by Ho Hoffman 27. May 2014 11:34


 DAYTON,OHIO – The THIRD ANNUAL DAYTON OHIO SPA FIRST FLIGHT OF OHIO TOURNAMENT at the KETTERING FIELD COMPLEX MAY 5-18 saw OHIO teams “fly” out of town with most of the championship hardware.

With EIGHTEEN TEAMS competing in the six age brackets, the top spots went to FOUR OHIO teams , a GUEST from “THE STATE UP NORTH” and an invader from the HOOSIER STATE.

The hometown DAYTON LEGENDS 50's proved to be terrible hosts defeating BRICKYARD CLASSICS 13-12 IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP “IF” GAME. In soaring to their second consecutive FIRST FLIGHT OF OHIO title the “locals: beat CAPP'S STEEL 21-6, BRICKYARD CLASSICS 18-13, lost to BRICKYARD 13-18 and came back to win the “IF” game 13-12.

BRICKYARD edged CAPP'S STEEL/UNIVERSAL 12-11 to make it out of the loser's bracket.

MICHIGAN'S GOLDEN VIPERS also pulled off a repeat performance to defend their 2013 55'S CROWN beating the LOUISVILLE OG'S 20-5.

The VIPERS also downed ANTIQUE ROAD SHOW 20-3.

The OG'S reached the finals with 11-9 verdict over ANTIQUE ROAD SHOW.

The DAYTON LEGENDS 60's ended the run of repeat champs beating the 2013 champs AMERICAN SCAFFOLDING 21-8 and claim the top spot. It was poetic justice for the DL 60's since they had lost to AMERICAN SCAFFOLDING in last year's championship final.

DAYTON started its run to the title beating BUCKEYE CLASSICS 18-3 and CAVCO SPORTS 25-6. AMERICAN SCAFFOLDING beat CAVCO 25-9 in the loser's bracket finale to reach the championship encounter.

FRICKER'S SPORTS BAR from the SYLVANIA, OHIO SENIOIR LEAGUE beat another DAYTON LEGENDS team for the 70's AA BRACKET crown. It was a little bit of revenge for the SYLVANIA boys since in 2013 they went two-and-out in the tournament.

FRICKER'S beat the DAYTON LEGENDS 70's 9-7 and MICHIGAN'S OLDE D'S 14-11 to head home with the championship hardware. DAYTON had edged the OLDE D”S 11-10 to earn their spot again FRICKER'S in the title match.

The 70's AAA was strictly “NO CONTEST”...really it was. CENTRAL OHIO COSSA earned a forfeit championship win over INDIANA'S JOB CENTRAL.

INDIANA lost one title by forfeit but came back to win another the same way as the INDIANAPOLIS SILVER FOXES were awarded the 75 AAA crown when the LOUISVILLE THUNDER decided to head home and outrace the incoming storms.

It was a battle all the way and I don't mean on the field,” SPA REPRESENTATIVE LARRY MILLIRON said, “The weather was a constant threat and I think that was the biggest factor for the attendance. Teams from CANADA, MICHIGAN, OHIO and INDIANA who have attended in the past opted out due to the rainy conditions we have experienced in this area all spring.”

This is still a good tournament and I expect the totals will be up next year if the weather decides to cooperate,” the SPA REP added, “Regardless it was a well run tournament with exciting competition, what else outside of the weather could you ask for?”.

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by Ho Hoffman 19. May 2014 12:25


PLANO, TEXAS – The SPA LONE STAR NIT TOURNAMENT rebounded nicely from last year's attendance figure increasing to TWENTY-SIX teams for the 2014 event, which was held at PLANO'S HERITAGE YARDS APRIL 24-APRIL 27.

"I think the teams realized that the LONE STAR NIT TOURNAMENT is among the best senior tournament in the southwest and are starting to return,” SPA PRESIDENT and CEO RIDGE HOOKS said, “ We had at least FOUR TEAMS in FIVE DIVISIONS which resulted in some very competitive tournament action.”

