WARREN, Mich. - They don’t move as fast as they used to. In fact, sometimes, when they’re at bat, they don’t move at all.
"There are a lot of guys who can’t run anymore, so we have runners," Roger Wolcott said. "You think you can’t run at age 66, but you’re better than 90-year-olds. So, you end up on base a lot."
For this group of guys, it’s about hearing the crack of the bat and feeling the comraderie of a team.
This is the Michigan Senior Softball League. This particular division used to be 70 years old and over, until this year, when they opened it up to young whipper snappers 65 years of age and older.
"It was good they reduced the age, it makes the league more competitive now," Don Ruedisueli said.
With the age expansion, Roger Wolcott is now able to play with his 87-year-old father-in-law, Jim Nieto.
"I could always hit the ball,” Nieto said, “and I could always run pretty good."
Twice a week, 102 players gather at Halmich Park in Warren, six teams total. They play with regular softball rules with a few modifications.
"We have a net on the mound for the pitcher," John Croud said. "We do a lot of things to protect the safety of the players."
The competition gets heated at times. Just ask the Umpire, “Lil.”
"We had the number one team playing the second-place team, so they tried really hard," Lilian Karamanian said.
Out on the field, numbers, like ages and scores, aren’t as important as being a part of something. So, knees might get a little sore and bones may get a little dinged up, but these guys continue to play ball.
These guys play twice a week through July, then playoffs begin.
Every year, there’s a draft at the beginning of the season and they are always looking for new players.
If interested, contact Roger Ricci with the Michigan Senior Softball League.
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