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Champions of Champions Crowned at 12th Annual Original TOC
Feb. 1, 2018
POLK COUNTY, Fla. – The 2017 season officially came to a close at the Original Tournament of Champions, sponsored by Polk County Sports Marketing and Miken/Worth Sports, held here, Feb. 7-11.
Pre-tournament festivities began on Wednesday, Feb. 7 with the Hitting Clinic, allowing players to dust off the winter rust. Lee Trotter, Davie Reed, and Bobby Davis were on hand serving as instructors.
The TOC All-Star game was held Wednesday night at the Auburndale Sports Complex in Winter Haven, as the National team squared off against the American team. Scoring early and often, the National team would go on to take home the 23-14 (nine innings) victory. With their win, the National team went on to play the Louisville Slugger Warriors, a team made up of injured soldiers, in an exhibition game on Saturday evening at Auburndale. The National All-Stars would make it a perfect 2-0 showing for the week, as the team scored seven runs in the top of the open to complete the 29-25 (nine innings) comeback win. Steve Zahn (KC Classics) provided the winning margin with a two-out grand slam to close things out.
Left: Force at second during the TOC All-Star Game.
Right: Louisville Slugger Warrior up at bat during the LS Warriors vs. TOC All-Stars exhibition game.
Festivities continued Thursday with the Skills Contests, consisting of Precision Hitting, Power Hitting, Pitching, and Speed. Each contest was split into four divisions: Men’s 40/50, Men’s 60, Men’s 70/80, and Women. Winners of the Precision and Power Hitting contests each received a bat, while winners of the Pitching and Speed contests each received a fielder’s glove and Adidas shoe, respectively.
In lieu of the mini-tournament held in previous years, teams had the opportunity to practice on Thursday afternoon at four of the complexes. Festivities concluded Thursday night with the always popular TOC Banquet, held at RP Funding Center (formerly The Lakeland Center).
Over 1,400 people packed the RP Funding Center for the TOC Banquet
A full recap of the TOC festivities will appear in the Spring Edition of Senior Softball News.
The tournament officially began on Friday morning, as 107 teams, representing 26 states, Guam and Canada hit the fields to determine the best of the best in Senior Softball.
Clockwise: Batter from Florida Investment Properties looks to start a rally; Player from Fossils/Magic Stuff (MA) tries to beat the throw to first against Lew's Crew/Exceeding Expectations (MD); Pitcher from Bob Johnson Chevrolet/J.D. Oxfords (NY) looks to strike the mat; Dreamgirlz 50 (VA) huddles together for a pep-talk. (Photos by Jack Eberhard. To view photos from the TOC, please visit Jacks Action Shots)
The tournament was held at Auburndale Sports Complex and DiamondPlex Softball Complex in Winter Haven, and Loyce Harpe Sports Complex, Southwest Softball Complex, and Westside Softball Complex in Lakeland.
Beginning with the Women’s 40/50 division, six teams were split between the 40/50 Major and 40/50 Silver divisions.
In the three-team Women’s 40/50 Major division, Kryptonite (FL) avenged their 16-11 loss against Dreamgirlz 50 (VA) in the championship game, with a 10-9 victory in the “if” game. In the championship game, Dreamgirlz trailed 11-8 heading into the top of the fifth, before scoring eight straight runs the rest of the way en route to their 16-11 win to force the “if” game. In the “if” game, Kryptonite entered the bottom of the open trailing 9-7, before plating three runs to cap the walk-off victory. As a singleton team, Dreamgirlz (50 Major), also received first place awards. Chill 40 Below (MD) finished in third place.
Kryptonite Outfielder flashes the leather
In the three-team Women’s 40/50 Silver division, Stix With Impact 50 (CA) defeated Fossils/Magic Stuff 50 (MA), 7-6, in the championship game. Trailing 6-5 heading into the bottom of the open, Stix With Impact notched the two runs it needed to complete the comeback and earn the hard-fought title. Lew’s Crew/Exceeding Expectations (MD) finished in third place and received first place awards as a singleton team (40 AA).
Moving to the Men’s 40 Masters division, five teams comprised the Platinum division, while two teams played a best two-out-of-three game series for the AAA division.
