Battle of the Ages: 2018 Dallas Open (8/04/2018)

First and Second places winners of Class B of the 2018 Dallas Open:
Shane Nelson ("almost" 14 years old) and Al "Peanuts" Long ("almost" 92 years old)

Class A Winner Ralph Nelson and
and Ralph's grandson: Class B Winner Shane Nelson

2018 Dallas Open:
Bev and Brad Barger

18 pitchers registered for the 2018 Dallas Open.One pitcher cancelled on Wednesday. We loaded Class A with 8 pitchers and Class B with 7 pitchers, with both classes handicapped. Dale mowed on Wednesday while Brandon and Bubb Savage turned the courts and addressed a couple of loose pegs. Lee bought the necessary groceries, prepared the food, and ran the computer during the tournament. Robyn Brown and Ruth Belcavich manned the kitchen. Jean Long kept score in Class B and Dale kept score for 3 of the Class A courts.

We had 4 Nelsons from three generations competing all the way from Trappe, PA. They even brought a scorekeeper and a spectator as well.

We had three entrants freshly returned from the world tournament. Dave Fisher, former World Champion, has competed in 11 WT’s. Joe Belcavich placed 2nd in this year’s WT and has competed in 10 WTs. Eric Brown competing in his first WT, missed playing in the championship round by 8 ringers. Also competing in our tournament was Al “Peanuts” Long, World Champion and 8 time State Champion.

We experienced torrential rains Thursday and Friday but the rain was finished by our 10:00 am start on Saturday. The courts were wet but with skilled court maintenance (including significant sponge work), the clay was fine.

It was extremely hot and muggy, with some cloud cover and an occasional light breeze. We encouraged participants to take their time since we did not have a second flight. One Class A player did eventually succumb to the heat and had to drop out.

Class B eventually ended in a tie for first place between “almost 92” year old Peanuts Long and “almost 14” year old Shane Nelson. Shane had thrown a 50% game against Peanuts to force the playoff game. Shane won the playoff game with a 52.5 % game, an effort made necessary by Peanut’s 50% final match! When I asked Shane if he needed a wooden plaque to display his class champion plate he said this was his second sanctioned tournament and that he now had his 2nd champion patch. Peanuts congratulated him again on his win and with a smile told Shane he had 49 champion patches at home.

The Class A climax wasn’t nearly as dramatic as the Class B finish. Shane Nelson’s grandfather, Ralph Nelson, ran the class with 7 wins and no losses. There were 18 “4 dead” calls in Class A and Eric Brown finished the day with the high game of 68%.

So the 2018 Dallas Open finished with Grandson Shane Nelson and Grandfather Ralph Nelson winning the classes! A special thanks to the support staff who made the tournament possible. And “Thank You” to all the participants who helped cover the courts, remove the chairs, scoreboards, shovels, and water jugs when play was over.