GOLDEN GIRLS STRIKE GOLD WINNING SPA 2012 50AAA WORLDS

by Ho Hoffman 30. November 2012 12:25

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.”

 

Well put!

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General | Tournaments | Women

TENNESSEE SENIOR STARS 70'S GET SERIOUS, WIN SPA WORLDS VOLUNTEER STATE TEAM IS 3-0 IN BRACKET PLAY

by Ho Hoffman 29. November 2012 11:37

DALTON, GEORGIA – The TENNESSEE SENIOR STARS 70'S used their 18-years of senior softball experience to finally get “serious” about their game and win the 2012 SPA (SOFTBALL PLAYERS' ASSOCIATION) 70's AAA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP in DALTON, GEORGIA.

After struggling through pool play losing to FREEDOM SPIRIT OF FLORIDA (13-2), 70 MAJORS champions SPORTACULARS (14-13) before beating the (KY) THOROUGHBREDS 17-2, the TENNESSEE team came out smokin” in bracket play.

We finally got serious about our game,” DONNA HACKNEY SAID, “Our first two games were against 70 MAJOR teams and we were a little nervous. We finally became more relaxed playing AAA teams and regained our confidence.”

The confidence showed in bracket play as the STARS beat the THOROUGHBREDS again, ironically by the same 17-2 score and followed it up with a 13-2 win over the (VA) GOLDEN GIRLS 70's by a 13-2 count.

Playing the GOLDEN GIRLS 70's again in the title game, it was a little closer but still a win with a 21-20 verdict. The hero was GOLDIE CALDWELL, who came off the bench to deliver a grand slam home run in the bottom of the seventh for the win. Shirley Pike also had a home run in the same game.

We are really kind of proud, the way we came back from pool play and then winning the championship game on GOLDIE'S (CALDWELL) walk-off grand slam homer,” HACKNEY said.

Leading the charge for the TENNESSEE SENIOR STARS was tournament MVP GEORGIA JENKINS. Affectionately called “THE BABY OF THE TEAM”, the short stop had both a strong hitting tournament as well as shining on defense.

Selected to the ALL-AMERICAN team were RITA "RABBIT" GAWARECKI (OF), SHIRLEY GRIZZLE (P), PEG HAYS (2B), JUDY OSBORNE (SF) and WANDA SWEETON(LF).

Taking the SPA 2012 MANAGER-OF-THE-YEAR AWARD was head coach TERRY COMPTON. Compton, who has been with the team for three years, is a former VANDERBUILT UNIVERSITY basketball star know as the KENTUCKY LONG RIFLE for his long-distance shooting.

Honors for the TENNESSEE ladies are not unusual since both HACKNEY (2009) and GRIZZLE (2011) were elected to the SOFTBALL-HALL-OF-FAME. Former player, the late MARY ARNDT was also elected to the HOF in 2008.

The other members of the 2012 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP team are: HELEN ARMSTRONG (RF), GOLDIE CALDWELL (INF/OF), PEGGY LEWIS (C/P), SHIRLEY PIKE (LC), ELLEN PREUETT (RF/C), GAIL RICH (1B), LOIS SMITH (3B), BECKY TROYANI (RF), JEAN SMITH (INF) and GALE HARRIS (ASSISTANT COACH/STATISTICIAN).

The team which was first organized 18 years ago is mostly self-sponsored and still has four originals from that initial team – GRIZZLE, HACKNEY, SMITH and PREUETT. As a side note, also on that first team was SPA NATIONAL WOMEN'S DIRECTOR JUDY LEE SCHREIBER.

We are self sponsored and conduct a lot of yard sales, steak and spaghetti dinners, silent auctions and such but we also have a co-sponsor this year,” HACKNEY said, “DR. KAELIN of SPORTS MEDICINE has helped us greatly, we are really indebted to him.” Also helping raise donations were Coach Terry Compton, Assistant coach Gale Harris and player Wanda Sweeton.

In addition to winning DALTON, the TENNESSEE SENIOR STARS 70's won 2012 AAA titles at SPA tournaments in COLUMBUS (OH), PENSACOLA (FLA) and JACKSONSVILLE (FLA).

We play SPA tournaments because we like the way the organization conducts its tournaments,” HACKNEY said, “ SPA is really “people conscious” and always does its best to make certain the players' interest and enjoyment come first.”

HACKNEY also explained what she thinks is the secret to her team's success.

We have a never give-up attitude and always play to the end regardless of the score,” HACKNEY said, “Our togetherness is also a huge part of how we play.”

