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Dec. 1, 2012
Hall of Fame, Sportsmanship Take Center Stage at WMCRoss McCulligan
Las Vegas made history by hosting the largest Senior Softball tournament ever in the sport – The World Masters Championships (WMC) from Sept. 27 –Oct. 7, 2012.
446 Teams from 36 states (including Alaska and Hawaii), three Canadian provinces, Guam, Germany and Japan competed in Senior Softball’s largest tournament. Not only were the teams geographically diverse, but they ranged in age from 40 Masters to the largest 80 Division ever assembled.
“The World Masters Championships did more than simply shatter the record – although we are very happy with that particular stat,” said Terry Hennessy, chief executive officer of Senior Softball-USA. “The tournament has put the entire sport of senior softball in a position to ascend to the next level as a major sport in America.”
The numbers were amazing: the 446 teams translate to 15,000 people playing in more than 1,500 games over the 10-day event, with 80 umpires, 60 directors, and more than 100 other volunteers and vendors. The WMC infused about $21 million into the Las Vegas economy.
The WMC attracted international attention, as well. The Deputy General Secretary of National Senior Affairs for China attended the tournament and was so impressed with the WMC that she requested SSUSA help her establish the sport in China.
The Japanese women’s team played in a special competition, the fifth Annual Joiful Friendship Games, at the beginning of the tournament. The games inspired international friendship with several American and Canadian women’s players taking part.
The team from Germany competed in the 60 AA division and three teams from Guam competed in the 40, 50 and 55 divisions.
Eight teams claimed the Holy Grail of softball—the Triple Grand Slam by winning the Eastern or Western Nationals, the US Nationals and the World Masters Championships.
Teams winning the Triple Grand Slam this year included Omega QSE Construction of Maryland in the 55 Major division, WE Ruth Realty of Washington in the 60 Major, Hamel Builders/ Turn Two in the 65 Major-Plus, Syracuse Cyclones of New York in both the 65AA and the 75AAA, Pinnacle Physical Therapy of Arizona in the 70 Major, and California Spirit in both the 55 and 60 women’s divisions.
The US National competition was relatively even, with 16 Western teams and 12 Eastern teams claiming US National Division titles. In special ceremonies, seven players were inducted into the Senior Softball National Hall of Fame during Opening Ceremonies at Big League Dreams, which was both the headquarters field and was named the 2012 Complex of the Year for Senior Softball-USA.
On the field, some huge divisions competed – the largest was the 50AAA with 49 teams. Several other divisions set records for the largest ever in the sport, including the elder statesmen of the sport, the 80s Divisions, in which 11 teams competed.
The 2012 World Masters Championships is sponsored by Las Vegas Events and is a joint venture between Las Vegas Senior Softball Association and Senior Softball-USA.
“Las Vegas Events (LVE), the Title Sponsor of the 2012 World Masters Championships, has been instrumental in providing the necessary support to create the largest senior softball tournament in the world,” said Hennessy.
“This was not only the largest, but also the best tournament in Senior Softball,” said George Fernandes, president of LVSSA.
The tournament is administered by SSUSA, with LVSSA supplying many of the field directors and helping secure and maintain the 10 softball facilities and 35 fields used in the tournament throughout Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Henderson and Clark County.
The competition did not disappoint with 10 “IF” games being forced throughout 33 divisions.
In the 40 Major Plus division, J.K. Inc. took a series of close games to win the championship. They defeated Unforgiven by one run, 25 – 24 in the second round and went on to take the division, 25 – 23, over Team Braves in the championship game.
In the 40 Major division, number four seed, Team TPS was knocked into the loser’s bracket after losing to SD VFW, 16 – 14, in the 4th round. Team TPS would defeat Johnny Blaze, 24 – 16, to force their way into the championship. In an odd turn of events, SD VFW would forfeit the championship and “IF” game making Team TPS the division winner.
Phoenix Tube dominated the 40 AAA bracket as the No. 2 seed. They beat number one seed, R & R Pumping Unit in the 3rd round, 25 – 10, then went on to take the division defeating RTS, 23-18, in the championship game.
In the 50 Major Plus division, the third seeded Northwest Legends, won an impressive victory over Kevitt X, 32 – 9, in the first round of bracket play. They would end up being forced into an “IF” game by Sommerville Softball but would take the championship, 36 – 30, in an offensive slugfest.
