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2020 Season Kicks Off With 2019 Winter National Championships
Nov. 1, 2019
LEE COUNTY, Fla. - The 19th Annual Winter National Championships, held here, Nov. 5 - 10, welcomed 106 teams from 19 states (as far west as Colorado, Texas, Iowa and Minnesota), to kick off the 2020 season.
One of the largest qualifiers east of the Mississippi, a total of 338 games were scheduled across three complexes: Lee County Sports Complex (Ft. Myers), North Collier Regional Park (Naples), and Northwest Sports Complex (Cape Coral).
Additionally, division winners of the 2019 Winter National Championships earn an invitation to the 2021 original Tournament of Champions (TOC) in Polk County, Fla.
Play began with the Men’s 65 through 85 age divisions, taking the field Nov. 5 - 7.
In the three-team Men’s 65/70 Major Plus Division, Team Florida/Hollis Appraisals 65 completed a perfect week, going 3-0 in seeding play, and 2-0 in bracket play, including a 26-20 win over Venom 70 (FL), in the championship game. Bradford White/Jersey Masters 70 (NJ) finished in third place.
Team Florida/Hollis Appraisals 65 - Men's 65/70 Major Plus Champions
With their victory, Team Florida/Hollis Appraisals earned an invitation to the 2021 TOC in the Men’s 65 Major Plus Division. As the highest finishing Men’s 70 Major Plus team, Venom also earned an invitation for their respective age division.
In the four-team Men’s 65 Major Division, Ted Todd Insurance (FL) bounced back from an 0-3 showing in seeding play with a perfect 3-0 record in bracket play, including a 14-12 win over Beef O’Brady’s Southern Trace (FL) in the championship game.
Ted Todd Insurance (FL) - Men's 65 Major Champions
Beef O’Brady’s Southern Trace also went 0-3 in seeding play.
Top seed Slug-A-Bug (FL) finished in third place.
In the 13-team Men’s 65 AAA Division, Texas Thunder was one of four teams to go unbeaten in seeding play. The team continued its flawless play in bracket play, going 4-0, including a 28-24 win over Universal Softball Team (OH) in the championship game.
Long Island Jaguars Red (NY), one of the four teams to enter bracket play undefeated, finished in third place.
Spring Ford (PA) and Florida Mavericks (top seed) were the other two teams to go 2-0 in seeding.
Studz (WI) made a valiant run through the elimination side of the bracket, with four straight wins, en route to a fourth-place finish.
In the six-team Men’s 65 AA Division, the top two seeds, Kentuckiana (IN) and Action Auto Parts (RI), met three times in bracket play, with the deciding game coming down to the “if” game.
In the winner’s bracket final, Action Auto Parts downed Kentuckiana 20-13 to punch its ticket to the championship game. Rebounding from its loss, Kentuckiana defeated Robinson’s Furniture/OTS (DE) 17-11 in the third-place game, before avenging its loss against Action Auto Parts with a 20-18 win in the championship game, forcing the “if” game.
In the winner-take-all rubber match, Kentuckiana completed the double-dip with a 23-12 victory.
In the four-team Men’s 70 Major Division, top seed Frankie Brinn (FL) completed a perfect week, going 3-0 in seeding play and 3-0 in bracket play, including a 15-3 win over Syracuse Cyclones (NY) in the championship game. Minnesota Prize finished in third place.
Frankie Brinn (FL) - Men's 70 Major Champions
In the seven-team Men’s 70 AAA Division, another top seed, Long Island Jaguars (NY) also polished off a flawless weekend, going 2-0 in seeding and 3-0 in bracket play, including a 20-3 win over Tabor Franchi VFW (RI) in the championship game.
Long Island Jaguars - Men's 70 AAA Champions
Florida Southern Force finished in third place.
In the four-team Men’s 75/80 Platinum Division, top seed Venom 75 (FL) dropped its opening bracket game 16-9 to Chadwell Supply 75 (FL), to fall into the elimination side of the bracket.
Venom rattled off wins in four straight do-or-die games, including double-dipping Chadwell Supply by scores of 17-7 (Championship Game) and 11-9 (“If’ Game).
Florida Investment Properties 80 rounded out the top three finishing teams.
In the eight-team Men’s 75 AAA Division, a full seven-game round robin was used to determine the champion.
Posting a division best 6-1 overall record, Blaze/Ted Todd Insurance (FL) secured the first-place finish.
Blaze/Ted Todd Insurance (FL) - Men's 75 AAA Champions
Three teams: Indianapolis Classics (IN), Senior Red Birds (IL), and Syracuse Cyclones (NY), all tied with identical 5-2 records.
With all teams going 1-1 against each other, the tie breaker would come down to least runs allowed.
Surrendering 19 total runs against Senior Red Birds and Syracuse Cyclones, Indianapolis Classics earned the runner-up finish. Giving up 20 runs, Senior Red Birds finished in third place. Syracuse Cyclones allowed 27 total runs.
In the five-team Men’s 80 AAA Division, a four-game round robin was used to determine the champion.
