GALLATIN, TENNESSEE – Some say it takes a village but Dreamgirlz SPA 50 major Coach-of-the-Year Elliott says, “It takes the entire team” to win a National Title.
The Norfolk, Virginia team did that using a full 20-player roster to go 6-0 in pool and bracket play to win the five-team SPA 50 Major title in Gallatin, Tennessee.
“The secret to us winning the Gallatin National was we had our entire team there,” Elliott said, “It was the first time ever, we had our full squad at an SPA tournament and it helped us to win our first SPA National championship.”
As effective as they were in pool play outscoring the opposition 38-21, they were downright nasty in bracket play with a 46-15 differential in the three games.
“Our result was sort of surprising,” team captain Freda Jones said, “We came into the tournament not knowing what to expect because we had never played these teams before.”
“I think maybe because we weren’t sure of what to expect, we concentrated on playing our best games and I think that is what happened We just kept saying five runs or crooked numbers every time we came to bat” Jones added.
The big question is how do you play twenty players in a six game tournament and keep everyone happy?
“No problem at all,” Elliott said, “With the run differential in pool and bracket play we were able to give everyone ample playing time. You always need extra runners and the weather also determines how often you have to sub. Another thing, with our team, we do not lose that much when we sub non-starters for starters.”
Of course every team needs a leader and the leader in Gallatin was Tournament MVP Diane Mobley, who compiled a lofty .727 batting average. All-American tournament selections from the Dreamgirlz are: Barbara Miles-Davis (.583), Barbara Foxx (.695), Cynthia Tucker (.521), Debra Tucker (.687) and Sylvia Echols (.714).
The rest of the roster who also played a huge part in the title run are: Kathy O’Meara (.710), Jan Jones (.574), Diane Rooks (.550), Jones (500), Treva Green (.500), Linda Puentes ).444), Gina Sivells (.444), Vanessa Farrington (.418), Carolyn Cotterell (.333), Ernestine Saunders (.333) and Terri Houpos (.333). Also instrumental in Dreamgirlz success are assistant coaches Angela Holloway and Harlin Trapp, scorekeeper Diane Graham , team president and manager Jo Ann Moore and Elliott, the 2011 SPA 50 Major’s Coach of The Year.
Dreamgirlz relies a lot on teamwork and fellowship. The team is actually run by a committee. They have a President (Moore), Secretary (Terri Houpos), Chaplain (Jones), Treasurer (Carolyn Cotterell) and the coach (Elliott).
“Our team has been together since 2007,” Moore said, “We started adding players to strengthen the team each subsequent year and that has helped us to get to where we are today.”
“It is a good feeling to win a National title, especially when the teams we played were so good,” Moore said, “There is no doubt winning gave us the lift because we went on to win in Myrtle Beach, giving us two SPA tournaments and two SPA championships.”
All three Jones, Moore and Elliott believe the secret to the Dreamgirlz success is the closeness of the team.
‘The camaraderie of our team is awesome, we all get along so well,” Jones said, “Everyone realizes they will get to play and they all want to win. We have so much love for one another and we not only respect each other but also the other team and the game in general. We are also all in accord with coach Elliott and we all respect and listen to him.”
They are definitely a coach’s dream and ironically that is how they got their name.
“I had a dream one night and was thinking if I ever would coach a woman’s team I should call it Dreamgirlz,” Elliott, who has been coaching women’s team since 1963 said, “ When I got the call to coach this team it was like someone had already told me what to call them and the name was Dreamgirlz.”
One thing they would still like to add to the mix is a sponsor.
“We are self sponsored and hold a lot of fund raisers to support our other tournament expenses,” Moore said, “It certainly would be nice to obtain a sponsor to help offset those expenses. There is little doubt the sponsor would benefit from name recognition and exposure as a result of all the tournaments in which we participate.”
A sponsor could do a lot worse with his promotion budget, where better to place that money than with a Dream that does come true?