In the Platinum division, Homer Lovers (ON, Canada) escaped the elimination side of the bracket to double-dip S2S/.40 CAL (FL), winning the championship (18-17) and “if” (21-15) games. Homer Lovers scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the open to earn a tough win in the championship game and force the “if” game. Scoring four runs in the bottom of the open, S2S/.40 CAL edged out Homer Lovers 21-20 earlier in the bracket to reach the championship game. NorthWest Legends 40 (WA) finished in third place. As a singleton team, Suncoast Adidas (FL), Major Plus, earned first place awards.
In the best two-out-of-three game series for the AAA division, Bob Johnson Chevrolet/J.D. Oxfords (NY) battled against Bud Light Guam. Bud Light Guam would strike first, taking the opening game 21-14; before Bob Johnson Chevrolet/J.D. Oxfords bounced back with a thrilling walk-off 20-19 win in the second game to even the series. In the rubber match, Bud Light Guam held off Bob Johnson Chevrolet 12-11 to capture the title. much to the delight of their 58-member traveling party.
In the eight-team Men’s 50 Major division, Elmwood Sports Center (RI) ran through bracket play unscathed, going 4-0, including a 17-10 win over OG (CA) in the championship game. KC Classics (MO) bounced back from an 0-2 showing in seeding play, as well as dropping their first game in bracket play, by rattling off four straight wins in the elimination side of the bracket en route to a third-place finish.
Another eight-team division, the Men’s 50 AAA division, saw top seed Team O50 (MO) register a perfect weekend, going 2-0 in seeding play, and 4-0 in bracket play, including a 16-12 win over Trinity Rizzo’s (NY) in the championship game. Entering bracket play as the No. 6 seed after going 0-2 in seeding, Trinity Rizzo’s went 3-2 in bracket play, with both losses coming at the hands of Team O50, to finish in the runner-up spot. Lakeshore Contracting (ON, Canada) finished in third place.
The three-team 50 AA division saw an early upset, as top seed Buddies Sampson Olivet Merchants (MI) fell in their first bracket game against Fifty GZ (TX) 17-11. Buddies Sampson Olivet Merchants would regroup, defeating Manifest 50’s (TX) 15-5 before avenging their earlier loss against Fifty GZ, with wins in both the championship (14-13) and “if” (10-6) games.
The eight-team Men’s 55/60 Platinum division saw RBC Wealth Management (FL), 55 Major, claim first place following DLB (MI) bowing out of the tournament in the championship game. In a game of unbeaten teams, RBC Wealth Management defeated DLB, 31-21, to advance to the championship game and knock DLB down to the third-place game. DLB’s opponent in the third-place game, Hollis Appraisals 60’s (FL), would be unable to compete due to injuries. Hollis Appraisals reached the third-place game following a thrilling, 21-20, walk-off win after scoring three runs in the bottom of the open, over Olympian Athletics (PA), 55 Major.
Batter from RBC Wealth Management looks to slug one out
As singleton teams, DLB (55 Major Plus) and Hollis Appraisals (60 Major Plus), automatically received first place awards for their respective divisions.
The largest division of the tournament, the 13-team Men’s 55 AAA division, saw TMS Michigan take the top spot, going 4-0 in the bracket, including a thrilling 16-15 walk off win over Never Say Never/Big Al’s Trucking (UT) in the championship game. TMS Michigan trailed by one entering the bottom of the open and scored the two runs the team needed to complete the comeback win. The championship game featured a bit of déjà vu, as TMS Michigan also used a late rally to defeat Never Say Never/Big Al’s Trucking earlier in the bracket to knock the team down into the elimination bracket. TMS Michigan scored four runs in the bottom of the open to escape with an 11-10 win.
The win in the championship game completed a perfect weekend for TMS Michigan, as the team also went 2-0 in seeding play. Never Say Never/Big Al’s Trucking made a valiant run through the elimination side of the bracket, winning three straight games to reach the championship game. No. 8 seed Maryland Cougars finished in third place on the strength of winning their first three bracket games.
Other notable performances in the 55 AAA division included No. 10 seed Ameriprise FL Legends, as the team won four straight elimination games before running out of gas against Never Say Never/Big Al’s Trucking in the fourth-place game. Top seed Nebraska Silver Bullets, upset by Maryland Cougars in their opening bracket game, won three straight in the elimination side of the bracket before also being eliminated by Never Say Never/Big Al’s Trucking.
