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June 1, 2011
SPRING WORLDS - 90 TEAMS COMPETE IN MESQUITE, ST. GEORGEDave Dowell National Director
MESQUITE, Nev. – Senior Softball USA’s first premier event of the year played out here in late March under sunny and calm skies as 90 teams converged for the 2011 Spring World Championships.
Action was the theme of the week, both on the diamonds and at the terrific evening entertainment locales.
“We always look forward to this week each year. Senior Softball brings so much excitement to Mesquite and we’re happy to be a part of the event,” said Christian Adderson of Black Gaming, a primary sponsor of the Spring World Championships. “We feel like we’re on a bit of a winning streak with Senior Softball, too, with the 2012 SSUSA/ISA Annual Convention headed our way,” he added.
The tournament’s first session kicked off on Tuesday with 30 teams competing in the Men’s 65+ and more senior age groups at the Pioneer Memorial Park and Hunter Park softball complexes in Mesquite for Spring World Championships and the coveted invitations to the 2012 Tournament of Champions.
In the Men’s 65-Major division, the local Vegas 65’s defeated Scrap Iron 65 Redux (CO) 13-11 in the championship, while the 65-AAA title went to Top Gun 65 Silver (CA) following their wins over Specialists Real Estate (NV) in both the winners bracket final (20-12) and the championship game (17-9) to complete a perfect undefeated week for Top Gun. The 65-AA division was a bit more complex, as it took three games between the Palm Springs Diamonds and The Zone 65’s (UT) to determine a champion. Palm Springs avenged a loss in the winner’s bracket final (26-20) before fighting back through the championship game (21-14) and a thrilling “If” game (24-23) to take home the trophy.
In the seven-team Men’s 70+ Division over at Hunter Park, no team escaped the week unblemished as close games were the norm. Thursday’s championship game winners were the San Francisco Seals in the 70+ Platinum Division, winning 27-26 over the Firebirds (AZ), El Paseo Bank (CA), 23-22 victors over Speed Limit (UT) in the 70-AAA and The Zone 70’s (UT) slipping past Scrap Iron Reds (CO), 18-14 in the 70-AA Championship game.
There were two other teams in Session 1 that enjoyed a perfect unbeaten week, and both were from the most senior of age groups. The California Gold Rush won the 75-Gold division with a thrilling 21-20 championship game win over the Sunshine Boys (CA), while perennial national power Tiodize D-99 80’s wrapped things up with a 26-20 win over the Scrap Iron 80’s (CO).
Session 2 opened on Friday morning as the remaining 60 teams commenced play, which was also expanded to the beautiful Canyons Complex in St. George, UT, to handle the strong attendance again this year. The competition was so balanced, unbeaten teams were extremely rare and two-thirds of the division brackets were determined in the “If” games on Sunday.
In the Men’s 50+ Divisions, not a single team escaped a loss. The 50-Platinum title went to Rapid Erectors/Scrap Iron (CO) with consecutive wins over the Nazzareno Electric Longhorns (CA) in the winner’s bracket final (24-20) and the championship game (24-16). In a complex scheduling scenario, the 50-AAA had teams that played in both St. George and Mesquite on the same day, and in fact, in the same game! Unexpected thunderstorms forced the cancellation of afternoon pay on Saturday at The Canyons, forcing one suspended game to be resumed five hours later in Mesquite. In what was a look of things to come, Jaxx (UT) defeated the SoCal Knights in that dual-state game (21-15), then watched as the Knights came back through the elimination bracket to return the favor (18-14) in the championship game, forcing an “If” game. Despite the best efforts of both squads, the SoCal Knights were unable to complete that game due to pressing flight schedule conflicts Sunday evening from Las Vegas, resulting in a 7-0 forfeit in favor of Jaxx. Meanwhile, in the 50-AA, Top Gun Thunder (CA) and Kamikaze (CA) needed three games to get things resolved. Top Gun prevailed in the “If” game (25-9), following a win in the winner’s bracket final (31-24) and a loss to Kamikaze in the championship game (22-15).
In keeping with the balanced brackets approach, the Men’s 55+ Divisions required “If” games in three of the four divisions Sunday. The Nighthawks Softball Club (CA) was one of the rare unbeatens for the weekend as they swept through the 55-Major Plus seeding and bracket games, culminating with their 26-13 win over Doubleplay Classic (CA) in the championship. The 55-Majors saw Top Gun II (CA) double-dip the Utah Coyotes, 22-15 in the championship game and 27-8 in the “If” game. That double-dip approach also proved to be the difference in the 55-AAA division, as MI Sports (CO) dropped the winner’s bracket final (14-10) to RPM Softball (UT) before bouncing back in both the championship game (19-11) and a thrilling last-at-bat win in the “If” game (22-21).
Not to be left out of the excitement, the 55-AA title went to Bob’s Classics (UT), also in the “If” game, defeating Git-R-Done (19-18) to squeak out the title. During Friday play in the combined 50/55-AA Division, five of the six games were decided by one run, and the “blowout” of the day was a 23-20 game. The 55-AA Championship series also had two of the three games being one-run affairs.
The Men’s 60+ Division didn’t escape the tight competition, either, with two of the three brackets also requiring “If” games. The five-team 60-Major title went to Master Collision (CO), defeating SGC/Runner Blue (UT) 26-18 in the championship game. In the nine-team 60-AAA, the top-seeded Titans (CA) won it all in, yes, another “If” game, defeating Last Call (NV) 23-22 to avenge a prior defeat in the championship game (13-6). No to be outdone, the 60-AAA took three games between the top two teams to find a champion. Duke City Dynamite (NM) finally got past the Base Hawgs (CA) by double-dipping them in the championship game (27-20) and the “If” game (20-13) to avenge a loss to the Base Hawgs in the winner’s bracket final (19-12).
In the Men’s 40-Masters, again there wasn’t a team that didn’t taste defeat over the weekend. The Nor-Cal Stars (CA) got past Above & Beyond (CA) by a 27-21 score in the championship.
The Women’s divisions had two of the three remaining unbeaten teams for the session. In the Women’s 40-Masters, Kar Phone/TKP (CA) was a perfect 4-0 in seeding play to secure the top seed, then defeated the Old School 40’s (CA) in the winner’s bracket final and by forfeit (7-0) in the championship game when Old School declined to play. The 40-Masters AA Division title went to the Utah Relics, 17-12 winners over Steel Runnin’ (CA) in the “If” game. This division was another that was affected by the adverse weather Saturday afternoon in St. George. They played their morning round of games before packing up and making the trip 45 miles back to Mesquite to play two more rounds of games that evening before returning to St. George for the Sunday finals.
The Women’s 65+ Division was present for the first time in the Spring World Championships, and the California Spirit 65 put on quite a show. They were an impressive 4-0 in the Seeding rounds before closing things out with a 13-6 win over the appropriately named New Kids on the Block (CA).
For complete game results, see www.seniorsoftball.com, go to Tournaments, then click on SPRING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS.