NAGAAA Summer Meetings: Wrap Up – Part 2



Base Running Not The Only Ratings Questions Changing

In Part 1 of our 2015 NAGAAA Summer Meetings wrap up we delved into the changes being made to base running questions and now we’ll talk about the changes to the advanced hitting questions within the 27 point NAGAAA Player Rating Guidelines.

Until the last few years the majority of protests, especially in the C & D Divisions hinged on the more basic offensive questions (19-22).  Over the last several years a trend has formed with more protests being brought against players in the areas of base running (15-18) and advanced hitting (23-26).

Let’s look at the questions we’re parting ways with first in regard to advanced hitting and then what the international voting delegation of NAGAAA replaced the old questions with.

For your consideration (from NAGAAA IOG – Appendix 2 Player Rating Guidelines) :

Questions 19-27 are intended to be answered based on the outcome – not counting walks – of each completed at bat (whether the batter reaches base or is out on the final pitch of the at bat), not based on the outcome of each swing during an at bat.

The information above is outlining a “modified on base percentage” as the basis for figuring out if the player should have the question or not.  Batting average is not applicable and would be ignored as it is not the criteria by which these questions are decided.  Modified On Base Percentage does not count walks, but does count errors as a safely hit ball if the runner reaches on the error.

Question #23 – consistently reach base safely on a batted ball against a limited level of defense?  OR  occasionally reach base safely on a batted ball against an intermediate level of defense?

When breaking down this question one can see why it is so hard to be sure a player needs this question.  The same problems that we saw with the former base running questions are occurring here too.  First, let’s look at what consistently and occasionally are for hitting questions.

OCCASIONALLY:  To be able to perform the particular skill, but without regularity. (i.e. the skill can be performed 2 out of 5 times)

CONSISTENTLY:  To be able to perform the particular skill with some regularity or more often than not. (i.e. the skill can be performed 3 out of 5 times)

Now that we have what occasionally and consistently mean in terms of hitting one must use their imagination to decide if the player could reach base safely against a limited or intermediate level of defense.  This is exactly the same kind of ambiguity and subjective nature that we saw in the base running questions that were replaced.

Forget for a second about how hard it would be for a player to take getting this question put on them with all of the murky criteria that is involved, but what about the people sitting on a protest committee when this question comes up?  It would have to be hard for a committee to uphold a protest on this question because the entire question is based outside of reality.  The committee most likely would have to create an imaginary scenario and then ask themselves if the player could perform up to a .600 modified on base percentage against a limited level of defense or a .400 modified on base percentage against an intermediate level of defense. To say this line of questioning within the rating guidelines is unclear would be an understatement.

Question #24 – consistently reach base safely on a batted ball against an intermediate level of defense?  OR  occasionally reach base safely on a batted ball against an exceptional level of defense?

More of the same.  Imaginary criteria with defensive levels that most players will never see in a real game.

Question #25 – consistently reach base safely on a batted ball with high velocity against an intermediate level of defense?  OR  consistently reach base safely on a batted ball against an exceptional level of defense?

The definition for intermediate level of defense is almost unbelievable.  Intermediate defense per NAGAAA Softball Code, Section 1.12 is as follows:

An intermediate level of defense is a theoretical set of players having skills greater than the limited level of defense but less than an exceptional level of defense.

It’s hard to fathom that a hard definition with the exact questions needed by all of the theoretical defenders isn’t present for this level of defense.  Technically speaking, any imaginary combination of fielders could have the following defensive rating combinations for someone rating a player to try to decipher whether they should have the question or not:

1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8

1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9

1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9

1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

More criteria within an already near impossible question to give someone based on the definitions.  It will make your brain liquefy in your skull trying to wrap your mind around it.

Question #26 – consistently reach base safely on a batted ball with high velocity against an exceptional level of defense?

Moving on…

The intention in how the old advanced hitting questions are analyzed and presented within this post isn’t to diminish the old ratings system.  The 27 point player rating guidelines has served the membership very well since their inception.  However, our game has changed.  Our organization has changed and in many respects, the way we rate players and play the game has changed.  It is time that the rating questions begin to reflect those changes in this different time.

Now that we’ve looked at what we had, let’s look at what we will have in 2016 and possibly beyond.

To get advanced hitting questions, as it was explained at the 2015 NAGAAA Summer Meetings you will need the following:

Question #23 –  a modified on base percentage of:

.800  against the D Division

.600  against the C Division

.300  against the B Division

.100   against the A Division

Question #24 – a modified on base percentage of:

.900  against the D Division

.700  against the C Division

.500  against the B Division

.300  against the A Division

Question #25 – a modified on base percentage of:

.975  against the D Division

.800  against the C Division

.600  against the B Division

.400  against the A Division

Question #26 – a modified on base percentage of:

1.000 against the D Division

.875  against the C Division

.750  against the B Division

.600  against the A Division

Just like with the base running changes, these adjustments don’t abandon all of the former questioning criteria, but it does strip away the defensive ambiguity when having to imagine a defense that simply isn’t there in the real world.  Now, a player will be judged on their modified on base percentage against divisional teams.  If the player hits the modified on base percentage against the divisional competition outlined in the question then you can fairly put the question on a player.  However, as we noted in the base running questions there are no set amount of attempts for the player to qualify for the question.

Take the new question #23 for example.  This could be up for debate, but it appears that it is much harder for a D rated player to get question 23 under the new system.  You’ll remember that the previous question #23 called for a .600 modified on base percentage against a limited level of defense.  As we discussed in the base running post earlier this week, no D teams at the 2015 GSWS were at a limited level of defense.  Those teams were BELOW a limited level of defense as defined in the NAGAAA Softball Code.  The next logical step would be to have to hit .800 against a team rated at below a limited level of defense. This change falls more in line with what the next step should be for a quality hitter in each division. 

This will fundamentally change the way players are rated on advanced hitting questions because questions will be easier to legitimately prove and the thresholds have changed.  No more imagination required.  We are living in a new reality in relation to base running and advanced hitting.

Finally, kudos to the NAGAAA delegates and to the Executive Board for getting something done on ratings.  Whether these changes stick or players and managers like the difference will remain to be seen, but these folks deserve credit for trying to move our ratings process along to better serve the international membership.






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NAGAAA Summer Meetings: Wrap Up


Ratings Shake Up: A New Base Running Frontier

Wholesale ratings questions changes were up for debate at the 2015 NAGAAA Summer Meetings in Columbus, Ohio this August and after all was said and done the international delegation decided that indeed, there would be some changes coming to the questions that NAGAAA member city board members and managers rate their players by.

The agreed upon changes will take effect for the 2016 year and will fundamentally change the way players are rated in the areas of base running and advanced hitting.  In this post, we will dive into the changes that were made to base running.

