Oh No, My Roster’s Been Frozen! …. What Now?

by Bobby Graham 16. January 2015 12:04

 The question is asked again and again at softball events everywhere, and the answers may not be the same depending upon the sanctioning organization rules for any particular tournament.  So let’s talk about SPA’s rules, what they mean, and why they might be the way that they are.

 Why do we have such rules?

 When softball players or athletes in general come to the park to compete, it’s just human nature that everybody wants a chance to be competitive or at least a glimmer of hope that they might win.  For that reason, most softball organizations, SPA included, try to “classify” the teams, such that similar skill levels wind up competing together.  Let’s face it nobody (win or lose) enjoys the “run-away” games that wind up forty to nothing embarrassments.  So teams are grouped and classified to try to give everybody a sporting chance.

 Classifying teams is a difficult task at best, when one considers that these teams are traveling and playing all around the country, sometimes with one organization and sometimes with another.  The task of evaluating and classifying teams becomes almost impossible, when the teams show up with different players at every tournament.  Let’s face it there are too many teams out there that will “load-up” with new and better players at every opportunity.  While we all understand that it is a necessity for teams to occasionally replace players, constant wholesale change just to “sandbag” and build a team that is stronger than its classification is wrong, and destroys any chance of proper classification for that team as the season progresses.

 To make classification meaningful in both its men’s and women’s programs, SPA has chosen to “freeze” each team’s roster, when that team plays its first tournament of the year.  In other words, when a team “qualifies” for the World Tournament by playing in any SPA tournament, that team’s roster is going to be held to rules designed to maintain the team’s classification.

 What does “frozen” mean? Are we stuck?

 Does this mean that I can’t play anywhere else?

 There is a great deal of misunderstanding as to what a “frozen roster” really is in SPA, so let’s see if we can answer some of the concerns.  First of all, a player is NOT stuck on a roster once it has been “frozen”.  SPA has no restrictions on players being dropped from a qualified roster, except to say that once dropped a player may not return to that same qualified team.  No releases or approvals are required. So if a player wants to leave their team to join another team, he/she may certainly do so, as long as he/she is eligible to be added to their new team’s roster.  Likewise, it is legal in SPA for a player to be on more than one roster and play with more than one team, as long as those rosters are for different age groups. There are special rules concerning “double-rostering” that allow for playing on two teams in the same tournament with restrictions, but as long as a player is playing with another age group on separate weekends, then there is no problem or restriction.

  What if a player is sick or injured? Are we just out of luck?

 Once a team’s roster has been “frozen”, everybody understands that there will be times when illness, injury, or unforeseen circumstances will require an additional player.  To try to accommodate these needs, SPA allows any team to add 2 players to its “qualified” (frozen) roster, but to try to keep the classification issues in line they require that these players come from a higher age division.  This way a team can still keep their qualification to World, continue to compete, and yet still remain within their current classification rating.

 Is there any way that a roster can be “Unfrozen” so that we can start over?

 Sure, we all know that a situation may arise that forces a team to have to totally regroup and just start over.  Whatever the circumstance that might cause this to happen, because now we are dealing with groups of new players from the same age group, it necessitates the need for a brand new evaluation of that team’s classification rating.  For that reason, SPA requires a team that needs to be “unfrozen” to officially register that need, so that the roster can be opened and the classification review process can begin anew for that team.  In line with this review, the team is required to “re-qualify” for the World tournament by playing in an additional SPA event.  This re-qualification gives the classification committee an opportunity to evaluate the newly formed team in a game situation.

 We all wish that this was an ideal world, where every team is competitive and the old “you get yours and we’ll get ours” mentality could work, but that’s just not the world that we live in.  The rules that SPA has put in place represent a very honest attempt to make the game more enjoyable for all.

  

 

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General | 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

DOESN'T GET MUCH BETTER THAN THAT

by Ho Hoffman 10. November 2013 21:30

 

    U.S.JOBS/INDY 65 GOES 8-1 TO WIN SPA 65 AA WORLDS

DALTON, GEORGIA – The championship effort of the U.S.JOBS.INDY 65 team in winning the 2014 SPA 65 AA DALTON WORLD TITLE even exceeded the expectations of MANAGER JOHN CLAMPITT.

That was probably our best tournament effort ever and not just this year, I mean ever,” CLAMPITT said, “Everything just fell into place for us the hitting, defense, pitching. We really peaked at the right time.”

Considering the SPA WORLDS was one of three (SSUSA VEGAS; ISA COLUMBUS; SPA DALTON) major tournament U.S.JOBS won, being their best effort was saying something.

When you go 8-1 and have to win five games in the loser's bracket and have to beat an undefeated team twice in the finals to be the champs, that is really a huge effort,” CLAMPITT said.

The 60AA champs started off beating JIM AND JOE's 15-9 and CHICAGO CLASSiC GREY SOX 13-7 in pool play and surprisingly beat JIM AND JOE'S 19-14 in the first bracket game.

