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29 Teams Start Path Toward Triple Grand Slam at Eastern Nationals
Aug. 1, 2023
By Donna McGuire
Softball News Report
Six days of Senior Softball USA tournament ball in Virginia ended July 30 with 29 teams earning the right to play for a U.S. National Championship in Las Vegas later this year.
Those teams finished atop their respective age and ratings divisions at the 2023 Eastern National Championships played at five ballparks in Loudoun County.
Only four teams completed undefeated runs through pool and bracket play. Nearly half the brackets required an “if” championship to determine a winner.
Fear No One (MD) runner sides into base as the baseman catches the ball in the Women's 40+ AAA division, at Edgar Tillett Memorial Park. Photo by Clover Schultz.
Teams also battled extreme heat and a rain delay.
“Like much of the country, it was incredibly hot,” said Tournament Director Tim McElroy, who noted that an ambulance was summoned for a heat-exhausted player Friday morning, well before the hottest part of the day.
Saturday morning, strong storms struck.
“We had tents blowing everywhere,” said McElroy, who credited Loudoun Country ground crews for getting fields ready within 90 minutes after the storm passed.
Games took place at Potomac Lakes in Sterling, Brambleton Regional Park in Ashburn, Phillip A. Bolen Memorial Park in Leesburg, Edgar Tillet Park in Ashburn, and at the new $98 million, 257-acre Hal and Berni Hanson Park in Aldie.
Twenty-nine of the 115 participating teams earned the right to play the winners of the Western National Championships during pool play of the SSUSA World Championships set for September and October. Teams that win those games become U.S. National Champions. To earn the Triple Grand Slam title, a U.S. National Champion also must win its World Championship bracket. Last year, only seven teams succeeded.
At the 2023 Easterns, six teams successfully defended titles they won in 2022. Meanwhile, 25 teams earned berths to the 2024 Tournament of Champions set for Polk County, Florida, by winning their brackets.
All photos by Clover Schultz.
Women’s 40+ Masters Major: Top-seeded and undefeated Redz/California Bat Company of North Carolina defeated Vintage of New Jersey 21-14 to win the three-team division. Allstate/ACS/K&G Softball of Ohio finished third.
Women’s 40+ Masters AAA: The fourth-seeded Fireballs of Massachusetts lost their first bracket game by one run then won four games in a row, including 13-8 and 10-8 championship game victories over the top-seeded Lady Legends of Pennsylvania. Cherry Bomb of Maryland finished third in the four-team bracket.
Women’s 50+ Gold: The top-seeded and defending champion 50 Shades Women’s Team (50+ Major) of Indiana went 6-1 overall and double dipped High Octane/Miken Franchise of Indiana 9-4 and 16-6 in the title games. Team Works of Virginia finished third in the six-team bracket. Shots Fired of Rhode Island won a USA Game berth as the top-finishing 50+ AAA team.
Men’s 40+ Masters Major Plus: Top-seeded Suncoast Adidas 40s of Florida edged Killman’s/Lewis Lawn/DeMarini of South Carolina 22-21 to win the three-team division. HDI of Virginia finished third.
Men’s 40+ Masters Major: Fourth-seeded Shin Biscuits/Potomac Sports of Maryland went 4-1 overall and defeated Certified Ground Breakers of Maryland 27-24 for the title. Pennsylvania Legends won three elimination games and finished third in the six-team division.
Men’s 40+ Masters AAA: Fifth-seeded Prime 40s of Virginia went 5-1 overall and defeated Black Kings of Maryland 28-8 for the championship of the nine-team bracket. Barkley Heating & Air/O.P.P. of Delaware placed third.
Men’s 50+ Major: PulseChain.com/Feet Heat Customs of Ohio earned the top seed, went undefeated, and won the title of the tournament’s largest bracket with a 18-14 victory over Taylor Made Construction/BPA of Pennsylvania. Phoenix Tube/Dream Worn of Pennsylvania nabbed third in the 12-team bracket.
Men’s 50+ AAA: All 10 teams finished pool play 1-1. The ninth-seeded and defending champion 4 Seasons/Evil team lost its first bracket game by one run before pulling off an incredible run through the elimination bracket. It rattled off eight wins in a row, including 15-14 and 25-10 title-game victories over third-seeded Warpath 50 of Maryland. BACKSIDE of Virginia placed third.
