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With 651 Teams, Worlds is the Largest Softball Tourney for 4th Year
Sept. 1, 2023
Photos by Clover Schultz.
By Donna McGuire
Softball News Report
Senior Softball USA’s 2023 World Championships kicked off Sept. 14 in Las Vegas with a bevy of close and spirited games played in the 55+ and 60+ age divisions.
More than 650 teams entered the tournament this year. The first of four sessions boasted a record 192 teams, which prompted a 628-game Session 1 schedule spread across 31 softball fields at eight ballparks in and around Las Vegas.
“We are very grateful for the Masters and Senior teams making the 31st Annual World Championships the largest softball tournament of any kind in the world for the fourth straight year,” said Terry Hennessy, SSUSA’s chief executive officer.
Five teams won USA Championship games during the session, but none of the five won their overall bracket. Four others entered with chances to win a Triple Grand Slam title. In a testament to the competitiveness of these age divisions, only one team, Legacy Sports USA of Arizona, succeeded.
Only two Session 1 teams notched undefeated records: Acme of California in the 55+ Major division and Avalanche of Ohio in the 60+ AAA division.
The largest Session 1 bracket drew 51 teams to the 55+ AAA division, which included four meetings between eventual champion D’Amore Law of Washington and runner-up Xtreme/New York Fitness of Pennsylvania.
Hot sunshine bathed the teams throughout the four days of play, which culminated in Sunday championship games played at Big League Dreams Sports Complex in Las Vegas and Arroyo Grande Softball Complex in Henderson, Nevada.
Men’s 55+ AA: Third-seeded So Cal Riptide (photo below) won a pair of close bracket games (20-19 and 15-13) before facing the Western and USA National champions, California Coast Plumbers, for the title. After losing the first championship game 20-14, So Cal secured the second 17-11. Lobos 55 of Texas finished third. Longshoremen 55 of Virginia, which lost 25-24 to California Coast Plumbers in the USA National Championship game, finished fourth in the five-team bracket.
Men’s 55+ AAA: This division created a heckuva rivalry. D’Amore Law of Washington (photo below) entered bracket play as the top seed in the National pod of a 51-team bracket. Xtreme/NY Fitness of Pennsylvania entered bracket play as the top seed in the American pod after defeating D’Amore 23-17 for the USA National Championship during pool play. The teams met again as the final two unbeaten bracket teams. D’Amore won that game 17-16, which sent Xtreme to the elimination bracket. One game later, Xtreme returned to face D’Amore for the title. Xtreme forced an IF game by winning 20-13. In the finale, D’Amore never trailed and claimed a 22-16 World Championship victory. Lowe Legends 55 of Ohio placed third. Junkies/A-1 Pavement of California took fourth.
Men’s 55+ Major: Fourth-seeded Acme of California (photo below) capped an 8-0 tournament with a 23-19 title game victory over Regeee’s Rams of Ontario, Canada. Acme averaged 21 runs a game and outscored opponents by a combined 59 runs over the eight games. Vectra International/Big Biscuit of Kansas finished third in the 35-team bracket. Fourth went to .50 Core/Grit Hounds of Virginia. In the USA National Championship game, CANVAZ Softball defeated .50 Core 23-19.
Men’s 55+ Major Plus: Fourth-seeded J.K. Inc. 55 of California (photo below) finished 5-1 overall and defeated BPA/Rawlings 55 of Pennsylvania 26-9 for the championship of the seven-team division. Suncoast/Adidas 55 of Florida took third. Arizona Heat finished fourth.
Men’s 60+ AA: The eighth-seeded Road Warriors of Arizona (photo below) started 0-2 in pool play but went 5-1 the rest of the way. After losing the first title game 10-5 to seventh-seeded Spin Tees of Washington, the Road Warriors took the lead for good in the second inning of the IF game and won 26-17. Top-seeded OKC Angels of Oklahoma finished third in the 11-team bracket. The Tri-City Legends/D-bats of Washington finished fourth.
Men’s 60+ AAA: Avalanche of Ohio (photo below), which started bracket play as the second seed in the National pod of a 42-team division, never trailed in the championship game. It defeated Texas Threat, which had been seeded ninth in the American pod, 21-10 to cap an 8-0 tournament run. Crossfire of Texas won six elimination games to finish third. Diminished Skills of California finished fourth. In the USA National Championship game, Turn 2 Electric of North Carolina defeated Michael’s Automotive of Washington 28-21.
Men’s 60+ Major: Dirty Birds 60s of California emerged as the last unbeaten from the American pod and went on to win the championship 21-13 over Dudley Lightning of Missouri. Top Dawgs of Florida, which won the USA National Championship game 19-16 over California Energy 60s, finished third in the 36-team bracket. Sonoma County Crush of California took fourth.
Men’s 60+ Major Plus: The top two seeds, Texas Crush Sixties and Legacy Sports USA of Arizona (photo below), faced off in the winner’s bracket finale and two tense championship games before Legacy emerged victorious by double dipping Crush 29-23 and 29-28. In the finale, Legacy needed seven run to win and got all seven. CornerStone of Oregon finished third in the six-team bracket. Monster Softball of Mississippi took fourth.