PEPCO ELECTRIC HITS THEIR WAY TO SPA 75 GOLD WORLD TITLE

by Ho Hoffman 27. August 2013 11:28

                CHAMPS HIT .731 IN THE SEVEN GAMES

 

COLUMBUS,OHIO - “Maybe it was the water,” was PEPCO ELECTRIC'S manager TED BUDZIK response to how his team ripped the softball during the SPA 75 GOLD DIVISION WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS held at COLUMBUS,OHIO'S BERLINER PARK August 12-15,

The CLEVELAND team looked like the 1927 YANKEE'S MURDERER'S ROW when after losing their first game in pool play to the DELAWARE DIAMONDS 14-11, they ran off six straight wins to claim their first 75's tournament of the year.

I don't know what we did different to hit like we did,” BUDZIK, who was the SPA 75 GOLD DIVISION MANAGER-OF-THE-YEAR said, “It (hitting) just started and it was contagious.”

BUDZIK was also quick to point out that his team was unable to hit like that at THEE BUCKEYE CLASSIC or the HEART OF OHIO TOURNAMENT, where they took runner-up spots to HAMEL'S and the INDY CROWNS.

They did not have a similar problem at the 75 WORLDS as they beat the DELAWARE DIAMONDS 19-5, JIMMY'S MINNESOTA GOLD 19-14 and the ANTIQUES twice 20-6 and 17-1 in the title game.

You may not believe it but this tournament was loaded with really great teams,” BUDZIK said, “PEACHTREE, INDY CROWNS, ANTIQUES, JIMMY”S, STATESMEN, GEEZERS, DIAMONDS and PROHEALTH all were capable of winning the tournament”

In tournament play the winner is usually the one which gets hot at the right time and we really got hot. We didn't score a lot of runs like some of the teams did but we consistently scored around 20 runs.”, he added.

Carrying the big bat for PEPCO was TOURNAMENT MVP ROGER THRESHER. The mid-fielder was 20-of-23 for a sparkling .869 batting average.

ALL-AMERICAN selections from PEPCO were CHUCK BARRACATO (.814), JOE MISKE (.862), BILL MURPHY (.681), RUSS NEGRAY (.750) and JOHN MILLER (.680).

Other members of the championship team are: ALAN DEWERTH (.600), JERRY HATFIELD (.631), RICHARD HONKALA (.818), TOM MALONEY, JIM PRICE (.680), SAM WYMAN, WILSON YODER (.653), TOM SIEWIOREK (.590), ASSISTANT COACH HAM LUNARDI and STATISTICIAN KATHY WYMAN. Team Sponsor is JACK BORKEY of PEPCO ELECTRIC in EASTLAKE, OHIO.

Of course you just can't win a tournament with hitting, you also need defense. The “D” was also key for PEPCO. In seven games they made less than ten errors and turned eight double plays.

If you keep the other team from getting extra bats because of errors and you're hitting, it makes winning a whole lot easier.”, BUDZIK explained.

Another factor which BUDZIK feels really helps everyone's play in the 75 Division is the two games a day maximum.

That is really a great program for tournaments,” BUDZIK said, “When you only play two games a day and in this tournament we went 2-2-2-1 it keeps everyone fresh to play at the top of their game.”

PEPCO ELECTRIC is not new to the tournament wars with most of the players having played together since they were in their 50's.

We all started in the MAYFIELD HEIGHTS LEAGUE, one of the first senior league in Ohio,” BUDZIK said, “We formed our team and called it the HALL OF FAMERS and had all softball HALL OF FAME players on it.”

According to BUDZIK that didn't last long as HOF players on the team retired and they couldn't find enough to take their place. Almost eighty-percent of today's team has been together for twenty years and has won five National Titles.

We won at PLANO twice as 60-and-65, VEGAS at 65 and Palm Springs at 70,” their manager said,

This is our first championship in awhile and it is bittersweet,” BUDZIK said, “Thanks to SPA, the 75 AAA DIVISION has become one of the best divisions in Senior Softball and now we have to move to MAJOR where there are only three other 75 major teams within a 400-mile radius.”

At this point, BUDZIK is not sure what the team will do next year.