When we beat JIM AND JOE'S twice, we started to think we may have something special going,” CLAMPITT said, “We play them in about every tournament we play and they usually beat us.”

Another familiar opponent, the DAYTON LEGENDS sent U.S.JOBS into the loser's bracket with 16-15 defeat to start the INDIANA team's remarkable run.

Following a narrow 18-17 win over the GREY SOX, the new champs unloaded their bats beating the CHICAGO STRIKERS 36-24, DAYTON LEGENDS 20-10, the undefeated OKIES 23-6 to force the “IF” game and then the title game 25-14 over the OKIES.

To beat good teams like JIM AND JOES, STRIKERS and the LEGENDS who we have had a hard time with all year to win the CHAMPIONSHIP makes it that much more special,” CLAMPITT said.

U.S.JOBS also had their share of individual award winners. Co-Manager JOHN ROACH was the SPA 60AA MANAGER-OF-THE-YEAR and RUSSELL WILHOIT was tournament MVP.

ALL-AMERICAN honors went to; LARRY ANGRICK, WARREN LARISON, TOMMY SORNSON, ROBERT BAILEY and GEORGE HULL.

Others on the roster were CLAMPITT, LARRY BAKER, DAN CAMPBELL, GARY FERGUSON, IGNACIO HERNANDEZ, WILL HOHLT, HAROLD HURST, ROGER MYNATT, MEL PFEIFFER, GILBERT SALATIN, PATRICK SHEEHAN, JAMES WHITE, JEFF JOHNSON and JAMES ROGERS.

Of course just as important to the team as the players, was according to CLAMPITT his sponsor BILL WARREN.

You know how important having a sponsor is to senior softball teams and we have one of the best, if not the best in BILL WARREN,” CLAMPITT said, “ He has financially supported both us (U.S. JOBS/INDY 65) and DIRECT EMPLOYERS/INDY 70's throughout the years and has always taken an interest in how we are doing both on and off the field.”

Without his help we would have never been able to participate in these tournaments,” CLAMPITT continued.” We owe a lot to BILL WARREN.”

The U.S. JOBS.INDY 65's is now actually looking forward to playing as a AAA team in 2014.

It was time for us to move up,” CLAMPITT said, “We will probably take some lumps playing AAA but it is up to us to make adjustments. We earned the right this year to move up to the next level and we are actually looking forward to it.”

 

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Tournaments

PEPCO ELECTRIC HITS THEIR WAY TO SPA 75 GOLD WORLD TITLE

by Ho Hoffman 27. August 2013 11:28

                CHAMPS HIT .731 IN THE SEVEN GAMES

 

COLUMBUS,OHIO - “Maybe it was the water,” was PEPCO ELECTRIC'S manager TED BUDZIK response to how his team ripped the softball during the SPA 75 GOLD DIVISION WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS held at COLUMBUS,OHIO'S BERLINER PARK August 12-15,

The CLEVELAND team looked like the 1927 YANKEE'S MURDERER'S ROW when after losing their first game in pool play to the DELAWARE DIAMONDS 14-11, they ran off six straight wins to claim their first 75's tournament of the year.

I don't know what we did different to hit like we did,” BUDZIK, who was the SPA 75 GOLD DIVISION MANAGER-OF-THE-YEAR said, “It (hitting) just started and it was contagious.”

BUDZIK was also quick to point out that his team was unable to hit like that at THEE BUCKEYE CLASSIC or the HEART OF OHIO TOURNAMENT, where they took runner-up spots to HAMEL'S and the INDY CROWNS.

They did not have a similar problem at the 75 WORLDS as they beat the DELAWARE DIAMONDS 19-5, JIMMY'S MINNESOTA GOLD 19-14 and the ANTIQUES twice 20-6 and 17-1 in the title game.

You may not believe it but this tournament was loaded with really great teams,” BUDZIK said, “PEACHTREE, INDY CROWNS, ANTIQUES, JIMMY”S, STATESMEN, GEEZERS, DIAMONDS and PROHEALTH all were capable of winning the tournament”

In tournament play the winner is usually the one which gets hot at the right time and we really got hot. We didn't score a lot of runs like some of the teams did but we consistently scored around 20 runs.”, he added.

Carrying the big bat for PEPCO was TOURNAMENT MVP ROGER THRESHER. The mid-fielder was 20-of-23 for a sparkling .869 batting average.

ALL-AMERICAN selections from PEPCO were CHUCK BARRACATO (.814), JOE MISKE (.862), BILL MURPHY (.681), RUSS NEGRAY (.750) and JOHN MILLER (.680).

Other members of the championship team are: ALAN DEWERTH (.600), JERRY HATFIELD (.631), RICHARD HONKALA (.818), TOM MALONEY, JIM PRICE (.680), SAM WYMAN, WILSON YODER (.653), TOM SIEWIOREK (.590), ASSISTANT COACH HAM LUNARDI and STATISTICIAN KATHY WYMAN. Team Sponsor is JACK BORKEY of PEPCO ELECTRIC in EASTLAKE, OHIO.

