Batter UP!

7 Dallas teams storm Chicago to (repeat?) victory at Gay World Series

MAVERICKS OF THE DIAMOND | Dallas Voice Drillers teammates, from left, Charlie Burrow, Joe Praznik, Selso Sifuentes, Jake Lewis, Reggie Markham and Keith Dossiere hope to best 54 other Division C teams at the NAGAAA Gay World Series in Chicago next week. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

Sure, Dallas is still basking in the championship light of the Mavericks winning the NBA Finals — and even the Rangers making the final of the MLB series —  but some smaller teams around these parts have made their own news.

Last year, the local team TKO won the B Division championship at the

NAGAAA World Series in Columbus, Ohio. They weren’t the only heroes: Four other teams from the Pegasus Slowpitch Softball Association placed in the top five in other divisions.

Could this year be a repeat? Seven teams are embarking on a trek to Chicago for the 35th Annual Gay Softball World Series. TKO is back in the mix but has graduated to the A Division while the remaining six round out the other divisions.

— Rich Lopez

For more information about the teams visit DallasPSSA.org and for the World Series, visit GaySoftballWorldSeries.com.

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A Division
Team: Round-Up TKO
Factoid: The most competitive and serious division, this is for the true hardcore athletes out to win. Last year, after 11 tries, TKO won their first World Series titles as B Division champs; this year, they have moved up to A — the only local team in this division.

B Division
Team: Dallas Woody’s Xplosion
Factoid: This team just formed last year — and actually defeated TKO in a June scrimmage.

Team: Hidden Door Eagle Assault
Factoid: You could say this is the team’s first season (it didn’t exist with this name until recently), although some say it’s morphed from the team Wolfpack.

C Division
Team: Dallas Voice Drillers
Factoid:  In their first year together, the team says hard work, focus and practice are their way of preparing for the series — and maybe a shot or two.
Fun factoid: “Three out of seven players are drag queens,” third baseman Keith Dossiere says.” Figure out which ones.” (We think he’s kidding, but not sure.)

Team: Round-Up Fuse
Factoid: Currently the division champions, Fuse also boasts an 11-game winning streak.

D Division
Team: Round-Up Diesel
Factoid: “We are the ‘bear’ team in the PSSA,” team member Curtis Glenn says. “We are kinda the Susan Lucci of softball. We have finished in 5th place in our last three tournaments.”

Team: Dallas Boom
Factoid:  The Boom had a very healthy season with a 12-win record out of a 16 game season. They dominated most victories with scores two and three times above their opponents.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 26, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Woody’s Wreckin’ Crew wins Sin City Shootout

Members of the 2011 Dallas Woody’s Wreckin’ Crew include Jesse Baker, Ray Bishop, Ruben Castillo, Craig Clifton, Scott Dye, Alan Evans, Mark Fiorello, Mark Keerbs, Brian McCall, Luke Quinter, Jason Ramsey, Nick Sehr, Andy Soderberg, Charles Urich and Head Coach Chris Lawson.

BRIAN McCALL |  Special Contributor

LAS VEGAS — In what many consider one of the most competitive softball tournaments in the country, the Dallas Woody’s Wreckin’ Crew captured the C division title at the 4th Annual Sin City Shootout in Las Vegas, Jan. 15-16, after posting a perfect 8-0 record over the two-day tournament. It’s the first time a team from Dallas has captured a title at the Sin City Shootout.

The Wreckin’ Crew went 2-0 in pool play on Saturday after posting wins over the Long Beach Havoc (13-4) and the Fort Lauderdale Wolves (18-3) to secure the No. 6 seed entering the double-elimination bracket portion of the tournament.

The Crew opened bracket play in dominating fashion, knocking off the Los Angeles Angels 24-8, but had a tougher time with a feisty Havoc squad in its second game. Against the Havoc, the Crew looked to be in control with a 16-4 lead after three innings, but the Havoc would not go away. In the final inning, the Havoc rallied for 10 runs, but that would not be enough, as the Crew held on for a 16-14 victory.

On Sunday in their first game, the Wreckin’ Crew took down the San Francisco Hustlers, 15-3, to move into the winner’s bracket semifinals where they defeated the San Diego Renegades 11-9.

The Minneapolis Edge awaited the Crew in the winner’s bracket final, and the game turned out to be the most exciting of the entire tournament. Both teams battled back and forth, and it took extra innings to decide the winner. With the game tied 11-11, the Wreckin’ Crew scored three runs in the top of the eighth inning to take a 14-11 lead, but the Edge came right back, scoring two runs to cut the lead to one. With the potential tying and winning runners on first and second, the Crew managed to get a pop-up to left field to end the game and earn a trip to the championship game.

The Edge was able to come back out of the loser’s bracket to earn a rematch with the Wreckin’ Crew in the championship game, but it wouldn’t be as close this time around. After holding Minneapolis scoreless in the top of the first inning, the Crew put up 14 runs in the bottom of the first inning to cruise to a 15-4 run-rule victory and the 2011 Sin City Shootout title.

“I couldn’t be happier with the way our team represented Dallas at the 2011 Sin City Shootout,” said head coach Chris Lawson. “Despite the recent cold weather, they practiced very hard and were as prepared as any team in Las Vegas. This is a great way to kick off the year and hopefully will be just the beginning for many great things to come this season.”

—  admin

14 men, out

Dallas’ TKO softball team surprises everyone to win the NAGAAA World Series

BATTER UP | Members of the TKO team, from left to right: Dewitt Myers, Roger B., Chris Vogel, Mo Stephens, Woody Morrow (with ball), Chris Williams, John Gordon, Jason Taylor, Patrick Phelan (with trophy),Mark Beck, Ben Johnston, Ken Keistler, Grady Callaway and Marcus Nunn (seated). (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

Although they’d just won the World Series, members of the Pegasus Slowpitch Softball Association team TKO did not go to Disney World. Instead, they headed back to Dallas, heads held high, just in time for Pride. With three injured players and a near comeback by the other team, confidence pushed the team to dominate the Long Beach Rounders and bring home the B-division trophy at the NAGAAA championship in Columbus, Ohio, last month.

With a strong  start in the first inning, Long Beach tied TKO in the bottom of the sixth.  Then third baseman Dewitt Myers swatted one for a double with runners on first and second. With four consecutive hits, the team pulled away from Long Beach and the buzz began.

“I felt confident after Dewitt’s double, “ coach and pitcher Woody Morrow says. “Then [hitter] Patrick [Phelan] led off strongly in the last inning.”

The winning moment was different for catcher Chris Williams. “I knew we had it when Chris Vogel, our shortstop scooped the third out up,” he says. “But even then, I felt shocked and did not believe it.”

As great as the victory was for TKO (sponsored by Uptown Vision), the entire league has reason to be proud. Four teams from Big D placed in the top five in the other two divisions: The Round-Up Fuse placed second in C-division and Woody’s Wrecking Crew took home fifth; that was mirrored in D-division, with Dallas Thunder in second and Round-Up Diesel in fifth.

But this is TKO’s moment.

“The biggest thing I like about this team is the camaraderie we have,” first baseman Marcus Nunn says. “I’ve been to the World Series 13 years in a row, and this is the first time I won.”

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I’m really excited after 11 years to win the World Series. Credit goes to Woody our coach. He’s the reason we’ve been winning consistently.
— Ben Johnston, outfielder

We lost our best player on the first play of the first game. He recovered and contributed huge on that final day.
— John Gordon, catcher

When we dog piled around the pitchers mound is etched in my mind forever!
Patrick Phelan, utility player

— Rich Lopez

For more information, visit DallasPSSA.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 17, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas