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Dec. 1, 2013

RECORD 480 TEAMS IN LAS VEGAS

Ross McCulligan
World Masters Championships Sets Record, 4 Teams Win Triple Grand Slam

By Ross McCulligan, Softball News Report

LAS VEGAS Ė In 2012, the inaugural World Masters Championships attracted a record 446 teams, making it the largest tournament in the history of Senior Softball.

If youíre wondering if that was just a one-time occurrence, think again. The 2013 World Masters Championships (WMC) drew 480 teams from 42 states, including 24 teams from Hawaii. In addition five Canadian provinces were represented and four teams came from Guam for the largest tournament the sport has to offer.

In the U.S. National Championship competition, played during the WMC, the East and West teams evenly split the 12 games played. However Eastern teams dominated the Triple Grand Slam, with three from the East and only one from the West winning all three premier tournaments: the East or West Nationals, US Nationals and WMC.

Teams winning the Triple Grand Slam include Hamel Builders/Superior Senior Softball of Virginia (65 M+), Ohio Silverados (60 AA), San Francisco Seals 75 (75 M) and Dreamgirlz 50 of Virginia (Womenís 50).

Practically every softball field in Las Vegas was used: Fourteen complexes, amounting to 37 fields, hosted 1,627 games. There were 36 age and skill divisions competing during the 10-day span, requiring 115 umpires, 60 tournament officials, and over 150 field maintenance staff.

The largest division of the tournament was the 47-team 50 AAA division. Tied for second were the 50 Major and 60 AAA with 39 teams each. Competition was fierce as a multitude of one-run games littered the tournament and nine teams forced ďIFĒ games throughout the 36 divisions.

The Wounded Warriors, a team of veterans who lost limbs in combat, provided one of the main highlights of the tournament when they played an All-Star/Celebrity game on Oct. 4 at Big League Dreams.

Along with local radio and TV personalities, the Wounded Warriors played a split squad game in front of a packed house on Fenway diamond. As a token of appreciation, the Wounded Warriors were presented with complimentary World Masters Championship tournament rings, courtesy of Jostens Inc.

The WMC kicked off on Sept. 27h with an outstanding rendition of the U.S. National Anthem, accompanied with a formal Color Guard salute.

Senior Softball-USA also used the World Masters Championships as a forum to recognize newly inducted National Senior Softball Hall of Fame members. Friends and family of each inductee were invited to witness the prestigious award presentation during the opening ceremonies of each session.

Along with the Hall of Fame inductees, SSUSA also presented the 2013 Steve Simmons Memorial Sportsmanship Award to Hanningtonís 55 of Massachusetts. This award, named after late tournament director Steve Simmons, was designed to recognize a commitment to competition, respect, and a love for the game.

The popularity of the World Masters Championships provided for large divisions and intense competition. Unfortunately, that intensity boiled over between Team Braves and J.K. Inc. during an incident in the 40 Major-Plus championship game.

J.K. Inc. won the championship, 30-14, over Team Braves, however all players on both rosters were originally suspended by SSUSA. An SSUSA Appeals Panel later overturned the entire team suspensions, upholding suspensions for the 2014 season for five managers and players directly involved in the incident.

On a positive note, the Menís 40 division is rapidly growing. This year 28 teams made their way here in the 40 Major division. No. 8 seed Virginia Masters won a tight ballgame, 24-23, over Boomtime in the quarter-finals. Facing ASP in the ĎIFí game, the Virginia Masters battled for a 26-23 victory to claim the division championship.

The 40 AAA division was well represented with nine teams from seven states as well as Canada and Guam. Loose Cannon, out of Washington, started sluggish, dropping their two opening seeding games. They would then catch fire in bracket play and run off four consecutive victories, eventually defeating Pattie House 27-16 to claim the championship.

Eleven teams battled in the 50 Major-Plus division with No. 5 seed Nazzareno Electric claiming the title. Nazzareno scored an average of 27 runs a game on their way to victory, eventually defeating Arizona Elite 33-10 in the finals.

The highly competitive 50 Major division was comprised of 39 teams, forcing bracket play to be split into two divisions, American and National. Mid-Atlantic Softball climbed out of the American division to face East Bay Oldies, winners of the National division, in the championships. Mid-Atlantic was able to force an ďIFĒ game against East Bay Oldies 21-14. In the ďIFĒ EBO came out strong and was able to defeat Mid-Atlantic 22-12 for the division championship.

The Menís 50 AAA division was the largest division of the tournament with 47 teams and was also forced to be split into an American and National division. No. 2 seed OH MY, hailing from California faced the Tucson Bandits in the finals. OH MY double dipped the Bandits 22-7 and 16-13 for the World Championship title.