The 50 Major division was chalk full of great softball with number nine-seed ENR taking the 33 team division. ENR played through a series of close games and eventually defeated the Kansas City Barons, 30 – 20, for the championship.
The entire bracket of the large 50 AAA division showed great sportsmanship and the finals were filled with close competition. In the consolation game, New Mexico Lasers defeated Twelve Gauge, 14-13, to claw their way into the championship. In a very close battle, Family Stone, hailing from Hawaii, squeaked past New Mexico Lasers by the slimmest of margins, 16-15.
Out of 10 teams in the 50 AA division number eight seed, Playmakers, showed great resilience, by knocking off the number one seed Hawaiians, 21 – 17 in the second round. A series of close wins led them to the championship game where they took down Romo’s Old School, 16-13, to claim the division.
No. 5 seeded MTC went on an offensive tear in the 50 Major Plus division scoring an average of 34 runs a game. Their only test was a relatively close first round game in which they defeated the Minnesota Greyhounds, 28 – 23. They posted a, 36 – 16 victory over Connecticut Sportsplex to take the title in the championship game.
The 55 Major division was also quite large at 23 teams. In the end, top seeded NCI Softball forced an “IF” game against second seeded Omega/QSE Construction, 16-15. Omega ended up taking the title against NCI, 21–13, in the championship game. Omega secured their place in a softball history as the tournament win made them Triple Grand Slam winners.
The 55 AAA bracket consisted of 32 teams and some highly competitive games. Gonzales Insulation benefited from a second round forfeit and defeated Just for Fun, 16 – 13 in the semifinals. DNM Rampower put up a fight in the championship but was overtaken by Gonzales Insulation, 24 -19.
In the 55 AA division, another number one seed, Northern Exposure, was forced to an “IF” game by Stefco Silver Stix, 12-9. The Silver Stix, out of Ontario, ran off two wins against Northern Exposure defeating them 13-9 in the championship to win the division.
In the 60 Major Plus division, Hollis Appraisals cruised to a victory – winning four in a row by an average of 12 runs. They would win the division in a, 35-20, rout of GSF.
The 19 team, 60 Major division was all but secured after W.E. Ruth Realty 60’s knocked off number one seed Handeland Flooring, 25 -11. They would go on to defeat Timberworks, 25-19, in the championship. W.E. Ruth Realty also secured the coveted Triple Grand Slam with their win.
In the 38-team 60 AAA division, the No. 2 seed, Enviro-Vac Marauders, forced an “IF” game from Indiana Legends/Campbell Tire, 32-16. The Canadian team would prove victorious as the Marauders once again defeated Indiana Legends, 16-9 in the championship.
The 60 AA division was dominated by top seeded Slug-A-Bug out of Florida. Grant County Merchants would give them a scare in the 2nd round but Slug-A-Bug would hold them off to win, 16 -15. They would then cruise to the championship crushing Git–R-Done, 43-20, in the finals.
Hamel Builders/Turn Two slugged their way to an impressive victory in the 65 Major Plus division. They would beat Bikerton Iron Works, 25 – 5, in the 1st round and Florida Thunder, 33-13, in the championship to win the division. Hamel Builders/Turn Two secured the Triple Grand Slam with their tournament win.
The 14-team, 65 Major division was very evenly matched with 1-run ballgames littered through out the bracket. First American Title would squeak by Minnesota Prize Company, 23 – 22, in the semi finals to face Tharaldson’s in the championship. First American Title would once again score 23 runs and defeat Tharaldon’s, 23 -14, in the championship.
In the 24 team, 65 AAA division Masters Marauders would win their first three games of the bracket by an average of 15 runs. Then however, they would be tested in the semi finals against Specialists Real Estate but hold on for a, 13 – 12, victory.
The Syracuse Cyclones proved themselves elite by running through the 65 AA division for the Triple Grand Slam. The 11 team bracket was won by the Cyclones after four straight wins and a, 17 – 14, victory over the Minnesota Lumberjacks in the finals.
In the 70 Major Plus division Streamline Circuits won their first round game, 18 – 12, over number 2 seed Wildcatters. They then beat Florida Legends by one run in two consecutive games claiming the championship over the Legends, 22-21 and 16-15, respectively.