People are always surprised that we are still playing at our age.” she added, “We just feel as long as you are able to compete, you should do it”. Former Coach Renee Page always said “Don’t judge them until you come and see them play”.

And when you compete and win WORLD TITLES, that just makes it so much better.

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OHIO CARDINALS FLY OUT OF LOSER'S BRACKET WIN 60M TITLE

by Ho Hoffman 29. November 2012 11:21

TEAM LOSES FIRST BRACKET GAME, WINS NEXT FOUR

DALTON, GEORGIA – The OHIO CARDINALS found themselves with their backs to the wall at the 2012 SPA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS in DALTON, GEORGIA but recovered in time to win the 60 MAJOR title.

After losing the opening game in bracket play to 2011 AAA 60'S champs FUN BUNCH 13-7, the QUEEN CITY OHIO area team roared back to take the next four games and with it the 2012 WORLD TITLE.

“It can get a little scary after losing your first game and you know the next loss sends you home,”OHIO CARDINAL manager COLLEEN NEEDHAM said,” Once you lose the next game there is nothing you can do.”

Playing with a short roster, the CARDINALS beat the 2011 60 AAA runner-ups JOLICO SENIOR 60'S in the first loser's bracket game by scoring four runs in the seventh inning to nose out a 7-4 win.

That win led to a SUNDAY morning loser's bracket rematch with the FUN BUNCH.

A pair of singles by JAN WORLEY and BETTY BRENNER preceded a two-out RBI single by KATHY SOWERS to give the CARDINALS a 13-12 victory. The BIRDS followed it up with a 15-10 verdict over the previously undefeated GOLDEN GIRLS 60's to force an “IF” game for the championship.

“Those were three very close games against three very good teams,” NEEDHAM said, “But those are the games you have to win if you want to be the champions.”

In the title game it was SUE MINNICH's two-RBI double which was the deciding hit in the 12-10 championship game.

With the 2012 60 MAJORS CROWN to add to their tournament hardware, the OHIO CARDINALS achieved somewhat of a WORLD tournament hat trick. In 1998 the team won a  50's crown; in 2010 they added the SPA 55's title and this year it was the 60's MAJOR championship.

The CARDINALS have played in six tournaments this year winning four (HUNTSMAN, DALTON, PRESCOTT LOWER DIV) and adding a few  thirds ( COLUMBUS, PENSACOLA, JACKSON VILLE) to their impressive playing resume.

The team which was formed in 1998 still has ELEVEN originals on its roster: MARY BULLEN, JAN DETERS, MAUREEN FITZGERALD, MARILYN LOVETT, PEGGEY MEACHAM, SUE MINNICH, JUDY PEELE, TERRY SMITH, KATHY SOWERS, JAN WORLEY and COLLEEN NEEDHAM.

In regards to the individual awards given at tournaments, NEEDHAM is not a big fan of the “choosing” procedure.

“First off everybody who plays on a championship team contributes and in my mind is ALL-TOURNAMENT,” she explained, “and they give you four-or-five minutes to decide who the ALL-AMERICANS from your team are, Nobody needs a ribbon or award to say they played well, they all know if they played well or not, who needs a ribbon?”

Since NEEDHAM'S opinions have yet to be instituted, SPA ALL-AMERICANS selected the “old way” were:

PITCHER JUDY PEELE (7-1) was selected as tournament MVP based on not only for her pitching, but also her defensive play and timely hitting.

ALL-AMERICAN honors went to : MARY BULLEN (1B,.462); JAN DETERS (2B, .667, 13 RBI'S); SUE MINNICH (RF, .567, 14 RBI'S); KATHY SOWERS (LCF, .423 10 RBI, outstanding defense) and DONNA VARGA (RCF, .623 12 RBI).

NEEDHAM received the 2012 SPA MANAGER-OF-THE-YEAR award.

Other members of the 2012 60 MAJOR WORLD CHAMPS are: BETTY BRENNER (AH/C), MAUREEN FITZGERALD (SF), BARBARA KRACK ( C ), MARILYN LOVETTE ( C ), PEGGY MEACHAM (SS), TERRY SMITH (LF) and JAN WORLEY (3B).

“We are a very close team,” NEEDHAM said, “ We are almost all local players, we do not make a habit of  recruiting across the United States. It is always nice to win anything when you can share it and the experience with your close friends and the DALTON win was a great experience for us all”.

