EDITORIAL BY JUDY LEE

by Judy Lee Schrieber 30. September 2014 11:17

 The SPA Masters Women’s World Championship was a great success. The first weekend the 35+ and 40+ teams had wonderful weather and some very close games. There was a Social Friday night sponsored by CVB of Dalton where soft drinks and Stromboli were served to the ladies.  I was deeply SURPRISED by Ridge Hooks when he came out with a big cake and a beautiful bouquet of Lilies for my birthday.  Everyone sang HAPPY BIRTHDAY to me and then the rains came cutting the event short.  Thank you to all the teams and individual players for all your Best Wishes. 

 The second weekend was another great success.   We had 52 teams total who participated in our World Championship and the weather was absolutely beautiful.   On Thursday, we had the National Senior Softball Hall Of Fame where Jean Mills of Canada, Becky Stanfil of Tennessee, Evelyn Nealeigh of Ohio were inducted and they also received a Key to the City of Dalton.  SPA Merit Awards were given to Jeanne Dieteren, owner of Softball Buddy’s Website of California (accepted by Karen Osborn), Patty Cox of Alabama, and Jerri Turner of Tennessee for their participation and support of senior women’s softball. …. And then another BIG SURPRISE to me….. Ridge come out with another cake and everyone sang Happy Birthday to me again.    At Opening Ceremonies Friday morning  Ridge presented me with beautiful flowers and again everyone sang Happy Birthday.   All was greatly appreciated and I thank you Ridge and Ann Hooks, all teams and individuals for making my 80th birthday so very, very SPECIAL. The weekend ended with a fun-filled Friday night Social at Peacock Alley where I joined in with the band for some “pickin and sangin”.  The evening ended with ice cream compliments of CVB of Dalton.

 I would like to thank the City of Dalton for their great hospitality, Ann and Ridge Hooks for their support of women’s softball program, and everyone that attended and participated in the tournament.  See all you ladies in November in Jacksonville, Fl.

 Judy Lee

 

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Tournaments | Women

''OH, CANADA” TOPS THE CHARTS AT DALTON

by Hockepuck! 30. September 2014 00:02

     CANADIAN DUET BIG HIT IN THE OPENING CEREMONIES

 DALTON, GEORGIA – Some times an unexpected mishap can turn into the biggest positive occurrence which could be experienced.

Such was the case at the opening ceremonies of the SPA 60 AA DIVISION WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS at DALTON, GEORGIA SEPTEMBER 11-14.

We were getting ready for the parade of flags when we realized we couldn't find the MAPLE LEAF CANADIAN flag,” SPA CEO RIDGE HOOKS said, “Fortunately CAVCO SPORTS from WINDSOR, ONTARIO, CANADA brought one they were going to put on the back of their dugout.”

Ah, but HOOKS and his opening ceremonies were still not out of the woods.

The CD we had for 'OH, CANADA' (the CANADIAN NATIONAL ANTHEM) was scratchy and not good at all. We were in a predicament with no other CD available.”

All was not lost as two members of the CAVCO SPORTS 60'S contingent volunteered to sing the anthem a cappella.

Stepping up to do the honors were TOM MCNORTON and AGNES DANDREA. Not only did they sing the anthem in perfect pitch but also added the French version.

It was the highlight of the Opening Ceremonies.

It was tremendous, “HOOKS said, “I wish we could have taped it and be able to use at all future Opening Ceremonies. I can not say enough about MCNORTON and DANDREA, they were fantastic.”

HOOKS also praised the CAVCO ladies for their baskets for the raffle at the LADIES BREAKFAST.

Probably one of the best raffle baskets we have ever had at the tournament,” HOOKS said, “The CANADIAN LADIES certainly brought their “A:” game and we are so pleased they attended the tournament.”

While the CAVCO LADIES did their part off the field, the men did theirs' on the field winning the SPA 2014 60 AA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP.

In addition, MCNORTON, who was half of the anthem singing duet was just as good on the field, earning ALL-AMERICAN selection.