With a perfect 4-0 mark, New York Statesmen finished in first place.
New York Statesmen - Men's 80 AAA Champions
Cape Code Shawks (MA) was the runner-up with a 3-1 record, while ProHealth Care (WI) posted an even 2-2 record to pick up the third-place finish.
The Men’ 85 Platinum Division featured a best two-out-of-three game series between Center For Sight (FL) and ProHealth Legends (MN) that would go the distance.
In the opening game, ProHealth Legends struck first, taking a 15-9 win to go up 1-0. Center For Sight evened the series with a thrilling 15-14 win in game two, forcing the decisive third game.
In the rubber-match, ProHelath Legends cruised to victory with a 18-7 win, earning the title.
ProHealth Legends (MN) - Men's 85 Platinum Champions
The tournament continued with the Men’s 50 through 60 age divisions beginning play on Friday, Nov. 8; while the two Men’s 40 teams began play on Saturday, Nov. 9.
In the Men’s 40 Platinum Division, Suncoast/Adidas (FL) swept Maxbatz/Suncoast (FL) in a best two-out-of-three game series on Sunday, by scores of 30-15 and 22-19, respectively.
In the three-team Men’s 50 Platinum Division, Team TBA (CT) posted a perfect 3-0 record in bracket play, including a 26-24 win over Suncoast/Shades (FL) in the championship game.
Public Enemy (FL) finished in third place.
In the six-team Men’s 50 AAA Division, the top two seeds battled it out in the end, as No. 1 seed Avalon Insurance (FL) avenged a 14-13 loss against No. 2 seed A.D.S/Woodlawn Hitting Club (FL) in the championship game, with a 19-14 triumph in the “if” game.
Avalon Insurance (FL) - Men's 50 AAA Champions
After being upset by PA Senior Hitmen in their opening bracket game, 25-24; A.D.S/Woodlawn Hitting Club ran through the gauntlet with five straight wins, before running out of gas in the “if’ game.
PA Hitmen finished in third place.
The Men’s 55 Major Plus division saw RBC/Team Miken-Worth (FL) sweep Suncoast/Adidas/Shades (FL) by scores of 27-11 and 29-23, respectively, in a best two-out-of-three game series.
RBC/Team Miken-Worth (FL) - Men's 55 Major Plus Champions
The top two seeds met for the championship in the six-team Men’s 55/60 Platinum Division, with Action Auto Parts (RI) knocking off top seed Derby City (KY) in the “if” game, 18-9.
The “if” game was the third game between the two teams, as Action Auto Parts used a 22-14 win over Derby City to advance to the Championship Game. Rebounding with a 23-17 win over K & I (IN) in the third-place game, Derby City edged out a thrilling 12-11 win over Action Auto Parts in the championship game, to force the rubber-match in the decisive “if” game.
After going 0-3 in seeding play, K & I went 3-2 in bracket play, including back-to-back wins in the elimination side of the bracket, to finish in third place.
The eight-team Men’s 55 AAA Division saw Twin Trees (NY) avenge its 14-5 loss in the championship game against Palm Beach Thunder (FL) with a 21-11 win in the “if” game.
Twin Trees (NY) - Men's 55 AAA Champions
Twin Trees slipped passed Palm Beach Thunder, 12-11, earlier in the bracket to reach the championship game.
Maryland Classics won its first two elimination games, eventually falling short in the third-place game.
The trend of the top two seeds meeting for the championship continued in the seven-team Men’s 60 Major Division, as Louisville Senior Sluggers (KY) knocked off Action Auto Parts (RI), 25-17, in the championship game.
Louisville Senior Sluggers defeated Action Auto Parts in its previous game, 17-8, to punch its ticket into the championship game.
After dropping its first two games in the three-game guarantee bracket, High Street Bucs II (MD) re-grouped with three straight wins to eventually finish in third place.
Vector Scorpions (FL) completed an undefeated weekend in the 14-team Men’s 60 AAA Division, going 2-0 in seeding and 4-0 in bracket play, including a dominating 25-5 win over Northeast JackHammers (NY) in the championship game.
Vector Scorpions (FL) - Men's 60 AAA Champions
After losing to Vector Scorpions, 19-15, earlier in the bracket, Northeast JackHammers, who went 0-2 in seeding, ran off three straight wins to escape the elimination side of the bracket and reach the championship game.
After winning their first three games to reach Championship Sunday unbeaten, Playmakers (WI) fizzled out with two straight losses to finish in third place.
The Men’s 60 AA Division featured a best two-out-of-three game series between Diamond Dawgs (MA) and Glory Daze (KY).
The teams exchanged one-run thrillers, as Glory Daze struck first with a 14-13 win, while Diamond Dawgs answered with a 13-12 win to force the deciding third game.
The final game would be anti-climactic, as Glory Daze cruised to a 20-3 win.
Glory Daze (KY) - Men's 60 AA Champions
A number of Long Island, NY area teams were featured in a Nov. 14 article that appeared in Newsday.
CLICK HERE to read the article, For LI seniors, travel softball offers camaraderie, adventure.