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.?”