SPA 2014 WORLD TOURNAMENT SETS RECORD

by Hockepuck! 24. October 2014 14:27

TOURNAMENT CONTINUES TO GROW IN BOTH MEN AND WOMEN

 DALTON , GEORGIA – It was another banner year for the SPA ORGANIZATION in 2014 as the SPA WORLDS ATTENDANCE hit a new high with 166 teams attending.

The increase in the WORLDS attendance kept pace with SPA'S overall growth for 2014. In the mid-west and east alone, SPA averaged over 40 teams per tournament drawing over 800 teams for the twenty tournaments in that region.

This has been a very good year for SPA,” SPA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR RIDGE HOOKS said about the 2014 tournament attendance,”The totals and the increase show that SPA is continuing to put on quality well attended tournaments which are drawing teams to our events.”

 Overall SPA crowned in the 80, 75 GOLD, 75 SILVER, 75 MAJOR, 70 AAA, 70 AA, 70 MAJOR, 65 AAA, 65 AA, 65 MAJOR, 65 MAJOR PLUS, 60 AAA, 60 AA, 60 MAJOR, 60 MAJOR PLUS, 55 AAA, 55 MAJOR, 50 AAA, 50 MAJOR and 50 MAJOR PLUS.

(ARTICLE ON THE 75'S, 80'S , 50'S MAJOR, 50'S MAJOR PLUS, 60 MAJOR, 60 MAJOR PLUS and 75 MAJORS have been covered previously):

2014 CHAMPS

50 AAA - 1. TEAM ELITE CC MIKEN (MD), RATED ATHLETES (CAL); 2.DAYTON LEGENDS HITMEN (OH) (13 TEAMS)

50 MAJOR – 1. RATED ATHLETES (CAL), 2. GOOD TIMES (FLA) (15 TEAMS)

50 MAJOR PLUS – 1. DLB SOFTBALL (WIS), 2.MID-ATLANTIC (VA) (8 TEAMS)

55 AAA – 1.DAVID BOWEN SPORTS (FLA), 2. DT EXPRESS (TN) (7 TEAMS)

55 MAJOR – 1. DOCS (OH), 2. SWEET CONSTRUCTION (NJ) (10 TEAMS)

60 AA – 1. CAVCO SPORTS (ONT,CAN); 2. TENNESSEE 60'S (TN) (5 TEAMS)

60 AAA - 1.ELITE 60'S (GA), 2. REALITY CHECK (NC) (23 TEAMS)

60 MAJOR – 1. GONZALES INSULATION (TX), 2. CRYSTAL COBRAS (NC), 2. KC KIDS (KS) (5 TEAMS)

60 MAJOR PLUS – 1. SUPERIOR SR SOFTBALL (VA), 2. MN MASTERS WHITE (MINN) (3 TEAMS)

65 AA – 1. CHICAGO HITMEN (IL). 2. THE FIRM (TENN) (9 TEAMS)

65 AAA - 1. CARRIAGE HOMES (AR), 2. US DOT JOBS (IND) (9 TEAMS)

65 MAJOR – 1. BEACH BOYZ (FL), 2. SW FLORIDA THUNDER (FL) (9 TEAMS)

65 MAJOR PLUS – 1. HAMEL BUILDERS/SUPERIOR (VA), 2. BEEF O'BRADY'S (FL) (3 TEAMS)

70 AA – 1. CHICAGO GRAT SOX (IL), 2. DAYTON LEGENDS 70'S (OH) (4 TEAMS)

70 AAA – 1. SCRAP IRON LEGACY (CO), 2. SENIOR REDBIRDS (IL) (15 TEAMS)

70 MAJOR – 1. FRANKIE BRIN FINANCIAL (FL), 2. SOUTHEAST LEFTOVERS (GA). (2 TEAMS)

75 SILVER – 1. PEACHTREE RESTAURANT (PA), 2. LOUISVILLE THUNDER (KY) (7 TEAMS)

75 GOLD – 1. CHICAGO GEEZERS (IL), 2. NEW JERSEY JAGS (NJ) (6 TEAMS)

75 MAJOR – 1. THE LEFTOVERS (GA), 2. HAMELS 75'S (MD) (4 TEAMS)

80 AAA – 1. PROHEALTH CARE (WIS), 2. TEXAS CLASSICS (TX) (5 TEAMS)

 POOL AND BRACKET PLAY SCORES MAY BE FOUND ON THE SPA RESULTS PAGE AND ALSO FRONT PAGE.

 

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General | Tournaments | Women

TEAM ELITE /CC / MIKEN WINS SPA 2014 50 AAA WORLDS

by Hockepuck! 8. October 2014 12:53

MARYLAND TEAM RUNS MARATHON AT TO TAKE CHAMPIONSHIP

 DALTON, GEORGIA – TEAM ELITE CC MIKEN got their money's worth at the SPA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS at DALTON, GEORGIA'S HERITAGE POINT PARK, using three pool games and six bracket games to win the SPA 2014 50 AAA TITLE.