Most of us that have traveled to tournaments in different cities, states and regions have noticed an increase in protests involving base running (questions 15 – 18) and the “advanced” hitting questions (questions 23 – 26).  There are many schools of thought as to why these questions have been on the rise in relation to protesting, but one of the chief reasons has to be the ambiguity that surrounded the questions that are on their way out.  When we break down the questions one can see why changes were needed.

For your consideration (from NAGAAA IOG – Appendix 2 Player Rating Guidelines) :

BASE RUNNING Questions #15-18 are linked.  A player who gets Question #17, for example, automatically gets #15 & #16.

Question #15 – go from base to base using rudimentary knowledge of the rules?

The thing about this question is that even if you don’t know what ‘rudimentary’ means you can sort of glean that it means elementary or basic from the fact that it’s the first question in a line of questions that progressively get harder and harder to get for weaker players.  However, just in case the word possibly stumped someone and they had no other device to look up a definition we turn to Softball Code 1.49 where it says the following…

Rudimentary Knowledge – no definition required

Really?  No definition required?  Hmmm….  Literally everything else is defined, but this.  Everything.

So, here’s the definition of ‘rudimentary’ from our good friends at



pertaining to rudiments or first principles; elementary:

a rudimentary knowledge of geometry.


of the nature of a rudiment; undeveloped or vestigial.


Okay, so now that we have ‘rudimentary’ defined and we have a handle on what the ‘spirit of the question’ is we can move on (sort of).

Question #16 – run with average speed and occasionally take extra bases on good hits or errors against a limited level of defense?

There’s a lot going on here.  Let’s break it down by definitions first so that we’re ‘clear’ on what the player must do and what other factors affect whether the player must have the question.

Average Speed – a batter, at the point of contact being able to run from home to first in 4 – 5 seconds.

Occasionally – (in terms of the rating guidelines definition of occasionally on base running) – 3 out of 5 times

Take Extra Bases –  advance at least one base beyond what the opportunity would typically provide a base runner with average speed.

Limited Level of Defense – A limited level of defense is a theoretical set of players having the following skills – 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8

Alright, where to begin…  The subjectivity and complexity of this question truly can be baffling.   For example, many people would probably ask how someone could actually get this question put on them when playing D Division competition?  The way the question reads is important because at the 2015 Gay Softball World Series in the D Division, no teams…repeating…no teams had enough players to field a defense having both questions 3 and 8.  The only team close was the Phoenix Rage (congrats to your 7 players having both 3 and 8).  So, in effect nobody in the D Division at the 2015 GSWS played even a limited level of defense.  The defenses displayed on D Division fields were 100% BELOW a limited level of defense.

The point is that if we try to assess this question in real life it is impossible in certain divisions and just plain difficult in other divisions.  Using your imagination and presenting a good case to a voting committee shouldn’t put a question on someone.

When a question has ‘theoretical’ within it the question is inherently flawed from the get go.  The way this question is worded makes one think that they should shut their eyes and imagine that if said player’s running skills were up against a team having all 6 of the qualifying questions at every position, could said player reach safely on a good hit or an error.  In addition to the limited level of defense issues with the question, there is speed factoring in along with a certain number of times the player must display the skill (but they actually never have to display the skill in a game against real competition because it can be ‘theoretical’ in nature).

Question #17 – run aggressively with average or better speed and occasionally take extra bases on good hits or errors against an intermediate level of defense?

The same kind of issues from Question #16 arise with this question.  Imaginary criteria and too much subjectivity/complexity.

Question #18 – run very aggressively and occasionally take extra bases on good hits or errors against an exceptional level of defense?

As in Questions 16 & 17 we see the same repeat issues.

Looking at the now former rating guidelines regarding base running really shows how important it was for the voting delegation of NAGAAA to fully commit to making a change in this area of player ratings.  The delegation did the right thing by allowing something else to take the place of what we had.  The game has evolved, our players skill levels are changing on a yearly basis and the majority of folks that travel and love to play, spend too much money and time to have a player from their team get protested out of a tournament because five people on a protest committee are told by the guidelines in which they are trying to uphold to forget about what they did against real competition and to hypothetically figure out if their skills match up to what the question says.  Taking the guesswork out of it makes it fair, which is what we should all be striving for in the ratings and protest process.

Now, you might be asking what the old questions were replaced with?

The system name of rating base running will probably gain traction as “Speed + 1”.  This name comes from the fact that there will be basic speed guidelines that a player must hit to receive a question and then the player must also display one of a set of three skills to be awarded the corresponding running question.

The great thing about the way we will rate our base runners moving forward is that the new criteria takes away not just an imaginary defense’s role in the questioning, but it takes away the defense’s role period.  The questions focus strictly on what the player can do and sometimes what the player can do with the help of a base coach.

To get base running questions, as it was explained at the 2015 NAGAAA Summer Meetings you will need the following:

Question #15:  Below Average Base Runner

Criteria:  SPEED (greater than or equal to 5 seconds between bases) + one of the following:  BASE RUNNING KNOWLEDGE (runs past first base, but doesn’t run past other bases), USE OF BASE COACH (does not generally use base coach), SLIDING (does not slide).

*Okay, here are some gripes with the new ratings criteria and everyone can form their own opinions on it too.  Having a speed component is great and should be used first and foremost.  However, I take an exception to the sliding component and how it is administered in relation to a below average runner.  Sliding is quite simply not an advanced skill.  On the other hand, sliding properly, using a certain technique is an advanced skill.  Also, in several base running scenarios the ASA rulebook requires runners to make an attempt not to interfere with a defender’s opportunity to make a play.  Sliding is a large part of getting out-of-the-way not only to stay within the rules of the game, but also to provide some safety to both the runner and the defender.  The point being made here is that just because someone mentally chooses not to slide for whatever reason, that doesn’t mean they are a below average runner.  Conversely, just because someone occasionally slides that doesn’t make them an average runner.  Just food for thought.  Remember, you only need one of the other three criteria to gain the question if you have the qualifying speed.*

QUESTION #16:  Average Base Runner

Criteria:  SPEED (4.00 seconds to 4.99 seconds between bases) + one of the following:  BASE RUNNING KNOWLEDGE (gets solid jump-start out of the batters box; tags up; goes half way on a fly ball; rounds bases with proper technique), USE OF BASE COACH (sometimes utilizes base coach), SLIDING (sometimes slides to be safe).

*D Division players will be at risk the most in accordance with gaining this question.  Many times, managers in the lower division give running questions based on the fact that their players are in the lowest division.  Accordingly, many players in the D Division have one running question and nothing else.  Think about how long 5 seconds is to a base.  There will be many D Division players that will qualify for the average base running speed and then will also qualify for one of the three other criteria.  This change could be the final nudge over the edge into the C Division for D Division players that are trying to find their place in a rapidly changing division under the recent ratings changes.*

QUESTION #17: Above Average Base Runner

Criteria:  SPEED (3.00 seconds to 3.99 seconds between bases) + one of the following:  BASE RUNNING KNOWLEDGE (aggressive jump-start out of the batters box; makes a turn at first and goes about half way to second base on an outfield base hit; advances on a slightly bobbled ball), USE OF BASE COACH (uses base coach’s directions or has enough awareness of the ball’s position to make decisions for him/herself), SLIDING (executes several different slides to avoid tags; slides with a deliberate attempt to break up a double play).

*The cautionary tale I see here as the questions become harder for players to get due to the speed component coming in first on every question, is that the questions almost seem to assume that a slower player wouldn’t have the base running knowledge.  However, in reality there are many players that possess below average speed or average speed and possess above average base running knowledge.  It’s just something to think about as we all move forward on this new journey in rating base runners.*

QUESTION #18:  Exceptional Base Runner

Criteria:  SPEED (2.99 seconds or less between the bases) + one of the following:  BASE RUNNING KNOWLEDGE (makes an attempt to turn a routine base hit into a double on a ball hit to a player who is adept at fielding and throwing), USE OF BASE COACH (willing to take a chance for an extra base against base coach’s advice), SLIDING (similar skills to the above average player but achieves greater frequency of success).

*Finally, the last nitpick will be addressed.  I’m sure the ‘spirit of the criteria’ in regard to what is considered exceptional use of a base coach is well intended.  However, how can we assume that a player that’s willing to go against a base coach’s advice is an exceptional base runner? Maybe he or she is a terrible base runner and is stubborn as a mule?  Who knows, but in thinking about what you might have to go through to prove that in a protest would be interesting.*

Putting a bow on all of this base running business, these changes are a move in the right direction and hopefully the international delegation will continue to support hard evidence and facts in relation to rating players and then protesting players instead of conjecture, hearsay and imagination.  What will now happen to players and their ratings across the country as a result of the base running questions changing?  It’s hard to say, but with speed being the top component and everything else coming after it one could see several players that have a running question, lose the question they have because they don’t qualify speed-wise.  You could see some C and B level players also losing points that they might have had because of the old ratings “eye test”, meaning that because you’re a C or B player you should automatically have questions 16 or 17.  All in all slower runners are going to see their ratings going down as a result of the new criteria.

One thing is for certain, stopwatches will be in fashion at the fields in 2016.

*The Diamond Dish Blog is devoted to promoting the game of softball, specifically LGBT slow pitch softball.  From time to time, the blog posts on this website can be opinion pieces or strictly news and event reporting.  Then, there are times like this post where those lines are blurred.*

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2017 World Series Bids Presented

Three Cities Vying To Host 2017 GSWS

The first day of the 2015 NAGAAA Summer Meetings came to a close on Saturday, but not before representatives from Phoenix, Portland and Tampa all stated their case on why their city is the best choice to host the 2017 Gay Softball World Series.  The NAGAAA Executive Board travels to potential host cities once they put in all necessary paperwork to bid for a World Series.  A rubric/scoring system is in place that generates a score for each city to help the delegation make a more educated decision on which city is the best choice.  The scores do not choose the winner, the delegation votes to determine host cities.  The scoring system will be mentioned as we go through each bid presentation, but remember that it is only a tool that delegates can use if they want to.

PORTLAND, OREGON – Progress, Pride & Play

NAGAAA Host City Bid Rubric Score:  195 out of 240

Potential Series Dates:  September 4 – 9

Portland stepped up to the plate first after a random drawing for the presentation order.  The presentation was presided over by former NAGAAA Commissioner and Portland native, Roy Melani.  He and the committee talked about the outstanding program that they want to implement should they win the Series bid.  An extremely creative video, which was more of a short film really wowed the delegation and set the tone for a professional and well put together bid presentation.  The folks from Portland wanted to show that they were serious about the bid and they achieved that by having the sales manager of the Doubletree Hotel in Portland and the CEO of the Oregon Sports Authority speak to the delegation.

There was a recurring theme within the presentation regarding the fact that participants would be able to take advantage of no sales tax in Portland, which the committee pointed out could work out to be as much as an $800 savings per team over the course of a week.  Mr. Melani also made the delegation aware that Nike plans on playing a huge role in helping make the tournament the best it can be if Portland were to win.  Columbia Sportswear is also waiting in the wings to come on board as a 2017 Series sponsor should Portland get the nod.  The hotel pricing was reasonable at $139 to $149 a night, with the Doubletree most likely being the main host hotel.  Overall, Portland hit their presentation out of the park.  They provided an honest perspective on their city that resonated with the voters in the room and the entire package they put forth was impressive.  This group was creative, prepared and professional, but will it all be enough in a three city vote to get a majority?  We’ll have to see on Sunday.

PHOENIX, ARIZONA – Rise To The Challenge

NAGAAA Host City Bid Rubric Score:  145 out of 240

Potential Series Dates:  September 25 – 30

Next up was the presentation from Phoenix.  This group did a good job on the tagline and logo they used for their Series bid.  On the promotional items that they handed out regarding their tournament the logo stood out from the other two cities.  A video was shown and each member of the presentation spoke about a different part of their bid.  Phoenix did a good job of talking about their main host hotel not just being a hotel, but a resort and they certainly spoke about the quality of their fields.  Honestly, it hurt this group to have to go behind Portland because of how spot on and detailed their presentation was, but the committee from Phoenix did get their main selling points out for everyone to discuss.

The committee announced that the field costs will be waived by the City of Phoenix resulting in a massive amount of savings in the budget.  The hotel rates fall in the $139 to $153 per night range and while they are short on the number of hotel rooms that will be needed, having 500 suites at a resort style hotel is a very big draw.  Overall, Phoenix  has a quality bid, but the execution of their plan to the audience wasn’t as polished as the other two cities.


NAGAAA Host City Rubric Score:  190 out of 240

Potential Series Dates:   September 25 – 30

The final bid presentation came from the Suncoast Softball League in Tampa.  To start, this group handed out very colorful and professional information about their bid.  The documentation they provided did a good job of catching the delegates eyes immediately making them want to flip through and get the information, even before the presentation actually started.  Ron Frank, Suncoast Softball League B Division Commissioner led the presentation and did an outstanding job of educated the delegation on why Tampa is the best choice for the 2017 GSWS.  Drew Drosinos, Suncoast Softball League Commissioner also spoke about the Southeastern United States not having hosted a GSWS since 2006 in Fort Lauderdale, which is an even longer host drought than the West Coast has going currently.

