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June 1, 2010
TOC: 107 CHAMPIONS COMPETEDave Dowell National Director
POLK COUNTY, FLA. – The fourth annual Senior Softball USA Tournament of Champions was held in mid-February as 107 of the winners of the SSUSA’s 2009 tournament season convened to crown the “Champions of Champions.”
This year’s event was marked by two days of festivities prior to the actual tournament, including free hitting clinics, skills competitions, a mini-warm up tournament and a thrilling National All-Star Game on Wednesday and Thursday. The West All Stars got a very timely walk-off RBI single from SSUSA’s C.E.O. Terry Hennessy in the bottom of the ninth inning for the 31-30 win.
Weather played a major role this year, as the Blizzard of 2010 in the Northeast prevented six of the 113 invited teams from making it to Florida, where the weather didn’t seem much better. Those six teams will be invited to the 2011 TOC as a reward for their perseverance under very difficult circumstances.
“The Tournament of Champions is the only tournament in senior softball in which only winners of the top tournaments of the year are invited, so we strive to make it a memorable event for the champions and their families,” said Fran Dowell, SSUSA executive director. “All of the pre-tournament events, including the formal banquet, are free to TOC players and their families.”
One of the most popular events of the TOC has become the hitting clinics, in which players get free individual instruction from some of the best hitters in the sport, including Corky Pellien, Mike Macenko, Kevin Schulstrom and Ken Van Boegart.
Another popular pre-tournament event has become the set of running, hitting and pitching competitions.
The social highlight of the TOC is the banquet, held this year at the Tiger Spring Training Stadium in Lakeland. The banquet included a full dinner for 2,000 TOC players and their families and ceremonies honoring each team and the winners of the skills contests and the East-West All Star Game.
Record cold temperatures kept the banquet-goers wrapped in un-Florida like heavy jackets and prompted officials to announce that the 2011 banquet would be indoors.
“We are definitely planning on moving the banquet inside in 2011, so that players and their families can really enjoy a comfortable evening of fun and food,” said Fran Dowell. “This whole event is designed to honor the champions and we want to make sure they get the full benefit of the gala banquet.”
Low temperatures and chilly winds and rain caused cancellation of Friday afternoon games, but the weekend brought better conditions and outstanding play from all teams.
Tournament of Champions 2010 winners crowned on Sunday were:
Men’s 50-Major: Morgan Keegan (FL) over Windy City Softball (IL) – 22-16 in the “If” game
Men’s 50-AAA: Doug & Don’s Auto Care (MI) over CJ & S Express (AZ) – 29-12
Men’s 50-AA: Prescott Raw Nuts (AZ) over Scrap Iron 50’s Northern (CO) – 19-5
Men’s 50/55-Major Plus: East Bay Oldies (CA) over Southern Slam (NC) – 34-20
Men’s 55-Major: Syracuse Merchants (NY) over Timberworks Construction (CA) – 28-21
Men’s 55-AAA: Tri-State Merchants (DE) over Northern Virginia Force – 25-13
Men’s 55-AA: California Blackhawks over Steel Dawgs (PA) – 22-19 in the “If” game
Men’s 60-Major Plus: Miken / Anaconda Sports (FL) over New York Statemen / EPA – 35-12
Men’s 60-Major: Bay State Bombers (MA) over Morris Farms (FL) – 30-10 in the “If” game
Men’s 60-AAA: Game On (CA) over Chicago Classics Bobcats (IL) – 17-5
Men’s 60-AA: Texas Tornados over South Florida Heat – 15-13
Men’s 65-Major Plus: Florida Legends / Human Kinetics (by default)
Men’s 65-Major: Las Vegas Elks (NV) over Scrap Iron 65’s (CO) – 20-11
Men’s 65-AAA: Village Merchants (FL) over Michaels 65’s (IL) – 2-0 in the “If” game
Men’s 65-AA: KFC of Champaign (IL) over Moonraker’s Pub (BC, Canada) - 25-15
Men’s 70-Major Plus: Suncoast Orthopedic Surgery (FL) (by default)
Men’s 70-Major: PDR / Fastsigns (OR) over Dan Pfeiffer Auto Group (MI) – 20-15
Men’s 70-AAA: Back Office Associates (MA) over Nor-Cal Renegades (CA) – 16-5
Men’s 70-AA: Bucks & Bulls 70’s (FL) over San Antonio Crackers (TX) – 34-12
Men’s 75-Major: Joseph Chevrolet (KY) over Georgia Peaches – 17-11
Men’s 75-AAA: Nami Construction (NJ) over Pfeiffer Gray Sox (MI) – 17-6
Men’s 80-Division: Center for Sight (FL) over Midwest 80’s (OH) – 18-3
Women’s 40-Division: TKO 40’s (NM) (by default)
Women’s 50-Division: Sunny Beaches 50’s (FL) over Dreamgirlz (VA) – 17-16
Women’s 60-Division: Jollico Seniors 60 (MI) over California Spirit 60 – 13-6
Women’s 65-Division: Cebert Wealth Vixens (FL) (by default)
Polk County once again proved why they are one of the premier destinations for Senior Softball in the country, with first-rate facilities, hospitality second to none and outstanding playing facilities in both Winter Haven and Lakeland. Plans are underway for the 2011 Tournament of Champions next February.
Dave Dowell is one of the SSUSA’s National Directors and their National Schedule Consultant and served as the Field Director at the Auburndale Sports Complex at this year’s TOC. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org