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City softball leagues for players 45 and over going strong

February 15, 2019
By CJ HADDAD (cjhaddad@breezenewspapers.com) , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

The love of sport is something that sticks with an individual for life, or develops over time - but one thing's for certain, once you get that itch, it never goes away.

That philosophy is certainly true of the players of the 50-plus and 45-plus softball leagues in Cape Coral.

These veteran ballplayers come out twice a week, year-round, to lace up their cleats and get some dust on the old glove in the name of spirited competition.

Article Photos

MICHAEL PISTELLA
mpistella@breezenewspapers.com

Taxtown team player Mike Walden is all smiles as he makes a pitch during a Cape Coral Recreation 50-plus softball game against the Dr. John Fifer team last week. To view more photos, see the Cape Coral Breeze Facebook page.

The leagues are always looking to add to their numbers, and has been a mainstay in the city for 30 years.

"With the population growing, we've got more players coming out. It used to be almost all retirees. Now, it's about 50/50," said Cape Coral District 2 Councilmember John Carioscia, who has been a part of the league for nine years himself. "I love it."

Cape Coral Mayor Joe Coviello was there to throw out the first pitch last week, as a new session has just begun.

Games are played on Tuesday and Thursday nights at the Cape Coral Sports Complex - where both the 45- and 50-plus players put their talents on display.

The 45-plus league tends to be a bit more competitive in nature.

Each season is slated for 30 games, with a draft held before each session to fairly distribute players and keep the playing field even.

Champions are crowned after each season, along with a one-game playoff between the top two teams.

What makes the league so special is the blend of men and women who have relocated here from all parts of the country, coming together to share a love of sport.

"We have people from all walks of life, from all states across the country," said Carioscia. "From California, Alabama, New York, Chicago - all over. We have a pretty good cross section of individuals. It's awesome."

Currently there are nine teams in the 50-plus league; 12 members on a team, with a collection of pool players to fill in if necessary.

There are about six or seven women who play - playing by the men's rules, as they were selected because of their high skill levels, Carioscia said.

The camaraderie aspect is what keeps people coming back though, not to mention the beautifully designed fields and newly revamped lighting bank surrounding the complex.

"The players can't wait to come back on Thursday once they're here on Tuesday," Carioscia said. "It grows on you. Tuesday nights and Thursday nights you're looking at the clock - I'm not kidding. It's like you're a little kid."

The league has uniformed, certified umpires to make all of the calls and bring a more professional feel - this is not your typical sandlot softball league, and the players agree.

"I drive all the way from Golden Gate in Naples. They have teams over there, they have leagues, but these guys are just amazing. It's very organized. The way they do the league, the way they do the draft, you'll play with different guys every season which I love," said Moises Galarza, a member for five years.

He, along with many others, recalls a time where an older player collapsed on the field mid-game.

Thankfully, there were members of the fire department present and playing who immediately rushed to help him, in turn, saving his life.

There is even an upcoming charity tournament for a player who's daughter has cancer.

"It's like a family. Everybody just pulls together. You develop not only a friendship with the players, but with the umpires, too," said Galarza. "It's a family environment. I really love it."

The league is a great way to stay in shape as well, as the league's mission statement is "to promote the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of our members."

"The people are fun. That's what I love about this," said Bob Mayer, a softball lifer and league board member. "Everybody seems to enjoy it. You meet a whole bunch of nice guys."

For information and registration for the 45-plus league, visit www.cc45plussoftball.blogsport.com.

For information and registration for the 50-plus league, contact Jennifer Ford at 239-292-2923.

-Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj

 
 
 

 

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