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June 1, 2011

LANSING, MI – The fifth annual Northern Championships returned here for the third consecutive year in late August as 47 teams from the Great Lakes region took to the fields in what would become one of the most closely contested tournaments of the year.

Play commenced on Thursday in this overlapping format at the East Lansing Softball Complex for the 10 teams aged 65+ and more senior, followed on Friday by the start for the remaining 37 teams in the 50+ through 60+ age groups in East Lansing and the Lake Alliance Softball Complexes in Potterville.

On Saturday, the first session championships were decided as the Olde D’s (MI) avenged last year’s runner-up finish by getting past the Chicago Classics Gray Sox (33-22) in the “If needed” game for the 65-AAA championship. The 65/70+ Silver division was won by the Dorchester Donnybrook (ON) as they completed an unbeaten week with a 15-3 championship game win over the Chicago Geezers (IL).

Meanwhile, the 75+ Gold Division was an almost exact replay of the 2010 tournament. As was the case last year, the Pfeiffer Gray Sox (MI) also finished unbeaten for the week as they defeated ProHealth Care (WI) in both the winner’s bracket final (19-11) and the championship (24-10) to defend their title.

On Sunday, things became a bit more complicated as last at-bat victories and “If” games took center stage at Lake Alliance. But in East Lansing, perfection was rewarded, with both champions completing unbeaten weeks. K. Sheeran Essentials (MI) was perfect for the week as they swept through the six-team 50-AAA bracket from the No. 1 seed position, defeating the Chicago Prime 50’s (IL) in the winner’s bracket final (25-12) and the championship (20-17) games. The story was the same in the 60+ Gold Division as the Hawks Nest 60’s (PA) ran through the nine-team bracket without a loss, ending with a hard fought win over the Michigan Express in the final (15-11).

Out at Lake Alliance, the six-team 50+ Major Division was a wide-open affair as the Milwaukee Merchants (WI) survived in the “If needed” game (30-29) over Northern Ohio Printing. This was after having beaten them in the winner’s bracket final (23-18) and losing to them in championship game (31-21).

The Men’s 50/55+ AA bracket saw two winners as Banker Builders (MI) defended their 2010 title in the 50+ age group with a 15-14 thriller over Playmakers (WI) in the championship game. The 55+ trophy went to the Sonic Fossils (IA) by virtue of their own one-run win over the Roc City (NY) 55’s by a 16-15 final score. The remaining 55+ champions were Kinnco Services (MI) in the 55+ Major Division, with a two game sweep of the Golden Vipers (MI) by 15-11 and 26-19 scores and the Brickyard Legends (IN) in the 55+ AAA Division. Brickyard also had to do it the long way, bouncing back from a championship game loss (18-13) to the Zeppelin Softball Club (KY) with a victory in the “If needed” game by an identical 18-13 score.

In the final bracket contested at Lake Alliance, the Ohio Silverados also bounced back from a loss to the Blue Chips (IL) in the championship game (18-11) with an impressive 28-10 triumph in the “If needed” game.

For full coverage of the 2011 Northern Championships, please see the online edition of Senior Softball News at

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