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From the Dugout: Worlds Set Record with 651 Teams – Largest in US
Oct. 1, 2021
By Terry Hennessy
Congratulations to the 35 teams that won the World Championships, the oldest Senior Softball Championships, and now the largest softball tournament in America. Winners received coveted Josten’s championship rings – the same rings they make for Major League Baseball and the National Football League.
With 651 teams, many divisions were huge – with the largest being the 50 AAA men with 75 teams! Our sport continues to grow at all levels, setting records for teams in the 40 Masters men and women, the 50 men and women – and at the upper age groups with 16 teams in the 80 division and 5 in the 85 age division.
To put this in perspective, the 651 teams included 26,000 players and family from 46 states, Canada and Guam.
There were highlights – with five inductions into the Nation al Senior Softball Hall of Fame, 22 US National Games and seven teams winning the top award in the sport – the Triple Grand Slam!
The most prestigious award of the year, the Steve Simmons Memorial Sportsmanship Award, went to the 80-year-old Florida Investment Property team.
There was also tragedy: Ron Smith from the 65AAA Excessive Force (CA) team suffered a heart attack on the field. He was resuscitated on the field, but died later in the hospital.
Four teams dropped out shortly before they were scheduled to play because of positive COVID tests in the teams.
We’d also like to thank the players and teams for their patience with the new world of sports amid the pandemic: no community water jugs in the dugouts, no manager meetings and mask mandates indoors.
In addition, we lost two 4-field softball complexes this year. The artificial-turf fields were condemned by Clark County, which is in the process of replacing the turf. The loss of the fields resulted in us using more 2- and 3-field complexes than normal. We expect those fields under repair to be available by next year’s Worlds.
And, of course, the bottom line is that we hope players enjoyed their time at the tournament and in Las Vegas – that is the point of it all!
Terry Hennessy is chief executive officer of Senior Softball USA and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Mindy Weinman, who represented Senior Softball on several International Goodwill Tours over the past decade, died Saturday. Mindy Weinman practiced dentistry with her husband, Dave, and was an instructor at the University of Buffalo (NY) school of dentistry.
“Mindy was a true ambassador of the sport and our nation; she displayed openness, caring and curiosity in every country we toured,” said Terry Hennessy, SSUSA’s chief executive officer.