FINALLY!!!!!!

by Ho Hoffman 18. December 2012 13:10

AKRON 75'S END TWENTY-FIVE YEAR WAIT, WIN SPA 75 AA WORLDS

 

BARBERTON, OHIO – It only took twenty-five years and at least three dozen SPA/SSUSA/ISSA World events but the AKRON 75's finally won a WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP claiming the 2012 SPA AA WORLD'S held in their own backyard, BARBERTON, OHIO.

What a great feeling to finally after all these years win a World CHAMPIONSHIP,” SPA 75'S AA MANAGER-OF-THE-YEAR HARRY HANSEN said,”It was also special for the players who really put out the effort to show everyone they did have a good team.”

The “did have a good team” reference was in regards to a number of AKRON area 75's who were eligible to play for the AKRON team but decided to play with other 75's teams from NEW YORK, MICHIGAN and INDIANA.

We really had to scramble just before the tournament to get all our positions filled,” HANSEN explained, “When you are counting on a five-or-six players to be on your team and then you find out two weeks prior to the tournament they are playing with other teams, it puts you in a big hole.”

The AKRON 75's were not only able to fill the “hole” in time for the tournament but swept the AA field winning the title with bracket wins against CFI 25-20 in the first round and by 21-20 in the finals.

Leading the onslaught for AKRON was AA TOURNAMENT MVP 84-year old outfielder DAVE MICHELTREE. The MVP batted over .900 for all five tournament games and played outstanding defense.

Earning ALL-AMERICAN honors were BILL ZAVARELLO (SS), THOM VILD (2b), DON MONTAQUE (MF) and RED BOLE (OF).

The rest of the self-sponsored championship team members are: ADRIAN “THOME” ACHTERMANN (1b/C), ART BAILEY (OF), DON BUCKLE (IF), PHIL DELONG (INF/DH), VINCE DIDATO (IF), MKE “WHAT A” GUY (OF), JOHN JOHNSTON (1B), JOHN “THE LIP” MITCHELL (P), RICH PANTALONE (INF), KYLE “COLONEL” SAUNDERS and JOHN SCHUMACHER,

As to will it take another 25 years for a championship, HANSEN replied.

I hope not because I don't think there is a 100-and-over division.”

Seriously, though in this division you can never be sure of what the future holdsforyou.” HANSEN said, “ We already know we have to find a couple of more outfielders and add some more players. It is a losing cause for a 75's team to enter a tournament with less than seventeen players. Even just two games a day takes its toll over three days,”

HANSEN is also not looking forward to what the SPA 75 DIVISION will look like this year, since they will not have a AA DIVISION.

I understand why they (SPA) did it,” HANSEN said, “but there is a world of difference between AAA teams like PROHEALTH, KC ANTIQUES and INDIANA CROWNS compared to the “new AAA teams” like CFI, SILVER FOXES and us. I just hope they (SPA) divide the AAA teams into a SILVER and GOLD DIVISION at the SPA tournaments to give us a fighting chance. I really don't want to wait another twenty-five years for a championship.”

 

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CYCLONES BLOW THROUGH SENIOR AAA COMPETITION

by Ho Hoffman 18. December 2012 12:57

SYRACUSE 75'S ADD SPA WORLDS TO WORLD TITLE COLLECTIONS 

BARBERTON, OHIO – YEAR 2012 will go down as “THAT YEAR TO REMEMBER” for the SYRACYSE CYCLONE 75's softball team. The NEW YORK team swept all the Senior organization's WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS, including the SPA 75 AAA WORLDS held in BARBERTON,OHIO.

It was the best year we have ever had in senior softball,” CYCLONE spokesman LEN BECCHETTI said, “Considering that we are a local travel team and do not recruit out of NEW YORK, all our players are from the ROCHESTER, BINGHAMTON and SYRACUSE area; we are quite proud of our accomplishments.”

