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2023 Western Nationals Turn Up the Heat in Weather and Play
Aug. 1, 2023
Batter from Last Call of Nevada, prepares to swing during the 2023 Western National Championships.
By Donna McGuire
Softball News Report
Thirty-three teams captured the chance to play for a Senior Softball USA National Championship by winning their age and ratings division during the Western National Championships played Aug. 1-6 in the Sacramento area.
Teams that earned a berth in the East/West USA games will square off against the Eastern National Champions later this summer in Las Vegas. If a team wins the East/West game and also wins its bracket that week at the World Championships, it earns a Triple Grand Slam title. Those can be elusive. Only a handful of teams succeed each year.
Teams from California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Arizona nabbed titles at the Westerns, which featured 145 of the West’s best teams playing at five ballparks across two three-day sessions.
“The level of play – and the media interest – were both exceptional at the Western Nationals this year,” said Terry Hennessy, SSUSA’s chief executive officer. “We deeply appreciate the strong support of the Western Nationals throughout the Northern California region by the Sacramento Sports Commission, Placer Valley Tourism and Explore Elk Grove!”
SSUSA stripped Fattboyz/Prestige/Elite of its 50+ Major Plus title and declared all the team’s games forfeited after Fattboyz/Prestige/Elite played an underage player. SSUSA suspended that player, Michael Whitfill, 49, for two years and placed the team’s manager on probation for one year.
Scrap Iron Havoc, which placed second in the 50+ Major Plus division, received the first-place tournament prizes and the division’s berth to the USA Championship game.
Winners at the Westerns also earned berths to the 2024 Tournament of Champions in Polk County, Florida.
The first few days of play, teams enjoyed pleasant weather. It didn’t last. As has been happening across much of the country this year, temperatures soared past 100 degrees for the final two days.
Women’s 40+ Masters Major: The top three seeds finished in the top three places, but not in the same order. Third-seeded TABU of California double dipped top-seeded Royal-T Real Estate/The LaFlamme Group of Washington in two thrillers, 20-19 and 7-6. Second seeded Still Grubbing of California finished third in the five-team division.
Women’s 40+ Masters AAA: In this division, the seeds matched the finishes. Top-seeded Dynasty Sisters of California capped a 6-0 tournament with a 12-8 championship victory over the second-seeded Utah Relics. Third-seeded B.O.O.B.s 40s of California placed third in the eight-team bracket.
Women’s 50/55+ Gold: Snap, Crackle, Pop of Washington (photo below, top) earned the 50+ Major TOC and USA berths by defeating Arizona Dream Team 55s (photo below, bottom), which earned the 55+ Major berths to both events, 14-6. Old Nasty Curves of California placed third in the three-team bracket and earned the USA game berth for the 50+ AAA division.
Men’s 40+ Platinum: Sixth-seeded JK Inc. Easton/Miken of California earned the 40+ Major Plus USA and TOC berths after defeating fourth-seeded Cheap Suits/Republic Realty of California 30-14 in the first title game. The teams agreed not to play the “if” game, as Cheap Suits had earned the 40+ Major berths to the USA game and TOC event. Top-seeded Supreme 40s of California placed third in the 18-team bracket, the tournament’s largest.
Men’s 40+ Masters AAA: Top-seeded GTR of Oregon (photo below) went 5-0 and won all its bracket games by double-digits, including a 30-14 victory over Unloaded of California in the championship game. T.N.T. (Tacos & Tequila) of California took third in the five-team bracket.
Men’s 50+ Major Plus: Though Fattboyz/Prestige/Elite compiled a 6-0 record, it lost all of its games to forfeit for playing an underage player. First place awards and the TOC and USA game berths went to Scrap Iron Havoc of Colorado, which defeated Battleborn of Nevada in the third-place game to reach the championship game.
Men’s 50+ Major: Second-seeded Gold Nation 50s of California (photo below) lost the first championship game 19-17 then won the second 23-12. Fourth-seeded Vicious Cycle Softball of California finished second. Fifth-seeded G.O. Softball/Mae Capital of California won three elimination games to place third in the six-team bracket.
Men’s 50+ AAA: Top-seeded Rolfe & Company of California capped a 6-0 tournament with a 20-7 championship game victory. Twelfth-seeded Smokem of California finished second after winning five elimination games to reach the title bout. All-Quip/SOWC-North of Oregon placed third in the 13-team bracket.
Men’s 55+ AAA: Third-seeded D’Amore Law of Washington also went 6-0, including a 14-10 championship victory over fifth-seeded Kamikaze 55 of California. Junkies/A-1 Pavement Marketing 55s of California finished third in the 13-team bracket.
Men’s 55/60+ Platinum: Sixth-seeded Legacy Sports USA of Arizona (photo below) earned the 60+ Major Plus USA and TOC berths and the overall tournament title by defeating second-seeded CANVAZ Softball of California 15-14. CANVAZ earned the 55+ Major USA and TOC berths. ManCave of Texas finished third in the 11-team bracket.
Men’s 55/60+ AA: California Coast Plumbers Inc. edged Tri City Legends/D-bats of Washington 24-23 for the title. California Coast earned the 55+ AA TOC and USA berths while Tri City nabbed the 60+ AA berths. Cut Loose 60s of California finished third in the three-team bracket.
Men’s 60+ Major: Top-seeded California Energy, which won two of its bracket games by one run each, put up 30 runs in the title game to win by 18 over third-seeded Tradition Softball of California. The seventh-seeded Top Gun Warriors finished third in the 11-team bracket.
Men’s 60+ AAA: Third-seeded Michael’s Automotive Group of Washington (photo below) went 6-0, including an 18-3 championship victory of top-seeded Chelu of Oregon. Warriors of California finished third in the seven-team bracket.
Men’s 65+ Platinum: Top-seeded New Dawn Awning of California (photo below) defeated second-seeded Incrediwear of California 13-3 to win the four-team bracket and the 65+ Major TOC and USA berths. The Oregon Crabs finished third. Fourth-place Cal Energy, which entered as an exhibition team and could not win in bracket play, earned the USA game berth for 65+ Major Plus.
Men’s 65+ AAA: Trachsel Auto Body 65s of Oregon (photo below) went 6-0, including an 18-7 title game victory over Last Call 65 of Nevada. It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere of California finished third in the nine-team bracket.
Men’s 65/70+ AA: The top-seeded Pastimers of Washington (photo below) defeated Spikes of Washington 22-13 for the title. Pastimers earned the 65+ AA berths, and Spikes nabbed the 70+ AA berths. Scrap Iron Diamonds 70s of Colorado finished third in the three-team bracket.
Men’s 70+ AAA: No Dice/Costa Rica of California went 6-0, including an 8-1 championship victory over Nor-Cal 70s. The Sacramento Islanders placed third in the five-team bracket.
Men’s 70/75+ Platinum: Second-seeded Timberworks/Suncoast of California defeated top-seeded Last Call 70 of Nevada 27-15 to win the title. Enviro-Vac Marauders of British Columbia, Canada, finished third in the five-team bracket. Fourth-place Omen of California received the 75+ Major Plus USA game berth.
Men’s 75+ AAA: Top-seeded Last Call 75 (photo below) lost the winner’s final but rebounded to double dip Please Don’t Bug Me of California in two thrillers, 13-12 and 17-16. Solano Senior Enforcers of California placed third in the five-team bracket.
Men’s 75+ AA: Playing a best-of-three format, the Mustangs of California (photo below) nipped California Oaks 10-9 and 16-15.
Men’s 75/80+ Platinum: Second-seeded Valley Fog (photo below), a 75+ Major team from California, defeated Al’s Sport Shop of California 15-11 for the title of the three-team division. The San Francisco Seals finished third and received the 80+ Major Plus USA game berth.
Men’s 80/85+ AAA: Top-seeded Gold Rush of California went 6-0, won five games by double-digits and defeated the Jaguars 7-0 for the title. Gold Rush earned the 80+ AAA berths to the TOC and USA game. The Jaguars nabbed the 85+AAA USA game berth. California Oaks 80s finished third in the three-team division. (Jaguars and California Oaks photoed together, below).