If we can't find tournaments like BARBERTON, COLUMBUS and SHELBYVILLE to play in because we're a major it may be best to split up the team,” BUDZIK said, “If SPA can come up with tournaments in OHIO, INDIANA, MARYLAND and other states close by where they have at least four major teams playing that would be great.”

Unfortunately that has not been the case,” BUDZIK said, “If there will be tournaments for major 75's we have no problem staying together but if not we'll have to do what is best for everyone. Remember, we are all 75 and you don't have that many years left to play.”

Not wanting to sound like sour grapes, BUDZIK had high praise for the SPA organization.

What SPA has done for the 75 DIVISION is tremendous,” he said, “THEE BUCKEYE CLASSIC, HEART OF OHIO and the 75 WORLDS are three of the best run tournaments we have ever played. I wish all tournaments were as well run as SPA'S. SPA is the main reason the 75 DIVISION keeps growing and we really enjoyed being a part of it this year and hope we can continue to do so.”

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MICHIGAN LAKERS SAIL TO SPA 75 WORLDS TITLE

by Ho Hoffman 26. August 2013 12:18

     NEW CHAMPS OUTDUEL FIVE OTHERS IN SILVER BRACKET

 

COLUMBUS, OHIO – The MICHIGAN LAKERS captured the 2013 SPA 75 WORLDS SILVER DIVISION title AUGUST 12-15 at COLUMBUS, OHIO'S BERLINER PARK going undefeated in the six-team bracket play.

When I saw we were put in the SILVER DIVISION, I knew we had a good chance of winning the championship,” 2013 SPA 75 SILVER DIVISION MANAGER-OF-THE-YEAR NORM NELSON said, “We figured the LOUISVILLE THUNDER, who we played in SHELBYVILLE, would be the team we would have to beat to win it,”

NELSON is not only an award winning manager, but also a pretty good prophet. The LAKERS had to beat the THUNDER not once but twice TO WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP.

The LAKERS sent the THUNDER to the loser's bracket early in the tournament with a 30-14 thrashing and then beat them again in the title game, but this time by only a 10-8 score.

That first win over the THUNDER was the best we have played in any game all year,” NELSON said, “The second game was a true indication of how close us and the THUNDER are to each other.”

I would imagine if we played them ten times, we each would win five games,”he added.

It was the third tournament the teams had been in together but only the first time they played each other in a finals.

We both were in different brackets at SHELBYVILLE and THEE BUCKEYE CLASSIC but we had both seen each other play,” NELSON said.

The other team the LAKERS beat on the way to the title were MICHIGAN MILLERS 23-8.

It was a great tournament,” NELSON said, “We got to play different teams in pool play and then two others in bracket play. SPA has really done a great job having tournaments where a lot of 75's attend. There were FIFTEEN teams here, EIGHT in SHELBYVILLE and SEVENTEEN at THEE BUCKEYE CLASSIC.”

Although the team has been playing together for over twenty years, this was the first SPA National or WORLDS title they have ever won.

We won in HUNTSMAN in 2003 as a 65-year old team and also a couple tournaments that were not SSUSA, ISSA or SPA,” Nelson said, “This is the first really big one we won.”

They almost didn't even make it to this one.

We played as a 70's team last year and really took our lumps and weren't sure if we stay at 70 or move up to 75 this year,” NELSON explained, “We almost waited to long to get into THEE BUCKEYE CLASSIC and when we finished second in their SILVER DIVISION, we knew we could compete at this level and started making plans to go to other SPA tournaments and the SPA WORLDS.”

According to NELSON, the key to winning the WORLD TITLE was their hitting,

We use an on-base-percentage figure instead of pure batting average and our OBP was .615,” NELSON said, “We had one player at .800, another at .700, five at .600, four at .500 and two at .400. When you have that many players at .600 or better, you know your hitters have had a good tournament.”

BARRY GRIFFIN had the hottest bat for the LAKERS with a .818 OBP (18 for 22) including four inside-the-park home runs. In addition GRIFFIN, the team's short stop, sparkled on the field. His efforts easily earned him the TOURNAMENT MVP AWARD.

The LAKERS also had their share of ALL AMERICANS. Making the squad were DAVE HUNT (OF,.642), J.C. SCHNEIDER (1B, .636), GARY BELLEVILLE (MF, .580), NELSON (INF,.708) and DONNIE IVENS (OF, .454).