Tampa is planning to have four host hotels with roughly 200 rooms at each hotel to meet the number of rooms that GSWS participants will need.  There will be five softball complexes used to make sure there is enough space for this ever-growing tournament.  The Tampa Bay Sports Commission is behind the bid along with multiple political figures and  The committee spoke about choosing the later dates to hold the tournament being due to the chances of a major rain event being historically less likely.  Tampa certainly got its point across regarding being just 20 minutes from the beach and about how gay friendly the city is.  Overall, this group’s materials were professional and creative, the verbal presentation was professional and inviting and their bid is solid.  Will Tampa’s beaches and its fairly close proximity to so many cities win out?  The Sunday morning vote will decide it.

Generally speaking, each city had pros and cons, not unlike other years.  There were several quality bids this year, but only one can win.  We will have video of the vote up on the Diamond Dish Facebook page within minutes of the decision on Sunday morning.  Now, hurry up and get a hold of your NAGAAA representative to tell him or her where you want to be at for the 2017 GSWS.

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Tournament Spotlight: 2015 GSWS



Columbus Is ALL IN For The 39th Gay Softball World Series


Picture it…Columbus, Ohio…August 2010.

A first time Gay Softball World Series host city embarked on a memorable week of fun, competition and unforgettable memories.  The city treated its patrons to a vibrant nightlife, a clean and safe city, a bevy of dining and entertainment options and the tournament was contested entirely in the United States’ largest softball complex.

For those folks that participated in the 2010 GSWS in Columbus, Ohio we all got the sense that this city was proving itself on an international stage.  The host committee and the people involved with the bid took it on as a challenge to make sure that people didn’t just leave Columbus saying “it was a good time”.  That 2010 committee did it’s job and then some because just about everywhere you go from tournament to tournament and each World Series in between 2010 and today, the gay softball community has been saying “when are we going back”.

Now, cut to August 2015.

The wait is almost over for NAGAAA players, coaches, fans and supporters.  The 2015 GSWS is less than two weeks away and while some of the venues, businesses, faces and organizers are the same…Columbus is eager to show you how it’s stepped up its game.  The bar continues to be raised when it comes to the GSWS.  Year after year, the event gets larger and with an ever-increasing number of participants, it creates a bigger challenge for host committees.  How do organizations like the 2015 GSWS Host Committee continue to answer the bell and provide a spectacular experience for the participants?

For starters we asked 2015 GSWS Executive Director, Dallas Aldridge how a week-long event like this comes together and what this year’s participants can expect in Ohio this August.  With Columbus becoming a second time host city and having five of its eight committee members returning from 2010, some people might assume the committee knows what to expect.  After talking to the head man in charge of the 2015 GSWS Committee we learned that’s not the case.  “Our learning from 2010 was to expect the unexpected! So much so, we made it part of our social media strategy this year! Something is not going to go according to plan and as long as we work together as a team we will get through it, resolve it and sometimes make it better.  As long as our team stays focused and execute plan A or plan B, many attendees may not even know of the last-minute changes,” said Aldridge.

While it’s clear that controlling everything in a week-long event with over 180 teams is impossible, one thing that the committee has been able to control is the amount of technology that is being used at this year’s World Series.  The use of technology to improve registration, create a better ease of information to participants and to communicate more effectively could end up being the legacy of the 2015 GSWS and the legacy this committee is leaving for subsequent GSWS committees.  You must check out the GSWS app which is available for Apple and Android users.  Download it today and be amazed at the amount of professional level content that will actually benefit you leading up to Series and while you’re in Columbus.  “The APP was a crazy idea from our marketing team who said it was time. We are so grateful to our two developers – Matheda and Sky Iron Studios LLC who donated in excess of $60,000 of development time for both the iOS and Android versions that will allow every attendee to have all the information for the entire GSWS at their fingertips. In our next release due just before the World Series we are adding push notification so in the unlikely event we need to change a game time, a field, or have some unexpected change we need to communicate we can easily contact the masses without having to do the usual hunt for manager’s phone numbers or run around the fields – It’s a big park! And the first time we will be able to easily communicate any last-minute updates – We LOVE the APP – and even better our developers have committed to paying it forward and will be updating the initial screens to Austin 2016 information at the conclusion of GSWS 2015. It’s our way of saying we are all NAGAAA family and sharing the wealth,” added Series Executive Director, Dallas Aldridge.

Continuing with the technology theme, participants can expect electronic registration for the very first time at a World Series.  There will still be volunteers helping you get registered, but the committee and NAGAAA has replaced the old paper spreadsheets for tablets/kiosks.  “When we looked to improve the overall player experience we thought this was something we could completely overhaul not only to the benefit our volunteers but also our players, and NAGAAA who need to ensure those players on the field are qualified and verified. It helps that we have a tech geek on our team who built the system from scratch to accommodate our needs rather than try to fit our process into a standard tool,” Aldridge stated.

Moving on to off the field fun, the amount of events that participants have the option to attend is staggering.  This committee knew it would have its work cut out for them to keep the bar where Dallas Series 2014 left it and an even bigger challenge to improve upon it, but they have met that challenge head on and have a fantastic week plus planned for everyone.  “We have worked really hard to program a week of events that has something for everyone, player, official, delegate, supporter, fan or family. While we have some of the most popular elements returning from 2010, this will not be a repeat of that World Series. So, whether this is your first time to Columbus or you were here in 2010 we want you to leave saying the GSWS was amazing and you can’t wait to do it again in Austin 2016. This event is not only about softball, it is about building our community, supporting each other and giving us a safe space to express ourselves regardless of whether we are an athlete, an ally or a supporter. In many ways, the GSWS is like the largest family reunion each year,” added Aldridge.

Volunteers are the life blood of running a smooth event and this year’s World Series is no different.  The 2015 GSWS has an online volunteer portal where you can sign up for volunteer shifts and see which events need your help the most.  “Within the first 10 days we have over 135 volunteers already registered for a shift, and in some cases we have volunteers signing up for multiple shifts.  We have a need for over 500 volunteers during the GSWS.  If anyone is interested, they can find additional information and sign up for a shift or two at We cannot do this event without our volunteers so even if it is just one shift, it counts,” Aldridge stated.

Aside from all of the excitement surrounding going back to Columbus, playing all of the tournament games at one complex and the technological additions, there is a lot of buzz about this being the biggest Gay Softball World Series in history and the tournament host committee members are thrilled to see this playing out in their home city.  We asked Dallas Aldridge, 2015 GSWS Executive Director what he was most excited about.  “If we are able to hit near 200 teams it will be a significant milestone for NAGAAA and the Gay Softball World Series.  It shows that interest in softball and this organization is continuing to grow because of the efforts of our member cities and the local leagues across North America.  “Also, I am excited to show off our city. If someone was here in 2010 and hasn’t been here since, they will notice the changes to the city in only five years.  The Opening Ceremonies is at the top of my list of things not to miss.  I feel we are really going to book end the GSWS with a fantastic Opening Ceremonies and a Closing Party that will be very memorable.  We have been using the tag line “expect the unexpected”, we are trying to add things to events that will leave a lasting impression for those attending and create memories we will all be talking about for years to come,” said Aldridge.

