VIRGINIA TEAM MAKES AMENDS FOR 2011 HEARTBREAKING LOSS
DALTON, GEORGIA – Two years ago, the Hamel's Women, which most of this team played for last year, suffered the agony of defeat losing the 50 AAA championship to SERIOUS FUN 7-6 on a two-out two-RBI hit in the bottom of the seventh
There were no heartbreaks for the GOLDEN GIRLS this year as they roared through bracket play beating NY METRO'S DOUBLE PLAY 18-1 and LA SPORT 18-3 before disposing of NY METRO 15-11 in the title game to win the 2012 SPA 50 AAA championship.
“We (GOLDEN GIRLS) were very, very happy,” player/Manager KATHY COLLETT said, “After the way we lost last year, it was nice to go all the way this year. It was especially nice for a number of our players who had never won a championship ring before.”
But until DALTON, it looked like the snake-bitten routine from 2011 may continue all of 2012 since the best the team could do in tournaments in COLUMBUS, OHIO and VIRGINIA were third and fourth place finishes.
“We played good ball in all the tournaments, we just kept coming up a little short each time and we had to settle for third and fourth place finishes,” COLLETT said.
Even DALTON didn't start off that well for the GOLDEN GIRLS as they only went 1-2 in pool play losing to JOLICO SENIOR 50's (12-7) and the LADY LOOKOUTS (15-10) before beating NY METRO 15-10.
“We just don't seem to play very well on the first day,” COLLETT said, “The games were all close but we really didn't play very well at all.”
After that first day, head coach HAPPY GARRETT and assistant coach, Bill Poppler, had a little-heart-to-heart conversation with the girls.
“HAPPY really knows softball and he made some changes both offensively and defensively which really helped our performance and our confidence,” COLLETT explained, “His pep talk left us knowing we could really win this tournament if we put our mind to it and went out and played our game.” Happy's concept of playing to win by reducing the amount of players in the games during the double elimination play is what won us the tournament.
The title was the first-ever SPA NATIONAL for the GOLDEN GIRLS, who have been playing together for ten years. The team previously won the USSSA Worlds in 2003. Still on the roster from that original team are COLLETT, LORI GRIMM, SYLVIA JONES, LYNN CHARLES and SHEILA GARRETT.
RHIAN (OF, .874), COLLETT (OF, .592), GRIMM (SS, .679, CO-RBI LEADER) and CHARLES (INF/1B .679, CO-RBI LEADER) were all named to the ALL-AMERICAN team. Also named to the squad was outfielder MARY MILLER, who sported a .711 average.
Tournament MVP honors went to JOY “PEACHES” PRIDE. The versatile infielder/outfielder batted a remarkable 1.000, served as a designated runner and played flawless defense.
GARRETT definitely earned and received the SPA 2012 50 AAA MANAGER-OF-THE-YEAR AWARD.
Other members of the 2012 Champions are: TAMMY MAULL (P), CHRIS VOSS (P), LOUISE O'DONNELL (3B), SYLVIA JONES ©, SHEILA GARRETT (1B), NANCY ANTHONY (OF/2B), CARLA FIELDS (P), SONYA JOHNSON (OF), JOAN CLARKE (2B) and GLENDA COLEMAN(OF/C). Two players HAZEL PRIOLEAU and KATHY FETLERMAN were unable to attend the tournament due to prior commitments. The only person who was injured in the tournament was Joan Clarke, who tore her hamstring but still got up to bat one more time and hobbled to first base while bringing in enough RBIs to end the inning.
A unique feature to the self-sponsored team is their athletic versatility.
“All of us play year around in either basketball, volleyball, bowling and other sports.” COLLETT said, “We are also very close and get together for birthday parties, celebrations, Christmas and other events, we just enjoy each others company and do not limit our association with each other to the ball field.”
The team also does a lot of charity work in and around VIENNA, VIRGINIA and somebody must have taken notice.
“An anonymous ANGEL donated not only our entry fee but also three other GOLDEN GIRL'S teams (60, 65 and 70) entry fees,” COLLETT said, “That was a $3,000 donation and we have no idea who it was but we all certainly appreciated it.”
COLLETT, when asked if there was one message she would give to other woman who are considering playing senior softball, what would it be.
“Very simply.” she answered, “You don't stop playing when you get old, you get old when you stop playing.”