The 70 Major division was won by Pinnacle Physical Therapy in similar fashion. They cruised to victory in the first two rounds of bracket play and then edged out two, one-run wins against PDR Fastsigns, 13 -12 in the semis and 20 – 19 in the final. The pressure packed final two games showed Pinnacle’s great resiliency as the win crowned them Triple Grand Slam winners.
Number one seed Minnesota Masters dominated the 70 AAA division. Their only test was a, 17 -16, win over Bucs & Bulls in the semis. Bucs & Bulls may have ran out of gas in the championship and were defeated again by Minnesota Masters, 21-5.
The 70 AA division was won by Triple Play. They would cruise to the championship and then be upset by ABR Old Bones, 11 – 5, to force an “IF” game. However, top seed Triple Play came back strong to beat ABR, 26-16, for the title.
Joseph Chevrolet out of Florida, provided the comeback story of the tournament after losing to the S.F. Seals in the second round of bracket play, 26-10. They went on to claim two close victories against the Texas Greyhounds and the S.F. Seals to face Joseppi’s in the finals. Four wins in a row and an “IF” game later Joseph Chevrolet stood alone in the 75 Major division beating Joseppi’s, 14-6, for the title.
The 75 AAA division was won by No. 1 seed Syracuse Cyclones, 22 -15, over the Antiques of Kansas City. They once again proved themselves superior by cruising their way to victory as well as the Triple Grand Slam.
A historic 80s division consisting of five Major and six AAA teams competed in the SSUSA Complex of the Year, Big League Dreams Sports Park. Center for Sight, led by newly inducted Hall of Fame manager Jack Hudson, defeated Arizona Prospectors, 22-20, for the Major championship.
In the 80 AAA division, Elk Grove Renegades lost to Texas Classics in the third round of bracket play, 25-12. However, after emerging from the loser’s bracket, they forced an “IF” game against Texas Classics and eventually took the title, 23-16.
Hafta Play came back to conquer the Women’s 40 Major division after losing in the first round. They fought their way out of the loser’s bracket and defeated TKP/Hunter, 8-7 for the championship.
In the Women’s 40 AAA division, the All In team would keep opponents to single digits until the championship game. They would face C.P.B. in a barnburner championship game and come out on top, 18 – 17, for the title.
Steel Runnin’ out of California had a roller coaster ride on their way to the finals. They would crush the Hawaiians, 15 – 1, in the first round and then edge out a win against Law & Order, 14 – 13, in the second round. In the championship game they showed off some defense and won the title, 9 – 7 over Motown Magic.
The six seeded Bottom of the 5th was victorious in the nine-team Women’s 50 division. Bottom of the 5th was never really tested as they ran off four straight wins and defeated Dreamgirlz, 22-15, in the championship game.
The Women’s 55 division was claimed by California Spirit 55 after beating BOT5, 14-5, and the 60 division was also won by California Spirit 60 in an “IF” game over It’s A Good Life, 21-10. Both California Spirit teams demonstrated their dominance by each winning the Triple Grand Slam in their respective divisions.
LVSSA/SSUSA World Masters Championships All Tournament Players and MVPs:
Men’s 40 Maj+-JK Inc.-Bo Miller, Greg Jones, Scott Logan, Bart Hakeman, Dennis Rulli. Team Braves- Gregg Rhoades, Tony Tornero, Rob Martin.
Men’s 40AAA-Phoenix Tube- Dave Lesneski, Bill Prezioso, Robert Richards, Mark Grossman, David Pager.
Men’s 50 Maj+-Sumerville Softball- Ronnie Reid, Guy Haberman, Ronni Salcedo.Kevitt X- Doug Berfeldt, Dan Krtnick.
Men’s 50 Maj- ENR- John Delaurentis, Kevin Lutz, John Brown, Andy Snyder, Rich Ihling.
Men’s 50AAA- Family Stones- Craig Ayala, Chris Ray, Tom McCarthy, Johnny Arroyo, Joey Rodrigues.
Men’s 50AA- Playmakers- Dave Kania, Steve Burbick, Mark Gerls, Jeff Graham, Pat Croak.Romo’s Old School- Gene Heatley, George Romo, Candy Perez. El Paso Old School- Alex Guardiola, Mingo Gonzales.