The 60 GOLD BRACKET saw the most action with SEVEN TEAMS competing for the title.

GONZALES INSULATION left no doubt who the “big dog” was as they blew through the competition beating NATURAL'S 60'S (20-3) and RANDY SMITH SOFTBALL (22-12) for the GOLD DIVISION CROW.

USA PATRIOTS fought their way out of the loser's bracket after falling to NATURAL 60's 24-8 in the first game to win the 60 SILVER BRACKET TITLE.

On the way to the CROWN, the PATS disposed of DALLAS SPURS 22-18, NATURAL 60'S 38-16 and RANDY SMITH SOFTBALL 28-18. Other teams in the 60's group were TEXAS THUNDER and KC THUNDER.

CENTEX compiled the hat trick in the 65's DIVISION beating the OKIES (25-10), TEXAS LEGENDS and the TEXAS LEGENDS again, this time 19-3 in their final game to win TOP SPOT in the four-team bracket.

The LEGENDS made it to the final game by defeating OKIES 37-23. The fourth team in the bracket was the TEXAS EAGLES.

In another quartet of teams. The TEXAS LEGENDS 70's bested HARRIS AUCTION 22-21 to win the 70/75 DIVISION. The LEGENDS went undefeated in bracket play adding a 31-14 over HILL CONTRACTING and an earlier 21-10 victory over HARRIS to their championship resume.

HARRIS AUCTION reached the finals by beating HILL CONTRACTING 31-23 in the loser's bracket finals. The fourth team in the bracket was the TEXAS GREYHOUNDS.

The 50's PLATINUM BRACKET saw HERRINGTON SENIORS fight their way out of the loser's bracket to beat previously undefeated TEXAS MAVERICKS with two identical scores of 23-22 to win the six-team Division.

HERRINGTON started its run beating NORTEX 28-27 in the opener then losing to the MAVERICKS 26-18 before disposing of TEAM ARKANSAS 22-15 prior to the two-game showdown with the TEXAS MAVERICKS.

Before running into HERRINGTON in the finals, the MAVERICKS had beaten GONZALES INSULATION 35-20, HARRINGTON 26-18 and TEXAS PLAYERS 18-8.

The FIVE-TEAM 50 GOLD BRACKET also went to an “IF” game but MIXED BREED was able to bounce back from an earlier loss (21-19) to TEXAS ELITE/BUSH to win the important deciding “IF” game between the two 17-15.

MIXED BREED also beat DALLAS SPURS 23-15 and TEAM ELITE/BUSH 19-2 in earlier bracket action. TEAM ELITE/BUSH beat LAKE CHARLES 18-6 to make it out of the loser's bracket into the finals.

ABS GRAPHICS was the fifth team in the group.

It was a great tournament with a lot of positive feedback,” HOOKS said, “We (SPA) are looking forward to returning to PLANO in 2015 and are anticipating another attendance increase and another great tournament."


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by Ho Hoffman 14. May 2014 12:20


PENSACOLA, FORIDA - Five years ago the SPA PENSACOLA WOMENS' SPRING NATIONALS drew ELEVEN TEAMS. This year THIRTY-SEVEN squads competed at EXCHANGE PARK April 10-13, which was also an increase of NINE from last year that had SPA TOURNAMENT DIRECTOR MIKE DE SORBO beaming with pride.

This tournament continues to grow and is turning into a great success,” DE SORBO said, “ Much of the success can be attributed to the high marks received for the outstanding playing field conditions, great umpires, park amenities, honoring the suggestions from teams and players and of course the high performance level the women's teams have shown the past five years”

This year was no exception to the “high performance level” DE SORBO raved about as NINE DIVISON CHAMPIONS were crowned in the exciting competitive games.

KRYPTONITE started the action off besting ARKANSAS SYNERGY 20-4 and 18-5 to capture the 35/40 crown in a best-two-of-three showdown.

The PENSACOLA LADIES duplicated KRYPTONITE'S effort disposing of CHICKS WITH STICKS 23-17 and 29-13 in their two-of-three battle for the 40/45 title.

In the THREE TEAM 50 AAA bracket, LADY LOOKOUTS swept ROCKIN ROBINS 20-12 and 22-7 for the championship. The ROBINS were able to fly into the finals by beating LA SPORTS 16-14.

SIX TEAMS showed their stuff in the 50 MAJOR DIVISION with the DREAM GIRLZ hoisting the FIRST PLACE TROPHY after beating the TENNESSEE STARS in the title game.

THE DREAM GIRLZ defeated JOLICO 50's 16-10 and SERIOUS FUN 20-3 on the way to the championship game. The TENNESSEE STARS defeated JOLICO 50's 5-1 to come out of the loser's bracket for their trip to the finals.

Others in the bracket were SUNNY BEACHES and MOTOWN MAGIC.

FIVES were alive as FIVE teams battled for the title of the 55 DIVISION.

SUNNY BEACHES 55's won the DOUBLE-NICKEL title beating the MARYLAND ROADRUNNERS 12-1 in the title game.

The SUNNY BEACHES 55's reached the big game by first knocking off SHO ME 55's 17-16 and the ROADRUNNERS in an earlier game 16-14.

The MARYLAND team made it out of the loser's bracket by beating the JOLICO 55's 12-1. The FIFTH team in the bracket was FLORIDA LIGHTNING.

The 60's BRACKET saw JOLICO 60's fight back to win the “IF” game over FUN BUNCH 13-0. The FUN BUNCH had forced the “IF” game by beating JOLICO 8-6. In an earlier bracket game between the two it was JOLICO on top 8-3 after taking no prisoners against SOUTHERN STARS.30-14.

The FUN BUNCH beat SOUTHERN STARS 17-10 to earn their second shot at JOLICO.

One of the tournament's three biggest group showed up in the 65 DIVISION where six teams laced up their cleats to battle it out for the title.

The team which had the most fun was FUN BUNCH as they swept all three opponents in bracket play. JOLLICO 65's lost in the title game 12-3 while the GOLDEN GALS (15-8) and JOLICO (8-3) earlier definitely did not have any fun

The JOLICO 65's, however got their money's worth in the tournament when after losing their opening bracket play game they fought their way out of the loser's bracket on the way to the finals beating SAINTS EXPRESS 15-10 and the GOLDEN GALS 3-2.

Others in the bracket were SMOKEY MOUNTAIN STARS and GOLDEN GIRLS.

The third SIX TEAM BRACKET was the 70'S Division.

The GOLDEN GALS breezed through the competition beating OHIO TRI-STARS 23-15, SPORTACULARS 16-7 and TRI-STARS again, this time in the finals 18-4.

The BUCKEYE STATE Ladies fought their way back out of the loser's bracket by sending the THOROUGHBREDS (24-7) and SPORTACULARS (11-8) to the sidelines. Rounding out the bracket were GOLDEN GIRLS and NW MOUNTAIN MAMAS.

It was FREEDOM SPIRIT taking the four team 75 DIVISION by defeating GOLDEN GIRLS 18-0 in the title game. The GOLDEN GIRLS had fought their way to the finals forcing an “IF” game beating the SPIRIT 6-5.

Prior to that after losing their opening bracket game 4-3 to the THOROUGHBREDS, they strung together wins over TENNESSEE SENIOR STARS (10-3) and THOROUGHBREDS (11-5).

Before losing to the GOLDEN GIRLS the FREEDOM SPIRIT had defeated the THOROUGHBREDS 15-2 and TENNESSEE STARS 10-5.

It was a great tournament,” De SORBO concluded, “I expect the 2015 event to be even better.”


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by Ho Hoffman 14. May 2014 12:13



GLEN BURNIE:The SPA GLEN BURNIE CLASSIC tournament had all the cards stacked against them but still was able to come up with a winning hand at this year's tournament.

Not only did the longtime SPA tournament (12 years) have to fend off the weather but another organization scheduled a tournament just down the road to be held one week prior to the GLEN BURNIE CLASSIC.

That was a surprise (FREDERICK tournament) having another tournament scheduled just 46 miles away one week before ours,” TOURNAMENT DIRECTOR TED LAWSON said, “But we have been going against other organization's tournaments for the past twelve years and are still going strong. I heard the SSUSA FREDERICK TOURNAMENT drew twelve teams.”

While the competing tournament didn't hurt the GLEN BURNIE event the rain did. The non-stop downpour wiped out the 75's, 70's and 65's Divisions sending TWENTY-SEVEN teams home without playing a game.

Things went a lot better in the younger groups with twenty-three teams sticking around for weekend play in five divisions.

In the five-team 50 AAA bracket, PHOENIX TUBE edged ROADHOUSE BLUES 23-22 for the crown ROADHOUSE had forced the “if” game by beating the TUBE boys 35-31.

PHOENIX TUBE'S other bracket victories were over TEAM ELITE (26-21) and GOODMAN TRI-COUNTY (24-18).

ROADHOUSE, which lost its opening bracket game, earned its spot in the finals by knocking off GOODMAN TRI-COUNTY (41-23), OLD CORPS SOFTBALL (24-0) and TEAM ELITE (29-18) to make it out of the loser's bracket.

SIX TEAMS squared off in the 50 MAJOR bracket and when the dust cleared, BRYSON'S PUB stood at the top of the heap. But it was not without a battle.

BRYSON, after suffering its first loss in bracket play to MID-ATLANTIC 28-16, had to come back in the “IF” game to barely nose out MA 20-19 for the championship.

Along the way to the title BRYSON'S PUB beat TEAM USA 42-25 and ROCHESTER 50's 35-15. MID-ATLANTIC defeated TEAM USA 21-17 in the loser's bracket finals to reach the tournament finals,.

ALL CLASS CONSTRUCTION and NORTHEAST STORM were the other two teams in the 50 MAJOR bracket.

SWEET CONSTRUCTION took HIGH STREET BUCS to the “IF” game before losing the championship 22-11. HIGH STREET had lost the previous game 34-26 to SWEET CONSTRUCTION to set up the “IF” game.

HIGH STREET had also beaten SWEET 31-16 earlier to send them into the loser's bracket. The other two teams in the bracket were HARFORD COUNTY and OMEGA SOFTBALL.

HAMEL BUILDERS 60'S came out of the loser's bracket to beat ROADHOUSE BLUES twice (18-14,11-10) to win the 60 AAA group.

ROADHOUSE had sent HAMEL'S into the loser's bracket earlier in the tournament with 13-11 win over the champs.

HAMEL's started out bracket play beating NORTHERN VIRGINIA FORCE 13-12, lost to ROADHOUSE and beat NORTHERN FOTCE again, this time 18-16 to reach the finals.

Others in the five-team field were RIVERSIDE LONGSHOTS and JERSEY MASTERS 65's.

In the 60 MAJOR'S, SUPERIER SENIOR SOFTBALL lost their first game 22-20 to HIGH STREET BUCS before running the table to claim the three-team division.

SUPERIOR came back to beat HIGH STREET 24-9, NJ HITMEN 23-17 and NJ HITMEN again 27-25.

'That was a great tournament” SPA REPRESENTATIVE LARRY MILLIRON said, “All five division games went to an “IF” game, you can't ask for better competition. I just wish the rain hadn't of washed out the 65,70 and 75's because that looked like it also would have produced lots of close games.”


