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Oct. 1, 2011
160 TEAMS KICK OFF 2012 SEASON IN LAS VEGASDave Dowell National Director
LAS VEGAS – The 10th annual Winter World Championships kicked off the Western portion of the 2012 tournament season here in November as 160 teams from as far away as Hawaii and Florida enjoyed a perfect week of softball in one of the country’s premier tournament locations.
This year marked the 10th, and final, year of the Winter Worlds in Las Vegas as the event moves to Phoenix in 2012.
Session 1, featuring 50 teams in the 65 and more senior divisions began play on Tuesday under the best weather conditions in many years at the state-of-the-art Big League Dreams replica ball fields and the Desert Breeze Sports Complex. Competition was well balanced and intense as half of the 10 divisions required an “If” game to determine champions, and no team emerged unbeaten for the week.
In the 65-Major Plus , Omen Softball (CA) split the first two games of the Best 2 of 3 Championship Series with the Vegas 65’s before nailing down the title with a 30-6 win in Game 3. Game On (CA) made its graduation to the 65 age group a memorable one as they were the only 65 team to win without having the “If” game with their victory (13-8) over the High Desert Roadrunners (NM) in the championship.
The 11-team Men’s 65-AAA was the largest single group during the first session. Last Call (NV) made a tough seven-game run through the elimination bracket and forced an “If” game with the Masters Marauders (BC) before falling short (24-12) to the Canadians. In the Men’s 65-AA, the Sacramento Blues and Hill Contracting/HCI (TX) played three of the last four games in the bracket before HCI prevailed with a thrilling last at-bat victory in the “If” game (20-19).
The Men’s 70 divisions also played out in a highly competitive fashion as no team at this age escaped without a loss. The 70 Platinum division was won by Pinnacle Physical Therapy (BC) by defeating the Thousand Oaks Panthers in both the winners’ bracket final (17-9) and the championship game (20-7).
The Men’s 70-AAA was a thriller as Makule Kane (HI) avenged a winners’ bracket final loss (18-13) to El Paseo Bank (CA) before bouncing back to take two thrilling last at-bat wins in the championship game (19-18) and the “If” game (36-35). Meanwhile, Triple Play (CA) continued their hot streak following a Phoenix World Championship by slipping by the Sage 75’s (CA) for the 70/75-Silver championship (20-17).
The Men’s 75-Major division was also a thriller, as the Gold Coast 75’s took the “If” game from the California Gold Rush (14-10) after the teams had split the winners’ bracket final (Gold Coast 8-7) and the championship game (CA Gold Rush 11-8). In an impressive showing of six 80 division teams, the new team on the block, the Elk Grove Renegades (CA) won the 80-AAA with a pair of wins over the Top Gun Jets (CA), 25-13 and 18-13.
However, the Center for Sight (FL) 80-Majors made it three major championships in a row over a five-week period, concluding in Las Vegas, after traveling about 8,000 miles in the process! Center for Sight won the 80-Major World Championships in Phoenix, took two weeks off and won the same division in the Winter Nationals in Fort Myers, Fla., and followed that up a week later to win in Las Vegas with back-to-back victories over the Arizona Prospectors in the winners’ bracket final (19-6) and the championship game (14-10). Quite an impressive Major League style road trip!
Friday brought on the Session No. 2 group, with 80 of the 110 teams commencing play at six softball complexes throughout Las Vegas and Clark County. In the Men’s 50 Platinum division, the Worth 50’s (CA) got hot at the right time, running through the bracket unbeaten from the fifth, and last, seed to defeat After Party Las Vegas (NV) in the championship game (20-17).
The Men’s 50-AAA division showcased a large group of highly talented teams. Avenue Towing (CA) took home the trophy in this 15-team bracket with an unbeaten weekend capped off by a thrilling 28-26 victory over a tough San Antonio Softball opponent. The 50-AAA title went to J&J Ag. / Baker Boys (CA) as they swept their Best 2 of 3 Championship Series against the Blue Chips 50’s (IL) by scores of 16-15 and 27-21.
Two of the three 55 division brackets required “If” games to determine champions. In the 55-Major, the NorCal Reds avenged a championship game loss (29-27) to Fangrabbers/Towtime (AZ) by bouncing back to take the “If” game in another 2-run ball game, this time 28-26 in their favor.
The 13-team 55-AAA division was also a thriller. Just 4 Fun (AZ) dropped the winners’ bracket final (17-11) to Gonzales Insulation (TX) before regrouping to capture the championship game (14-8) and the “If” game (20-19) and take the trophy back home to Arizona. In the 55-AA, another of the very few unbeatens for the weekend, Tucson Buds/Los Buds (AZ) ran through the bracket impressively from the No. 1 seed to defeat the Vancouver 55’s (WA) in the championship game (28-20).
The Men’s 60-Platinum featured another of the unbeaten teams, No Dice (CA), making an impressive debut as they moved up in age group this season. They capped off their first 60’s championship by defeating Ryan’s Way (NV) in both the winners’ bracket final (23-12) and the championship game (25-24).
In what is becoming routine, the 17-team, Men’s 60-AAA division comprised the largest bracket of the tournament. When the finals came around, two middle seeds were there at the end to compete for the trophy. The No. 7 Seed Marauders (CA) beat the No. 8 Seed USA Patriots (OK) in the winners’ bracket final (18-17) and the championship game (26-19) to outlast a very impressive field of teams for the title. The Men’s 60-AA division also showcased another unbeaten team for the week as the Chicago Hitmen sailed through the bracket from the top seed, closing things out with a win (21-19) over the neighboring Blue Chips 60’s (IL) in an all Midwest final.
The only other unbeaten team in the second session came from the Women’s 50 division which also began play on Friday. The hometown No Limits (NV) ladies club capped their perfect weekend with a very tough win (23-22) over the H-Town Sisters With Bats (TX) to secure their championship.
The last 30 teams to join the fray came to play on Saturday with the Men’s and Women’s 40-Masters divisions. As was the case in the first session, none of the 30 teams escaped a loss as play was close and highly competitive all weekend.
On the Women’s side, the 40-Masters Gold division featured 12 teams in a pool-play format, with two pools of six teams each playing a full round robin to seed a Final Four playoff at Shadow Rock. Hafta Play (CA) came out on top after defeating the Saints 40 (AZ) in their semi-final (15-2) and the Angry Birds (23-17) in the title game, with the Saints 40’s finishing third over Tharaldson Softball (NV). The four-team Women’s 40-Masters AA saw a relatively new team, Bunch of Old Broads (B.O.O.B.’s) from California defeat the Vintage (CA) ladies in the championship game (15-12) to take home their first SSUSA championship.
Meanwhile, Desert Breeze played host to the fast-moving power game of the 40-Masters Men’s divisions as 14 teams vied for two championships. In the Men’s 40-Masters Major-Plus, JK, Inc. (CA) followed up their Phoenix Major-Plus World Championship with a championship game victory (26-25) over Magic Sports Unforgiven (CA).
The 11-team Men’s 40-Masters Major division also played a pool-play format to seed teams for what turned out to be an All-California final four playoff. Above and Beyond won it all as they slipped by SofaKing (24-23) in their semi-final before dropping previously unbeaten Prime Lending (26-18) in the championship game. SofaKing bounced back to take the third place game (24-23) from the Nor-Cal Stars.
For complete results, please go to www.seniosoftball.com, click on tournaments, click on Winter Worlds 2011, and click on Results.