Men’s 55Maj+-MTC 55- Dave Perrillo, Dave Matusich, Gary Robertson, Roger Underwood, Wayne Doty. Conn. Sportsplex- Mark Canegallo, Tack McNulty, Henry Culley.
Men’s 55Maj- Omega- Charles Clarke, Hosea Harris, Verdell Blackston, Jerry Liscomb, Wade Ellegood, Tony Marlow. NCI- John Crawford, Rudy Flores, Ed Jones.
Men’s 55AAA- Gonzalez Insulation- Gene Sproston, Dan Silkwood, Milt Brownfield, Ken Morgan, Steve Burris. DNM Ram Power- Steve Vasseur, Bob Booker, Jeff Morton. Easton Redline- Bill Scranton, Randy Langkow.
Men’s 55AA- Stefco Silver Stix- Warren Harlow, Greg Fraser, Glenn Prevoe, Jeff Sreiberg, Rob Cummins. Northern Exposure- Dean VanDusseldorp, Dave Zuker, Bill McCommack. Relentless- Jose Adolfo Mancha, Ray Pilgrim Jr.
Men’s 60Maj+- TurnTwo/Chavis Softball- Don Clatterbough, Billy Cameron.
Men’s 60M- W.E.Ruth- Tim Headrick, George Stormo, Rick Littlejohn, Don Mackey, Ken Johnson.Timberworks Const.- Dennis Barrett, Chuck Lash, Don Hayisheda. Edge/Memphis Invest.com- Tom Goatley, Stephen Snow.
Men’s 60AAA- Enviro-Vac Marauders- Don Freund, Bob Mireau, Dave Docksteader, Peter Sheen, Jim Klassen. Indiana Legends/JPAC- Jim Vetter, Chuck Loeser, Curtis Pribble. SoCal Gusto- Ray Marinez, Steve Martinez.
Men’s 60AA- Slug-a-Bugs- Roger Hale, Terry Vervynck, Wally Finney, Mike Gardner, Phil Farmer.Git R Done- Mike Feeney, Mike Daniels, Gary Mariscal.Los Vatos Viejos-Jesse Silvas, Juan Arizmendez.
Men’s 65Maj+-Hamel Builders/Turn Two- Donald Clatterbough, Billy Rice, Sam Pearson, Phil Biedronski, Mike Smith.Fl.Thunder- Tols Mihailoff, Roy Hern, Vince Melograno. Omen 65- Ed Carey, Gil Frelly.
Men’s 65Maj- First American Title- Mike Alley, Skip Baebler, Dale McLaughlin, Vern Tillman, Tully Swanberg. Tharaldsons- Paul Callaghan, Bob Hough, Larry Giese. MN Prize- Steve Strommen, Dave Weber.
Men’s 65AAA- Specialest Real Estate- Joe Pellegrino, Bill Bedore.
Men’s 65AA- Syracuse Cyclones- Andy Endsley, Rich Faia, Ken Moses, Gary Contri, John Haley. Lumberjacks- Jim Lynum, Larry Ramsey, Jon Thomson. Git R Done- Ed Nilsen, Gabe Salas.
Men’s 70Maj+- Streamline Circuits- John Chacon, Mike Leitner, Tony Miranda, Joel Guthrie, Gordon Bell.Florida Legends/Human Kinetics- David Decker, Lou Giovanini, Ramon Valdes. Wildcatters- Jose Villagra, Phillip Holland.
Men’s 70Maj- PDR/Fastsigns- LT Thompson, Mike Sisavic, Jim McAbee,Tim Myers. Pinnacle Physical Therapy- Whole Team. Hamel Cavaliers- Bud Allen, Bruce Remick.
Men’s 70AAA- MN Masters- Norman Setnicker, Lowell Thompson, Ken Theisen, Ken Koch, Tom Daniel.Bucs and Bulls- Bob Willoughby, Ray Dye, Bill Denegar, Jim Sumner, Don Williams. Knapheide- Dean ALarson, Norman Bunch.
Men’s 70AA-Triple Play- Mike Brady, Don Burden, Dee Dewitt, Carlos Hernandez, John Bass. ABR Old Bones- Larry Hendricks, Phil Feiock, John Wunderli. Texas Classics- Art Bargainer, Bobby Buisson.