Hawaiians took the trophy home across the Pacific after defeating Northern Exposure 24-10 for the 50 AA division championship. Hawaiians drew the eight seed in a 10-team bracket forcing them to win five straight games while scoring an average of 22 runs per game on their way to the title.

One of the smallest divisions of the tournament was the 55 Major-Plus division consisting of five teams from four states. The top seeded MTC dropped a tight ballgame to Summyís Nighthawks in the third round of bracket play 28-27. However MTC would defeat Hendricks Sports Management 24-22 to claw their way into the championship and then go on to double-dip the Nighthawks 19-14 and 22-7 for the 55 Major-Plus division.

The 55 Major division consisted of 29 teams. No. 2 seed Goodman Racing was bested by No. 6 seed R&R Double Nickels 23-14 in the fourth round of bracket play. However, No. 9 seed Motown Stars defeated R&R 24-22 to find themselves in the championship against Goodman who had fought their way out of the loserís bracket. Motown Stars slugged their way to victory over Goodman Racing 25-20.

The 55 AAA division consisted of 30 teams from 19 states. Dan Wiebold Ford, hailing from Idaho, grabbed the No. 10 seed out of pool play and ran off six straight victories for an impressive championship win. Dan Wiebold Ford defeated Git-R-Done 17-12 in the championship game.

Advanced Auto Transport went 1-1 in pool play and was seeded No. 6 heading into the bracket games of the 15-team 55 AA division. Advanced Auto pounded the No. 2 seed Hawaiians 20-4 in the third round of play and also defeat them in a much closer ball game for the championship 14-12.

The 60 Major-Plus division consisted of nine teams from seven states. No. 3 seed Hollis Appraisals battled with No. 2 seed Old Dawgs for the championship. Hollis defeated the Old Dawgs 38-16 in the second round sending them to the loserís bracket. Old Dawgs clawed their way back to the finals and force an, ďIFĒ game against Hollis, 30-11. The ďIFĒ game was full of offense as Hollis defeated Old Dawgs 33-27 to win the championship.

The 60 Major division was conquered by Minnesota Masters as the No. 5 seed in a 14-team bracket. The Masters won five straight games to claim the division Ė winning three of those games by only one run, including the championship, 28-27, over Chain Link.

The huge 39-team 60 AAA division was broken into the National and American brackets. As the No. 5 seed in the American bracket, Fossils/Miken emerged to face Stefco Silver Stix, the No. 11 seed in the National bracket. Fossils defeated Stefco 15-13 to send them to the loserís bracket and then beat them once again 12-6 in the division championship game.

The Ohio Siverados won the 22-team 60 AA. The Silverados scored no less than 20 runs in five consecutive victories on their way to the championship. With the win, the Silverados captured the prestigious Triple Grand Slam award.

Another Triple Grand Slam winner emerged from the 65 Major-Plus division, consisting of five teams. Hamel Builders/Superior defeated Omen in the U.S. National Game to grab the top seed. Hamel would then defeat Omen in back-to-back bracket games, 25-16 and 27-22 for the division championship and the Triple Grand Slam.

In the 14-team 65 Major division, Ruth Realty battled Minnesota Prize for the championship. Ruth knocked the Prize into the loserís bracket in the third round. Minnesota Prize made their way back to face Ruth Realty in the finals and were able to double dip Ruth Realty, 21-13 and 16-15 to win the championship.

Twenty-four teams made up the 65 AAA division with Michaels, hailing from Wisconsin, emerging victorious. As the No. 3 seed, Michaels was awarded a bye in the first round and faced the Silver Sox in the second round match-up. Michaels edged out the Silver Sox 15-14 and never looked back. Michaels won their next four games by an average of 13 runs on their way to winning the division.

In the 65 AA division, Hill Contracting made a surprise run to the championship game as the No. 12 seed in the 15-team division. They squared off against US Jobs/Indy in the championship but were defeated in two straight games, 30-24 and 26-16, as US Jobs took the division title.

The 70 Major-Plus division consisted of three teams, First American Title (WA), FL Legends/Human Kinetics, and Streamline Circuits (CA). As the No. 2 seed, FL Legends scored 22, 24 and 28 runs in three consecutive wins to claim the division championship.

Local Las Vegas team Stark Street Pizza grabbed the No. 2 seed heading into bracket play of the 11-team 70 Major division. Stark Street Pizza showed exceptional defense holding their opponents to an average of six runs per game in four straight victories. They claimed the division title with a win over Scrap Iron Legacy, 7-1.

RWC State Roofing out of California went 2-2 in pool play to grab the No. 6 seed in the 10-team 70 AAA division. State Roofing proved extremely resilient through bracket play by defeating the top-seeded Sidewinders II, 13-12 in the third round and then second-seeded Raptors 14-9 to win the division.

