SEBRING - Monday's Pickleball "Shootout" brought the five teams of the South Central Florida Pickleball League together for a one-day final.
League founder and commissioner, David Majick, of Highlands Ridge, addressed the teams prior to play and pointed out that the league is unique in that it doesn't discriminate on the basis of age, gender or playing ability.
After four years of trying, Tanglewood has finally taken top honors in the league. Having won all of their matches during regular season play, Tanglewood came to the shootout hoping to escape the demons that have kept them from winning in previous years.
They did, in convincing style, defeating Del Webb, Orlando, 18-7 in the first set, then downing crosstown rivals and defending champs, Highlands Ridge, 25-0.
A bye in the first round and two wins advanced them to the finals against surprise powerhouse, Lake Ashton.
Lake Ashton played well during the regular season but came up empty with no wins in four outings. They arrived at Tanglewood on Monday with new uniforms and a sense of purpose.
They went down in the first round, losing 18-7 to Highlands Ridge, but came back strong in round two, knocking Riverbend, from Labelle, out of the competition, with a 25-0 triumph.
Third-round play pitted Lake Ashton against Del Webb.
The A and D teams won their matches while the B and C teams lost to Del Webb but the two victories earned them 13 points in the complex scoring system which awards the A teams 10 points for a win while the B team gets 7, C earns 5 and D takes 3 points for a victory.
In gold medal play, Tanglewood's A team of Wayne Buck and Mike March defeated Lake Ashton's top players, Les Jacobson and Bob Reagen, 15-6.
At the B level, a hard-fought match saw Randy Crawfis and Gary Sewell come from behind to eke out a 15-13 win over Mike Holden and Marilyn Noffsinger of Lake Ashton.
In D division, Lake Ashton's Duff Hill and Juan Negrin came out on top with a 15-8 victory over Tanglewood's Walt Snyder and Tom Stadler.
As Tanglewood had already earned gold on the strength of the 17 points earned with the A and B victories, play was suspended in C level with Tanglewood's Debi Yandell and Dennis Rowland still battling Lake Ashton's Larry Judd and Milo Macko.
Highlands Ridge, the only other local team in the shootout, was well represented by Gary Schinderle, Doug Eberling, David Majick, Chris O'Donaghy, Bob Cisler, Brian Gilles, Peter Gardner, Donna Lander, Sue Schinderle and Dave Shaner.