IVENS was special for us,” NELSON explained, “DON'S wife had gone into the hospital and it looked like he would not be able to attend the tournament which meant we only would have had 12 players, not enough for a four-day tournament.”

DON'S wife told him to go to the tournament and she would be OK,”NELSON added, “Without DON we would not have been able to attend, that is why he was voted as ALL AMERICAN for the sacrifice he made to attend.”.

Other members of the LAKERS are: ERWIN CHEYNE, DON GARRATT, CHARLES LANE, STU LAPHAM,JOE REYNOLDS, LARRY SEVITTS, RON SHOEMAKER, FRED DAVIS, MELVIN VANDENHEUVEL, JAN VOSBURG and PAUL HARRINGTON.

Could you also mention CAROL NELSON, who is like our traveling secretary lining up the motels and finding restaurants for us?,” NELSON asked,

Sorry, can't do it. Just kidding.

The wives apparently are a huge part of the LAKERS' team. At COLUMBUS they had a fan base of NINE WIVES and THREE other fan club members.

That is what makes playing senior softball so enjoyable,” NELSON said, “When you have the wives and others attend to cheer you on and then get together after the game for group dinners and such.”

The LAKERS are now done with softball for 2013 but are looking forward to 2014.

We started off with seventeen -or-so players and right now we probably have less than a dozen healthy bodies,” NELSON said, “It is time for us to take time to heal and get ready for 2014.”

This was a great year for us being able to play four tournaments and finish it off with a WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP,” NELSON added, “We also want to thank SPA for putting together so many great tournaments that 75-year guys can play in. It helped makes this a great and enjoyable year for the LAKERS.”

 

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TOM WILLIAMS MEMORIAL TRI CITY CLASSIC TURNS “21”

by Ho Hoffman 23. August 2013 13:45

                TOURNAMENT MAKES 2013 COMEBACK

 

JOHNSON CITY, TENNESSEE – The 2013 SPA TOM WILLIAMS MEMORIAL TRI CITY CLASSIC turned 21 years old JULY 11-13 and celebrated by doubling last year's attendance.

The VOLUNTEER STATE tournament increased the turnout from SEVEN teams to SIXTEEN this year and gives strong indications that the event is on the way back to the glory years of THIRTY PLUS teams.

Five DIVISION CHAMPS were crowned in the 60-65-70 brackets.

The LEFTOVERS showed there was nothing “leftover” about them as they took the 70 PLUS SILVER DIVISION besting LEIDEN'S LEGENDS 20-17 in the title game.

The LEGENDS reached the championship game beating the GEORGIA CLASSICS 8-7 in the loser's bracket finale.

VACAR claimed the 70 PLUS GOLD championship with a 10-5 win over BAILEY'S TALENT CAVALIERS. BAILEY'S knocked off the GEORGIA NUGGETS 28-6 in the loser's bracket to earn the runner-up spot.

The CHARLOTTE SENIORS 65's ran the table in the 65 DIVISION opening with a 24-14 win over PATRICK HENRY, followed with two wins over SPORT LETTERING 15-5 and 18-13 in the title game.

TENNESSEE RV was the fourth team in the field.

LOU'S ROYALS also went 3-0 in the 60 PLUS SILVER DIVISION bracket play. The ROYALS won the title with successive victories over TRI CITIES 60'S (21-14); FLIP DOW (22-21) and L&M BUILDERS (18-10) in the championship game.

The 60 PLUS GOLD DIVISION crown went to the CAROLINA COBRAS.

The “REPTILES” beat the CHARLOTTE SENIORS 21-7 in the championship match. In earlier games the COBRAS had beaten CHARLOTTE SENIORS 19-7 and HAMEL 60'S 21-20.

All teams who finished first and/or second at the 2013 SPA TOM WILLIAMS MEMORIAL TRI CITY CLASSIC earned spots in the SPA 2013 WORLD SERIES in the HOUSTON, TEXAS SPORTSPLEX OCTOBER 31-NOVEMBER 3, 2013.

 

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SPA CIRCLE CITY INAUGURAL A HIT!!

by Ho Hoffman 21. August 2013 11:23

FIRST YEAR TOURNAMENT DRAWS TWENTY-FOUR TEAMS

 

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – The INAUGURAL SPA CIRCLE CITY NIT held AUGUST 13-18 at INDIANAPOLIS'S INDY SPORTS PARK got off on the right foot drawing TWENTY-FOUR teams.

