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Dec. 1, 2010
WINTER NATIONALS: LARGEST TOURNEY IN EASTSenior Softball-USA
FORT MYERS, FL. – The SSUSA Winter Nationals 10th year arrived like a lamb in a Florida winter, with beautiful skies, warm temperatures and gentle breeze. The largest senior tournament east of the Mississippi attracted 162 teams from 27 states and Canada here from Nov. 9-14.
But a massive gas leak on Wednesday, the second day of the tournament, resulted in no warm water until the lines were repaired on Saturday affecting thousands of players and their families.
“Our players took it all in stride – and with good humor,” said Fran Dowell, SSUSA executive director and Winter National tournament director.
“They said it felt like they were camping because of the cold-water showers … and because many of the restaurants were limited to serving cold food,” she said.
The competition, however, was intensely hot in the 24 divisions.
Five of the divisions were decided by a single run in the championship game and six divisions were forced into an “IF” game when the team from the loser’s bracket won beat the team in the winner’s bracket in the championship game.
“The numbers insured some very large and competitive divisions,” said Dowell. “We are now using 18 fields in four pristine complexes in three cities: Fort Myers, Cape Coral and Naples.”
The Winter Nationals have blossomed from 40 teams in the first year to 162 teams this year and SSUSA officials say their partners, the Lee County Sports Organizing Committee, have been key factors in the growth by supplying great fields, receptions and hospitality.
“Our players always feel welcome here,” said Dowell.
On the field, one of the closest finishes came in the largest division between two northern teams. High Street Bucs of Maryland double-dipped Fat Nancy’s of New York 12-10 and 12-11 to win the large 18-team 50 AAA division.
In the 50 Major division, Morgan-Keegan won all of its bracket games – winning 4 of 5 by one run. Morgan-Keegan won the championship game 18-17, defeating Vector Security of Pennsylvania.
In the 55 Major division, Team Florida came out of the loser’s bracket to beat Pace of New York 24-15 and force the “IF” game. Pace came back to edge Team Florida 15-14 and win the division.
In another large division, the 16-team 60 AAA, Stahl Post of New Jersey beat Commodity Haulers of Rhode Island 15-14 for the championships.
In the 12-team 60 AA, Sound Realty of Florida forced the “IF” game by defeating Central PA 20-14. But Central PA rebounded in the “IF” game, beating Sound Realty 22-6 for the title.
In the 15-team 65 AAA division, the New York Streaks double-dipped Bostonian Shoes of Massachusetts 15-5 and 13-12 to win the championship.
And in the 65 AA division of 8 teams, Bucs and Bulls of Florida defeated Syracuse Cyclones of New York 15-9, forcing an “IF” game that Syracuse won 22-14 for the title.
In the oldest Women’s division, the Village Vixens defeated the Golden Gals 22-6 (both teams are from Florida) to win the 65 Division championships.
For a complete list of scores, go to www.seniorsoftball.com and click on Tournaments, then on 2010 Winter Nationals.