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Spirit Repeats, Wins SPA 70 World

The California Spirit made it two SPA 70’s Women’s Worlds in a row winning the 2017 Crown September 20-22 at Heritage Point Park in Dalton, Georgia,

“It wasn’t easy,” tri-manager Diane Hein said. “The round robin was tough and we just beat the Golden Gals by a run in the final game.”

The California team went 6-1 in pool (2-1) and bracket play (4-0). Their only loss was 8-9 to the Golden Girls in pool play but paid them back with 13-12 win in the second round of bracket play.

The Spirit defeated the Blue Chicks 18-12, Golden Girls 13-12, Golden Gals 17-10 and 12-11 for the title.

“We had to come from behind in three of the four bracket games to win,” tri-manager Barbara Howell said. “We were down 4-10 in the final and came back for the win.”

Both Howell and Hein agreed the “never give up” attitude of the team along with their close companionship has been the key factors in the back-to-back titles.

“All our wins have been total team efforts,” Howell said. “We play for each other not for ourselves, we are really like a band of sisters.”

The third member of the coaching staff and the 2017 SPA 70 Women’s Manager-of-the-year is Gilda Ozuna.

“Gilda does all the managing on the field, she is the won who puts people in the right places and winning two straight titles, you know she does a great job,” both Howell and Hein said.

Howell said,” Picking and MVP and All-Americans is a little unfair because we had twenty MVP’s and All-Stars, we win as a team not as individuals.”

Unfortunately for Howell is SPA does not have twenty awards available and tough decisions have to be made.

Connie Wolver and Juanna Cervantez were selected as co-MVP” s with All-American All-Star recognition went to Arlene Gomez, Joni Shirley, Susan Thompson, Marylou Beban, Juanita Lange and Dianne Toomey.

Other members who unofficially according to Howell were All-American in her eyes were Edna Allen, Hein, Judy Pyle, Patricia Craig, Beverly Van Gundy, Patti McCoy, Judith Leipold, Pat Dwight, Ozuna, Lani Neer and Joyce Patterson.

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