Dallas, Austin and Boston beat the rain and take other division titles
By Cyd Zeigler
The Gay Softball World Series in Columbus, Ohio, saw something the event had never seen in its 34 years: A tie for one of the championships. The Orlando Force and the Los Angeles Vipers shared the A-Division title when heavy rain began to fall during the game flooding the field. The game was delayed and then canceled, giving both teams a share of the championship.
The Vipers beat the Force in round-robin play to advance to the finals out of the winners bracket. The Force then beat the defending-champion Phoenix Toros in the losers bracket to advance to a rematch against the Vipers. The Force won the first game, 10-6, and were winning the second game, 2-0, in the bottom of the second inning when the game was called.
It is the first A-Division championship for the Orlando Force, who won the B Division in 2007; The Force are the only Orlando-based team to have ever won a division title at the GSWS. It was the 21st time a Los Angeles-based team won the A Division; And it was the 14th time in the last 17 years that the Vipers (formerly known as the Stray Cats) won the title.
Dallas TKO won the B Division in thrilling fashion over the Long Beach Rounders, 16-13. After watching Dallas jump out to a 9-0 lead in the top of the first inning, Long Beach slowly chipped away and tied the game in the bottom of the sixth inning, 13-13. Dallas answered with three runs in the top of the seventh and then retired Long Beach’s final three batters.
The Austin Shady Ladies (above) won the all-Texas C-Division final over the Dallas Fuse. The Fuse beat Austin in their first game of championship to force the “If” game, but Austin’s bats were too much for Dallas in their final game.
Another Dallas team, the Thunder, also forced an “If” game against the Boston Ramrod Machine in the D Division before Boston took the final game, 10-6.
Many of the players after the tournament lauded the Columbus-based organizers for a job well-done. The games were played at the largest softball facility in the country, Berliner Park, which enabled all of the games to be played at the same location (they are often spread out through the city). That led to over 1,000 fans watching the four division finals.
Saturday night featured a block party for which the city closed a block of High Street. The event featured various performers, including drag star Nina West, Sirius Radio hosts Derek Hartley and Romaine Patterson, and the legendary Jennifer Holliday.
For full results, visit NAGAAA's Web site.
Special thanks to Sirius Radio’s Dave Gorab, Derek & Romaine, and producers Sam Lenga and Greg Sahakian for making Outsports a part of their broadcast from the finals.