I would like to tell you all, it doesn’t get any better than this in world tournament play. Frank Brown Softball and Recreation Complex is the best setting for a tournament of this size, no doubt about it. The diamonds are kept perfect throughout the tournament. The aquatic park with pools, slides and toys for the kids is just fabulous. The Edgewater Resort is a five star condo resort that is absolutely perfect for the softball teams and their families. The only problem I found is that some of the teams have a little hard time flying in to Panama Beach, but that is going to get a lot better next year because they are working right now to make the airport much bigger allowing more flights to come into the area next year. The WSL held it’s first tournament in Panama Beach four years ago and drew 100 teams. This year the number was 200 teams. This became the biggest slow pitch tournament ever at Frank Brown Park. The WSL, with it’s Midwest Championships in Minnesota, the West Championships in Las Vegas and the North American Miken Championships in Panama City had over 400 teams total playing in these world championships. The WSL had hundreds and hundreds of teams participate in qualifying tournaments throughout the US all summer long to get to these worlds. I can tell you all, it’s going to get much bigger and better in 2008. The reason is the prizes and equipment packages from Miken for the top four teams in each division is the best in all of softball, lots of cash and Miken equipment.
This year’s tournament in all divisions was outstanding. There were great battles in all divisions for the championships. The A Division had ten teams entered with six of the top A teams in the nation there, along with Team Illinois and three military teams, the Army, the Air Force and the Navy. The A teams played on 320′ fields all the way around using 80′ bases, which made this the most competitive A Worlds this season. The Scene/Mattingly Softball out of NY won this great Class A Worlds. This team had to fight right to the end and beat USSSA World Class A Champions Jean Shoppe/Worth to win the championship. The Scene lost a few players towards the end of the season. They picked up three players to play in this one. Chris O’Hara, the veteran bigtime hitter who plays for KME all season long was a big pickup for the Scene, as he continued to hit it like he has all season long with KME. Chris played in this one with some broken ribs, but toughed it out and had a great tournament. The Scene has played very, very good all season until the last few weeks, but put it all together when it counted and won this Class A Championship. Congratulations on a great weekend. I hope your team is able to come back in 2008. We need you guys, good luck.
Jean Shoppe/Worth, who lost their first game to the Scene, came charging out of the loser’s bracket and got back to play the Scene again in the first game of the championship. The “Shoppe Boys” just plain ran out of gas in the very hot weather and had to settle for the runner-up in this one. I want to tell you all that Shoppe showed a lot of heart coming back through this tough loser’s bracket in the extreme hot weather, that’s for sure. Congratulations on a great tournament and good luck at Disney.
Third place went to ABS/Easton who played good in this one despite the fact that two of their very best players Dill and Devine did not play. This veteran team did not give up easy as they battled to the end and fell just a little short. This team has had a great season winning the NSA Class A Worlds and played great in a lot of NIT’s this season. Congratulations on a great season, and I hope you come back in 2008, we need you in Class A.
Fourth place went to Long Haul Trucking/Miken, who gave a very good showing despite not having two or three of their very good players who haven’t really played very much in 2007. I can tell you all this is a solid top 10 A team when they have all the bodies there. “The Truckers” gave a terrific effort in this one, but just not enough talent to get any higher. Congratulations on a good weekend and I sure hope you guys come back in 2008 a little stronger and compete with the best A teams in the world.
Laser Vision/Easton just did not play well in this one. Fencebrokers/Worth also didn’t play very well this weekend. Team Illinois had a tough weekend. The Army, Navy and Air Force military teams gave a great effort in this world tournament. Remember these teams are only together for a couple of weeks and then come and play the best A teams in the world. I can tell you these teams are competitive and give a great effort. I also want to say from the bottom of my heart, I appreciate what you guys do for America, and I’m sure I speak for all the softball family when I say this.
Here is a run down of the lower divisions.
The B Division winner was Team Logo. Second place went to Alabama Brick.
The C Division winner was J&H Wall/Merit Chev/CR’S. Second place went to OWC.
The D Division winner was AWA. Second place went to T&T.
The E Rec Division winner was Dog Pound. Second place went to D-Backs.
The Women’s Division winner was Cidra. Second place went to O&S Cattle.
I want to thank all the teams in all divisions for participating in this great world tournament and hope to see you all back in 2008. I would like to thank John Daniels and his whole WSL staff for working very hard the last five years to make the WSL a first class organization in helping to bring softball in America to the great amateur sport that it is. I know for sure without people like you John this would not happen. Congratulations on a great WSL World Championship Tournament. You deserve all the escalades!