 The MARYLAND team went 2-1 in pool play and 5-1 in bracket play, winning their last three loser-goes-home games to win the championship.

 Our backs were definitely to the wall,” SPA 50 AAA MANAGER-OF-THE-YEAR and TEAM ELITE MANAGER RAY 'RINGO” JONES said, “ But we went into the tournament with the attitude the tougher it was going to be, the tougher we would play.”

 Not a real unique strategy but the first-year team was definitely unique in another way. You sure needed a program to know who was playing where. It was almost like the ABBOTT and COSTELLO routine “WHO'S ON FIRST.”

 Where other teams have names like BOB, BILL, JOHN, etc, TEAM ELITE'S roster was sprinkled with names such as HILLBILLY, POPS, J HOLLYWOOD, BUZZ, 50/50, RAZ and RINGO. And they all were versatile and played different positions from one game to the next.

 Those nicknames are the ones you can print, they also have others you can't print,” JONES laughed. “When we put this team together this year our main objective was the players would have versatility and be able to play at least a couple of different positions.”

 They needed the versatility because only twelve players made the 11-hour trip to DALTON. All 12 played in the pool games but only 11 were used in each of the bracket games with one player being kept in reserve in case of injury.

 The versatility we had played a huge part in us winning the championship,” JONES said, “I had to constantly manipulate the line-up in regards to both batting order and defensive positions due to injuries.”

 Falling into the loser's bracket and playing all those extra games didn't help us either,” he added, “Guys were really wearing down and it was hard to find fresh legs.”

 After falling in the pool opener to the DAYTON HITMEN 17-12, they ran off four wins in a row beating STILL SWINGING (20-15) and NORTH GEORGIA OUTLAWS (23-15) in pool play and then SOUTHERN HURRICANES (29-23) and FINANCIAL EAGLES (15-11) in bracket playing before losing again.

 We lost to DAYTON again, this time 23-18,” assistant coach JIM “50/50” GALLAGHER said, “They just beat us, it looked like we weren't ready to play. We were really inconsistent at bat and in the field.”

 From there on things changed for the better. What changed them?

 Let's just say we had some good dialogue between everyone,” GALLAGHER said, “It wasn't a gripe session, we just discussed what we had to do better so we could really focus in on what we were here to do.”

 The session worked as TEAM ELITE opened SUNDAY beating FINANCIAL EAGLE 20-15 then forcing an “IF” game with a 26-17 victory over DAYTON and followed that with a 21-14 decision against DAYTON in the title game.

 That was a great feeling,” JONES said, “To win a tournament against the competition in this tournament was fantastic. There really were a lot of great teams here and everyone was capable of winning it all, we just got hot on SUNDAY and that carried us through.”

 Earning MVP TOURNAMENT honors was SAM MANNS. The first baseman hit .861, including nine HR'S and 38 RBI'S. In addition he was involved in several key defensive double plays.

 Joining MANNS on the ALL-AMERICAN TEAM were JIM “50/50” GALLAGHER (2B,.722), DARYL (HILLBILLY) BILLINGS (LCF, .727), ROBBIE WINNER (OF, .784), JIM “RAZ” RASNAKE (P,.600) and ROBERT “BUZZ” SMITH (OF, .778)

Other members of TEAM ELITE CC MIKEN are: MIKE BEDELL (DNP), MANAGER-OF-THE-YEAR RAY “RINGO” JONES (OF, .676), RANDY LOTT (DNP), BRIAN (CAVEMAN) WEIMAN ( LF, .677), CLIFF (BIG DOG) CURTAIN (DH,.583), CHRIS “POPS” FLEISCH (SS, .586), HOWARD COHEN (DNP), DANNY PIPER (DNP), BARRY LYNN (3B,.594), JIM “HOLLYWOOD” SMITH (DNP) and KEITH DELANEY (C,EH, .697)

 It hasn't been an easy first year for TEAM ELITE despite winning the 50 AAA SPA WORLDS. Injuries have been common, just notice the “DNP'S” on the above roster.

We started with eighteen players on the roster,” GALLAGHER explained, “But we were never able to have more than 12-or-13 at any tournament because of injuries and other commitments. We were lucky to make it here with 12 players.”

 Besides all the sponsor names listed as TEAM ELITE CC MIKEN, the team is self sponsored except for some help from teammate CLIFF CURTAIN, who has a trucking company in CATONSVILLE, MARYLAND and HARDESTY HEATING AND AIR CONDITIOING plus a few other anonymous sponsors.

