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WINTER NATIONALS: NEW RULES SMOOTH FOR 147 TEAMS
Oct. 1, 2011FORT MYERS, FLA. – The 11th Annual Winter Nationals drew 147 teams from 21 states and Canada, making it the second largest senior softball tournament east of the Mississippi River.
The popular tournament, now played in Cape Coral and Naples, as well Fort Myers, is the first event of the Senior Softball-USA season. The Winter Nationals gives teams a chance to try out their 2012 rosters – adding players who “age-up” next year.
This was also the first tournament for a number of new home run rules – and tournament officials were overjoyed with the result.
“We really didn’t know what to expect,” said Jerry Jackson, a SSUSA national director who has been directing the tournament for the past decade. “This was one of the smoothest Winter Nationals I can remember.”
(For more information on specific rule changes, please see the 2012 Tournament Guide in this edition or go to www.seniorsoftball.com and go to the messageboard.)
The weather was perfect for softball – and teams from many northern states and Canada soaked up the sun.
The games in many divisions, however, were sizzling.
Some of the closest games were played in the two largest divisions of the tournament.
In the 14-team 70 AAA Division, two Florida teams fought it out. The Bucs & Bulls 70s came out of the loser’s bracket to beat American Legion Post #8 in the championships game 22-5, forcing an “IF” game. American Legion squeaked back in the “IF” to win 9-8.
In the 60 AAA Division, also with 14 teams, the Georgia / Alabama Masters defeated the Jersey Masters 21-18 to win the division title.
In one of the top skill divisions, the 50/55 Platinum, Metro Stars of Virginia beat Gulf Coast Softball of Florida 11-9 in the finals to win the title. The nine-team 50/55 Platinum Division was made up of 50 Major and 55 Major-Plus teams.
Three other divisions went to “IF” games in very close competition.
Fat Nancy’s of New York captured the comeback victory of the tournament in the 55 AAA. Fat Nancy’s came out of the loser’s bracket to double-dip Roadhouse Blues of Pennsylvania 17-7 and 29-11.
In another big comeback, Michigan Express knocked Double LL Roofing of Florida into the loser’s bracket in the semi-finals by one run. Double LL came back to beat Michigan Express 20-10 in the finals and 21-11 in the “IF” game to take the 60 Major title.
Oshkosh Ambassadors of Wisconsin fell short in their comeback bid in the 55 AA. The Ambassadors defeated Freddie’s Shooters in the championship game 31-22, but Freddie’s came back in the “IF” to win the title 25-7.
Here are summaries of other divisions:
In the 50 Major-Plus Division, South Florida Renegades beat AMR 50s of Ohio 14-11 in the championship game.
In the 10-team 50 AAA Division, Florida Automated Shade blasted through the competition with a perfect 6-0 record. Automated Shade beat Chicago Prime 26-15 in the finals to lock up the title.
The 50 AA was a contest of Florida teams, with the Silver Foxes edging Mello Financial 12-10 to win the division.
In the 55 Majors, Wholesale Builders Supply of Pennsylvania defeated Pat’s Sports of Florida 20-15 to take the division title.
In the 60 Major Plus slugfest, Hollis Appraisals powered to victory over High Street Bucs of Maryland 32-28 in the championship game.
Kentuckiana captured the 60 AA title, beating the Syracuse Cyclones 24-14 in the finals of the eight-team division.
The mixed 65 Platinum Division produced two winners. Senior Moments of Florida won the 65 Major title and Florida Thunder captured the 65 Major-Plus Division.
Two winners emerged from the mixed 70 Platinum Division, as well. The Astros won the 70 Major title and the Florida Legends (which aged up to 70s for 2012) won the 70 Major-Plus Division championships.
Steve Levin Financial Planners of Florida won the 12-team 65 AAA championships, defeating Voice Tech of Florida 16-3 in the finals.
In the nine-team 65 AA Division, Columbus Silver Sticks of Indiana beat Rip’s Country Inn of Maryland 12-8 in the finals to win the division title.
In the 70 AA Division, the Long Island Jaguars of New York topped CAM HVAC of Rhode Island 16-10 to win the six-team division title.
Agility / Joseph Chevrolet won the 75 Major Division, beating Premium Seats 20-8. Both teams are from Florida.
The 75 AAA Division became a New York contest with the Syracuse Cyclones battling the Barracudas. Syracuse won, beating the Barracudas convincingly 16-5 in the finals.
Center for Sight took on the newest 80 powerhouse team – Mitchell’s Construction of Pennsylvania – and won the best of three in the 80 Major Division, although all of the games were close.
There were several Women’s Divisions, ranging from 40 Masters to a 70 Division.
In the 40 Masters, two strong teams competed: Motown Magic from Michigan and Kryptonite from Florida. Kryptonite proved too strong for Motown, winning 23-19 and 24-13 to win the division title.
In the Women’s 50s, the Maryland Roadrunners powered to victory in a lopsided 18-2 game against NY Metro.
The Golden Girls and Gals were indeed golden, sweeping the 55, 60 and 65 divisions.
The Golden Girls 55s of Virginia defeated the Village Vixens of Florida in a best of three (13-11 and 23-18) to win the 60 title.
In the mixed Women’s 60 / 65 Division, the Golden Girls of Virginia won the 60 title and the Golden Gals 2 of Florida won the 65 Division.
In the Women’s 70s, Freedom Spirit beat Golden Gals 1 in a best-of-five series (8-6, 7-10, 6-1 and 6-3). Both teams are from Florida.
For complete results, please go to www.seniosoftball.com, click on tournaments, click on Winter Nationals 2011, and click on Results.