Regardless of any trip ups or minor issues that arise throughout the week this group in Columbus has raised the bar once again and the event hasn’t even officially started yet.  Participants of this year’s GSWS should be prepared for a great week full of fun, softball and lifelong memories.  The City of Columbus and its citizens should be extremely proud of what this committee and its partnerships have achieved already.

Look for special features on the Diamond Dish about the tournament in the week leading up to Series including a closer look at events, sponsors and about the competition culminating in our coverage of the NAGAAA Summer Meetings and World Series predictions.


*A special thank you to Dallas Aldridge, GSWS 2015 Executive Director for his time and help with this GSWS Tournament Spotlight article.*

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Tournament Spotlight: M.A.G.I.C. Tournament


Washington D.C. Is Making M.A.G.I.C. Over Independence Day Weekend

There’s something about this time of the year that makes everyone feel better about living in the United States and after the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision making marriage equality the law of the land, most of us are feeling especially good about living in the good ol’ US of A.

This time of year also brings the gay softball community a bevy of tournaments to play in on the road to the Gay Softball World Series.  A relatively new addition to the 4th of July weekend tournament roster is the Mid-Atlantic Gay Invitational Classic, otherwise known as the M.A.G.I.C. Tournament!  Last year this tournament made the move to Independence Day weekend and it is beginning to pay off.  The tournament’s date seems like a natural fit and it’s a spot within the tournament calendar that M.A.G.I.C. is already gaining a market share on in just its second year.  Why wouldn’t it?  Our nation’s capitol should be hosting its tournament on our nation’s birthday, it just makes too much sense!

Matt Rinker is the tournament director for the 2015 M.A.G.I.C. Tournament and he’s presided over a significant increase in participation year over year.  “I think our increase is natural because who wouldn’t want to spend July 4th in Washington, DC.  Last year was our first year holding the tournament over 4th of July weekend.  We didn’t expect to draw a large amount of teams, especially with us having World Series in 2013,” said Rinker.

All told, 28 teams across three divisions will compete for trophies in our nation’s capitol this 4th of July weekend and all of the participants will be in for some welcome changes and additions to this year’s tournament.  “We have secured licenses to sell beer at the fields on both Saturday and Sunday.  Sunday, we will be bringing the ‘Party to the Park’ with music and other games besides softball.  We will also have a mini-kickball game on Sunday.  All of the events should entice teams to hang around for the championship games,” added Rinker.

The main host hotel will be the Cambria Suites in Washington, DC.  There are two satellite hotels, the Omni Shoreham and the Greenbelt Marriott.  “We had to change hotels because last year’s host hotel is undergoing a major renovation and rebranding,” said Rinker.  The field complex hosting all tournament games will be Watkins Regional Park in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, which is where the CAPS league games are played too.

The tournament weekend kicks off on Friday, July 3rd with an Early Registration Happy Hour at the Cambria Suites’ American Bistro & Bar.  The event will run from 3 pm to 6 pm, which will give those participants arriving early the opportunity to socialize prior to the Night Out at the Nationals!  The Washington Nationals will be hosting an event specifically for the M.A.G.I.C. tournament on Friday night.  The game against the San Francisco Giants starts at 6:05 pm so visit the tournament website (click the logo out the top of this page) to get your tickets now.  Friday night will roll on to Ziegfields & Secrets for the final registration event of the day.  Register from 9 pm to 11 pm and take in some of the best drag performances and hottest men in one evening of fun!  Anyone headed to the registration party from the baseball game will get in free with their baseball game ticket.

Saturday starts pool play with double elimination play beginning in the afternoon.  The tournament is trying to get all games completed on Saturday by 6 pm so that all of the tournament participants can take in the fireworks spectacular around Washington, DC whether it be at the Cambria Suites, the Washington Mall or at JR’s Bar & Grill.  JR’s will be the Saturday night host bar for the tournament and will have great views of the fireworks display.

Sunday will be a day full of fun and some intense softball action leading up to championship games in the afternoon.  Sunday Funday will be in full effect as the tournament committee is bringing the ‘Party to the Park’ with kickball, cornhole, beer sales and music to add some extra fun to the softball festivities.  After the trophies have been won, the official Championship Celebration & Closing Party will be at Nellie’s Sports Bar from 5 pm to 9 pm. Trophies will be handed out at this event.

No tournament can thrive without great sponsors and the folks in Washington, DC have some awesome tournament sponsors this year.  Some of the event sponsors have been mentioned like Ziegfields/Secrets, JR’s and Nellie’s.  However, teams will want to hit up Floriana and Logan Tavern for team dinners over their weekend stay and we can’t forget about the Green Lantern, which should be at the top of any bar hoppers list.  “Aside from increasing the number of teams in MAGIC, I know that a great softball tournament is about more than what happens on the field.  Before moving to DC last year, I was a board member in Atlanta and through the leadership of Kyle Miller and Jay Malloy, HSL’s Big Peach Tournament has really become a party in addition to a softball tournament.  That’s been my inspiration for sponsorship of MAGIC,”  added Matt Rinker, MAGIC Tournament Director.

The Diamond Dish is happy to be headed to Washington, DC to witness all of the softball drama unfold.  Check in with us on our twitter page, @softballdish and on our Facebook page for updates, pictures and more this weekend.

*Thank you to Matt Rinker, MAGIC Tournament Director for his help with this tournament spotlight article.* 
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Tournament Spotlight: 2015 North Star Classic


Twin Cities Hosting Most Teams Since 2010 This Weekend

The North Star Classic is back again for another fun weekend of softball action in beautiful Minnesota.  The Twin Cities always comes through for teams with mild weather, great fields, a high level of tournament organization and of course that great Northern hospitality.

This year’s tournament field consists of 48 teams including an 8 team B Division.  Peter Plaehn, NSC Tournament Director is happy with what they’ve planned for their out-of-town teams this weekend.  “We’re at 48 teams, the most we’ve had since the inaugural NAGAAA Cup year in 2010 (53 teams then). We had some previous attendees strongly ask if we could find room for them and we made it happen. Adding the B Division was a challenge because we’re not on most B teams’ radar as a viable tournament, so that’s a growth process,” said Plaehn.

A big focal point of the tournament committee is to provide experienced and accomplished umpires to make sure that everything on the field goes smoothly throughout the weekend.  “We have a crew this year that all has GSWS experience thanks to several former and current GSWS UICs and Assistant UICs,” added Plaehn.

