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Dec. 1, 2010
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS SHATTER RECORD - 329 TEAMS COMPETE FROM 42 STATES, CANADA, GERMANYSenior Softball-USA
PHOENIX – The largest and toughest competition of the year became the biggest event ever when a record 329 teams competed in the 19th annual Senior Softball World Championships here in October.
Four teams won the Holy Grail of Senior Softball: the Triple Grand Slam. The winning teams included Spot Bar & Grill of Washington in the 55AAA, Florida Legends / Human Kinetics in the 65 Major-Plus, PDR/Fastsigns of Oregon in the 70 Major and Center for Sight of Florida in the 80 Majors.
These teams won the Western or Eastern Nationals, the US Nationals and the World Championships.
“The numbers were awesome,” said Terry Hennessy, SSUSA’s chief executive officer. “The 329 teams came from 42 states, Canada and Germany. That translates into more than 10,000 people over the 10 days of the tournament infusing more than $16 million into the Phoenix economy.”
The German team competed for the second year in the 60AA division, and ended with a 2-3 record. But the scores were secondary to the international sportsmanship displayed and the friendships made among the teams.
“We come to play, but also to have fun, meet old friends and make new friends,” said Drago Stevanovic, manager of Team Germany.
More than 80 top umpires and 16 National Tournament directors were brought in from throughout the United States and Canada. Teams played more than 1,100 games on eight softball complexes in 31 divisions.
Three of the largest divisions included the 50 AAA with 29 teams, 50 Major with 26 teams and 60AAA with 25 teams.
The oldest and youngest divisions set records in 2010.
The 80s Men Division boasted 7 teams, the 40 Men’s Masters attracted 21 teams and the Women’s 40 Masters had 18 teams.
Eight players were inducted into the National Senior Softball Hall of Fame at Opening Ceremonies, including Jim Stapleton from MTC 60s, Ray Bosetti, Wayne Ellithorpe, Rex Finley, Charlie Partin, George Rubelsky, Ralph “Skip” Sanchez, and Jennings Smith.
One of the top awards of the year, the 2010 Sportsmanship Award, was presented to Joe “Candy” Candelaria the New Mexico High Desert Roadrunners during Opening Ceremonies.
“This award transcends the game itself,” said Hennessy at the ceremony. “It stands for all that is good in the sport: passionate competition played with good humor and good fellowship. That is the formula for good sportsmanship. The beauty of good sportsmanship is that it incites a love of the game for all who witness it.”
The Roadrunners capped their tournament by winning the 65 AAA Division SSWC title.
Undoubtedly one of the highlights of the World Championships was the field conditions.
“The City of Phoenix Parks & Recreation Department used volunteers to supplement their paid staff to ensure fields were always in great shape,” said Fran Dowell, SSUSA executive director. “As a result, the setting for this competition was perfect – and we can’t thank the City Parks staff enough.
Competition in the 31 divisions of the World Championships was close – and heated.
Eight of the divisions were decided by “IF” games, and two others by a single run.
The championships in the huge 50AAA division went to an “IF” game when Wolfpack Softball of Washington emerged from the loser’s bracket to defeat Tucson Bandits 17-16. The Bandits came back in the final game to beat Wolfpack 30-27 for the 50AAA title.
The second largest division, the 25-team 50 Majors, also was decided by the “IF” game. Team Adidas of Texas bested Demolition of California 29-23 to force the “IF” game. Demolition picked up the pace in the last game to defeat Team Adidas 24-8 to win the division.
In the third +20 team division OTD (Older than Dirt) from Arizona didn’t need the “IF” game to take the 60AAA championships. OTD defeated the Chicago Classics Bobcats 16-7 to win. OTD won the 60 AA division last year in the SSWC. At the awards, the manager said his team was ready to try the Major division in 2011.
In another close contest in the 40 Major division, Team Braves forced an “IF” game by defeating top-seeded Magic Sports Unforgiven 25-22. Magic came back in the final game with a barrage of runs to win the 40 Major title 30-25.
Only two teams managed to emerge from the loser’s bracket to win their divisions: Driving Force from British Columbia in the 40 Men’s AAA and California Spirit in the Women’s 55 division.
Driving Force beat Phoenix Tube of New Jersey 29-28 and 30-18 to win the 40 AAA title. California Spirit double-dipped the Tucson Classics 12-6 and 19-10 to win the Women’s 55 championships.
In their last World Championships, GSF of Arizona won the 60 Major-Plus division by a razor-thin margin over MTC of California, 18-17.
In another tight finish in the 70 Major-Plus division, Suncoast Orthopedic of Florida defeated the Arizona Sidewinders 28-27 to force an “IF” game. But the Sidewinders came back in the last game to edge Suncoast 24-23 to win the championships.
The Prescott Scorpions crowned their first major tournament win in the 70AA division with being given the key to the city by the mayor when they returned to Prescott.
In the Women’s 50 division, Bottom of the 5th edged 2nd Wind 12-11 in the championships. Both teams were from California.
And in the Women’s 60 division, the Ohio Cardinals defeated the Golden Saints of Arizona 9-7 for the title.
For a complete list of results, go to www.seniorsoftball.com / click Tournaments / Click World Championships.