Seven division champions were crowned in the six-day event.

Hometown BRICKYARD CLASSICS spiced up the 50's DIVISION going to an “IF” game with CANADA'S WINDSOR FOG to decide the champion. BRICKYARD took the title with 24-9 score in the deciding game.

The WINDSOR FOG made a valiant try when after losing their first game, they won three straight coming out of the loser's bracket to just fall short in the finale.

Others in the four-team bracket were FLOORS TO GO and SIX PAC.

JIM & JOE'S ICE came up from KENTUCKY to win the 55 and 60 MAJOR title beating SMITH'S LAMINATING 25-12 and 20-10 in the best two-out-of-three showdown.

In another best two-out-of-three battle the ANTIQUE ROADSHOW beat the DAYTON LEGENDS 55's 18-14 and 25-6 to win the 55 AAA championship.

ONTARIO'S CAVCO SPORTS and the INDY FOG went the full three games to determine the 60 AA champ. CAVCO won the opener 22-4 but INDY FOG tied it up with a 17--9 win in the second game.

CAVCO took the rubber game with a 16-13 win and with it the 60 AA title.

The five-team 60 AAA bracket also went to an”IF” game with BRICKYARD CLASSICS beating the DAYTON LEGENDS 60's 32-13 in the championship game.

The DAYTON LEGENDS came out of the loser's bracket winning three straight including a 19-17 win over the BRICKYARD CLASSICS to force the “IF” game.

Rounding out the division were MID-STATE SENIORS, MIAMI LAKE SPORTS and ZEPPELIN.

In another five-team bracket, U.S.DOT JOBS ran the table to take the 65 DIVISION CROWN. The winners beat DAYTON LEGENDS 16-9, MID-STATE 65's 12-4 and 11-6 on the way to the title.

Rounding out the field were WRIGHT STATE and DAYTON LEGENDS 65's.

The SILVER SNEAKERS continued their 2013 TOURNAMENT winnings by edging MID-STATE SENIORS 12-11 for the 70's CHAMPIONSHIP.

The SNEAKERS reached the title game with wins over MICH-INDY SPIRIT 17-5 and INDIANAPOLIS CLASSICS 11-10.

All teams who finished first and/or second at the SPA CIRCLE CITY NIT earned spots in the SPA 2013 WORLD SERIES in the HOUSTON, TEXAS SPORTSPLEX OCTOBER 31-NOVEMBER 3, 2013.

 

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HOUSTON SPORTSPLEX HOSTS SPA SOUTHWEST NIT

by Ho Hoffman 20. August 2013 13:36

           FIFTEEN TEAMS BATTLE IN FIVE DIVISIONS

 

HOUSTON, TEXAS – Fifteen teams invaded the HOUSTON SPORTSPLEX AUGUST 1-4 to take part in the 2013 SPA SOUTHWEST NIT senior tournament.

NHS NUWAY HENDRICKS took the 50 PLUS DIVISION beating the BULLETS 13-11 and MIXED BREED 18-15, 15-0 (forfeit), Rounding out the five team bracket were TEXAS ELITE BUSHS CHICKEN and ELITE.

In a best two-out-of-three battle for the 55AAA TITLE the HOUSTON FIRE swept SENIOR TEAM HOUSTON by a 15-7 and 21-12 count.

In the three-team 65 AA BRACKET the OKIES defeated the LEFTOVERS twice by scores of 15-11 and 18-3 to claim the crown. The DALLAS SPURS was the third team in the group.

The 65 AAA saw another best two-out-of-three with the SAN ANTONIO LEGENDS coming out on top after disposing of the TEXAS LEGENDS 21-8 and 17-11.

WHIRLEY BIRDS claimed the 70 DIVISION with a 15-0 verdict over the TEXAS CLASSICS. The CLASSICS beat SEGURA FARMS 20-16 to reach the finals.

All teams who finished first and/or second at the SPA SOUTHWEST NIT earned spots in the SPA 2013 WORLD SERIES in the HOUSTON, TEXAS SPORTSPLEX OCTOBER 31-NOVEMBER 3, 2013.

 

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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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