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Senior Lifestyles

Tournament brings senior softball players to Akron area

6/7/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

This team from Uniontown will participate in Softball Players Association national senior softball tournaments this month.
Photo courtesy of Ho Hoffman
BARBERTON — The Softball Players Association (SPA) national senior softball tournaments will attract 82 senior softball teams to the Akron area for two competitions in June.

The 75-plus World Championship will take place June 7-10, and the Buckeye Classic is set for June 12-16 and 21-24. All the action will take place at the Barberton Sports Complex, 841 Wooster Road W.

“The tournaments at Barberton are two of our top tournaments of 2012,” said SPA President and CEO Ridge Hooks. “These are teams coming from Canada, Texas, Kansas, Iowa, Wisconsin, North Carolina, the Midwest and East Coast in ages from 50 to 80-plus. Senior softball is no longer a family reunion game.”

Wadsworth resident Ho Hoffman, who coordinated the local events with Green resident Glen “Red” Bole, said more than 1,500 players will be in the area this month to participate.

Hoffman said the Buckeye Classic has taken place here for 10 years, but this is the first time the 75-plus World event will be in the Akron area. Competition in that event will begin at 9 a.m. and end at 3 p.m., he added.

“Ohio seems to be an outstanding drawing area for senior softball, so we decided to try the 75-plus Worlds in Barberton this year,” Hooks said. “It was the right move because the 14 teams who will be playing in Barberton are the most 75s we have ever had for any 75s tournament.”

Later this month, Buckeye Classic play will begin at 8:30 a.m. and end at 4:30 p.m. The event is the top attended qualifier east of Nevada and the second biggest tournament of all SPA events, Hoffman said.

He added that 68 teams are registered to attend this year and compete in the 50, 55, 60, 65 and 70 age divisions.

Local teams participating include Brennan’s Akron 70s, Mitchen’s Transportation Service 65s and the Steel Dawgs 60s.

The teams are divided into divisions representing both their age and playing ability, Hoffman said.

SPA is one of the largest senior softball organizations in the country, with more than 700 men’s and women’s teams registered. Officials added that senior softball is the fastest growing senior activity in the world.

The two Barberton events are among the 45 senior tournaments conducted around the country by SPA, which is based in Oklahoma.

In the Akron area, the Akron Silver League provides an opportunity for senior softball players to play. For more information, go to www.akronsilverleaguesoftball.com.

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