The Saloon will be the site for registration on Friday.  The event will go from 6 pm to 9 pm and drink specials will be available for those with tournament wristbands!  Saturday and Sunday games will be held at two complexes due to the size of the tournament field.  Northview Park and Lexington-Diffley will be the two complexes.  Both facilities hosted games during the 2012 GSWS and they are both outstanding places to play.  The Closing Party will be held at the Eagle Bolt Bar on Sunday night from 6 pm to 9 pm.  There will also be drink specials available for those with wristbands.  Additionally, there will also be a pig roast with all of the festivities presided over by Lucy Stoole.

The host hotels for the tournament are the Crowne Plaza Downtown Minneapolis and the Hilton Minneapolis.  Both hotels are just a few blocks away from the tournament host bars and a wide array of dining and shopping options.  Sponsors are always a big key to running successful tournaments and the North Star Classic has some great sponsors for this year’s tournament.  “Our two long-time bar sponsors, The Saloon and Eagle/Bolt Bar, continue to be tremendous partners for us. We’re also back working with Boston Beer Co. and their Samuel Adams Lager, Angry Orchard and now Curious Traveler Shandy brands. Coors Light, a NAGAAA partner, is also being featured,” said Plaehn.

The Twin Cities are truly a great place to visit as is evident by the large contingent of teams participating in this year’s North Star Classic and its tournament director knows he’s got a good thing going.  “We run a simple, fun tournament in a city that is consistently ranked as one of the best places in the country to visit and live in. It’s hard to improve on those things, honestly, so we don’t try. Anyone who visits is impressed with MSP,” stated Plaehn.

If the Minnesota hospitality or the vibrant urban core of Minneapolis isn’t enough to get you excited about this tournament the “live schedule” should.  This year, the NSC will have a live schedule option on their website supported by Sport Ngin.  The schedule can be updated game by game and users can toggle between divisions for fast results and updates.

The Diamond Dish will be in Minneapolis this weekend and we can’t wait to get up to the Land of 10,000 Lakes to visit one of the United States’ truly great metro areas and play ball too!  Good luck to the NSC tournament committee and everyone participating in the tournament this weekend.  Happy Memorial Day Weekend everyone!


*Thank you to Peter Plaehn, NSC Tournament Director for his help with this tournament spotlight article.* 

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Tournament Spotlight: The 30th Big Peach Softball Tournament


Naughty or Nice?  The Choice Is Yours At This Year’s Big Peach!

The Big Peach Softball Tournament in Atlanta, Georgia is turning 30 this year and this year’s participants are in for the biggest and best tournament experience yet.

Atlanta is routinely one of the top-tier weekend softball destinations and a lot of that credit goes to Kyle Miller, Jay Malloy and the entire Big Peach tournament committee.  These guys and their crew in Atlanta just get it.  They know how to run a big tournament and everything that goes along with it.  If you’re looking to start a tournament or improve your tournament your first call or email should be to Atlanta.  The Big Peach does a lot of things right, but their commitment to the tournament experience is second to none.  This tournament takes the “player experience” seriously and this year will be no different.

Kyle Miller is in his 5th year as the co-tournament director for Big Peach and he is ready for everyone to enjoy Atlanta over Memorial Day Weekend.  “My co-director, Jay Malloy, and the entire big peach committee has been working so hard to make sure this will be one to remember.  We have so many events planned throughout the weekend that there will always be something to do for you and your teams.  As Commissioner of the Hotlanta Softball League, the Big Peach tournament has come a long way in recent history.  We have been able to expand to one of the largest tournaments in the East and I’m really excited to see those teams that come back year after year.  Our tournament is a BIG win for our city and we hope that soon we will be able to put a bid together for the GSWS as we know that we wouldn’t disappoint,” said Miller.

The Big Peach experience isn’t just a two-day deal, it’s a long weekend!  The Atlanta-based tournament wants its guests to show up early and often.  The weekend festivities actually start on Thursday, May 21st with the Big Peach Weekend Kick Off Party at F.R.O.G.S. Midtown Atlanta from 6 pm to 10 pm.  DJ Robert Ansley will be spinning and there will be a $10 Beer Bust!

Friday includes a full day of events staring with a Meet & Greet with NAGAAA Assistant Commissioner Keith Speers at the W Midtown Atlanta Hotel from 4 pm to 5 pm.  If you have questions or concerns stop by the meet and greet after you check in at the hotel.  Friday events roll on with the Big Peach Registration Party on the 27th Floor of the W Hotel.  Registration will go from 5 pm to 10 pm and registrants are encouraged to wear their hippest, raddest 80’s styles as the registration theme is “Throwback to the 80’s”.

After talking softball with Keith Speers and registering to play, catch a shuttle to one of two Big Peach Registration After Parties.  The choice will be yours.  Will you be Naughty or Nice?  Naughty boys will need to head over to The Eagle where DJ Christopher Kind will be keeping the party going strong.  Show your tournament wristband all weekend long for $1 off drinks at The Eagle.  For those nicer folks, Blake’s On The Park is there to satisfy all of your partying needs.  DJ Bill Berdeaux, DJ Mike Pope and the Deadly Vixens Drag Show will be there for your entertainment.  The show starts at 11 pm with dancing following the show!  “We are really excited about having our registration event being an all night event kicking off at our host hotel the W Midtown and then we will be having 3 shuttles going to our registration parties at Blake’s on the Park and the Eagle,” added Miller.

As a part of its Saturday event schedule, The Big Peach has added a Home Run Derby between pool play and double elimination on Saturday afternoon.  All of the home run hitting studs will want to line up for a chance to win a 26 ounce DeMarini Future bat (yes, that’s a pick-a-stick approved bat).  The event will be held on Field 2 at Blackburn Park.  Saturday night will see everyone step into the Jungle Atlanta for the Mr. Big Peach Contest and entertainment from 9 pm to 11 pm.  DJ Neon the Glowgobear will be taking care of the music and the night’s festivities will be hosted by Ruby Redd.  The throwback theme is still in effect as the 80’s will rule the night.  Don’t forget your wristband, the cover fee is waived at the Jungle for anyone with their Big Peach wristband on.

Sunday championship games will go into the afternoon hours, but after the games are done head to The Heretic for Closing Ceremonies!  Trophies will be awarded after all games are completed with entertainment beginning at 6 pm.

The host hotel is once again, The W Midtown Atlanta Hotel.  The Big Peach Tournament committee really has a good thing going with its W Hotel relationship.  Adding onto the guest stay experience by incorporating events at the hotel is a huge plus during the tournament weekend and the returning participants know they are getting a quality hotel stay when they go to Atlanta.  The hotel offered three different types of rooms for booking ranging from $109 per night to $225 per night.