Not bad for a CANADIAN.

And guess what. In the flag ceremony, the American contingent even raised the MAPLE LEAF right side up. It was a great day to be CANADIAN.

I hope their (CAVCO) experience was as great for them being here as it was for us (SPA) having them attend,” HOOKS said, “They made the 2014 SPA AA WORLDS a very special event and all of us hope they will be back in 2015. They are very special people.”

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General | Tournaments

CAVCO SPORTS TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY

by Hockepuck! 29. September 2014 23:53

       CANADIANS WIN SPA 60 AA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

 DALTON, GEORGIA – Southern Hospitality went a long way at the 2014 SPA 60 AA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS held at DALTON, GEORGIA'S HERITAGE POINT PARK, SEPTEMBER 11-14.

 Taking advantage of the PEACH STATES warm welcome, CAVCO SPORTS from WINDSOR, ONTARAIO, CANADA won all five of their games (pool and bracket) to capture the SPA 60 AA WORLD CROWN.

 It was really a great feeling to come down to the States for a SPA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT and end up winning our division,” CAVCO SPORTS MANAGER JOHN GOZ said.

 Although it was their first appearance at the SPA WORLDS and of course their first SPA WORLD title, they are not strangers to other USA SPA regional tournaments.

 We play about five SPA tournaments a year,” GOZ explained, “We play DAYTON, BARBERTON, SHELBYVILLE, SYLVANIA and DALTON. We also play one CANADIAN TOURNAMENT.”

 The reasons GOZ gave for CAVCO playing more tournaments in the States than CANADA is simply more fun playing in the states. They also get to see different teams, use senior bats and have better softballs and above all, they like the way SPA conducts their tournaments.

 We attended our first SPA tournament in the States in 2011, it was THEE BUCKEYE CLASSIC,” GOZ said, “We really enjoyed ourselves and everyone was so friendly. At that point we decided to try some of the other SPA Mid-West tournaments and we are glad we did”

 Over the past years we have played some really good teams and built some great friendships with teams like THE BOMB SQUAD, SYLVANIA and INDY FOG to name a few,” GOZ added.

 Although CAVCO has held its own at SPA tournaments over the years, 2014 did not start off like it would be a banner year.

 We went 2-3 in DAYTON, 0-6 at BARBERTON, won SHELBYVILLE but finished third at SYLVANIA. It sure wasn't looking too good for us,” GOZ explained.

 Even at DALTON things didn't look like it would be a good tournament for the ONTARIO team.

 We played terrible the first pool game and barely beat the STRYKERS (ALABAMA) 16-15.” GOZ remembered, “Maybe it was tournament jitters but it sure wasn't pretty and not a game to give us a lot of confidence for what we would be seeing down the road.”

 GOZ should not have worried because in their next pool game they beat the DALLAS SPURS 23-8. The surge continued in bracket play as they beat the INDY FOG 24-11 in the opener and then the TENNESSEE 60's twice by 19-12 and 18-16 to win the tournament.

 We were lucky, the games against TENNESSEE could have gone either way but we made great plays at the right time and had sustained hitting throughout the order and in every inning,” the manager said.

 CAVCO SPORTS is made up mostly of players from house league and senior leagues in the WINDSOR, ONTARIO area with all the players living in the general vicinity.

 MVP at the DALTON TOURNAMENT was pitcher WES SCOTT, who hit over .700 in addition to solidifying the defense with his pitching and fielding.

 TOM MCNORTON (3B), TERRY JOHNSTON (SS), JOHN CARPENTER (OF/P), GERRY LALIBERTY (C/INF) and CECIL PARR (C/1B) were selected to the tournament ALL-AMERICAN team. RICK ANDERSON (RF) was awarded the SPA 60 AA MANAGE-OF-THE-YEAR AWARD.

 "We really could have had anyone from the team be selected as an ALL-AMERICAN," GOZ explained, "We are so balanced and everyone contributes to our success.

