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US Team Wins Celtic Classic in Ireland
Sept. 1, 2013Softball News Report
DUBLIN, IRELAND – A Senior Softball-USA team won the Celtic Classic here in June, topping nine Irish teams, two other SSUSA teams and a German team.
The Celtic Classic II was part of the 24th Annual Senior SSUSA International Tour in which three teams made up of SSUSA players of all ages from throughout America played in both Ireland and Scotland from June 16-29.
“The games, tour and camaraderie were wonderful,” said Susan Ruth, director of International Sports Holidays and of the tour, “however tragedy struck in Scotland. One of our players, Bill Curry of Massachusetts, suffered a heart attack and died in his hotel room in Edinburgh.”
One of Curry’s SSUSA teammates, Jimmy Bratton of California, did CPR on him until the medical personnel arrived, but Curry did not survive (see obituary on this page).
One of the highlights of the tour included a special exhibition game in Dublin to kick off the Celtic Classic II. The game pitted U.S. All Stars against the Irish National team on the Friday evening before the tournament began.
In a prelude to the U.S. game, the Irish National team first defeated the German team on Friday, then went on to defeat the U.S. All Stars 17-14 in the highlight event of the evening.
The Friday games were part of a year-long Irish national celebration called “The Gathering,” designed to highlight events that draw people back to Ireland.
“We are happy to welcome the U.S. senior teams to The Gathering, and look forward to tournament tomorrow,” said Colum Lavery, President of Ireland Softball at the reception after the game.
The 13 teams competed on six fields during the Celtic Classic II tournament on Saturday, with the USA White team defeating a strong Dublin team in the championship game as raindrops turned into a shower late Saturday.
The Celtic Classic I took place in Dublin in 2003 during the 14th annual SSUSA International tour.
The three 2013 SSUSA teams – USA Red, USA White and USA Blue – then took a ferry across the Irish sea and traveled through Wales and Northern England to Scotland for another series of games in Edinburgh.
The U.S. teams played six Scottish teams over two evenings, culminating in a dinner with the teams at a local carvery.
“The games were fun, and the friendships we started were even better,” said Liz Graham of Edinburgh Softball, who coordinated the games both in 2003 and this year.
Don Stratton, CEO of the Independent Softball Association and manager of the USA Blue team, made a touching speech about Bill Curry and presented Co-MVP medals to Bill Curry’s two children, Kaitlyn Berry and Bill Jr., who had traveled to Edinburgh on news of their father’s death. The Blue team Best Offensive player was Bobby Davis of Florida.
Bill Ruth, president of both ISA and SSUSA and manager of the USA White team, named Daryl Bruns MVP, Dan Vasquez Best Offense and Roger Kroeber Best Defense.
Terry Hennessy, CEO of SSUSA and manager of USA Red, named Kiko Gutierrez Best Defense, Jesus Bencomo Best Offense and Moon Mullen MVP.