At BARBERTON, SYRACUSE took the title by beating LOUISVILLE THUNDER (16-15), HAMELS (MD) 75's (25-17) and PROHEALTH CARE (WIS) 16-13 in the championship game.

The CYCLONES continued their domination in the SPA WORLDS by going SIX andZERO in the rest of their 2012 tournaments. The other titles were won at LOUDON COUNTY, SALT CITY, RALEIGH, LAS VEGAS EAST/WEST PLAYOFF and LAS VEGAS WORLDS.

The CYCLONE 75's are definitely an experienced team with most of the squad having started in the organization as 55-year old's riding the SYRACUSE CYCLONE BUS to tournaments in the 1990's like the now defunct PENN HILLS SENIOR EVENT..

Our organization has been around for a long time, our 75'S started as 55'S “ BECCHETTI said, “ We have SYRACUSE CYCLONE teams in the 60's, 65's and 70's in addition to our 75's. The players just keep moving up the ladder to the next age group.”

Despite winning all the Major titles, the CYCLONES are now faced with a huge “DOWNER” for 2013.

WE are now a MAJOR TEAM and finding tournaments in the EAST andMIDWEST for Seniors is near-impossible,” BECCHETTI explained, “We are self-sponsored so to travel to DALTON, VEGAS, down south and to the west to find tournaments which accept MAJORS is very expensive.”

I guess we will have to cut down on our tournaments or find a SANTA CLAUS somewhere to partially sponsor us”, BECCHETTI added.

If they find that SANTA CLAUS, OLS SAINI NICK will pick up a team that will represent his business well and is very respected in Senior Softball,

The current members of the 2012 SYRACUSE CYCLONES are BOB BARTHOLOMEW, BECCHETTI, DON COREY, BEN DORSEY, MIKE FITZGERALD, BOB FOX, JACK HAGGERTY, DOUG HAMMOND, JOE HILL, DON LONGOBARDI, RICHARD LOWENBERG, DAVID MCDONALD, HERB PFUHL, ALLEN SHERIDAN, CHARLIE FOOTE and TED SNIFFEN. JAYNE HILL IS THE TEAM STATISTICIAN.

At BARBERTON, FITZGERALD, HILL, MCDONALD and SHERIDAN were selected to the ALL-AMERICAN team while SNIFFEN won the tournament's BEST DEFENSIVE OLAYER AWARD. BECCHETTI was the field manager for the champs while HAGGERTY handles the administrative end for the CYCLONES.

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SUN SHINES BRIGHT ON ROCKY TOP

by Ho Hoffman 10. December 2012 15:46

 

     TENNESSEE STARS 50'S WIN 2012 SPA 50 MAJOR WORLD TITLE

 

DALTON, GEORGIA – The clouds that appeared over ROCKY TOP last year following the 2011 DALTON TOURNAMENT turned to sunshine this year as the TENNESSEE STAR'S 50's roared through the competition to win the 2012 SPA 50 MAJOR WOMENS' WORLD SOFTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP.

Last year the TENNESSEE ladies lost to the DREAM GIRLZ in the finals for a runner-up finish. This year it was different as the STARS went 6-0 in pool and tournament play to win their first SPA WORLD TITLE.

“It was a lot different this year,” TENNESSEE STAR'S manager WILL GRANDSTAFF said, “This year we started quickly scoring our five runs in the first couple of innings to take the lead and didn't have to play catch-up the whole tournament.”

“Also last year defense deserted us but this year we played great defense,” GRANDSTAFF added.

In their six wins the TENNESSEE STARS outscored their opponents by an average score of 16.5 to 8.6. The ROCKY TOP squad was really on a roll in pool play winning by scores of 23-6 (SASSY SENIORS), 17-8 (SUNNY BEACHES) and 19-8 (SHO-ME).

“Like I said we were out of the gate fast,” GRANDSTAFF said, “In tournament play the secret is getting on top early and making the other team catch you.”

Bracket play was much closer with victories over 2011 50 AAA WORLD CHAMPS SERIOUS FUN (11-9) and perennial woman's 50's powerhouse the JOLICO SENIORS twice (18-14,11-7).

