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Dec. 1, 2013
Eastern Teams Flock to Winter Nationals in FloridaBeth Hamilton
By Beth Hamilton
Softball News Report
FORT MYERS, FLA. Ė With 132 teams competing here in November, the Winter National Championships has grown in the past decade to become one of the largest senior events east of the Mississippi River.
ďThe Winter Nationals has been a big success because of its location,Ē said Fran Dowell, SSUSAís executive director. ďPeople come here, in the heart of Floridaís Gulf Coast, to relax while having a chance to play some quality softball. The fields are some of the best around and there are teams from several states.Ē
Three of the nine teams competing in the 50+ Platinum Division glided through the round-robin games with 2-0 records. After beating the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds, Gulf Coast Softball of Florida faced Steve Levin Financial, the No. 2 seed, in the championship game. Gulf Coast Softball took the title by a sliver: 15 to 14.
In the 50+ AAA bracket, Florida Automated Shade faced Team Sonic in the championships. Team Sonic, the 8th seed, was knocked into the loserís bracket and then won five straight games to make it to the championship. Florida Automated Shade won the title game, 16-11.
In the eight-team 55+ Major bracket, Levin Financial 55ís emerged from 5th seed to make it to the championships against Sneaky Peteís Sports. Levin won 25-19.
Golden Vipers of Michigan dominated the 55 AAA division in bracket play, beating Oshkosh Ambassadors of Wisconsin 18-9, then Roadhouse Blues of Pennsylvania 23-13 and 21-1 to win the championship.
Hollis Appraisals had one thing in mind when it came to the 60+ Major Plus Division -- and that was to win. After winning all three round-robin games, they breezed through the bracket, beating Edge II of Tennessee 21-10, then defeating Minnesota Masters/White 22-14 and 22-13.
In the 60+ Majors, Team Deluxe/Bradford of Delaware was forced into an IF game after losing to Metro Hitmen of New Jersey 18-9. Team Deluxe rebounded in the IF game, edging the Hitmen 13-12 to win the title.
The 60 AAA division was one of the largest of the tournament with 17 teams, but it boiled down to a contest between the AAG Mustangs of Florida and Chesapeake 60s of Maryland. AAG thrust out of the loserís bracket to double-dip Chesapeake 12-9 and 18-17 for the title.
The only team to win all three of the 60+ AA seeding games was the Syracuse Cyclones 60. The only issue was that New York Capitals, coming out of the loserís bracket, wanted the title. The Capitals won the championship game and forced an IF game. But Syracuse finally got the gears moving and beat Capitals by 12 runs (13-1.)
The No. 1 seed Rose Enterprises took an early fall against Beef Oí Bradys So. Trace in the 65 Major Plus Division. Rose Enterprises fought its way back into the championships from the loserís bracket and double-dipped Beef Oí Bradys 16-15 and 16-1.
Voice Tech Slammers knew they were in for a challenge when they started the bracket games. Being one of the four teams in the 65+ Major division, they had to overcome Murphyís Law 65. These two teams were two and two against each other throughout the round robins and bracket games when it came down to the IF game. Voice Tech held out for a 15-10 victory.
In the large 17-team 65+ AAA, the No. 9 seed Mello Financial of Florida and No. 15 seed Reyes Logistics of Texas battled in the championships, with Mello taking the title 13-5.
Anaconda Sports of New York emerged from the nine-team 65 AA division unbeaten in bracket play to face VFW Tabor- Franchi of Rhode Island in the title game. Anaconda won 17-13.
Menís 70+ Platinum combined Major and Major Plus divisions for the seeding games, then the two divisions played separate finals.
After the mixed round-robin games, FL Legends/Human Kinetics and Premium Seats USA faced each other in a best-of-three for the Major-Plus title. The Legends easily swept the first two games, 24-9 and 27-3, for the championships.
In the 70 Major finals, Talon Wealth Management stood out the entire tournament and capped its run by defeating MCC Marketing 70s in the finals 17-16.
The oldest team won the large 13-team 70/75 Gold Division in five straight bracket games. Joseph Chevrolet 75 Majors of Florida was the only 75 team in the bracket and defeated each of the 70 AAA teams it faced. In the finals, the Chicago Gray Sox came close, but could not overtake Joseph Chevrolet, losing 19-17.
Cozy Grill of Rhode Island was looking good in the six-team 70+ AA Division. After taking the first seed, they won two games to make it to the championships and went on to defeat Blaze/Southwest Florida 18-9 for the title.
Two Florida teams battled it out for the title in the seven-team 75 AAA+ Division. The Bucs & Bulls came out of the loserís bracket to double dip Fort Myers Tax Town, 17-1 and 15-6, for the championship.
Last but never least was the 80 Gold Division, consisting of four teams. Two Major and two AAA mixed it up in the round robins and then split for the finals.