Men’s 75Maj- Joseph Chevrolet- Duffie Stone, Larry McCurdy, Bill Yeager, Jim Spelbrink, Frank Vargo. Joeseppi’s- Roy Lehner, Charley Partin, George Grant. SF Seals- Steve Salter, Jim Phillips.
Men’s 75AAA- Syracuse Cyclones-Al Sheridan, Dave McDonald, Ben Dorsey, Charlie Foote, Bob Bartholomew. Antiques of Kansas City- Frank Mar, Clyde McGuire, Gene Elliott. Jimmy’s Minn.Gold- Steve Agard, Dick Ritter.
Men’s 80Maj- Center for Sight- Ted Battistone, Ferrell Sparks, Hugh Brotherton, Roger Thresher, Ray Rogers. AZ. Prospectors- Wayne Ellithorpe, Marcel Mathieu, Jim Smith. Tiodize 99- Charles England, Francis Tierney.
Men’s 80AAA-Elk Grove Renegades- Roland Stiarwalt, Al Bowen, Sam Sekikawa, Ed Sorensen, Dean Van Norman.Texas Classics- John Dansdill, Evertt DeSha, Gene Harrell. R.W.C. Chiefs- Manny Hernandez, Al Rosellini.
Women’s 40Masters- Hafta Play- Noelle Wadsworth, Caroline Wilson, Shawna Howard, Andrea Izzo, Laura Kinnsley. Angry Birds- Kristi Whitcomb, Bernie Stone.
Women’s 40AAA- All In- Angie Gomez, Jan Pierini, Pita Licon, Suzy Brazney,Lori Powell. C.P.B.-Nichol Poyntz, Marcelina Smith, Karen Arnold. The Chosen Few- Gail DiMartino, Lisa Lewis.
Women’s 40AA- Steel Runnin- Taryn Martinez, Lisa Alves, Stacey Francisco, Kelly Saenz, Stefanie Action.
Women’s 50- Dreamgirlz- Lynnie France, Sylvia Echols, Shirley Snell Simmons. Calif. Spirit 50- Annie Sneden, Julie Childress. Bottom of the 5th-Fran DePuy, Beverly Everett, Diane Ramirez.
Women’s 60- Calif. Spirit 60- Janice Robson, Betsy Borda, Lil Keehan, Linda Mohrfeld, Lorie Watson. It’s a Good Life- Betty Bonds, Susan Thompson, Karen Osborn. 60 Cents- Karen Correa-Fowler, Sue Silcott.
Craig Ayala-Family Stone-50’s
John Hurst-Rio Grande 50’s
Steve Rutledge- AZ Legends-50’s
Mike Munoz-Romo’s Old School-50’s
Dave Perrillo-MTC 55’s
Charles Clark/Hosea Harris-Omega-55’s
Steve Phillips- Gonzalez Insulation-55’s
Neil Lingle-Git R Done 55’s
Roger Hine- Prudental Ambassadors-55’s
Keith Briggs- W.E. Ruth 60’s
Dan Walsworth- Timberworks-60’s
Joe Napolitano- Romano’s Raiders-60’s
Ernest Regalado- Fountain Valley Outlaws-60’s
Bob Cimikowski- Talking Rock-60’s
Jay Brack-First American Title 65’s
Dan Dillon- Syracuse Cyclones-65’s
Myron Fluegge- MNL Jacks/Bobby&Steves-65’s
Gene Dick-Git R Done 65’s
Al Oxley- Mustangs 65’s
Ken Brown- Hill Contracting-65’s
Ricky Baker- Car City-65’s
John Hoak- PS Diamonds-65’s
Mickie Donahoo- Wildcatters-70’s
Earle Anderson- MN Masters 70’s
Bob Willoughby- Bucs and Bulls 70’s
Jonny McEntyre- Triple Play 70’s
Larry Seamons- ABR Old Bones-70’s
George Harrell- Kokopelli Scorpions-70’s
Vinnie Remson- Joseph Chevrolet-75’s
Merle Bunde-Texas Classics-80’s
Jerry Jones- Center 4 Sight-80’s
Dina Hidalgo-Steel Runnin-40’s
Ellie Stavarek- Bottom of the 5-55’s
Terri LaBorin- AZ Dream Team-40’s