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Florida Home Teams Rule at Spring Nationals
April 1, 2023
By Donna McGuire
Softball News Report
Forty teams from seven states converged on Polk County, Florida, to compete in SSUSA’s Spring National Championships March 17-19.
Highlights included numerous high-scoring games, two women’s divisions, and seven Men’s Major Plus teams playing at the same park in the 40+, 50+ and 55+ divisions.
Florida teams dominated the entry list and championship results, but they could not pull off a sweep of tournament titles.
Give credit instead to one of the northern-most traveling teams.
Crawford Contracting of Michigan averaged 21 runs a game in compiling a 5-0 overall record and winning the Men’s 50+ Major title.
“They came from the chilly north but showed they could quiet the (Florida) crowd,” Tournament Director Tim McElroy said.
Winners of each division earned berths to the 2024 Tournament of Champions, considered the crown jewel of senior softball tournaments nationwide because only tournament champions are invited.
Interestingly, all Spring Nationals divisions were won by teams that entered bracket play as either a first or second seed. Games took place at Loyce Harpe Sports Complex in Mulberry and at Walker Road Softball Complex in Lakeland.
Women’s 40-50+ Gold: Kryptonite of Florida (top photo below) won the three-team division and the 50+ Major TOC berth with an undefeated record. It notched a 21-11 championship game victory over TM Force of Florida (bottom photo below), which earned the 40+ AAA TOC berth. The 40+ AAA team Fireballers of Massachusetts finished third.
Women’s 50+ AAA: In a best-of-three format, unbeaten BAGS of Florida (photo below) defeated Hot Flashers of Texas 32-12 and 21-6 to win the title.
Men’s 40+ Major Plus: Suncoast/Adidas 40s of Florida swept DDA Nation of Florida 30-24 and 32-31 in a best-of-three format. Suncoast finished 4-0 overall.
Men’s 40+ Major: Top-seeded Select 40s of Florida earned the title the hard way. After losing its first bracket game 20-10, Select reeled off victories of 31-24, 34-26 and 26-25. It averaged 25 runs per game in bracket play. Hooters of Florida took second. Shinbiscuit/Potomac Sports of Maryland finished third in the three-team division.
Men’s 50+ Major Plus: Suncoast/Adidas 50s of Florida defeated Short Porch of Florida 26-22 and 33-27 in a best-of-three format.
Men’s 50+ Major: Crawford Contracting of Michigan completed a 5-0 tournament with a 18-13 title game victory over Yeager’s/AC Delco/Max Batz of Florida. Vecter Scorpions 50s of Florida finished third in the four-team division.
Men’s 50/55+ AAA: Three Florida teams vied in this division, which McPhail Auto won by defeating Volusia Top Gun 24-7 in the finale. McPhail won the 55+ TOC berth while Volusia won the 50+ TOC berth. Silver Rays finished third.
Men’s 55+ Major Plus: Suncoast/Adidas 55s of Florida defeated BPA/Rawlings of Pennsylvania 29-13 in the championship game of a three-team division. DLB/Tyler Trucking/Blue Skies/Blue Mountain of Pennsylvania finished third.
Men’s 55+ Major: Daytona Beach Boyz of Florida defeated Mitchell’s of Florida in a best-of-three format. Daytona won the first game 7-0, lost the second 10-9, and won the finale 20-18.
Men’s 60+ Major: The unbeaten Top Dawgs of Florida (photo below) won the tournament’s largest division by defeating RBC Wealth Management of Florida 28-21 in the title game. Team Florida finished third in the five-team bracket.
Men’s 60+ AAA: Team Mars/Sunshine Sluggers (photo below) proved the best of a three-team, all-Florida bracket. Team Mars defeated Levin/Ameriprise II 31-15 in the finale. The Winter Haven Blue Knights finished third.
Men’s 65+ Gold: Steve Levin/Ameriprise, a AAA team (photo below), won the combined Major/AAA bracket by defeating the Florida Mustangs, a Major team, 29-17 in the title game. Jerry’s 65s of Florida finished third in the three-team bracket.
Men’s 70/75+ Platinum: Venom, a 75+ Major Plus team from Florida (top photo below), capped a 4-0 tournament with a 21-11 title game victory over Slug-A-Bug (bottom photo below), a 70+ Major team from Florida. AMR South, a 75+ Major team from Florida, finished third in the three-team bracket.