In the 80 Major best-of-three, Center for Sight of Florida fell short with Florida Investment Properties winning 24-8 and 20-5.
In the 80 AAA, two Midwest teams battled it out. ProHealth Care of Wisconsin beat Jimmyís Minnesota Legends 27-15 and 20-6 for the title.
2013 Winter National Championships All Tournament Players:
Menís 50 Major: GulfCoast Softball - Jeff Frey, Clarke Farrell, Hank Garris II, John Bennis, Don Burke; Steve Levin Fin. Plan 1 - Donnie Lloyd, Mike Hart, Reggi Brown
Menís 50 AAA: Florida Automated Shade - Dave Leon, John Riley, Steve Rubin, Jim Carroll, Kurt Musial; Team Sonic - Kevin Degnan, Rick Hankins, Jimmy Nelson; Cross-Cut - Harold Smith, Bobby Michaels
Menís 55 Major: Sneaky Pete Sports - Richard Kohn, Jay Wood, Tim Salerno; Six Pac - George Roberts, Frank Hardin
Menís 55 AAA: Golden Vipers - John Johnson, Paul Maiorana, Rob Schneider, Oscar Zamora, Tony Gabriel; Ball Busters - Les Millman, Hector Ramos
Menís 60 Major-Plus: Hollis Appraisals - Chip Cregar, Jack Aronson, Steve Dorrell, Jack Lambert, Mike Monnier; Minnesota Masters White/Miken - Daryl Cooper, Dave Mattson, Dave Slack; High Street Bucs Ė Mike Seraphin, Ricky Grimm
Menís 60 Major: Team Deluxe/Bradford White - Henry Culley, Charlie Christopher, Doug Westcott, Billy Geissinger, Robert Griffith; Metro Hitmen - Dave Hawkins, Tom Funk, Franklin Gantz
Menís 60 AAA: AAG Mustangs - David Dennison, Tom Hamilton, Robert Humphrey, Kevin Ottman, Kerry Charlet; Chesapeake 60ís - Vaughn Dubs, Pete Ture, Dwight Entwistle
Menís 60 AA: Syracuse Cyclones - Steve Tompkins, Roger Merritt, Chris Bell, Bob Darnell, Pete Mazza; NY Capitals - Jerry Smith, Joseph DiFabio, Stuart Kaplan; Southern Tier Express - Kenny Elston, Jim Guild
Menís 65 Major-Plus: Rose Enterprises - Chip Cregar, Eddie Rivera, Phil Biedronski, Dan Maus, Terry OíDonnell; Beef OíBradyís - Linwood Manning, Steve Wilson, Steve Long
Menís 65 Major: Voice Tech Slammers - Jim Davidson, Jim Kahn, Jim Anderson, Pat MacDonald, Hank Giulian; Murphyís Law - Stewart Casterline, Sonny Johnston, Marv Swosinski
Menís 65 AAA: Lake Wales Legends - Don Held, Ron Salyer
Menís 65 AA: Anaconda Sports - Joe Romeo, Doug Delle Cave, Joe Vancho, Scott Rapp, Ed Weber; VFW Tabor-Franchi Ė Frank Pallotta, James McMahon, Harvey DuPerry; Indiana Legends/Columbus - Dan Londeree, James Norris
Menís 70 Major-Plus: Florida Legends/Human Kinetics - Patrick Bidelman, Zeb Carter, Bob Conrad, David Decker, Bob Koss, Tols Mihailoff; Premium Seats USA - Tom Ladd, Rich McCann, Scott Logan, Steve Almes
Menís 70 Major: Michaelís/Libbyís - Rod Wilterdink, Ron Davis
Menís 70 AA: Cozy Grill - Fred LaFazia, Mike Neri, Felix Decesare, Jerry DeMello, George St. Vincent; Columbus Silver Sticks - Don Dickherber, Joe Andrew
Menís 70/75 Gold: Joseph Chevrolet - Robert Johnson, Vinnie Romson, Mel Eubank, Frank Vargo, Walt Taylor; Chicago Gray Sox - Rich Douglas, Jim Ducharme, Wayne Markett
Menís 75 AAA: Bucs and Bulls - Ed Kline, Tom Axtell, Bill Miller, Wayne Mundy, Doug McLellan; Ft Myers Tax Town - Lou Warren, Lee Estelle, Charlie Hofer; Chicago Geezers - Jack Miller, Jerry Handel
Menís 80 Major: Florida Investment Properties - Everett Arnold, Rocco Cambareri, Warren Watson, Norman Haltrich, Roger Thresher; Center For Sight - Ferrell Sparks, Jack Lewis, Hugh Brotherton, Joe Sykes
Menís 80 AAA: ProHealth Care - Jim OíConnor, Willie Wood, Don Schreiner, Blake Waterhouse, Robert Anderson, Dick Steinmetz