KENTUCKY TEAM WINS SPA 60 AA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
DALTON, GEORGIA – Playing the role of Don Quixote in the “Man of La Mancha” the Louisville, Kentucky ZEPPELINS “reached for the unreachable stars to reach an attainable goal”, the 2012 SPA 60AA World TITLE.
“It was our goal from DAY ONE, back in February to win the 60 AA SPA WORLD title, “ ZEPPELIN manager CHUCK HANCOCK said, “At that point we were a new 60 AA team after playing in the 55's for a few years, and we all had high expectations.”
Unfortunately for the ZEPPELIN'S that plan was put on hold after their first SPA tournament, THEE BUCKEYE CLASSIC held in BARBERTON in JUNE.
“We only went 2-5 and on the long road back home to Louisville, we started to have second thoughts about our abilities,” HANCOCK said, “WE thought maybe we aren't as good as we thought we were and our goal of winning the SPA WORLDS was really not obtainable.”
The ZEPP'S stuck with it and after winning the SPA SHELBYVILLE August tournament, they put it all together in DALTON.
Taking a 5-5 tournament record into the SPA WORLDS, the ZEPPELINS took no prisoners outscoring their opponents 130-52 over six games to win the six-team bracket.
“It was a great feeling after the final out and we were the 60 AA champions,” HANCOCK said, “All the months of playing in two Louisville Senior Leagues and the early tournaments paid off as we played the best best we had ever played all year.”
The closest anyone came to the ZEPPELINS, who had an on-base-percentage of over .700 for the tournament, was a 14-11 win over the INDY FOG.
In the championship game against the EAGLES, the ZEPP'S led only 7-5 after four innings but erupted for five runs in both the fifth and sixth inning and topped it off with fourteen runs in the seventh for a 31-16 championship game.
“What made this so special for me, “ HANCOCK said, “Some of us have been playing together since elementary school and our first team wasn't even a softball team, it was a basketball team.”
The self-sponsored team, who's name is play on words “played like a lead balloon” were not lead balloons in Dalton as all fourteen players hit at least THIRTY POINTS over their season average.
Tournament MVP AWARD went to catcher DAVE SMITH, who had an OBP of ,700 and contributed a number of key hits to keep the innings going. HANCOCK called him “the best clutch hitter for us throughout the tournament.”
ALL-AMERICAN honors went to outfielders JOHN HALL (.700), JIMMY STEED (.850), smooth fielding short stop GENO PERKINS (.700), 3b BOB VITTITOW (.750) and 65-year young first baseman BOB BLACKWELL (.800). Assistant manager pitcher GARY GAUS (6-0, .600) received the 2013 SPA 60 AA MANAGER-OF-THE-YEAR AWARD.
Rounding out the “Murderer's Row” offense were TONY SMALLWOOD (.600), KENNY LINDIG (.700), HANCOCK (.800), GARY PAWLICK (.700), RICK HEIL (.850), BILL TOWNSEND (.600) and the senior member of the team soon-to-be 70 years young CHARLIE ABELL (.800).
“When you pile up the runs and play “D” like we did you know it wasn't just six guys who were ALL-STARS, it was all fourteen guys,” HANCOCK said, “ Every player was deserving, we just tried to make certain that everyone received some type of individual award this year and we spread the honors around.”
“Everybody understands this was a team win and everybody contributed to us reaching our goal”
HANCOCK also had kind words for the DALTON TOURNAMENT and SPA in general.
“I was really impressed how nice and respectful all the teams were that we played in DALTON,” he said, “The staff of SPA has always treated us great, that includes the staff at THEE BUCKEYE CLASSIC and DWAIN LAIRD in SHELBYVILLE, as well as RIDGE and his DALTON staff. We really enjoyed playing SPA this year.”.