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FIRST JOINT LVSSA/SSUSA TOURNEY 'FANTASTIC'
May 1, 2012LAS VEGAS Ė The first joint LVSSA-SSUSA tournament attracted a record number of teams here at the end of April, with officials proclaiming the Southwest Championships a ďfantasticĒ success.
Teams from as far away as Michigan, Minnesota and Canada were among the 112 teams that competed in the 23 divisions of the Southwest Championships.
In a surprisingly strong turnout in the oldest and youngest divisions, there was a four-team 80 division, a four-team 75 Major Division, a nine-team Menís 40 Masters and a seven-team, Womenís 40 Masters Division.
Several divisions numbered nine to 11 teams, making for some intense competition Ė and some of the largest divisions of the season so far.
In this first joint LVSSA-SSUSA tournament, Senior Softball-USA provided the administration and promotion of the tournament, while the Las Vegas Senior Softball Association provided assistant field directors, excellent field-prep crews, and help procuring fields.
ďFrom the reports that I have received from various participating teams and from our LVSSA members, the tournament was a great success,Ē said George Fernandes, LVSSA president. ďIt is a testament to our two organizations.
ďWe feel our relationship will develop into a very strong one and it will benefit Senior Softball in the United States. Every one who worked and participated in the tournament should be congratulated for a fantastic tournament,Ē he said.
Senior Softball-USA officials agreed: ďWe were frankly amazed. We had honestly expected a few rough spots as we merged our two organizations for this first joint tournament,Ē said Terry Hennessy, SSUSAís chief executive officer. ďBut it was so smooth and positive that there were literally no issues and Ė most important Ė it resulted in an excellent tournament for the teams and players.Ē
The two organizations will be producing the World Masters Championships in Las Vegas from Sept. 28- Oct. 7.
ďWe expect the World Masters Championships to be the largest Ė and best Ė senior tournament ever, attracting 400 to 450 teams,Ē said Hennessy.
On the field in the Southwest Championships, nine teams competed in the Menís 40 Masters Major Division and it was Californiaís Prime Lending/TPS that came out on top, but it wasnít easy. Prime Lending played a number of tight games in the early part of the bracket only to face top-seeded Above and Beyond, also from California, in the final. Prime Lending held on for a narrow 28-27 win to claim the championship.
In the 40 Womenís Masters Silver Division, So Cal Toxic from California triumphed 17-16 over the Old Nasty Curves from California in the title game.
The TKP/Hunters from California topped the Old School 40ís also from California 19-7 to win the Womenís 40 Masters Major Division.
In the Menís 50 Major Division, Arizona Elite ran the table winning every game including the championship 16-12 over the Barcelona Bandidos from California. (See story on Page X about the Elite pitcherís amazing physical recovery).
The Menís 50 AAA Division was the tournamentís largest with 11 teams vying for top honors, which went to the South Bay 50s which beat fellow California team Desert Dawgs 26-23 in the finale to finish the tournament undefeated.
Two teams from New Mexico battled it out for the Menís 50 AA Division title with Four Corners/Triple S coming out of the loserís bracket to double dip the New Mexico Boomers to win the championship 22-10.
In the Menís 50/55 Major-Plus Division, the Fangrabbers/Tow Time from Arizona topped Demolition/GSC from California 33-32 to take top honors.
The NCI Softball Club from California beat Top Gun III from California 25-21 in the championship game to win the 55 Major title.
The Menís 55 AAA Division was won by Arizonaís Just 4 Fun which went undefeated in the tournament, beating the California Desert Dawgs 55s 19-9 for the championship.
Californiaís Next Level powered its way to the Menís 60 Major-Plus Division title with a 33-20 win over Scrap Iron Master Collision of Colorado.
In the Menís 60 Major Division, the Northern California Storm double-dipped Over The Edge from California by scores of 12-7 and 11-10 to claim the title.
Nine teams battled it out for the Menís 60 AAA Division championships and it was the Arizona Sidewinders 60s that came away with the title. The Sidewinders were undefeated and topped the California Titans 30-19 in the final game.
Coloradoís Scrap Iron 55 Northern won the five-team Menís 55 AA Division over the Baker Boyz 55ís by a score of 15-4 in the championship game.
Talking Rock of Arizona was the top-finishing team in the 60AA, winning the division.
Two teams from California competed for the Menís 65 Major Plus Division title, but in the end it was powerful Omen 65ís sweeping both games from Bickerton Iron Works by scores of 23-18 and 29-11 to win the title.
In the Menís 65/70 Platinum Division, Rustyís from Arizona beat the High Desert Roadrunners from New Mexico in a 37-31 slugfest for the championship.
The California Mustangs won the Menís 65 AAA Division by knocking off the Masters Marauders from British Columbia in a tight 15-12 championship game.
In the Menís 70 Major Division, Last Call from California topped Pinnacle Physicianís Therapy from Arizona 23-11 for the title.
In the mixed 65/70 Silver Division, two California teams battled, with El Passeo Bank emerging from the loserís bracket and double-dipping Connection 12-3 and 16-9 to win the division.