Another local Las Vegas team claimed the 70 AA division title. TNT dominated the 10-team division, grabbing the number one seed and rattling off four consecutive wins for the division. They defeated Crackerbox 12-9 in the championship game.

The 75 Major division consisted of seven teams playing a round-robin format to decide a champion. On Oct. 1, the San Francisco Seals defeated Joseph Chevrolet in the U.S. National Game. In tournament play, the Seals would then be forced to an ďIFĒ game by Joseph Chevrolet only to come out on top 23-18, to win the division and the Triple Grand Slam.

The 75 AAA division consisted of 14 teams also playing a round-robin format. Jimmyís Minnesota Gold went 6-0 on their way to winning the division. They faced Chicago Geezers in the championship, winning 20-5 for the division title.

The oldest division in the sport, the 80 division, set its own record with 13 teams competing in the WMC.

The 80 Major division consisted of six teams from five states. Joeseppiís, out of Washington, dominated with four wins in pool play grabbing the top seed in bracket play. They then ran off two more wins, defeating Florida Investment Properties 32-21 and Fairway Ford 18-12 to win the division.

The 80 AAA division, comprised of seven teams, played a round-robin format as well with the Texas Classics defeating Scrap Iron 13-8 for the championship.

The Womenís 40 Major division drew seven teams from four states. Six seeded TKP/Hunters got hot in bracket play and never looked back, cruising through four straight victories on their way to the championship.

The largest womenís division was the 17-team 40 AAA bracket. Butchís Beavers, out of Michigan, won both their seeding games to take the No. 2 seed heading into bracket play. The Beavers continued to roll by winning another four straight and eventually defeating Tharaldson Softball 17-13 for the championship.

The Womenís 40 AA division consisted of six teams. Law & Order, hailing from Missouri, was the top seed and won two tight ballgames to make it to the championships. Law & Order was forced to an ďIFĒ game by the Hawaiians 16-12. But the Hawaiians would fall to Law & Order 20-8 in the ďIFĒ giving the championship to the Missouri natives.

The only mixed bracket of the tournament was the Womenís 50/55 division, comprised of eight teams. Dreamgirlz 50, from Virginia, was seeded No. 6 in the bracket and ran off four straight wins eventually defeating Cal Spirit 17-6 for the championship. With the division title, Dreamgirlz 50 also became the only womenís team to claim the Triple Grand Slam for the year.

2013 LVSSA/SSUSA World Masterís Championships All-Tournament Players

Menís 40 Major-Plus: Hand Picked - Mark Poston, Sammy Bernstein, MVP-Ryan Bigley

Menís 40 Major: Virginia Masters - Jeff Hall, Mark Bowles, Mike Fritter, Paul Sadler, Steve Stone, MVP-John Stillwell

Menís 40 AAA: Loose Cannon - David McDaniel, Virgil Archibeque, Cory Chesterfield, Joe Cleveland, Mike Wassemiller

Menís 50 Major-Plus: AZ Elite - Chuck Henninger, Dominick Calise, Rod Gibson, Ronnie Salcedo; NW Legends Ė Steve Leighton, Rick Bass, MVP/Scott Becker

Menís 50 Major: Grantís Posse - Greg Brandt, Pat Imbriale

Menís 50 AAA: 50 Oh My! - Lucio Montoya, Tony Miller, Gus Hurtado, George Gonzales, Ed Gracia; Tucson Bandits - James (Dusty) Lee, Walter (Joe) Kellner, Steve Gobrecht; Stanislaus Sluggers - Mark (Zig) Zurilgen, Randy Ehlers

Menís 50 AA: Hawaiians - Rick Hayes/MVP, Mike Brown, Dean Hughes, Rankin Kaanoi, Ronnie Mendiola; Northern Exposure - George Ladenburg, Dean VanDusseldorp, Steve Marchand

Menís 55 Major-Plus: MTC 55 - Gary Robertson/MVP, Roger Underwood, Ron Graves, Dave Matusich, Dave Perillo; Summyís Nighthawks Ė Jon Kramer, Mike Lorden, Matt Fahring; Hendricks Sports - Joe Read, Joe Standefer

Menís 55 Major MVP: Kinnco Ė George Roberts; Motown Stars - Bob Burns, Eric Lawson, Lawrence Reedus, Steve Roeder, Houston Tipton; 50 Caliber Plus St Louis Ė Dennis Pugh

Menís 55 AAA: Dan Wiebold Ford - Curt Jackson, Harold Killgore, Terry DeMoss, Rick Carringer, Tom Lopez; Git-R-Done - Glenn Stevenson, Mike OíDonnell, Tony Buyak; Houston Fire - Bill Husta, Glen Abrameit, MVP-Ronnie Orsak