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SPORTACULARS HIT GRAND SLAM, WIN FOURTH SPA 70'S WORLDS

by Ho Hoffman 26. November 2012 11:43

ONTARIO PROVINCE LADIES WIN SPA 70'S MAJOR WORLD TITLE

DALTON, GEORGIA – The ONTARIO CANADA SPORTACULARS added the SPA 2012 70's MAJOR'S WORLD TITLE to their 2009 70's AAA, 2010 70's AAA and 2011 70'S MAJOR crowns to give them an unprecedented four successive SPA WOMAN'S 70”S DIVISION championships.

No, winning never gets old,” SPA 70 MAJORS 2012 MANAGER-OF-THE-YEAR SYLVIA MERGL responded to the question,” We (SPORTACULARS) decided it is definitely more enjoyable to win than to lose.”

The SPORTACULARS have been doing a lot of winning this year winning SPA (SOFTBALL PLAYERS ASSOCIATION) tournaments at COLUMBUS, OHIO; DALTON, GEORGIA and JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA, In addition they finished second at PENSACOLA, FLORIDA and third at the HUNTSMAN games in ST. GEORGE, UTAH.

We try to play four-or-five tournaments a year,” MERGL said, “We have to go to the STATES to play because the only other 70's CANADIAN woman's team is 3,000 miles away in VANCOUVER

While the SPA championship string continued at DALTON, the individual game winning streak in bracket play came to an end. Over the four years in the 70's DIVISION the SPORTACULARS had won TWELVE (12) bracket games in a row before losing to the FLORIDA FREEDOM SPIRIT 13-8 to force an “IF” game for the title.

We just didn't hit and they did,” MERGL explained “The 70's DIVISION is so close among the teams that if you don't hit and the other team does, you are going to lose. And we did.”

The ONTARIO ladies bounced back in the championship game holding on for a hard fought 14-12 triumph.

FREEDOM is an excellent team and the game could have gone either way,” MERGL said, “We were able to get some key hits at the right time and hold on defensively for the win.”

With wins over the TENNESSEE SENIOR STARS (14-13), (KY) THOROUGHBREDS (20-0) AND THE VIRGINIA GOLDEN GALS 70's (16-3) in pool play coupled with earlier bracket wins against FREEDOM SPIRIT (20-14) and FLORIDA GOLDEN GALS (27-16) the SPORTACULARS had a nice 6-1 record for the seven games.

Earning the tournament MVP honor was DOREEN GARRETT. Selected to the ALL-AMERICAN team were EARLENE FOGAL, MADY SZUMLINSKI, JUDY BOLTON and JEAN MILLS. MERGL received the SPA 2012 70 MAJOR MANAGER-OF-THE-YEAR AWARD.

Other members of the SPA 2012 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP SPORTACULARS are: MARIE BLOIS, MARY LYNNE PATTERSON, ARLENE JOHNSON, DELSIE CLAYTON, HELEN EDWARDS and MARY COLE.

The key to our success has been team chemistry,” MERGL explained, 'We are all like a big family, softball tournaments are like an excuse for us all to get together. In the off season we are always getting together either individually or in small groups to visit with one another. When you get along off the field, you will do well on the field.”

MERGL also sees the handwriting on the wall as the team, despite adding new players moving up from the 65's rank, continues to grow older.

I think eventually we will have to form a 75's team,” MERGL said, “Plays you used to be able to make at 70, are a lot more difficult at 73-and-74, so we have to face the facts and consider forming a 75's team.”

Regardless of what age group they play in, they will continue to play.

Senior softball is just a tremendous experience,” MERGL said “and the DALTON OPENING CEREMONY was one of our best ever softball experiences. When they raised the CANADIAN flag, introduced us and played “OH CANADA”, there wasn't a dry eye on our team. That is something we will always remember.”

In case they ever start to forget, they can always look at the trophy case, where FOUR CONSECUTIVE SPA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS are displayed and that will surely rekindle the memory of a great senior woman's softball run.

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GUSTO GRAPHICS BURN UP PHONE LINES TO WIN 40 AAA WORLDS

by Ho Hoffman 26. November 2012 11:35

     LATE ADDITIONS HELP GIVE GRAPHICS TEAM THE GUSTO

DALTON, GEORGIA – The hardest part of GUSTO GRAPHICS winning the 2012 SPA 40 AAA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP was not the playing of the games, but rather getting enough players to make it to DALTON to play the games.

We (the team) had a lot of last minute cancellations by a number of players which almost kept us from having enough players to attend the DALTON tournament,” GUSTO GRAPHICS SPA 40 AAA MANAGER-OF-THE-YEAR SAM ROCCO said.

Two weeks before the tournament, ROCCO was still burning the phone lines calling players from other teams, who he knew were not going to DALTON. Being down to TEN PLAYERS was not an envious spot to be in two weeks before a tournament.