“All of the teams we played in bracket play are very, very good teams,”the SPA 2012

50'S MAJOR MANAGER-OF-THE-YEAR said, “I can't emphasis enough the importance of starting quickly getting in the lead and putting the pressure on the other team to catch you.”

GRANDSTAFF has honed his softball philosophy from over 35-years of coaching woman's softball and actually coached a lot of today's TENNESSEE STARS when they were USSSA travel ball.

“To the question, “.....coaching woman for 35 years, don't they give you a lot of trouble ?.”, he responded jokingly, “Only the one sitting here next to me (his wife pitcher JUANITA GRANDSTAFF).”

JUANITA GRANDSTAFF, who was 4-0 at DALTON, is one of the six original members of the TENNESSEE STARS which was started twelve years ago under the TOUCH OF GLASS handle..

“The other originals are EULA DANIELS, SHEILA GLASSCOCK, JANICE HOBACK, KIM KENDRICK and SHIRLEY KARPER,” JUANITA GRANDSTAFF said, “Most of us (STARS) have been together for nine-or-ten years, we are just like one big family.”

Although the team only played three tournaments this year (DALTON, PENSACOLA, TENNESSEE SENIOR OLYMPICS) they kept their game sharp by participating in the eight-team NASHVILLE area woman's league.

Not only did they participate but also won the LEAGUE playing against players thirty years younger than them.

“One of the players from another team after we won the League Title, said, 'I can't believe we got beat by a bunch of grandmothers',” JUANITA GRANDSTAFF said, “That made winning the championship that much more enjoyable.”

Taking the MVP honors at DALTON was smooth fielding second baseman EULA DANIELS. DANIELS is one of those hitters who drives the defense crazy as she can put the ball anywhere on the field of play she wants to, that was evidenced by her .737 batting average

Selected to the ALL-AMERICAN team were KIM KENDRICK (SF,.650); TERESA PENDERGRAST (OF, .579), PAMELA DEDMON (OF, .756), SHIRLEY KARPER (LCF) and RENEE PAGE (3b, .650). PAGE also served as assistant coach for the TENNESSEE STARS.

The other members of the SPA 2012 50 MAJOR WORLD CHAMPIONS are: VICKIE WALDROP (3B), SHEILA GLASSCOCK (1B), JUANITA GRANDSTAFF (P), JANICE HOBACK ( C ), MARY WESSON (1B), NATALIE BAUGH ( C ), BARBARA MCKISSACK (OF), DEBRA GILL (OF), TERESA GILLASPIE (OF), JACKIE WRIGHT (P 2-0), BRENDA WALSH (SS) and statistician SHERRIE CHAFFIN.

“This is a great bunch of women, they are like a group of sisters.” WILL GRANDSTAFF said,'They are so easy to coach, they pick themselves up when they are down , there are very few disagreements. They just a very close knit group and I really believe that is the secret to our success.”

 

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THESE CHICKS NOT BLUE, WIN 2012 SPA 65 AAA WORLD TITLE

by Ho Hoffman 6. December 2012 00:10

DELAWARE TEAM ALSO CELEBRATES HARRIET MAIR'S HOF HONOR

DALTON, GEORGIA – It was a double-scoop of enjoyment for the BLUE CHICKS at the 2012 SPA 65 AAA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS in DALTON, GEORGIA.

Not only did the DELAWARE team win its first 65 AAA WORLD TITLE, but also saw teammate HARRIET MAIR inducted into the SENIOR SOFTBALL HALL-OF-FAME.

It really was a great tournament for us,” manager JUNE SMITH said,”I don't know what our team was more excited about---winning the SPA WORLD TITLE or seeing HARRIET (MAIR) being inducted into the HOF – both accomplishments were very special to the BLUE CHICKS.

While MAIR'S induction was already set prior to the tournament the BLUE CHICK”S Championship wasn't. As a matter of fact after their first pool game, the odds looked more like a two-and-gone scenario than a WORLD TITLE.