The Men’s 55 AA division featured a best two-out-of-three game series, as New Mexico Boomers swept Longshoremen 55 (VA) by scores of 21-4 and 25-10, respectively.
The four-team Men’s 60 Major division saw top seed AMR/Clean Planet /Special Taste (MI) run the table in the bracket, going 3-0, including a 15-7 win over Minnesota Cowboys. After going winless in seeding play, as well as dropping their first game in the bracket, Minnesota Cowboys rallied late to win back-to-back elimination games en route to their runner-up finish. Gonzalez Insulation (TX) finished in third place.
The nine-team Men’s 60 AAA division featured the Long Island Jaguars 60 (NY) going a perfect 4-0 in bracket play, including a 14-12 win over Pompano Crush 60’s (FL) in the championship game. After losing their opening game in the bracket against Electrifiers (TX), 18-14, Pompano Crush rattled off five straight wins in the elimination side of the bracket, including a 29-19 win over Electrifiers in a re-match, in the third-place game, before running out of gas in the championship game.
Los Vatos Viejos 60 (AZ) posted an unblemished 4-0 record in bracket play in the nine-team Men’s 60 AA division, including a 26-17 win over All-In (IL) in the championship game. All-In rebounded from an 0-2 showing in seeding play, to eventually go 4-2 in bracket play, with both losses coming against Los Vatos Viejos. After losing back-to-back games in the bracket, No. 2 seed Ain’t No Saints (CA) was able to right the ship, winning three straight elimination games en route to a third-place finish.
In the four-team Men’s 65/70 Platinum division, Venom 70 (FL), Major Plus, defeated Ryan’s Way (NV), 65 Major, 10-3 in the championship game, to force the “if” game. Venom would be unable to continue, giving Ryan’s Way the championship. As a singleton team, Venom would also receive first place awards. After going winless in seeding, Ryan’s Way began bracket play with back-to-back wins over top seed New Jersey Hitmen (9-2) and Venom (15-9) to punch their ticket to the championship game. NJ Hitmen finished in third place.
The seven-team Men’s 65 AAA division saw Acousti (FL) defeat Bradford White (PA) 14-11 in the championship game. The win completed a perfect weekend for Acousti, as the team went 2-0 in seeding play and 4-0 in bracket play. Minnesota Masters 65’s won three games in a row in the elimination side of the bracket en route to their third-place finish.
Jersey Masters Red (NJ) took the three-team Men’s 65 AA division, defeating Dallas Spurs 65 (TX), 20-5, in the championship game. Chicago Hitmen 65’s finished in third place.
Boca 70’s (FL) won the six-team Men’s 70 Gold division, defeating Midwest Express 70’s (IA), 13-3, in the championship game. The win for Boca completed an undefeated weekend, as the team went 3-0 in seeding and 3-0 in bracket play. Game On (CA) finished in third place after winning back-to-back elimination games. As a singleton team, Chicago Strikers (IL), Major, also received first place awards.
El Paso Nine-Elevens (TX) swept Sacramento Buds (CA) by scores of 10-6 and 9-8, respectively, to win the Men’s 70 AA division. A best two-out-of-three game series would also determine the champions of the Men’s 75 Major and 75/80 Gold divisions, as Pompano Beach Bums (FL) swept Minnesota Masters 75 -Jimmy’s to win the 75 Major division; while Las Vegas 75 Coyotes (NV) and Florida Investment Properties went the distance, playing all three games in the 75/80 Gold Division.
The Coyotes struck first, winning game one 14-10, while F.I.P evened the series with a 17-9 win in game two, forcing the third and final game. In the rubber match, LV Coyotes outslugged F.I.P, 23-19, to win the division. F.I.P would also receive first place awards as a singleton team.
Gray Sox 80’s (MI) ran the table in the four-team Men’s 80/85 Gold division, going undefeated, with a 3-0 record in seeding play to lock up the No. 1 seed, before finishing off bracket play with another 3-0 record, including a 15-2 victory over ProHealth Care 80 (WI) in the championship game. MN Legends 80’s finished in third place. Center For Sight 85 (FL) also received first place awards as a singleton team.
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