Nearly 2,500 players and their families will be in Salt Lake this week for the 8th Annual Western Nationals from July 15-20.
The senior softball men and women’s teams qualified for the Western Nationals in 19 divisions and represent some of the best teams – and players -- in the sport. The divisions range from the 40 Masters to the 80-year-old division.
“We are very excited about working with the Salt Lake CVB and the Utah Sports Commission to make the 2008 Western National Championships a successful – and memorable – premier championship tournament for the players, Salt Lake and Senior Softball,” said Terry Hennessy, Chief Executive Officer of Senior Softball-USA.
Teams will be competing in the first step of the coveted Triple Grand Slam of softball. Winners of the Western Nationals receive a free berth to the US National Game (against the winner of the Eastern Nationals in their division). Teams that win the US National Game and the World Championships win the Triple Grand Slam.
“We are thrilled to host this major Senior Softball event that will bring significant economic impact to the state,” said Jeff Robbins, president & CEO of the Utah Sports Commission. “This event is another example of our continued efforts to expand upon Utah’s sports infrastructure and build our sports brand, Utah, the State of Sport.”
In addition to the Grand Slam Competition, the Western Nationals features the induction of two players into the National Senior Hall of Fame: Bob Young of Washington State and Russ Curtis of the California. Bob Young will be inducted at 12:30 p.m. Monday at the Valley Park Softball Complex and Russ Curtis will be inducted at 11:00 a.m. on Friday at Valley. Both inductions will take place during the Opening Ceremonies.
A defibrillator will be presented to the Scrap Iron club of Colorado during the Friday Opening Ceremonies as part of a benefit drive to provide defibrillators to all senior clubs and leagues. The defibrillator will be presented by the widow of Ed Rothe, a Scrap Iron player who collapsed and died of a heart attack while playing in a tournament a few months ago.
Senior Softball-USA (SSUSA) provides defibrillators for each complex and SSUSA officials are certified in CPR, AED and First Aid. In addition, SSUSA will be offering AED and CPR training during the tournament.
On the field, the older divisions (65, 70, 75/80 divisions) will play at Valley from Tuesday-Thursday. Younger divisions (40, 50, 55 and 60 divisions) will play at Valley and South Jordan Softball Complexes Friday-Sunday. For complete schedules, see www.seniorsoftball.com
Winners of the Western Nationals will be invited to the Tournament of Champions in Florida in January 2009.
More than 2 million men and women over the age of 50 play softball in the United States according to the latest survey by the National Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association. Senior slow-pitch softball is the second fastest growing segment of the sport, after girl’s fast-pitch.
Senior Softball-USA, the largest of the 10 national senior softball associations, is headquartered in Sacramento. SSUSA sanctions National Qualifying tournaments in 40 cities in addition to the Championship Tournaments. SSUSA also promotes softball worldwide through International Sports Holidays, a division of SSUSA, which has brought teams to more than 20 countries over the past 21 years to play exhibition games and tournaments. SSUSA also publishes Senior Softball News, the oldest and largest senior softball newspaper, which circulates to all 50 states and Canada.