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by Ho Hoffman 14. May 2014 11:57


CARTERSVILLE, GEORGIA - The 2014 SPA MENS' MID-SOUTH NIT increased by SEVENTEEN TEAMS from 2013 as THIRTY-SIX squads took part in this year's tournament.

That was a huge increase from 2013,” SPA PRESIDENT and CEO RIDGE HOOKS said, “The turnout is in tribute to the job TOURNAMENT DIRECTOR PETE FOWLER is doing to draw teams to what is fast becoming one of the top senior tournaments in the South.”

Eight different age and rating classification divisions took part in the 4/23-4/27 tournament with the 50 MAJORS having the biggest turnout with EIGHT TEAMS.

MONSTER SOFTBALL took home the crown in the 50 MAJORS beating DOC C'S 33-25 in the title game. MONSTER SOFTBALL'S other bracket wins were over ATLANTA MONARCHS MIKEN 50'S (28-12). SOUTHERN ELITE (28-7) and an earlier contest with DOC's (27-22).

DOC C'S made it to the finals by beating NEXT LEVEL 2. Others in the bracket were GOOD TIMES, LANGSTON PAINTING and LIGHTHOUSE LOOKOUTS.

FIVE TEAMS went at it in the 50 AAA DIVISION with TENNESSEE COMETS flying by the MONTGOMERY SWARM 29-14 for the championship.

It was no walk in the park for the COMETS as they had a pair of nail biter wins (MONTGOMERY SWARM 17-16. STILL SWINGING 20-19) to reach the title game. MONTGOMERY SWARM disposed of STILL SWINGING 20-16 to earn their spot in the finals.

Others in the field were NORTH GEORGIA OUTLAWS and T CONNECTION,

In a BEST-TWO-OF-THREE for the 50 MAJOR PLUS crown, TRI-STATE CONNECTION hung on to beat TEAM ONE SPORTS in two straight 35-33 and 37-35.

DT EXPRESS led the way in the 55'S Division besting FIVE OTHER TEAMS for the title, including GEORGIA ALABAMA SRS 29-17 in the finale.

The EXPRESS rolled to the finals with bracket wins over DIXIE SOFTBALL 24-14 and 33-30 against GEORGIA ALABAMA SRS in an earlier game.

GEORGIA ALABAMA SRS made it to the finals by beating SIX PACK 29-20. ATLANTA RECYCLING SOLUTION and (BY) GRACE REDEEMED rounded out the six-team field.

BOYS OF SUMMER had to go to an “IF” game to dispose of the TENNESSEE 60's 23-7. The TENNESSEE 60'S forced the “IF” game by beating the BOYS 23-18.

The BOYS OF SUMMER reached the finals with a pair of white knuckles games edging STRYKERS 26-25 and TENNESSEE 60'S 14-13.

TAG TEAM just missed making it out of the loser's bracket to the title game losing to TENNESSEE 60's 14-13.

SEVEN TEAMS crossed bats in the 65's group with HUFFMAN ELECTRIC going 4-0 IN BRACKET PLAY TO WIN THE CROWN. The ELECTRIC gang disposed of TENNESSEE RV (21-14), CUSTOM GRAPHICS, EXTREME HEAT (13-13) and GRAPHIC again, this time in the title game 23-6.

CUSTOM GRAPHICS earned their spot in the finals by beating EXREME HEAT 28-19. Other in the 65's BRACKET were TEAM ABC, THE FIRM and SPORTS LETTERING.

CRIMS BORDER STATE beat GEORGIA CLASSICS 23-8 and 20-8 to win the two-team 70's group.

SOUTHEAST LEFTOVERS lost the first game in the BEST-OF-THREE showdown in the 75's to ED'S ALUMINUM BUILDERS (21-17) but took the next two (20-10,26-8) to win the championship.

It was a great tournament with outstanding competition,” TOURNAMENT DIRECTOR FOWLER said, “We received a lot of positive feedback and I am hoping to see another big increase in attendance in 2015.”

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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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