 Others on the team were DON SOULLIERE (RCF), KEVIN SIVELL (OF), TONY D'ANDREA (P/C), KEVIN WOOD (OF), GARY BEACH (LF), DAVE BARIBEAU (LC/1B), BILL DUNNE (3B), BRIAN DOAN (1B/C), BOB TAYLOR (LC/2B), GOZ (1B), JOHN SHEREMETA (2B/SS), JOHN CECILE (3B) and BAT BOY CHARLEY JOHNSTON.

 Although the team is mainly self-sponsored, RICK CAVANAUGH, a former player and now business owner from the MISSISSAUGA area contributes around $1.500 each year to help the team with their expenses.

 Also a huge factor in the success of the team are the wives who accompany them to the tournaments.

 It is like a family reunion,” GOZ said, 'We all enjoy each others' company and it is just great to share an experience like we had here in DALTON together.”

 Making the trip to DALTON were MARY-LOU TAYLOR, KATHY BEACH, MARY-ANN BARIBEAU, AGNES D'ANDREA, LOUISE LALIBERTY, SUE ANDERSON, SAM MCNORTON, WENDY SIVELL and BARB JOHNSTON.

 GOZ credits the team's success to the camaraderie the players share.

 There no ego's on our team,” the manager said, “You either check your ego before you join the team or you don't play. No one player on our team is better than another," he said," We play as a team, win as a team and lose as a team. It is as simple as that.”

 As for the DALTON tournament and SPA tournament in general, GOZ had this to say.

 This (DALTON) is by far the best tournament we have played in,” GOZ said, “From the wives' breakfast, the opening ceremonies, the fields, the teams, the umpires and the tournament staff, especially RIDGE HOOKS, it was just a tremendous experience.”

 Lord willing, we will be back again in 2015,” he added.

 

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Tournaments

CHICAGO HITMEN LIVE UP TO THEIR NAME

by Hockepuck! 29. September 2014 12:28

         POWER ATTACK LEADS TO 65 AA SPA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

 DALTON, GEORGIA – If ever a team lived up to their name it was the CHICAGO HITMEN, who captured the SPA 2014 WORLD 65 AA CHAMPIONSHIP at DALTON, GEORGIA'S HERITAGE POINT PARK, SEPTEMBER 11-14.

Over seven games (3 pool, 4 bracket) the HITMEN batted .769 outscored their opponents 152 (21.7) to 90 (12.8) and won all seven games in the nine-team 65 AA field.

We did hit well but it wasn't as easy as it sounds,” SPA 65 AA MANAGER-OF-THE-YEAR MIKE SABATINO said, “In three of the games including the final two we trailed by at least five runs heading into the 5th inning.”

The games SABATINO was referring to were the tournament pool play opener against the DAYTON LEGENDS and the two final bracket games against THE FIRM.

Against DAYTON, the WINDY CITY guys trailed 21-12 heading into the seventh and erupted for 10 runs to win 22-21.

Against THE FIRM in the winner's bracket, the HITMEN rallied from a 17-12 deficit in the fifth inning to erupt for 22 runs in the final innings for a 34-17 win.

The championship game against THE FIRM was almost a duplication as the HITMEN trailed 18-12 fifth inning. They responded by scoring five runs in the sixth inning and 14 in the seventh for 31-20 championship clinching win.

SABATINO claims the way his team continually responded was due to patience, attitude and never giving up, even when they were behind. They gave it best they had.

We just had less talk and more action,” SABATINO said, “We never lost our confidence, kept our composure and always we believed we had the talent to rally back and win every game we played.”

The manager also stated they never take any team for granted and are usually prepared when they face that team in the tournament.

I scout each team during pool play and early bracket games so as to know what to expect,” he stated, “You can never take any team for granted and in tournament play you need every edge you can have and I believe scouting and knowing your opponent is a huge edge.”

