PNUT BATTERS FIND HORSE OF A DIFFERENT COLOR

by Ho Hoffman 31. December 2013 01:13

    LADIES WIN 2013 SPA 60 AAA WORLD TITLE

DALTON, GEORGIA – The PNUT BATTER ladies found out there are “places like home” and in this case DALTON, GEORGIA.

The 2013 SPA 60 AAA WOMENS' WORLD CHAMPS ran the table at DALTON to finally claim their first-ever major crown.

"What a great feeling,” PNUT BATTERS and the 2013 SPA 60 AAA MANAGER-OF-THE-YEAR RUSTY JOHNSTON SAID,” After just meeting and introducing many of the ladies to each other, it really is a great accomplishment for everyone on the team and I couldn't be more proud of them.”

The last two years have been an experience as even JOB'S (BIBLICAL BOOK OF JOB) patience might have worn thin. We're not talking just about winning, we're also talking about putting the team together.

With only four KANSAS ladies on the team, it took a lot of phone calls, e-mails and networking for JOHNSTON to finally put the team together.

"I was constantly checking message boards for players who were looking for a team to play with and networking with other managers and players who knew of someone who was looking for a team,” JOHNSTON said of his roster which includes players from five different states.

When you have players coming from that many different states it is no wonder it has taken a couple of years fro the PNUT BATTERS to click.

"Oh, there were times in the past when we were going 0-4 and 0-5 in tournaments I just wanted to click my heels together three times and say, 'I wish I was in KANSAS',” the manager said, “But that was in the past, this year has been different, this is really a great bunch of ladies who have made this my most enjoyable year ever in coaching.”

At DALTON the PNUT BATTERS started pool play with a 16-12 win over the GOLDEN GIRLS 60's and an 8-2 victory over the MISSOURI FLASHBACKS. It was three straight in bracket plays as they disposed of the VILLAGE DIAMONDS 17-7 and the GOLDEN GIRLS 60's two more times by a 10-8 and 9-3 count to take the title.

MEMBERS OF THE 2013 60 AAA WORLD CHAMPIONS ARE:

TINA HAYES-BOSTON, DENISE JOHNSTON, KAREN WEST, DEBBIE KENDRICK, CHRIS BOWMAN, MARY MARGARET BERARDINELLI, CHERY BREMSER, LAURA PATTERSON, SANDI RUSS, JUDY HOLDER, MARSHA BALL, MARY TERRY, CONNIE SCHULTZ, CONNIE SETTLEMYRE, MERRI KYRIAKOU, KAREN GRABLE and RUSTY JOHNSTON.

The biggest question, however, is not how they won the tournament but how in the world did they come up with the name PNUT BATTERS.

"Well, when we were taking our lumps prior to this year we joked maybe our team name KANSAS is the problem because nobody fears us,” JOHNSTON said, “While we were thinking of a new name, one of the girls was sitting down eating a bag of peanuts and somebody suggested PNUT BATTERS and it stuck, both figuratively and literally.”

JOHNSTON is now hoping his days and nights of phone calls and networking is over and he can keep this year's team together for 2014.

"I really hope we can all get together in 2014, it is such a great group,” JOHNSTON said, “Winning tournaments is great but more important is the friendship that developed this year, that is something I really do not want to lose. These ladies are now and always will be very special to me.”

 

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Tournaments | Women

WARNING: LOOK OUT FOR THE LOOKOUTS

by Ho Hoffman 20. December 2013 20:35

 LADY LOOKOUTS WIN 2013 SPA WOMENS' 50 AAA WORLD TITLE

DALTON, GEORGIA: The drought is over. The winner's circle finally welcomed the LADY LOOKOUTS to that coveted area when the TENNESSEE team won the 2013 SPA 50 AAA DALTON WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP.

The team which has been in existence for three years rebounded from last year's WORLD'S disaster of two-and out to go three-and-zero in bracket play to win this year's title.

"After winning that final game against SHO-ME 6-3, they probably could have heard our cheering and yelling all the way to CHATTANOOGA,” the LOOKOUTS spokesperson RHONDA JOHNSON said, “ What a great feeling to win a WORLD title, we just couldn't control our emotions in being a WORLD CHAMPION.”

The LADY LOOKOUTS reached the final game against SHO-ME by disposing of SHO-ME earlier 20-8 and LA'SPORTS 11-6. It was a far cry from their results in pool play having lost 18-3 to the 50 MAJOR CHAMP JOLICO SENIOR 50's and the GOLDEN GIRLS 18-9.

