDS

It took the entire season but SERIOUS FUN finally found a way to have some as they won the 2018 SPA 55 WOMEN’S WORLDS 9/21-9/23 at HERITAGE PARK in DALTON, GEORGIA.

 

SERIOUS FUN had started the season earning a second and two thirds in 2018 SPA TOURNAMENTS.

In the 2017 WORLDS they were 3-3 with a third place finish.

 

SERIOUS FUN’s 2018 title wasn’t a walk in the park.

 

The champs had to beat number one seed THE PLAYERS in the winner’s bracket semi-finals with a four-run rally in the bottom of the seventh for a 17-16 win but lost to EAST COAST GEMS 5-15 to force the “IF” Game..

SERIOUS FUN beat the defending 2017 SPA WORLDS champs EAST COAST GEMS 12-11 in the title game which was decided in the bottom of the seventh.

 

Pinch hitter LINDA HANSON supplied the two-out winning blow.

 

Against THE PLAYERS it was JAYNE STAGGS who delivered the two-out game winner.

 

“Our girls have a never-give-up attitude and that was the difference in the tournament, “SERIOUS FUN manager and SPA 55’s MANAGER-OF-THE-YEAR ROBERT HALL said. “It took an extra effort to beat two teams like THE PLAYERS and EAST COAST for the title. They are both exceptional teams.”

 

Other teams in the six-team 55’s bracket were SHO-ME 55’s, SLUGGERS and SUNNY BEACHES.

For EAST COAST it saw their perfect SPA tournament record come to a halt. After winning the 2017 SPA WORLDS, EAST COAST won the SPA SPRING NATIONALS, ROCKY TOP and TWITTY tournaments.,

SERIOUS FUN’S SANDY SPENCER was the 2018 SPA WORLDS TOURNAMENT MVP, while teammates MARY HELEN CONNER, EVA HIXSON, JAYNE STAGGS, KIM MOORE and KAREN CULLEY were selected to the ALL-AMERICAN TEAM.

 

The SERIOUS FUN championship roster included CONNER, HIXSON, STAGGS, MOORE, CULLEY,, SPENCER, SYLVIA HANCOCK, NELLE PALLME. POLLY DENNISON, CAROL LAND, PAULA BARNES, CAROLE RUSSELL, LINDA HANSON, CHRISTINA OSTROWSKI, BRIDGETTE STAFFORD, PATTY HARCH and Manager HALL.

UMBRELLAS REPLACE BATS AT ROCKY TOP

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.

SPA TWITTY ROCKS WITH 33

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>”

GEMS SPARKLE WITH SIX DP’S

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.

Other members of the EAST COAST GEMS 55’S are: MONA ONYEMELUKWE, CYNTHIA NELSON, BECKY ATKINS, TERRY JERMAN, and DONNA FOLEY, CO-SPONSOR is VALLEY CREEK HUNTING SUPPLY.

PATRICIA ROE THE NEW BABE RUTH

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.

Roe made her mark April 15 at the SPA WOMEN S SPRING NATIONALS at FLORIDA EXCHANGE PARK in PENSACOLA.

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.

RAIN CAN'T STOP WOMEN'S SPRING NATIONAL

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.