Another edge the HITMEN have is they have nine players who who have been together since 2008. Over that span the team has won 70-percent of their tournament games but this is their first SPA WORLD TITLE.

We have come close a few times but this is the first time we have all been healthy coming to the tournament and that really made a difference,' SABATINO said.

The nine who have been with the team for the ten years are: STEVE DECORI (RC, .741), JOHN DOYLE (DNP), FELIX GARCIA (3B,.680), CO-MANAGER JIM KUPIEC (P. .800), RICK MASINO (P,.610), SABATINO (RF,.680), PHIL WHITMAN (C, .650), STEVE GAJDA (SS, .680) and DAN TODD (LF, .667).

Others on the team are: DAVID ABNEY (DVD), MIKE MCLENNAND (1B, .778), RICHARD DAHM (DNP), MIKE CHASTAIN (2B, .679), BUBBA RUSSELL (C/1B, .739) and TOURNAMENT MVP WARREN YORK (LC,.852).

The speedy left center fielder in addition to making outstanding defensive plays with both his arm and glove batted .852 to lead the team in hitting.

Joining YORK on the ALL-AMERICAN team were DECORI, KUPIEC, WHITMEN, CHASTAIN and GAJDA.

The team's sponsor is SUPREME LOBSTER OF VILLA PARK, ILLINOIS, owned by DOMINIC STRAMAGLIA..

DOMINIC has been sponsoring area softball and little league teams for at least 15 years and has been our sponsor since 2004,” SABATINO said, “He is really a great guy and his SEAFOOD is top of the line. He also ships from west coast to east coast and anywhere in-between"

Although the HITMEN have won other tournaments over the years, SABATINO says the team peaked at DALTON.

As a team. That is the best we have ever played in our history,” he stated,”We were patient at the plate and made the big plays on defense, If we needed a big hit or big defensive play we made it happen. We really played great.”

The manager also stated the secret to his team's success over the years is ,”.....we are like brothers, there are no ego trips. We all get along.”

As for the SPA, SABATINO gave both RIDGE HOOKS, the staff and the tournament high marks.

RIDGE (HOOKS) is a tremendous guy and runs a great tournament, it is first class,” he said, “ We loved the opening ceremony and the umpires were the best we have seen all year.. Every team in the tournament was tough and a great bunch of guys. It was a great tournament.”

I just wish SPA had tournaments closer to CHICAGO, so we could attend more SPA events. Maybe they can do that in 2015.”

 

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Tournaments

GONZALEZ INSULATION HEATS UP AT SPA WORLDS

by Hockepuck! 18. September 2014 12:04

     TEXAS TEAM WINS 60 MAJOR WORLD TITLE

 DALTON, GEORGIA - GONZALEZ INSULATION made it two SPA WORLD titles in two years as they added the 2014 SPA 60 MAJOR title to their growing list of achievements July 17-20 at DALTON, GEORGIA'S HERITAGE PARK.

 Two years ago the GONZALEZ team claimed the 2012 55 AAA SPA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP CROWN.

 That 2012 was a good year for us,” SPA 60 MAJOR MANAGER-OF-THE-YEAR and GONZALEZ INSULATION head man BILLY STARRY said,” We won DALTON, VEGAS and TOC, This is our first big tournament win this year, so we hope it will be a repeat of 2012.”

 The GONZALEZ team has been together for eight years with five of the originals still on the roster. STEVE BURRIS, DAVE ESCALANTE, JOE RAMON,JR, DAN SILKWOOD and STARRY were all on that first team.

 We have only been playing senior ball for eight years, but most of us have been playing together off-and-on for thirty years,” STARRY corrected.

 Over those thirty years, the gang probably hasn't won many tournaments in a quicker fashion then they did in DALTON.

 Counting two pool games and two bracket games, they only played four games, winning them all and most by a very wide margin.

 They beat K.C. KIDS 35-14 and HIGH STREET BUCS 15-13 in pool play and COLUMBUS LX 26-11 and CRYSTAL COBRAS 34-20 in bracket play.