 As you can tell by all our nicknames, this team is really loose and has fun together,” GALLAGHER said, “We all enjoy traveling and playing ball together. The chemistry is so good and everybody is willing to go that extra mile to help the team win. Playing with these guys makes playing senior softball just a much more enjoyable experience.”

 GALLAGHER and JONES both had high praise for RIDGE HOOKS and the SPA WORLDS.

 Other organizations can take a lesson from the way RIDGE runs the SPA tournament.” they said, 'Having three umpires for the championship game is something we have never seen before and all the umpires who worked the tournament were the very best we have ever had.”

 We loved the complex and the opening ceremony was just fantastic,” they added, “It was really worth the long drive and it was a great experience, we will always remember.”

 

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Tournaments

CHICAGO GRAY SOX 70'S WIN FIRST SPA WORLD TITLE

by Hockepuck! 4. October 2014 00:19

            REBOUND FROM LOSER'S BRACKET TO WIN 70 AA CROWN

DALTON, GEORGIA - The CHICAGO GRAY SOX made their first appearance as a 70's team in the SPA WORLDS a memorable one by winning the 70 AA TITLE at DALTON, GEORGIA'S HERITAGE POINT PARK SEPTEMBER 4-7.

This wasn't just our first time winning the SPA WORLDS as a 70's team,” MANAGER MIKE FOSTER said. ”This was also our first ever SPA WORLD title at any age level.”

 The GRAY SOX, who still have eleven players (CHARLIE BYRUM, RICHIE DOUGLAS, JACK FELVER, FOSTER, GARY HEIFNER, ROY IVERSON, KENNY KIRK, ROGER LENART, WAYNE MARKETT, JERRY SANTERELLI and GARY STONE) from the original 2003 team, had to really work to win the championship.

They started out fine winning both pool games against LEIDEN'S LEGENDS (24-10), DAYTON LEGENDS (20-16), and their first bracket game 11-4 against LEIDEN’S again. But an 18-12 loss to DAYTON in the second round ushered the GRAY SOX into the dreaded losers' bracket.

We were surprised how strong the 70 AA competition was,” FOSTER said. “Nobody was able to run away with the title and every team was capable of winning it all.”

After catching their second wind, The GRAY SOX knocked off the INDIANAPOLIS CLASSICS (13-10) and then forced an “IF” game with DAYTON by escaping with a 10-9 win.

  That was a close one,” FOSTER said. “Our defense was the difference.

 ” The GRAY SOX had everything working in the title game beating the OHIO team 20-11 for the championship.

 We were really tired after that championship game,” FOSTER said. “It was our fourth game of the day (11:00,12:30, 2:00, 3:30) and third against DAYTON. We were really worried about them coming into the tournament because they handled us pretty well at SYLVANIA, OHIO.”

 FOSTER said the biggest key to them winning the tournament was the entire roster.

  We play everyone on the roster and rotate them not only every game but even every few innings,” he explained. “It keeps everyone fresh and makes a huge difference, especially at age 70. We don't lose anything with the changes because most of us are about even in playing ability.”

 One player, who did not rotate much was tournament MVP JIM DUCHARME, who led the team in hitting.

  Joining DUCHARME on the ALL-AMERICAN team were DOUGLAS, IVERSON, STONE, JACK ZUZAK and JIM MANNING.

 Others on the team are: EDDIE ACCOMANDO, ROGER LENART, JACK WATKINS, EDDIE DUNN and JIM HANDLEY.

 KIRK Received the SPA 70 AA MANAGE-OF-THE-YEAR AWARD. KIRK, who has been the third base coach and assistant manager all year, ran the team in DALTON.

 In addition to the large travel team roster, the GRAY SOX also have a faithful fan base which accompanies them. Serving as cheerleaders, social planners and “nurses” to the team are BARB DOUGLES, CONNIE DUCHARME, RONI WIDRI, KATHLEEN DUNN, BONNIE BYRUM, DIANNE FOSTER, and LINDA HEIFNER

 . The wives have been a great support group to us at all of our tournaments and we really appreciate them,” FOSTER said.

 Even though the team is self sponsored, they do attend a lot of tournaments.

 DALTON was our EIGHTH this year and the only we one we won,” FOSTER said. “We usually try to attend 10 or 11 each year, with most being around our area.”

 Comparing the SPA WORLDS to others the GRAY SOX have played, FOSTER had this to say,

  The SPA WORLDS are great. It is a tremendous facility, the umpires are outstanding and the competition is excellent.", the manager said, " The OPENING CEREMONIES and the WIVES BREAKFAST are just fantastic. No other organization has anything like that. RIDGE (HOOKS) and SPA really do a great job with their WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP. We certainly look forward to attending it again.”

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Tournaments

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

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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