The FLORIDA GOLDEN GALS 65'S welcomed the BLUE CHICKS to pool play by hanging a 20-11 defeat on the “birds”.

It wasn't a very good way to start the tournament,” SMITH said, “It was twice as bad sitting on the bench watching what was going on...sometimes we were wondering if we would ever get an out.”

We didn't panic because we are usually a slow starting team and if you are going to have a bad game it is better to have it early and get it out of your system,” she added.

In their final two games in pool, the BLUE CHICKS get their act together..but just barely as they beat the 2011 SPA 65 AAA champs the DREAM CATCHERS 9-7 and the NORTH CHARLESTON PRIMETIMERS 11-10.

In their first game in bracket play it was more of the same as they barely got by the VIRGINIA GOLDEN GIRLS 8-6.  But after that it was all over but the crying for the rest of the 65 AAA field.

When we reached the semi-final game against the CHATANOOGA CHARGERS we were more focused and played our game,”SMITH said, “We started making plays defensively and putting long innings together offensively.”

Determined not to falter in the finals as they did in 2011 when they took runner-up honors in the 65 AAA WORLDS, the BLUE CHICKS sent CHATANOOGA to the loser's bracket by an 18-8 count and finished them off in the title game 13-2.

The championship was especially sweet for SMITH and BARBARA SWEENEY, who were original BLUE CHICKS on the 50+ team which was started fifteen years ago.

BARBARA (SWEENEY) and I started the team after we saw an article in the paper about senior softball,” SMITH said. “We called everyone we knew and we put a team together.”

Just as important, if not more important was the work of PAULA KLEMM.” SMITH added, “PK kept this team together the past 15 years, while the other younger age group BLUE CHICK 50's team folded, she has been like a general manager for us. We are here today mainly due to the efforts of BARBARA and PK.”

The biggest hero in DALTON for the BIRDS was TOURNAMENT MVP PHYLLIS MEAD. According to SMITH, “.......she hit like crazy and made unbelievable plays on defense.” The left fielder also supplied a number of key hits throughout the tournament.

Selected to the ALL-AMERICAN team were BARB SWEENEY (RF), EDNA ALLEN (1b), JANET ROBINSON (LF/RF/2B), NOEL HAUSER and pitcher “CHARLY” NEILL-ROE.

SMITH received the 2012 SPA 65 AAA MANAGER-OF-THE-YEAR AWARD and was very humble in her acceptance. 

 Two others deserve part of this award,” SMITH said, “PAULA KLEMM couldn't attend the tournament due to an illness, but she is also deserving of this award. With PAULA not being here, LINDA VAN VALKENBURG stepped up taking over assistant manager's duties and was a great help throughout the tournament. She also deserves equal recognition.”

The other members of the SPA 2012 SPA 65'S WORLD CHAMPS are:

DORIS BROWN (SS), ELLEN CAVINS (SF), JANIS DILLARD (2B), MARIE KNABBE ( C ), BONNIE STRANG (2B), GAINELL TEASLEY (RC), DORCY WILKINS (P), LINDA VAN VALKENBERG (1B), and PAULA KLEMM (Manager).

The team which is self sponsored and only plays three tournaments a year all agreed this was a great year for the BLUE CHICKS.

This has been a great year for us winning the WORLD TITLE and having HARRIET make the HOF,” SMITH said, “We take the game seriously when we are on the field, but for us there is more than just softball.” 

We enjoy each others company and friendship,” SMITH added, “ that is what senior softball is all about, the camaraderie between not only the players on your team but also the other teams. This was just a great year for the BLUE CHICKS.”

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KY FILLIES PLAY GAME FOR MORE THAN THEMSELVES

by Ho Hoffman 5. December 2012 22:08

TEAM WINS 2012 SPA 65 MAJOR WORLDS, DEDICATE WIN TO OTHERS

DALTON, GEORGIA – Wearing RED, WHITE and BLUE jerseys. The KY FILLIES left no doubt as to what was taking center stage for them at the 2012 SPA 65 MAJOR DALTON WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT.

