by Ho Hoffman 30. September 2013 12:00



DALTON, GEORGIA – MIKE'S RAIDERS made it two SPA WORLD titles in a row for MANAGER MIKE BLOCH by winning the 2013 SPA 70 AAA WORLD'S CROWN.

Last year BLOCH was the manager of the 65 AAA SPA WORLD CHAMPIONS KAISER PERMANENTE.

Different team this year but thankfully the same results,” BLOCH said, “ We only have five players back (MARTIN EMERMAN, TIM KLODNICK, CHARLIE CASH, JOE MAZIE, BLOCH) from last year's team, so we aren't even close to being considered a dynasty.”

The RAIDERS road to the championship was paved with SEVENTH INNING scoring outbursts as they made the most of the “open inning” opportunities.

Against LEIDEN'S LEGENDS in the bracket first round, MIKE'S led 16-15 in the fifth inning. They proceeded to score FIVE RUNS in the sixth inning and NINE in the SEVENTH to win 30-16.

In the second round they trailed the SILVER SNEAKERS 12-11 in the SEVENTH and responded by outscoring the SNEAKERS 13-1 in the open inning for a 24-13 win.

In the final two games against KNAPHEIDE we scored SEVEN runs in the seventh for a 23-9 win and FIVE in the seventh of the championship game for the 17-11 victory,” BLOCH explained.

All the games were closer than the final score indicates, we just got going at the right time to put the games away,” he added.

BLOCH'S teams and players have been together on-and-off going back twenty years. Some may remember their earlier team name of AMERICAN METAL RECYCLING, AMR and/or JOSEPH'S CHEVROLET.

“Guys come and go and then come back,” BLOCH said about the players who have been part of the RAIDERS team, “Over that time I have been on SEVEN WORLD'S championships while some of the other players have been on FOURTEEN NATIONALS champs.”

Players on this year's roster were led by TOURNAMENT MVP JOE MAZIE.

I've been playing and coaching this game for over thirty-five years,” BLOCH said, “And MAZIE by far is one of the top three slow pitch softball pitchers I have ever seen.”

MAZIE earned the MVP AWARD by his play in all three areas, pitching, defense and an .810 batting average. Joining MAZIE on the All-AMERICAN team were 2b CHARLIE CASH (.615); MF MARTIN EMERMAN (.810); 79-year young catcher DWIGHT MCVICKER (.615); LCF IKE ROUNDTREE (.690); 1B TIM KLODNICK (.704) and MANAGER-OF-THE-YEAR and DH BLOCH (.500).

Others on the championship team are RF BILL KRONIK (.560); SS LARRY OLIVER (.565); RCF JOHN SKAGGS (.500); LF FRANK MERKOSKY (.591); 3B FRANK BOLEK (.500) and C JOHN MILLER (.421).

Our team batting average was .621,” BLOCH proudly exclaimed, “and that is BATTING AVERAGE not on-base-percentage.”

As to what the secret has been for his teams, BLOCH didn't hesitate in explaining.

We play tournaments where the good teams go and where there are a lot of tournaments,” he stated, “This past summer we won THE BIG CAT TOURNAMENT in CLEVELAND and finished second in THEE BUCKEYE CLASSIC in BARBERTON. When you play tournaments like those you get ready for WORLD TOURNAMENTS.”

And MIKE'S RAIDERS were definitely ready for the games in DALTON...all seven innings of each one.


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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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