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Oct. 1, 2011

PHOENIX – The Fourth Annual International Joiful Tournament here in October expanded to two divisions: both Men’s and Women’s divisions.

The International Joiful Tournament, played during the World Championships, is an exhibition event featuring international friendship games that use a special safety ball popular in Japan.

The Women’s Division consisted of four teams: a Japan team, two US teams and one Canadian team. The Canadian team and one of the US teams were made up of players of several women’s teams that were competing in the World Championships. The second US team was the 40 AA Women’s Masters team Curty Lo’s from Massachusetts.

The Curty Lo’s team won first place in the Women’s division, with the Japan team coming in second.

Four teams also made up the Men’s Division: Team Japan, USA Red (CJ&S), USA Blue (, and USA Gold (the Sidewinders).

USA Red (CJ&S) won the Men’s Division, with USA Blue ( second, USA Gold (Sidewinders) third and Team Japan fourth.

But winning was almost a side-note for the teams, which all extended the friendship they developed ion the games to an International reception and party Friday night after the tournament was over. The party featured traditional Japanese dancing, gift exchanges…and, of course, softball stories.

“The International Joiful Tournament is all about establishing and building friendship through sports that cuts across man-made borders and even oceans,” said Fran Dowell, SSUSA executive director. “And one look at the party Friday night illustrated that it was a big success.”

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