Menís 55 AA: Advanced Auto Transport - Pete Dziawora, Mark Cline, Walt Kado, Emery Laidlaw, Scott Sawottke

Menís 60 Major-Plus: Hollis Appraisals - Bob Davis, Jack Lambert, John Klein, Dave Motta, Mike Monnier; Old Dawgs - Chris Dyack, Curtis Williams, Dan Kibbe; Superior Senior Softball - Tommy Tudor, Ronnie Collins

Menís 60 Major: Minnesota Masters White - Mike Haley, Daryl Cooper, Dave Slack, Garry Morris, Lud Nordahl; Chain Link Ė Mark Walsh, Glen Ryan, Terry Schmitgal; Top Gun 60 Softball - Jim Palecek, Norm Coe

Menís 60 AAA: Fossils/Miken - Dave Driscoll, Mike Peterson, Bob Frey, Clem Delagardelle, Roger Haugen; Cal Xtreme - Jon Forbes, Arnold Carlos

Menís 60 AA: Ohio Silverados - Dan Gerin, Wayne Steiner, Jim Kirby, Dave Caplinger, Ken Spoerndle; Blue Chips - Philip Kvasnicka, Don Griffin, James Kupiec; Team Texas/MVP Ė Sergio Angulo

Menís 65 Major-Plus: Hamel Builders/Superior Senior Softball - Don Clatterbough, Andy Zitnay, Billy Rice, Danny Ballard, James McLamb; Omen 65 - Mel Colwell, George Sylvia, Ed Carey; Full Circle - Alan Dial, Al Melaragno

Menís 65 Major: Minnesota Prize 65 - Bob Hartshorn, Don Goltz, Bob Goldstrand, Mark Lilledahl, Bob Hagen; KRT Financial - Ed Sparkman, Al Smith

Menís 65 AAA: Michaels 65 - Rod Wilterdink, Al Alt, Mike Michalek, Bert Hempler, Ron Bruce

Menís 65 AA: US Jobs/Indy 65 - Pat Sheehan, George Hull, Russell Wilhoit, Jim Rogers, John Roach; Hill Contracting Ė Gary Kirk, Tom Mecredy, Keith Schnell, MVP/John Beard; Sacramento Buds - Bob Riola, Jim Luttrell, MVP/Russell Uda

Menís 70 Major-Plus: Florida Legends/Human Kinetics - Zeb Carter, Bob Conrad, David Decker/MVP, Ron Locke, Michael Pickett; Streamline Circuits - Bill Wilson, John Chacon, Mike Leitner; First American Title - Fred White, Mike Vetovich

Menís 70 Major: Stark Street Pizza - Jackie Robinson, Rob Robinson, Nat Rinato, Don Minnick, Bob Gregorich, Steve Duga (In Memorandum); Scrap Iron 70 Legacy - Dennis Lutz, Don Pierson, Fred Searle; Connection - Ralph Bartlett, Max Litt

Menís 70 AAA: Redwood City State Roofing - Bruce Hyman, Fred Santos, Ed Lowe, Charley Sherrill, Bob Sebring; Raptors - Don Odegaard, JC Fox, Charles Aragon

Menís 70 AA: The Crackerbox - Mitchell Bass, Jim Fulks, Gerald Lutz; Git-R-Done/MVP-Nick DeRose

Menís 75 Major-Plus: San Francisco Seals - Jim Douglas/MVP, Steve Salter, Argie Haddock, Berkeley Phillips, Matt Rocha

Menís 75 Major: Joseph Chevrolet - Robert Johnson, Santi Caccicola, Jim Spelbrink; Top Gun - Russ Simily, Dave Duarte

Menís 75 AAA: Jimmyís Minnesota Gold - Bruce Fisher, Don Carruth, Lowell Thompson, Dick Ritter, Jerry Filipek; Chicago Geezers - Bill Doell, Jack Simons, Mickey Mills

Menís 80 Major: Fairway Ford - Duf Sfreddo, Neil Barnes, Roger Williams

Menís 80 AAA: Scrap Iron 80 - Ray Keller, Stephen Aponte, Bobby Thompson; Jimmyís Minnesota Legends - Bob DíAmadio/MVP, Norm Robinson

Womenís 40 Major: TKP/Hunters - Gina Oliver, Carolyn Norman, Tiffany Daniels, Deb Cormier, Kim Potter, MVP/Lisa Bull

Womenís 40 AAA: Butchís Beavers - Chris Treesh, Carolyn Shanks, Dawn Pardee, Jan Johnson, Sue Yamin

Womenís 40 AA: B.O.O.B.S. - Caroline Saenz; Utah Relics Ė Malia Krogstad, Heather Bernard
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