"Pool play wasn't a very good start but we were able to pull everything together and were ready for bracket play,” JOHNSON said, “We put all the pressure behind us going into bracket play and just decided to go out and have some fun,”

Now with their first MAJOR TITLE of any sort, the LADY LOOKOUTS are primed to take that next step and be competitive in all future tournaments.

"Winning DALTON was huge,” JOHNSON said, “Now we have new confidence that we can compete on a higher level and look forward to next year.”

The new found confidence is already starting to pay-off for the LOOKOUTS. After going 2-4 in the two previous tournaments (HENDERSONVILLE and PENSACOLA) prior to DALTON, they have added a runner-up trophy (JACKSONVILLE) to the DALTON CHAMPIONSHIP.

"I can see it by the way we played at the end in DALTON and in JACKSONVILLE that we have picked up our game,” JOHNSON said, “Confidence is a wonderful thing and it really is starting to help us.”

The DALTON title wasn't the only “BIG DEAL” in 2013 for the LADY LOOKOUTS. Early in the summer they and the TENNESSEE 55 WOMENS' SENIOR OLYMPIC team played an exhibition game on the AA CHATTANOOGA LOOKOUTS AT&T PARK.

The CHATTANOOGA minor league team plays in the AA SOUTHERN LEAGUE and is an affiliate of the LOS ANGELES DODGERS.

"That was almost as big as winning the SPA WORLDS,” JOHNSON said, “A lot of teams have probably won WORLD TITLES but not many have had the opportunity to play a game on a major-league dimension minor league field. That was an awesome experience.”

The LADY LOOKOUTS received the opportunity because of their association with MINOR LEAGUE team helping with promotions and selling tickets. Since the LADIES' are self sponsored that is their major fund raiser.

JOHNSON was also quick to point out, the LADY LOOKOUTS do not recruit as the players are mainly area players.

"Most of us grew up together playing fast pitch softball either on the same team or against each other,” Johnson explains, “Playing together now at our age is like reconnecting with old friends and rekindling old memories.”

Although the team stresses a “fun first” approach to playing, in every tournament there a re players who always take their game up a notch from the “just for fun” level.

At DALTON it was MOST VALUABLE PLAYER AWARD winner SS/3b/P ANITA KIMERY. The GEORGETOWN, TENNESSEE resident in addition to flashing her outstanding defensive play and versatility compiled a robust .731 batting average.

Joining KIMERY on the TOURNAMENT ALL-AMERICAN squad were OUTFIELDER CYNTHIA SMITH, OUTFIELDER VIVIAN JONES, INFIELDER CATHY BELCHER, PITCHER REGINA WARE and SECOND BASEMAN EVELYNE EVANS. GENERAL MANAGER WENDY LEDFORD received the SPA 2013 55 AAA MANAGER-OF-THE-YEAR AWARD.

Rounding out the roster of the WORLD CHAMPION LADY LOOKOUTS are SONJA GILES, DONNA ASKEW, ANNETTE GRAY, DEBRA RODERY, PAM MOORE, ANITA DAVIS, TERESA WILSON, LAURA BRYANT, ANITA BROUGHTON, RENEE BURGESS, LISA PETERS, TERESA BROWN, COACH JERRY BELCHER and RHONDA JOHNSON.

"This has been an exciting year for us, “ JOHNSON said, “Our team is so close with no jealousy among us. We occasionally throw little jabs at each other like most teams do but it is all in fun just to get a good laugh.”

"I'm not saying we aren't interested in winning, we certainly don't get into tournaments to lose,” she explained, “But we all have to remember there are more important things then just winning a softball game. To us that important thing is the camaraderie and friendship we share with each other. That is what senior softball is all about to us.”

 

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Tournaments | Women

JOLICO RUNS MARATHON TO WORLD TITLE

by Ho Hoffman 18. December 2013 11:55

MICHIGAN TEAM WINS 2013 SPA 50 MAJOR CROWN

DALTON, GEORGIA – The JOLICO SENIOR 50's sure got their money's worth at the DALTON 2013 SPA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS, playing nine games, seven of them in bracket play.

That was the good news, the bad news was the seven bracket games were all played Sunday at 8:00, 9:00, 10:00, noon, 1:00, 2:00 and 3:00.

Ah, but perseverance won out as the JOLICO 50's won the final five including the “IF” game 19-18 over PHENOMENAL LADIES to take the 2013 SPA 50 MAJOR WORLD championship.