Men’s 50/55+ Major Plus: The top two seeds faced off for the championship, which took two games. Second-seeded BPA/Rawlings 55 of Pennsylvania lost the first game 17-9 but captured the second 24-13 to earn the 55+ Major Plus TOC and USA Game berths. Runner-up Suncoast/Adidas 50s of Florida received the 50+ Major TOC and USA Game berths. Demolition/KPI/Midwest Titans of Indiana finished third in the five-team bracket.
Men’s 50/55+ AA: Top-seeded Expert Ind. Supply of New Jersey (photo below) went 6-0 and won the four-team bracket with a 15-7 championship game victory over Flatline/Van Metre Homes of Virginia. That gave Expert Ind. the 50+ AA TOC and USA Game berths. Third-place finisher Longshoremen 55 of Virginia earned the 55+ AA TOC and USA Game berths.
Men’s 55+ Major: Top-seeded .50 Core Sports & Apparel/Grit Hounds Softball of Virginia (photo below) edged Daytona Beach Boyz of Florida 21-20 in the title game to finish 6-0 overall. Bond 124/Caterborne Realty Group of Connecticut took third in the nine-team bracket.
Men’s 55+ AAA: Top-seeded Xtreme Home Improvements & Restorations/New York Fitness Clubs/Fredrick’s of Pennsylvania (photo below) lost the first title game 26-24 but won the second 25-16 to claim the three-team division. The Georgia Renegades finished second. Maryland Classics/Office Bar & Grill finished third.
Men’s 60+ Major: The second-seeded Top Dawgs of Florida won three elimination games to reach the finals then dispatched the third-seeded Carolina A’s of North Carolina 22-15 and 28-16 in the championship games. The Maryland Cougars finished third in the 10-team bracket.
Men’s 60+ AAA: Defending champion Turn 2 Electric of North Carolina (photo below) won three elimination games to reach the finals, where it double dipped BJM Bomb Squad 60s of Indiana 20-13 and 12-11. Top-seeded Gaithersburg Rental/TC Backer of Maryland finished third in the five-team division.
Men’s 65+ Major: Fifth-seeded Prime Time of Illinois (photo below) defeated third-seeded Empire Monroe of New York 18-11 for the championship of the eight-team division. Omega IT Services LLC of Maryland finished third.
Men’s 65+ Silver: Defending champion Northern Virginia Force (65+ AAA) finished 5-1 overall and defeated Spring Ford 65 of Pennsylvania (photo below) 19-9 for the title. The Starboard of Delaware finished third in the four-team division. West Chester Wild of Pennsylvania earned the 65+ AA USA Game berth as the top finishing AA team.
Men’s 70/75+ Platinum: Defending champion Venom 75s of Florida won the overall division and the 75+ Major Plus TOC and USA berths by defeating REI Nation of Tennessee (photo below) 12-8 in the “if” championship game. REI, which won the first title game 16-15, earned the 70+ Major TOC and USA berths. Pill & Pill of West Virginia finished third in the four-team division.
Men’s 70/75+ Gold: Defending champion Northern Virginia Force (75+ Major - photo below) lost the first title game 20-5 but won the second 7-0 to win the three-team division. Runner-up Simmons-Day All-Stars of Maryland earned the 70+ AAA TOC and USA berths. JAG-ONE/Jersey Masters Red of New Jersey finished third.
Men’s 75+ AAA: Playing a best-of-three format, JAG-ONE/Jersey Masters of New Jersey (photo below) swept the Syracuse Cyclones of New York 12-9 and 17-9 for the title.
Men’s 80+ Gold: Defending champion NorEasters of New York (80+ AAA - photo below) defeated the Blazers of North Carolina 21-6 in the title game of the three-team division. Florida Investment Properties placed third and earned the USA Game berth for the 80+ Major Plus division.
Men’s 80/85+ Gold: Playing a best-of-three format, Center For Sight of Florida (85+ Major - photo below) lost the first game 23-22 but won the next two by 7-0 scores. Runner-up New York Statesmen earned the 85+ AAA USA Game berth.