It took a lot of calls but I was able to get KELLI CARLSON and STACI KALINER from OHIO, who we (GUSTO GRAPHICS) were very familiar with and KAY HUGHES and AMY SHARP from TENNESSEE who we had never seen play,” ROCCO said, “But now that one problem was handled (enough players) it creates the next problem, how do we put everyone in the right position and have us all work together as a team?”

The unfamiliarity with each other showed up early in pool play as GUSTO GRAPHICS split the first two games losing 16-7 to eventual 40 MAJOR CHAMPS KRYPTONITE but edging the 45 DIVISION CHAMPS CAROLINA SNIPERS 16-15.

Any new found confidence the team may have had after beating the SNIPERS was quickly lost when they were drubbed by the 35's DIVISION CHAMPS ARKANSAS SYNERGY 24-12.

We were like an army M.A.S.H. unit in pool play,” ROCCO said, “It was the first time we had ever played together so it was like our first practice as we tried different combinations, had people playing different positions and batting in different spots. After being thrashed by ARKANSAS things did not look too promising.”

But the SOFTBALL GODS must have been watching and like the movie “ANGELS IN THE OUTFIELD” good things began to happen for the PENNSYLVANIA team,

In the opening round of bracket play they held off CHICKS WITH STICKS 11-8 and put it all together to beat 40+ FOR KAY 12-2. In the championship game GUSTO GRAPHICS defeated KAY'S again but by only 13-10.

That one was close, “ROCCO said, “KAY'S had loaded the bases with two out and the top of their order coming up next, I thought we were finished but the batter hit a line shot up the middle and our pitcher SANDY SPENCER snagged it and all of a sudden we were the CHAMPS, UNBELIEVABLE!!”

In addition to filling the roster, ROCCO's recruitment of CARLSON paid a huge part in winning the title.

The WARREN, OHIO native won the tournament MVP award despite playing a new position as an outfielder instead of her normal spot on the mound. CARLSON also contributed a number of key hits to help GUSTO GRAPHICS take home the crown.

Selected as ALL-AMERICANS were first baseman JUDI DUM; CLEVELAND'S STACI KALINER; left fielder TAMMY ROCCO; third baseman SHARON SCHWARTZ and LEEANN ZEISE

Everyone of those girls deserved the ALL-AMERICAN honor,”ROCCO said, “But so did about everyone else on the team. You can't win a tournament with just six people,”

It takes the entire 14-player roster to do that,” he added, “. I just wish everyone could have been recognized as an ALL-AMERICAN, because they certainly all played like ones.”

The rest of the GUSTO GRAPHIC 40 AAA SPA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP team are: CAROL CRAIG, KAY HUGHES, KATHY LAKATOS, BETTY MAGUIRE, MARYANN MURRAY, RENEE PUGLIESE, AMY SHARP, SANDY SPENCER, ASSISTANT COACH CHARLIE “TEDDY BEAR” CRAIG and BATTING PRACTICE PITCHER GARY CARLSON.

Also playing a huge part in the team's success was team sponsor AL SPENCER of GUSTO GRAPHICS.

We are so fortunate to have a sponsor like AL,ROCCO said, “He is a great person and has been very special to the success of our team.”

DALTON is the only tournament the ladies played in, with their best effort a second place spot in 2009 so this win was extra special to both the team and the manager.

This was just a great experience for us and worth all the anxiety and problems we were going through prior to the tournament,” ROCCO said, “The SPA DALTON tournament is one of the best I have ever experienced. The fields are immaculate, the umpires on top of their game and the way we were treated by both the SPA staff and the people of DALTON just made this a tremendous experience for us all.”

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General | Tournaments | Women

About the Editor

Ho Hoffman of Wadsworth,Ohio is a sports writer for the Medina (Ohio) Gazette daily newspaper. Hoffman also has been playing competitive softball for nearly sixty years and 3,000 games starting in the adult fast pitch leagues as a teenager and continuing through into today's 70's senior division.  

Hoffman for the past twenty years has also been playing on senior softball travel teams. In addition, he along with Red Bole are the tournament directors of the highly successful SPA Ohio Buckeye Classic June senior softball tournament which last year drew 77 teams, in the 50, 55, 60, 65, 70 and 75 AA and AAA only divisions. 

He is also married. He and his wife Sue have three sons who are also active in softball and baseball. The youngest Matt plays adult slo-pitch softball, Mike plays Roy Hobbs 40-and over baseball and Marc is the founder, owner and president of U.S. Baseball Academy, the nation's largest baseball training program.

 

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