We (KY FILLIES) believe we are so fortunate to live in such a great country such as this, we wanted to emphasis that point as we played in this tournament,” 2012 SPA 65's MAJOR'S MANAGER-OF-THE-YEAR DIANA HARRIS SAID, “ We are also so proud and thankful of our men and women who serve in our armed forces to protect us all so we can participate in activities like this, that we wanted to dedicate our efforts in honor of their service to us all.”

The KENTUCKY team did the RED, WHITE and BLUE colors proud as they went undefeated (6-0) in both pool and bracket play to win their first-ever SPA WORLDS title.

A few of us have been playing together for over thirty years, then starting as 45 year-olds as the "KY FILLIES,” HARRIS said, “We have won championships at HUNTSMAN, SENIOR OLYMPICS and smaller regional tournaments but this is the first WORLD TITLE we have ever won. It really feels great.”

The four ladies who along with HARRIS, who were part of the original KY FILLIES are  DIANE “WOODY” PERRY, WANDA DEVINE, ORLEANE "O" WATSON and SUE "MAC" MCGUIRE.

Prior to the start of the DALTON tournament the FILLIES  found themselves a little shorthanded as short stop CHERIE PARNELL was hit with a serious viral infection was unable to play. The team found themselves with only thirteen players and two were pitchers.

Needless to say, we were not overly confident of our chances being short of players ” HARRIS said, “ We just told ourselves to just keep a positive attitude and play the game the best we could.

SURPRISE!! SURPRISE!!

Once the tournament started the team did not play like the KY FILLIES but more like the 1927 NEW YORK YANKEES MURDER'S ROW. They started with a 23-3 hammering of the CHATTANOOGA CHARGERS; followed by a 19-2 win over the GOLDEN GIRLS and finished pool play beating the GOLDEN GALS 65'S 16-12.

That was unbelievable,” HARRIS expressed, “We have never hit like that.”

Some of the girls thought they played so well because HARRIS'S husband TONY stayed home and didn't come to this tournament. 

We all love him dearly, but sometimes he is like a bad luck charm for us,” HARRIS joked.

The FILLIES disposed of the GOLDEN GALS 65's 16-14 in the first game, before beating the 2011 65 AAA WORLD CHAMPS DREAMA CATCHERS 16-8 and 10-9 for the title.

The only disappointing part was the way we won the last game against DREAM CATCHERS,” HARRIS said, “We were ahead 10-9 in the last inning and they had two outs and two runners on base and they put in an ineligible pinch runner. It was an automatic out and we won the game, it isn't the way you want to win but a win is a win and we will take it.”

After being shutout in 2011 on individual tournament honors the KY FILLIES more than made up for it in 2012 with SEVEN receiving individual recognition.

Outfielder MITCH LUPA was selected as the 65 MAJOR TOURNAMENT MVP. Earning ALL-AMERICAN honors were WANDA DEVINE (1B), CHRISTINE GAUTHIER (P), SUE MCGUIRE (SF), DOROTHY NAUSS (P) and DIANA “ROCKY” SWIATALSKI (OF), DIANA HARRIS (OF/MGR) received the SPA 2012 65-MAJORS MANAGER-OF-THE-YEAR AWARD.

Other members of the WORLD CHAMPION KY FILLIES are: LINDA HOWE (OF), JUNE MAY (2B), CHERIE PARNELL, DIANE “WOODY” PERRY ( C ), BARBARA SCHERER (3B) KAREN DARNELL (LF) and ORLEANE “O” WATSON (SS).

It was just a tremendous feeling to finally win a WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP, especially since we dedicated our efforts to our armed forces  HARRIS said, “There was a lot of crying, screaming, hugging and such. We all play senior softball not for awards but for the love of the game but it was a nice feeling to see our combined efforts mean something extra.” 

 

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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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