Pair Of Locals Named To All-Tournament Team At Senior Softball World Championships


A pair of Payson athletes were named to the Senior Softball (50-years-plus) World Championships All-Tournament team when it was selected last week in Phoenix.

Billy Joe Winchester and Dave Crowell were voted all-stars after helping Fountain Hills finish fourth place in the tournament.

The players, however, had to decline participation on a senior all-star team against a European celestial squad because both had to return to their work obligations in Payson, Crowell said.

Winchester was chosen to the team as a pitcher and Crowell as a right fielder. The all-star team was chosen in a balloting of tournament umpires, Crowell said.

In addition to the pair, Payson was to have a third representative on the Fountain Hills team who could have been a strong contender for an all-star slot.

Shortstop Tom Neblett, however, suffered a back injury and could not make the trip to Phoenix for the week-long senior tournament.

In finishing fourth in its bracket with a 5-6 record, Fountains Hills came up one game short of earning a berth in the championship bracket.

The team, Crowell said, was hampered by the absence of two starting players -- Neblett and Fountain Hills resident Mark Pertnoy.

"But we played competitive ball against the best 50s teams in our division," Crowell said. "The teams we played were from Hawaii, Chicago, Milwaukee, New Jersey, Washington, Florida, Oklahoma, Texas, California, Nevada and Utah."

Over 210 senior squads competed in what was billed as the largest Senior World Championship tournament ever held in the United States.

"ESPN filmed the tournament along with Canadian and Japanese television companies who were making documentaries on senior softball," Crowell said.

It was the second consecutive year that the Payson duo competed in the World Championships.

Last year, the two were members of the Payson Bulls senior team that traveled to Colorado for the affair.

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