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.