The tournament will be using two field complexes to house all of the fierce softball competition.  The V-Plex in Villa Rica, Georgia will host the C and D Divisions.  There is no alcohol allowed at the V-Plex.  The B Division will play its games at Blackburn Park in Brookhaven, Georgia.  A new complex had to be found very quickly after a property sale forced the Hotlanta Softball League and the Big Peach Tournament off of their long time fields at Metro Softball Complex.  Leaders within the Atlanta softball community found out about the closing on May 3rd, just 20 days prior to the tournament.  In just two days, on May 5th fields were secured for Big Peach and by May 8th two new complexes were identified to finish the HSL regular season.  “While some would have crumbled under such a hurdle, our league really came together all the way from the players, coaches, and our entire board who worked tirelessly to come up with a solution that works.  We were thrilled on the quick turn around for something that could have taken weeks if not months.  The support from our sister cities and surrounding leagues was tremendous and we appreciate the support from the NAGAAA board on it as well,” explained Kyle Miller, HSL Commissioner and Big Peach Co-Director.

Home Run sponsors of the 30th Annual Big Peach Softball Tournament include iCandee, Gun Oil and Start Talking. Stop HIV.  Get dining information and additional sponsor information by checking the tournament website. Just click on the tournament logo at the top of the post.  Another new addition to the tournament this year is online seeding and bracketing.  The tournament committee is working on implementing this so that coaches and players can keep tabs on who they play as well as who other teams are playing easier.  “We are finalizing our brackets to put them online.  We hope to make that announcement here in the next couple days and offer that to our players and coaches.  The brackets can calculate the seeding immediately and should take less than 10 minutes to produce the official brackets,” said Miller.

A strong B Division with 12 teams will be on display in Atlanta over Memorial Day Weekend along with 25 C teams and 22 D teams.  The bar is raised higher each year at The Big Peach as Atlanta has cemented itself as a destination city on the NAGAAA softball tournament circuit.  Congratulations on 30  years and good luck to all the teams participating this weekend in Hotlanta!


*Thank you to Kyle Miller, HSL Commissioner & Big Peach Co-Director and Jay Malloy, Big Peach Co-Director for their help with this tournament spotlight article.*



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Tournament Spotlight: 2015 Texas Shootout

Texas Shootout

Austin Is Geared Up For A Big Softball Weekend

It was roughly seven months ago that the City of Austin took center stage at the 2014 NAGAAA Summer Meetings beating out San Diego for the right to host the 2016 Gay Softball World Series.  The Austin GSWS bid committee really made a splash with its organized and precise presentation.  Softball Austin hopes to continue its recent streak of positive momentum into hosting the 2015 Texas Shootout tournament this weekend.

A large contingent of teams, 67 to be exact, will invade the Texas state capital to compete in the B, C and D Divisions this weekend.  While returning teams and players might recognize some of the sights and points of interest in Austin there will be several new features to this year’s Texas Shootout that any player or fan will want to check out.

Albert Rodriguez is returning to the role of Texas Shootout Tournament Director after a two-year absence and he along with the tournament committee are eager to welcome everybody to the Lone Star State.  A big change from previous years to this year is the addition of a beer garden at Krieg Softball Complex.  “We will be having a beer garden at our back fields. We wanted to offer our guests a little something different and this is something we have never done in the past,” said Rodriguez.  It is important to note that entrance into the beer garden area will require all entrants going through a security checkpoint.  No outside alcohol will be allowed into the beer garden and no alcohol can leave the beer garden.

The tournament committee really looked at improving the tournament participant experience with this year’s tournament.  The beer garden will be located in the entire area encompassing fields 8 through 11, which is where the championship games will be played on Sunday.  Beer will be available beginning at 10 am on Saturday and Noon on Sunday.  Within the beer garden there will be a “selfie station”!  Players and fans are encouraged to post their beer garden tournament selfies to the Texas Shootout Facebook page.

Start your tournament weekend off right by getting registered at Oil Can Harry’s!  OCH will host registration from 6 pm to 10 pm on Friday with complimentary burgers on the patio.  After the games on Saturday, the fun moves to the Iron Bear with beer bust pricing in effect between 3 pm and 9 pm.  Staying later than 9 pm?  You’ll be glad you did.  “The fun will continue after 9 pm with plenty of shot/drink specials,” added Rodriguez.  Rain on 4th will be the closing party host on Sunday after all the games are completed.  Trophy presentation will take place around 7 pm with food and fun on the menu to round out the tournament weekend.

The beautiful Krieg Softball Complex will host the tournament again as any new players to the Texas Shootout will get a preview of a large portion of the 2016 GSWS fields!  The Holiday Inn Town Lake is the host hotel for this year’s tournament.  The hotel is in a great downtown location and is a convenient distance to the fields, bars and restaurants.  Folks might want to know that the Pecan Street Festival will be happening this weekend in Austin.  “Pecan Street is the original name of 6th Street,” said Albert Rodriguez, Texas Shootout Tournament Director.  The Festival takes place between Brazos and I-35 and will be occurring on Saturday and Sunday.  There will be plenty of food, art, crafts and of course, live music!

Finally, with adding the beer garden the tournament committee wants to make it very clear that they still plan on having all of the other tents and amenities that the Shootout has offered its guests over past years.  “The beer garden is located in the area where we traditionally had registration and T-Shirt sales. Players can expect those tents to move just outside the gates of that area. In addition to the aforementioned traditional tents, we will also have an information tent where players, coaches and managers can visit for assistance,” Rodriguez clarified.

While the 2016 GSWS and Texas Shootout Tournament Committees are separate groups that have some intertwining parts, it’s fair to say they have the same vision.  “The Texas Shootout, along with the World Series committee, is working hard to achieve their goal of putting on the best possible event.  The committee has worked hard to make this tournament successful and to ensure a good time is had by all! The committee would like to take a moment to thank Rene Trevino for the hard work and contributions he gave this committee,” said Rodriguez.

One thing is very clear, the softball leadership in Austin means business when it comes to raising the bar at its yearly weekend tournament leading up to the 40th Annual Gay Softball World Series next year and the Diamond Dish cannot wait to be there covering the event live this coming weekend.

*The DD would like to give a special thank you to Albert Rodriguez and Rene Trevino for their assistance with this tournament spotlight article and for helping to facilitate the Diamond Dish’s on site coverage of the Texas Shootout this weekend in Austin.* 


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Tournament Spotlight: Saguaro Cup/NAGAAA Cup


Phoenix Is Pulling Double Tournament Duty This Weekend

There are few things that sound as good as Phoenix, Arizona in April to most of the country, and this weekend Phoenix will be home to nearly 90 teams participating in the Saguaro Cup and the NAGAAA Cup!

The Saguaro Cup is in its 22nd year and Phoenix is in its second consecutive year of hosting the NAGAAA Cup.  The NAGAAA Cup encompasses A and B Divisions with C, D and Women’s Divisions making up the Saguaro Cup field.  While NAGAAA Assistant Commissioner, Keith Speers will be heading up the NAGAAA Cup, the Cactus Cities Softball League is responsible for the hosting duties associated with the NAGAAA Cup and running their own full-fledged tournament on the same weekend.

