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Oct. 1, 2011
341 TEAMS FLOCK TO PHOENIX
PHOENIX – More than 10,000 people from 35 states, Canada and Japan competed in the 19th Annual Senior Softball World Championships here in October.
The World Championships included competition in 33 divisions, many of which were the largest of the year in the sport, as well as the US National Championships (see story on page X), an International Joiful Tournament (story on page X), exhibition games by a cancer-survivor team (Can-Sir column on Page X) a stirring saving of a player stricken by a heart attack by another player (see story on page X), and the tragic death of the coach of Lew’s Crew who was hit by a car (see page X).
Of the 341 teams competing only eight teams – four from the East and four from the West – attained the Holy Grail of Senior Softball: the Triple Grand Slam.
Teams winning the Eastern or Western Nationals, the US Nationals and the World Championships included Center for Sight 80s of Florida, Triple Play 70 AA of California, Hamel Cavaliers 70 AAA of Virginia, the San Francisco Seals 70 Major-Plus, Omen Softball 65 Major-Plus of California, Steel Dawgs 60 AA of Ohio, MTC Softball 55 Major-Plus of California, and Hannington’s / Bay State Bombers 55 AAA of Massachusetts.
The top award of the year, the 2011 Sportsmanship of the Year Award was presented to Dale McWhorter and the Georgia/Alabama Masters during Opening Ceremonies.
“This award transcends the game itself,” said Terry Hennessy, SSUSA chief executive officer. “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.”
In addition, four players were inducted into the National Senior Softball Hall of Fame during Opening Ceremonies at the World Championships. They Included Sal Cisneros (Fairway Ford 75s), Harry Walker (Fairway Ford 75s), Bob Hannah (San Francisco Seals 70s), and Pete Conley (San Francisco Seals 70s).
On the field, many of the divisions were the largest of the year for the sport. Three divisions were huge: the 50 Major was the largest with 32 teams, the 60 AAA had 30 teams and the 50 AAA had 29 teams.
Rochester 50s won the 50 Major Division after emerging from seeding rounds with a 1-1 record as the 13th seed. They won six bracket games in a row, beating 50 Caliber of St. Louis in the finals 22-18.
In the 60 AAA, Over The Edge (OTE) of Southern California entered bracket play as the 17th seed and won six straight, including three games by a single run in the last inning, to clinch the division. OTE beat the Renegades of Kansas City 13-7 in the championship game.
In the 55 AAA, second seeded Hannington’s Bay State Bombers had a more difficult journey, losing the championship round to the Titans of California before coming back to win the “IF” game 14-1 when the Titan’s bats went cold. The Bombers also won the Eastern Nationals and the US Nationals, propelling them to the Triple Grand Slam.
There were several close divisions that were decided by one or two runs – especially in the oldest two age groups!
In one of the tightest contests of the tournament in the 80 AAA, Scrap Iron 80s of Colorado emerged from the loser’s bracket with a vengeance, defeating Top Gun 80s of California 16-15 in the championships round and 13-12 in the “IF” game.
In the 80 Major Division, two powerhouses – one from Florida and the other from California – butted heads for the third year at the World Championships. Center for Sight of Florida prevailed, beating Tiodize D-99 of California for the second straight year (12-8) and winning the Triple Grand Slam for the second time.
In the 75 Majors, California Gold Rush also came out of the loser’s bracket to beat Fairway Ford 11-10, only to lose the “IF” game by a single run (8-7).
In the youngest group, the12-team 40 Men’s Major Division, Team Braves beat NorCal Stars 21-22 to win the championships. Both teams are from California.
In the thrilling 11-team 55 Major-Plus Division, Roberts Construction of Wisconsin emerged from the losers bracket to beat Hendricks Sports Management of Texas 21-19 in the championships to force the “IF” game. Hendricks came back in the “IF” game to win by the exact same score 21-19 to take the division.
In another close finish in the 60 Majors, WE Ruth Realty of Washington came from the loser’s bracket to challenge top seeded Jim & Joe’s Ice of Kentucky in the championship round. Jim & Joe’s prevailed, beating Ruth 23-21 for the title.
The 65 AA Division championships was decided by a single run, with Palm Spring Diamonds defeating fellow California team Physiomotion 26-25 in the final game.