"When you get knocked into the loser's bracket early, that is what happens,” JOLICO'S and SPA'S 2013 50 MAJOR MANAGER-OF-THE-YEAR SUE WALKER said,“ It was a seven-team division, so we knew it would be a long day if we were to win the championship.”

JOLICO started the MARATHON SUNDAY beating the TENNESSEE STARS 13-2 but then suffered a heartbreaking 8-7 loss to the PHENOMINAL LADIES.

Fighting their way out of the loser's bracket they downed SERIOUS FUN (17-9), GOLDEN GIRLS (11-3), MOTOWN MAGIC (8-7) and then gave the PHENOMENAL LADIES their first defeat (17-5) to force the “IF” GAME which they won.

"This tournament title was definitely a team title,” WALKER said,” When you win eight of nine games (2-0 pool play, 6-1 bracket play) including playing seven of them in one day, you need the effort of everyone on the team. The MOST VALUABLE PLAYER AWARD definitely goes to the entire JOLICO TEAM.”

This was also this JOLICO 50's squad first major tournament win.

Called the “JOLICO BABIES” by the rest of the JOLICO organization, which has a 50, 55, 60 and 65 team because they are the youngest team, the WORLD TITLE also lifted the “major tournament win less” monkey off their backs.

"You have to remember the other JOLICO teams all started as 50's and have worked their way up the different age divisions and are very experienced and really talented,” WALKER explained, “This group of 50's is just as talented but have really only been playing together for about three years, so the experience of playing together is just starting to build.”

WALKER, who is also a former high school coach in addition to her softball coaching experience in the younger adult leagues, compares putting a new team together like putting a jigsaw puzzle together.

"All the pieces are there but you still have to figure out where they all fit,” the manager said, “You keep trying different pieces together until they all fit and then you sit back and look at the result.”

According to WALKER, tournament playing experience is the key factor and when players obtain that the whole thing falls into shape.

"The ladies who play senior softball are all good athletes, have speed, great arms and can hit but that isn't enough,” WALKER said, “You have to know when and how to use those talents and how to work in a team structure. That is what happened in DALTON when everything came together, they all played smart team softball.'

The JOLICO 50'S MAJOR title wasn't the only title for the organization in DALTON as the JOLICO SENIOR 60's also won the 60 MAJOR'S crown.

"Our team was just as happy for the 60's team as we were for ourselves in winning a WORLD TITLE,” WALKER said, “The JOLICO teams are a very close organization and we all try to support each other. We (the 50's) are just so proud and happy to be part of it.”

WALKER also believes the key to the 50's team success is “ATTITUDE”.

"We are so team orientated, it is unbelievable,” she explained, “The girls constantly volunteer to play where ever the team needs them, infielders volunteer to play outfield, catch, first base or where ever we need them and the outfielders do the same. They all have such positive attitudes, it just makes it so easy to work with them.”

TEAM MEMBERS OF THE JOLICO 50'S MAJOR WORLD CHAMPIONS ARE: CELIA FRITZ, CHERYL TRAPNELL, LINDA FAULKNER, HELEN SMITH, KATHY PENNANAN, PEEWEE SHRAUGER, PAT BORNHORST, JULIE DOONEY, ELAINE WELLEM, ROBIN CRISE, KIM MORGAN, LORI DODGER DORSEY, CINDY DEWITT and SUE WALKER.

Representing the JOLICO 50's MAJORS on the ALL-AMERICAN team were: SMITH, FRITZ, WELLEM, DORSEY, TRAPNELL and the TOURNAMENT MVP MORGAN

As to the secret that makes the JOLICO 50's such a solid team, WALKER didn't blink when responding.

"Competitiveness,” she said, “Everybody wants to win but the big thing is wanting to compete. These girls really enjoy playing and competing, they respect the game, their teammates and me. What more could you ask from any team.?”

 

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Tournaments | Women

EVERYTHING IS FINAH IN CAROLINA!!

by Ho Hoffman 16. December 2013 17:59

SNIPERS WIN 2013 SPA WOMAN'S 40/45 WORLDS

DALTON, GEORGIA – It took a little extra doing, but the CAROLINA SNIPERS 45's found out everything IS FINAH in CAROLINA as they beat FORTY FOR K 40's in the “IF” game to win the SPA 2013 40/45 AAA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP.

It took a little extra for us to win the championship,” SPA 40/45 2013 MANAGER-OF-THE-YEAR DEBI BENNETT said, “We got hammered in our first game in bracket play by FORTY FOR K 21-10 and had to fight our way out of the loser's bracket.”