Shane Mirkovich is the Assistant Open Commissioner for the CCSL and it’s clear that his tournament committee is excited about this weekend’s events in Phoenix.  “The City of Phoenix does a great job with maintaining their tournament fields and providing an excellent player experience.  Phoenix has great weather and the Valley provides a great backdrop while out on the fields.  We have tried to make improvements to our tournament each year.  Our goal is to provide great value for the money, a fair tournament and an overall fun time for all the teams.  We feel very fortunate that we have teams return again and again to make SC an awesome weekend,” said Mirkovich.

With 90 teams and two separate tournaments running at the same time one could imagine there could be some issues, however both NAGAAA and the CCSL are ready for the challenge.  “It is probably easier that NAGAAA Cup coincides with Saguaro Cup.  Since we are having Saguaro Cup at the same time, all the events are shared between the two tournaments, which is work we don’t have to duplicate if they were separate,”said Mirkovich.

NAGAAA Assistant Commissioner, Keith Speers has been impressed with the CCSL as repeat hosts of the NAGAAA Cup.  “Our partnership with CCSL for the last two years has been great. It’s nice to have familiar voices on the other end of the phone – people you know you can call if there is a local issue to resolve. They work hard to deliver a great experience for our players and teams. This is evidenced by the fact that we have a record 30 teams participating in the Cup this year. The NAGAAA Cup is becoming a must attend tournament for our upper division teams,” added Speers.

Some great events await all participants in both tournaments this weekend.  The tournament officially  kicks off with the Registration Party at the Hilton Garden Inn Midtown Phoenix from 7 – 10 pm on Friday night.  Saturday’s feature events include Team Dinner Night at Bliss ReBAR where you can make reservations for dinner on Saturday!  Now, if your team’s performance on the field is lacking, Bliss ReBAR is also accepting reservations for brunch on Sunday.  Look for teams that make an early exit to take them up on their offer to stop by for brunch on Sunday!  The other Saturday evening event is the Saturday After Party at BS West where drinks will be 2-4-1 for players.  Charlie’s Phoenix is the place to be on Sunday after the games.  The bar will provide free food with your wristband beginning at 5 pm with trophy presentations scheduled to begin around 7 pm.

Honorary sponsors of the Saguaro Cup and NAGAAA Cup include Apollo’s Lounge, Twisted Peacock, Plazma, Roscoe’s Sports Bar & Grill, Hulas Modern Tiki, Pat O’s Bunkhouse, Stacy’s at Melrose, The Rock, Harvey’s Wineburger, Ticoz and Karamaba Nightclub.

The host hotels for the tournament are the Hilton Garden Inn Phoenix Midtown and the Hilton Suites Phoenix.  There are some new field complexes being thrown into the mix to get all the games completed in a timely manner.  The field complexes include Desert West, Rose Mofford and Papago in Phoenix.  This year there are also complexes in nearby Mesa and Gilbert.  Those complexes include Skyline Sports Complex, Red Mountain Sports Complex and Freestone Sports Complex.  All of the facilities allow alcohol besides Freestone in Gilbert, Arizona.  Make sure that you’re leaving those coolers of beer/alcohol in your vehicles or at the hotel as the concessions at the complexes will have alcohol for sale!

A dynamite field has been assembled for the largest NAGAAA Cup ever with 8 teams competing in the A Division and 22 teams in the B Division.  All games in the NAGAAA Cup will be using the new Pick-A-Stick bats in line with what all players will find at the Gay Softball World Series this August in Columbus, Ohio.  No personal use bats will allowed as everyone will be hitting the same bats in every game.  Those bats that were in play throughout the day will be tested at night to make sure they all meet regulations for safety and fair play purposes.  The Saguaro Cup is no slouch with a 25 team C Division, a 20 team D Division and 14 teams in its Women’s Division.

Get ready for a great weekend in Arizona as Phoenix does its best to make a statement with its bid for the 2017 Gay Softball World Series looming in the balance.

*Thank you to Shane Mirkovich, CCSL Assistant Open Commissioner and to Keith Speers, NAGAAA Assistant Commissioner for their help with this tournament spotlight article.*


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Tournament Spotlight: 2015 Southern Shootout


The Easter Weekend Softball Tradition Is Here

The 33rd Annual Southern Shootout is set to begin this weekend in Birmingham, Alabama.  The tournament committee has complied a 52 team field with the B Division, C Division and D Division being represented.  All of the games will be played under the new NAGAAA ratings structure making it the 3rd tournament so far in 2015 to test out the adjusted player and team ratings caps.

Birmingham doesn’t have a particularly large NAGAAA affiliated league, however the New South Softball League routinely draws over 50 teams per year to its flagship tournament.  Joe Walding is the co-director of the 2015 Southern Shootout and he is excited about this weekend’s tournament.  “I am ecstatic about this field of teams.  We have 42 out of 52 teams from elsewhere traveling to Birmingham to play.  We have teams from Atlanta, Knoxville, Nashville, Columbus, Tampa, New Orleans, Indianapolis, Washington DC, Charlotte and Toronto,” said Walding.

Location is a big key in why Birmingham continues to be such an attractive spot for teams to travel to, especially in the Southeast.  This year, not only are Southeastern teams represented, but having teams travel from Toronto and Columbus further legitimizes the Southern Shootout as one of the best and most tradition rich tournaments in the country.  “The Southern Shootout is the oldest gay softball tournament in the tournament besides the GSWS.  Our tournament is full of tradition.  Plus, our registration party on Friday night is legendary,” said Joe Walding, tournament co-director.

In addition to that legendary registration party on Friday night at the host hotel, the Doubletree by Hilton Birmingham, there will be a closing party at Al’s on Seventh on Sunday night where awards will be handed out.  Other sponsors of the 2015 Southern Shootout include Our Place, The Quest, Regions Bank, Romeo’s Sporting Goods, Supreme Beverage, Miller Beer, and Birmingham Pride 2015.

Joe was also able to report to us on the most important issue regarding the Southern Shootout….food.  “We have two food trucks confirmed for the tournament, Slice and iCantina.  Both will be serving on Saturday and Slice will be there on Sunday,” said Walding.

The Easter Weekend tradition should be the best version.  Joe Walding and his tournament committee have done a great job in planning this year’s tournament that should see some fierce competition on the field and lots of fun off of it.  We’ll go ahead and say a prayer ahead of time that nobody misses their early morning games due to all of the adult beverages that will be present at the registration party!  Good luck to all of the teams in the tournament and safe travels to all of the teams coming into Birmingham from out-of-town!


*Special thanks to Joe Walding, Southern Shootout Co-Director for all of his help with this article.*


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