Of course you just can't win a tournament with hitting, you also need defense. The “D” was also key for PEPCO. In seven games they made less than ten errors and turned eight double plays.

If you keep the other team from getting extra bats because of errors and you're hitting, it makes winning a whole lot easier.”, BUDZIK explained.

Another factor which BUDZIK feels really helps everyone's play in the 75 Division is the two games a day maximum.

That is really a great program for tournaments,” BUDZIK said, “When you only play two games a day and in this tournament we went 2-2-2-1 it keeps everyone fresh to play at the top of their game.”

PEPCO ELECTRIC is not new to the tournament wars with most of the players having played together since they were in their 50's.

We all started in the MAYFIELD HEIGHTS LEAGUE, one of the first senior league in Ohio,” BUDZIK said, “We formed our team and called it the HALL OF FAMERS and had all softball HALL OF FAME players on it.”

According to BUDZIK that didn't last long as HOF players on the team retired and they couldn't find enough to take their place. Almost eighty-percent of today's team has been together for twenty years and has won five National Titles.

We won at PLANO twice as 60-and-65, VEGAS at 65 and Palm Springs at 70,” their manager said,

This is our first championship in awhile and it is bittersweet,” BUDZIK said, “Thanks to SPA, the 75 AAA DIVISION has become one of the best divisions in Senior Softball and now we have to move to MAJOR where there are only three other 75 major teams within a 400-mile radius.”

At this point, BUDZIK is not sure what the team will do next year.

If we can't find tournaments like BARBERTON, COLUMBUS and SHELBYVILLE to play in because we're a major it may be best to split up the team,” BUDZIK said, “If SPA can come up with tournaments in OHIO, INDIANA, MARYLAND and other states close by where they have at least four major teams playing that would be great.”

Unfortunately that has not been the case,” BUDZIK said, “If there will be tournaments for major 75's we have no problem staying together but if not we'll have to do what is best for everyone. Remember, we are all 75 and you don't have that many years left to play.”

Not wanting to sound like sour grapes, BUDZIK had high praise for the SPA organization.

What SPA has done for the 75 DIVISION is tremendous,” he said, “THEE BUCKEYE CLASSIC, HEART OF OHIO and the 75 WORLDS are three of the best run tournaments we have ever played. I wish all tournaments were as well run as SPA'S. SPA is the main reason the 75 DIVISION keeps growing and we really enjoyed being a part of it this year and hope we can continue to do so.”

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Tournaments

TOM WILLIAMS MEMORIAL TRI CITY CLASSIC TURNS “21”

by Ho Hoffman 23. August 2013 13:45

                TOURNAMENT MAKES 2013 COMEBACK

 

JOHNSON CITY, TENNESSEE – The 2013 SPA TOM WILLIAMS MEMORIAL TRI CITY CLASSIC turned 21 years old JULY 11-13 and celebrated by doubling last year's attendance.

The VOLUNTEER STATE tournament increased the turnout from SEVEN teams to SIXTEEN this year and gives strong indications that the event is on the way back to the glory years of THIRTY PLUS teams.

Five DIVISION CHAMPS were crowned in the 60-65-70 brackets.

The LEFTOVERS showed there was nothing “leftover” about them as they took the 70 PLUS SILVER DIVISION besting LEIDEN'S LEGENDS 20-17 in the title game.

The LEGENDS reached the championship game beating the GEORGIA CLASSICS 8-7 in the loser's bracket finale.

VACAR claimed the 70 PLUS GOLD championship with a 10-5 win over BAILEY'S TALENT CAVALIERS. BAILEY'S knocked off the GEORGIA NUGGETS 28-6 in the loser's bracket to earn the runner-up spot.

The CHARLOTTE SENIORS 65's ran the table in the 65 DIVISION opening with a 24-14 win over PATRICK HENRY, followed with two wins over SPORT LETTERING 15-5 and 18-13 in the title game.

TENNESSEE RV was the fourth team in the field.

LOU'S ROYALS also went 3-0 in the 60 PLUS SILVER DIVISION bracket play. The ROYALS won the title with successive victories over TRI CITIES 60'S (21-14); FLIP DOW (22-21) and L&M BUILDERS (18-10) in the championship game.

The 60 PLUS GOLD DIVISION crown went to the CAROLINA COBRAS.

The “REPTILES” beat the CHARLOTTE SENIORS 21-7 in the championship match. In earlier games the COBRAS had beaten CHARLOTTE SENIORS 19-7 and HAMEL 60'S 21-20.

All teams who finished first and/or second at the 2013 SPA TOM WILLIAMS MEMORIAL TRI CITY CLASSIC earned spots in the SPA 2013 WORLD SERIES in the HOUSTON, TEXAS SPORTSPLEX OCTOBER 31-NOVEMBER 3, 2013.

 

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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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