The 2012 SPA 45'S WORLD CHAMPION CAROLINA team started their run by beating CHICKS WITH STICKS 14-9 and FORTY FOR K 17-8 to set up the “IF” game.

After that first loss on SUNDAY, we started to put it all together and actually played probably our best softball of the year,” BENNETT said.

The secret according to BENNETT was that everyone started to take that extra step and make that extra effort.

Nobody put out that extra effort more than 59-year young YVONNE BROWN, who despite having a very sore arm moved to third base in bracket play and her outstanding defensive play, despite her injury, seemed to inspire the rest of the team.

Definitely YVONNE'S (BROWN) play picked up the rest of us,” BENNETT said, “ I don't know if we even had one error in those final three games.”

You wouldn't believe the plays our fielders were making,” she continued, “In addition our pitching was right on with no walks and good fielding. If you keep your opponents off the bases and don't give up extra outs, you really improve your chances of winning.”

As for the individual award recipients, BENNETT was emphatic about the title being the result of team play and not individual play.

You win championships with team play,” she explained, “When you have an entire team giving it their all in every inning in every game, how can you distinguish between who gave more than others?”

The championship will also be the last “HURRAH” for the CAROLINA SNIPERS in the 45'S DIVISION since they will be moving up to the 50'S in 2014.

We have enough players to make the move,” BENNETT said, “More than two-thirds of our team is over 50 years of age and in 2015 most of the others will be moving up to join us.”

Playing as a 45-year young team has been difficult for the CAROLINA SNIPERS, not so much the competition but the lack of teams. There is only one other woman's 45-division team registered with SPA.

Most of our players are 50-or-older to begin with and we constantly find ourselves playing 35-year and 40-year young teams,” she explained, “And we really aren't strong enough to constantly play the younger teams, so moving up to 50's will give us a better opportunity to compete.”

Making up the roster of the final CAROLINA SNIPER 45-YOUNG TEAM ARE: DEBI BENNETT, YVONNE BROWN, GAIL REEVES, TERRY RHIAN, REGINA BURNS, CHANTELLE MCCALL, PHYLLIS ONEAL, DENISE KULLNAT, SANDY PREUSZ, PATRICE MAXWELL, TAMMY NAVARRO-OWENS, TONYA BROWN, RENDY YATES, TONYA COLLINS, KAREN O'BRIEN and BARB FISHER.

I will hate leaving part of the team behind when the rest of us move up, because everyone has been so close to each other almost like a family,” BENNETT explained, “But it is the right move because not only does it put us on a level playing field against our opponents but also gives us a lot more different opponents to play.”

I am hoping we can all get back together again in 2015 because this has been such a special group of ladies.” she said, “I am just so happy that we can go out as the SPA 2013 WOMEN'S 40/45 AAA WORLD CHAMPIONS, that is something we can always remember.”

 

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Tournaments | Women

ARKANSAS SYNERGY REEBOK WINS 35/40 MAJORS

by Ho Hoffman 16. December 2013 17:49

     CHAMPS BEAT KRYPTONITE IN TITLE GAME

DALTON, GEORGIA: Revenge, how sweet it is. The ARKANSAS SYNERGY/REEBOK 35-year old woman’s team, who were the 2012 SPA 35/40 MAJOR RUNNER-UPS found that out in DALTON.

They did it by avenging a 2012 loss to KRYPTONITE in the championship “IF”game by returning the favor in winning the 2013 35/40 MAJORS “IF” game.

The victory earned the ARKANSAS SYNERGY/REEBOK ladies the title of SPA 2013 WOMAN'S 35/40 MAJOR WORLD CHAMPIONS.

ARKANSAS SYNERGY/REEBOK worked their way to the title beating in order LADIES FIRST 40'S (12-11), KRPTONITE 40'S (17-12) and JANE OF ALL TRADES 17-11 before losing to KRYPTONITE (16-8) and forcing another “IF” game.

This time the ARKANSAS team held on a white-knuckler to escape with a 12-11 win and with it the championship crown.

Members of the 2013 ARKANSAS SYNERGY/REEBOK team are: KERRY RICHISON, CONSUELA VOLZ, KAREN CHAMBERS, GINA MCKINNEY, MARKEITHA GILLIAM, LANELL EVANS, TINA OLIVER, KELLY HARRIS, ELIZABETH CAUSBY, GALE STACK, SHERRI CLARK, JUANITA ROPER, ROBIN STEBBINS, ROBIN WILLIAMS, CHRISTY TERRY and LATRESE ATKINS.

 

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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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