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Experience Prevails at Fiesta Island : Beachcomber’s Thirty--and Forty--Something Boys Win

The competitors at the World Championship Over-The-Line Tournament are stronger and younger every year, or so the players say. Yet age and experience continues to win.

For the second consecutive year, Beachcomber won the men’s open division title Sunday. The threesome of Steve Miner, 42, John Torchia, 39, and Billy Bright, 36, went undefeated on Fiesta Island and defeated Club Team Sportswear, 26-10, in three innings to earn the title.

The women’s open division also saw the defending champs claim one more title. Island Gecco Maui (Camille Medina, Mary Ann Casillas and Tess Michelucci) topped unseeded Y95 (Nina Loffrado, Mary Watson and Debbie Watson), 16-1, to earn the championship.

Y95 emerged from the loser’s bracket to surprise Island Gecco Maui, 14-7, to force the second and deciding game.

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Club Team Sportswear (Keith Mullin, Chuck Cromar and Dennis Navarro), the seventh-seeded squad in the men’s open, also appeared en route to forcing a second game with Beachcomber as it scored 10 runs--eight with two outs--to post a 10-8 lead after the first inning.

But after both teams failed to score in the second, Beachcomber unleashed a 20-hit, 18-run attack in the top of the third that left Club Team Sportswear with another year to regroup.

The margin of victory takes on even greater proportions when one considers that the same two teams battled closely in the winners’ bracket final, a 12-11 win for Beachcomber.

“There’s a lot of good young players out here,” Torchia said, “but I think it takes a certain amount of playing time to learn how to win. I know it’s cliche, but it’s true.

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“It’s not that we’re up here and everybody else is down here. We could come out tomorrow and not hit at all.”

Torchia and Bright have been playing over-the-line tournaments for 14 years. In 1981, they got their first taste of the championship as part of Take The Money and Run. Miner has been at it for 22 years. Last year’s crown was his first.

“I never thought we could do it again, that’s for sure,” Miner said.

A bizarre incident occured in the men’s title game when Mullin opened the bottom half of the first by hitting a wicked line drive that sliced foul and hit his mother, Evelyn, 66, in the face. She left the island, but was later reported to be OK by her husband, Wayne.

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