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July 1, 2004 - Womens corner
June in Akron and RenoPat Lawlis
June is a great month for softball across the country. On the first weekend in June this year, women played both in the Buckeye Classic in Akron, OH and the Rock 'n Reno Tournament in Reno, NV.
The Buckeye Classic was a big draw for women from around the East, and 20 teams played for prizes in 4 divisions. The 40+ division had the fewest teams, with the Ohio Cardinals battling the West Michigan Storm in a best of three for the title. These evenly matched teams battled back and forth, each winning one, until the Ohio Cardinals pulled off a 3 ˆ 0 shutout in the decisive game.
The women's 50+ division was the largest with Florida Spirit, Motown Stars, Ohio Pioneers, Pittsburgh Diamonds, Golden Girls of Virginia, Great Lakers, Silver Buckeyes, and Sportaculars. The Great Lakers made their way through the winners' bracket by defeating the Ohio Pioneers 16-4, Florida Spirit 13-11, and Golden Girls of Virginia 9-6. The Golden Girls had prevailed over the Pittsburgh Diamonds 14-5 and the Motown Stars 13-5 before losing to the Great Lakers. The Sportaculars lost their initial game to the Motown Stars 13-12 and then had made their way through the losers' bracket by besting the Pittsburgh Diamonds 13-5, Florida Spirit 13-5, and Motown Stars 9-8. But then the Sportaculars hit the wall against the Golden Girls 15-1, and the Golden Girls went back to meet the Great Lakers for the championship. The Golden Girls got their revenge by beating the Great Lakers two straight 16-6 and 19-7 to take the championship.
A robust women's 55+ division sported the Capital Area Classics, Florida Spirit, Great Lakers, Michigan Medical Miracles, Ohio Cardinals, and Pittsburgh Diamonds. The Capital Area Classics, Michigan Medical Miracles, and Great Lakers all went undefeated in pool play. The Capital Area Classics then swept their way through the winners' bracket by beating the Florida Spirit 9-2, the Michigan Medical Miracles 7-4, and the Great Lakers 12-0. After losing to the Classics, the Miracles had to make their way through the losers' bracket by defeating the Pittsburgh Diamonds 21-1, the Florida Spirit 11-4, and the Great Lakers 14-6. However, the Classics were the better team that day as they prevailed over the Miracles again 14-7 to take the championship.
Rounding out the Buckeye Classic was a 60+ women's division consisting of the Citrus Park Sunshine Girls, Golden Girls of Virginia, Silver Buckeyes, and Sportaculars. The Golden Girls of Virginia worked their way through the winners' bracket by outlasting the Citrus Park Sunshine Girls 19-9 and the Sportaculars 19-10. The Sportaculars had beaten the Silver Buckeyes 12-3 before being knocked into the losers' bracket. Then they beat the Buckeyes again 13-1 to gain the right to play in the championship game. But the Golden Girls prevailed 20-15 to take home another championship for that organization.
Meanwhile, in the West, the women's divisions in the Rock Œn Reno tournament were comparatively smaller, but just as competitive. In the 40+ division, Bad Catz and Showtime locked horns in a best of 5 games. When the dust had settled, Showtime had won 27-11, 17-8, and 22-7 for a decisive championship.
The only other division sported five 50+ teams: Class Act, California Rockers, Santa Cruz Blues Breakers, Kids@Heart, and Aches and Pains. The sixth team was the California Express 55+. In a full round robin of five games each, Aches and Pains went undefeated by beating Class Act 12-11, California Express 21-13, California Rockers 16-10, Santa Cruz Blues Breakers 33-10, and Kids@Heart 24-9. Their impressive championship was propelled by MVP Angie Gomez, Outstanding Offensive Player Janine Van Vliet, and Best Defensive Player Pat Stacher.