In the Women’s 50 Division, perennial opponents 2nd Wind and California Spirit 50s did not disappoint. Cal Spirit got hot at the right time, emerging from the loser’s bracket to win the championship round 13-2 and force an “IF” game, which Cal Spirit also won 17-7.
Here is a summary of the rest of the World Championships divisions:
The 40 Men’s Masters, powerhouse J.K. Inc. handily defeated Magic Sports Unforgiven 22-9, 17-8 and 19-17 to win the best of five series.
In the 40 Men’s AAA, Old Guys Rule of California beat NW Legends of Washington 14-8 in finals of the 11-team bracket.
In the Women’s 40 Majors, TKP/Hunter beat Team K.H.A.O.S. in a best of five series.
Arizona Dream Team claimed the 40 Women’s AAA title by beating Tharaldson’s Softball of Nevada 17-7 in the championships of the 11-team division.
In then Women’s 40 AA Division, Law and Order of Missouri knocked the Saints of Arizona into the “IF” game by winning 10-6. But the Saints came back in the “IF” to win the division 7-5.
In the 50 Men’s Major-Plus, the Nazzareno Longhorns of California stampeded the Line Drive / Salsa Bombers of Michigan into the “IF” game with a 19-15 victory, only to lose to the Bombers in the “IF” 27-17.
Romo’s Old School of Texas made a similar run in the 50 AA Division by defeating Top Gun in the championships and forcing an “IF”. However, Top Gun came back in the “IF” to win the division title 10-6.
In the 55 Major Division, the New Jersey Hitmen had a memorable tournament. After suffering two losses in the seeding games and being seeded 18th in the 19-team division, the Hitmen came alive at the right time, winning six in a row in bracket play and beating Ancell 55s of Minnesota 19-12 in the finals.
The Cinderella team Git-R-Done of California has played senior softball for several years and never won a tournament – this year they won the biggest 55 AA division (13 teams) of the year. Git-R-Done was perfect, going 2-0 in the seeding rounds and continuing the streak through the championship game, which it won 20-15 against Bob’s Classics of Utah.
In the 60 Major-Plus Division, MTC Softball beat KC Kids of Kansas 24-7 to complete their sweep of the division for the title.
Steel Dawgs of Ohio blasted out of the loser’s bracket to double-dip RCM of Arizona 17-8 and 13-7 to win the 60 AA World Championships AND the Triple Grand Slam.
Another Triple Grand Slam winner dominated the 65 Major-Plus Division. Omen of California handily defeated the other three teams in the division, including beating Guru Softball of Texas 22-10 in the finals to win the Worlds and Triple Grand Slam titles.
Bickerton Iron Works of California topped the other seven teams in the 65 Majors to win that title. Bickerton beat Scrap Iron of Colorado 15-2 in the finals to clinch the title.
In the 65 AAA, another Top Gun team wrote a different ending by defeating Robson.com 65s of Arizona 23-15 to win the division championship.
The San Francisco Seals, won a best-of-three contest against PDR Fastsigns of Oregon (17-2 and 23-8) to win the 70 Major-Plus World Championships title – and the Triple Grand Slam.
Robson.com 70s won the finals and forced an “IF” game, but like the younger Robson.com 65s, the Robson.com 70s lost momentum in the “IF” game to the Wildcatters of Texas. The Wildcatters came back to win the “IF” 19-10 and the 70 Major Division title.
Hamels Cavaliers of Virginia suffered a fright on the team’s quest for the Triple Grand Slam in the 70 AAA championship game when it lost to Quad City Old Stars of Iowa 14-13, forcing an “IF” game. But Hamel came back to win the “IF” 27-7 – and the Triple Grand Slam.
In the 70 AA Division, Triple Play of California defeated Mid America of Kansas 22-13 to win the division.
In the 75 AAA, State Roofing Systems defeated fellow California team Gold Coast 19-12 to win the title.
In the Women’s 65 Division, the Queen Bees of Arizona defeated the Saltchuckers of British Columbia 16-3 to win the championships.
And in the first 70 Women’s Division of the World Championships, the Golden Girls of Virginia defeated the Sportaculars of Ontario 7-3 to take the title.
For complete results, please go to www.seniosoftball.com, click on tournaments, click on World Championships 2011, and click on Results.