Another frisky team barreled out of the loserís bracket in the 70/75 Silver Division to win it all. Scrap Iron Red of California beat top-seeded Get-R-Done of California in a close 17-16 game to force and ďIFĒ game, which Scrap Iron won 24-18.
In the 75 Major Division, Fairway Ford of California capped a perfect tournament by defeating Gold Coast 24-14 to win the title.
And in the oldest contest, the Arizona Prospectors topped a 4-team 80 Division with a championship victory over Scrap Iron 80s of Colorado 20-7.
The Southwest Championships is the first step of the most coveted prize in senior softball -- the Triple Grand Slam.
Playing in the Southwest Championships qualifies teams to compete in the Western Nationals in August in Aurora, Colorado. Winners of the Western Nationals receive a berth to the US National Game (against the winner of the Eastern Nationals in their division). Teams that win the US National Game (played during the World Masters Championships in Las Vegas) and the World Masters Championships win the Triple Grand Slam.
In addition, winners of each division are invited to Tournament of Championships in Polk County, Florida, in February 2013. The TOC was a tremendous success this last February. Only the winners of the top 20 SSUSA Championship tournaments are invited. In addition, the event includes several free events, including hitting clinics, skills contests, an All Star Game, a banquet and free rings for winners.
LVSSA/SSUSA SOUTHWEST CHAMPIONSHIPS
Menís 50 Major-AZ Elite- Mike Horner, Chuck Henninger, James Mayfield,Jeff White,Dave Quiroz.Barcelona Bandidos Armada- Ryan Blanchard,Terry Madden,Ron Bryan.
Menís 50AAA-South Bay 50ís-Nick Pantell,Rudy Ragadio,Chris Yap,Ronnie Rudolph,Dave Ropp.
Mensís 50AA-New Mexico Boomers- Alfredo Poblete,Julio Rios,Jose Tarango.
Menís 55 Major-NCI-Dan Hess, Ron Rutherford, Rudy Flores,Jose Cotto,Terry Quinn.
Menís 55AAA-Just 4 fun- Mike Selland, Jeff Kay, Gary Steen,Wacel Harvick, Brad Harris.Desert Dawgs- Mike Bortz, Mark Chevers, Nolan Spencer.
Menís 55/60 AA-Next Level- Alvin Tate,Charlie Carter,Kennard Horsley,Don Crenshaw,Jerry Scanlan.Scrap Iron Northern-Jerry Byers, Dave Adams, Joe Hernandez,Jamie Trevino,Kelly Hallman.
Menís 60 Major+- Scrap Iron/Master Collision- Rob Clark,Steve Schroeder,Dan Silvey.
Menís 60AAA-Sidewinders 60ís-Jim Montgomery,Bob Dobbins,Jerry Bianchi,Orie McDonald,Larry Adams.
Menís 60AA-Talking Rock- Ernie Jones,Oscar Lopez,Al Meyer,Vince Vicarri,Bob Cinikowski.
Menís 65 major +-Omen 65- Otis Menasco,Mike Rittenhouse,Bob Rohatch,Tom Avery, Rich Schmidt,Gil Frelly.
Menís 65AAA-Mustangs- bob covert, Rich Ponce,Al Oxley,Nick Debene,Ron Tatti.Marauders-Steve Ogin, Al Heath, Bob Stewes.So.Cal Crush- Dave Pokladowski, Carmelo Montazez.
Menís 65/70 Platinum- Rustyís- Tony Jensen, Dave Smith, John Florence, Leigh Charboneau, Bob Pryor.
Menís 65/70 Silver-El Paseo Bank- Jim Leatherwood,Ben Plascencia, Jack Beal, Gordi Johnson, Bob LaBounty,Bill McNew.Connection- Gene Adams,Jim George,Tony Iavarone.
Menís 70/75 Silver- Scrap Iron Redís- Paul Durbin, Ron Ammerman,Monty Phillips, Norm Rajotte, Ken Nakauchi. Git-R-Done- Carl Cordill,George Guriel,Jim Vareson. Texans- Gary Lilly, Ed Bailey.
Menís 70 Major-Last Call- Bob Teston, Bob Guy, Keith Jensen, Mickey Deuschman, Tom Nyman.Pinnacle Physical Therapy- Tom Grubb,Howie Dielmann, David Boone.TO Panthers-Tom Imming, John Brown.
Menís 70AA-Scrap Iron red- Norm Rajotte, Steve Lents, Neil Kvern, Ron Ammerman, Ken Delaney,Bob Degroot.
Menís 80-AZ Prospectors- Wayne Ellithorpe, Dick Purdy, Harley Thompson,John Siegfried,Ron Brown.Scrap Irion80-Dick Skinner,Mel Schiebel,David Bray.
Womenís 40 Silver- Old Nasty Curves- Carmen Chavez, Emily Tuake,Kirstin Holtberg.Steel Runnin- Stacey Francisco,Tracey Stevens.