 We hit pretty good, around .760 as a team,” STARRY said, “But actually it was our defense which was the difference.”

 You score 110 runs and hit .760 in four games and defense was the difference?

 Exactly, “ STARRY replied, “Everybody in major can hit and if you give them extra outs in an inning they will pound you. We did not give any teams extra outs, but they were giving us extra outs and that was the difference.”

 Leading the attack in DALTON was TOURNAMENT MVP TYRONE MCCLELLAN. The speedy gold glove outfielder was retired only once in four game compiling a .928 batting average.

 Joining MCCLELLAN on the ALL-AMERICAN squad were DH BILLY BLAKE (.866), ROVER STEVE BURRIS (.866), PITCHER RON FOREE (.846), SS DAN SILKWOOD (.866) and OF JULIAN TAMEZ (.857).

 Others on the GONZALEZ INSULATION team are: DAVE ESCALANTE (OF,.666), RANDY FULTON (DNP), WILL JOHNSON (2B,.615), DAVE PERKINS (P,.714), JOE RAMON, SR (3B,.555), JOHNNY SUTTON (1B,.642), DAVE WHITE (DNP), KENNY MORGAN (OF, 733), RICHARD WILSON (OF, .769) and RICHARD GIDDENS (INF, .692).

 We also have a great cheer leading squad which always travels to the tournaments,” STARRY said, “They do a great job keeping our spirits up.”

 Members of the group are MARY SILKWOOD, BEVERLY ASHER, CHRISTIE PERKINS, JULIE STARRY, KAREN MORGAN, DIANE BLAKE, KATHY ESCALANTE and ERMA GIDDENS.

 So far this year GONZALEZ INSULATION has played in six tournaments compiling a winning percentage of.800 and hope to equal that or better it in the remaining two tournaments.

 It has been tough to find good tournaments with other 60 major teams,” STARRY said, “ Usually we have to play 55'S and in one TEXAS tournament we played 50'S. Giving away ten years in age is a rough way to go.”

 STARRY also said the reason they are able to play so many tournaments and travel long distances to do it is because of their sponsor, GONZALEZ INSULATION.

 ARNULFO GONZALEZ is in my opinion, one of the top sponsors in senior softball,” STARRY said. ' He covers our entry fee, uniforms and some other incidentals”

 We are fortunate to have him as a sponsor and we really do appreciate everything he does for us. Having a sponsor like him also makes it easier on recruiting players,” STARRY explained.

 The big question for STARRY right now is what division will they play in 2015.

 If we end up winning the SSUSA title then we should be moved to 60 MAJOR PLUS but if we don't win it then we should stay at 60 MAJOR,” STARRY said, “ I don't think a team should be raised a level just for winning two games in a WORLD TOURNAMENT and that is all we played at DALTON.”

 Due to a heavy downpour the 60 MAJOR tournament was called prior to the finals (losers bracket winner vs winner's bracket top team).

 Regardless of what happens and what DIVISION they are placed STARRY has only one request for SPA.

 Give us some tournaments to play where there will be other teams in our rating group,” he requested, “We don't mind playing at a higher level, that should be every team's goal but finding tournaments which take majors and major plus teams is pretty tough.”

 It seems like the only tournaments where there are more than two or three teams in MAJOR or MAJOR PLUS are the WORLD events and that requires big money to enter and a big travel expense,” STARRY said.

 As for the SPA organization and DALTON tournament, STARRY had a positive take.

 I really like the SPA tournaments and we play everyone we can,” STARRY said, “They are all well run and competitive. I just wish they (SPA) could get more teams involved.”

 Finally STARRY had this to say.

 We have had a great year,” STARRY said, “But you know it takes an entire group to accomplish winning a WORLD TITLE. For us it starts with our sponsor GONZALEZ INSULATION, the players, the manager and the support we receive from the wives and girlfriends. It really did take a village to be a champion.”

 

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Tournaments

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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