Perkins Roofing won this USSSA NIT and now there’s one berth left to begot. The Last Chance Tournament in Sterling Heights, Michigan will set the bracket for the teams who won the USSSA NIT berths for the season. I can tell you it’s been a battle in the USSSA NIT’s this season, and there have been some great NIT’s this year. Perkins Roofing, who hasn’t done much this season gets the win here in Seattle having to beat some mighty fine teams on route to the Championship. Congratulations to Perkins Roofing on winning this NIT. Second place went to KC Drywall from out west and Budweisier/Worth who has been struggling most of the year got third place in this one. Fourth place went to TPS Northwest, another good A team out of the western part of the country. I want to take some time and write about the 2003 season in Big Time softball. First of all I’ll start with the USSSA, who this season had put together a travel expense system that would help bring out more teams to their NIT’s. I for one believe this is a very good system to use to help bring out more lower class teams to participate in these NIT’s. I hope the USSSA can find a way in 2004 to keep this system in place because I think it’s very good for the game, but remember this is only my opinion. I think this system gives teams a chance at winning some money to help them get to a World Tournament, that even if they didn’t play in it and earn money they wouldn’t be able to go. I’m looking forward to the 2003 Super World Series in Florida and would like to say good luck to all the teams who battled to reach this great tournament all season long. Hope to see you all there.
Now the NSA has had another good season in Big Time softball. There’s nobody who has given more to their organization and the game than Jim Kimmel. I can tell you it has been very difficult for all the associations to get teams to attend all these tournaments because of the number of events being held. It is my opinion that if the associations don’t make a move and cut back the amount of NIT’s they hold, then Big Time softball is in trouble. The math is very simple, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the sponsors of the teams that are playing today cannot afford to play all these tournaments, it is totally impossible. You look at the associations and the NIT’s today, you’ll find that most of the teams will play approxiamately 10 NIT’s a year and between 3-5 World Tournaments combined in all associations. I propose that the NIT’s in each association being the USSSA, the NSA and the ASA cut down to five NIT’s each. Each can have their World Tournament along with the ISA and WSL World Tournaments. Fifteen NIT’s and five World Championships are plenty of tournaments for these Class A and Super teams to play in. I believe if there were 15 tournaments, 5 in each association along with five World Tournaments, that each tournament would be filled with 16-20 teams in each event instead of 5, 8 and 10 team tournaments that most of the NIT’s are drawing today. There’s no reason that the Big 3, USSSA, NSA & ASA, can’t settle on five tournaments each and make these great events for everybody, not just a few like it is today. Like it or not, the Dudley and the Smoky are the two elite tournaments in the U.S .who draw 32 teams year after year. Obviously they’re doing the right things to get these teams back every year. Little Rock and College Station have proven to be great tournaments because of the C,D,B and Women’s events hooked together with them. I can tell you that this is how Big Time softball must go to keep it a-float. This is only my opinion remember.
Now in the ASA I can tell you that they have a lot of teams who still attend their events all over the country in all classes and in big numbers too. I personally attended some of these events this season, and it was great to see all the participating teams at all levels. This my friends is the grassroots of softball in rural America. John Daniels and his WSL Association joined together this season with some of the oldest and biggest ASA softball tournaments in the world. I’ll give you an example of some of these tournaments that John and his WSL Association joined forces with this season; Bismark, North Dakota with D,C,B & Women’s. This has been an ASA event for years and John was asked by their organization to join forces and be an ASA/WSL event in 2003. This tournament drew 397 teams. Greg Huchinson and John Daniels joined together in this ASA College Station, Texas event which drew 219 teams. John also joined forces with Doc Barr and Rhonda’s Speak Easy in Sioux City, Iowa that drew 86 teams. John ventured in partners with another ASA event held in Big Lake, Minnesota that also drew 90 teams. John was also asked to join forces in another ASA tournament in Bloomington, Minnesota that drew another 100 teams. John ventured out to places like Doltham, Alabama; Waterloo, Iowa; Cleveland, Tennesse; Houston, Texas and Fort Walton Beach, Fla., and these tournaments drew another 500 teams total. Overall John and the WSL combining with these great ASA events drew well over 2,000 teams in these venues for 2003. The climax of all this season will end for John in Panama City Beach, Fla. on Sept. 27-29, 2003 with their World Championships in all divisions. This event will start off with a huge golf tournament on Thursday. Make your plans to attend and play this beautiful golf course in Panama Beach. For information email me or John. Friday the tournaments will start in Classes D,C, A & B and Women’s Divisions and also the Super end of the tournament will begin on Friday with 14 teams entered, 11 of which are in the Top 15 in the country. This fabulous event will all end with an awards banquet Sunday at the host hotel, the beautiful Edgewater Resort. You won’t want to miss this event. I guarantee you will see the most unbelievable trophys presented to all Division Champions that you’ll have ever seen. Don’t forget the tryout camp, which gets underway Friday morning open to all ages of players from youth to seniors. I urge all softball players to attend who want to get seen and learn hitting & fielding techniques and other parts of the game from some of the top players in the world who will be instructing. Some of the great managers, coaches and sponsors will be on hand at this tryout camp. This camp will be at the ballfields where the tournament is being held. The cost for this event is only $20, and very well worth it. There’ll be an exhibition game played between the tryout team and some of the old time legends on Friday night. Remember don’t miss this spectacular event in Panama City Beach, Flrida.
Now for the ISA let’s not forget that Chet and his staff will run as usual their very good Super World Tournament in Anderson, S.C. in September. This is always been a very good event and I’m sure the 2003 will be as good as ever. Good luck to all the teams who enter this event.