In 2000, the Marco Men’s Senior Softball League had two teams sponsored by Publix and Winn-Dixie. Still actively playing from the original teams are Al Bozzo, Jerry Cnudde and Leroy Fishleigh. According to Bill Shurina, Marco Island Men’s Senior Softball League Commissioner, the league just finished its 20th regular season in March 2019.
For the 2019 season, the league had 15 teams with over 180 players. Men’s senior softball is very popular in Marco Island. Marco’s ideal weather and a very well organized and well managed Men’s Senior Softball League are key reasons for the senior softball league’s popularity. Most of the players retire here to avoid the dark and cold winters of the Northeast and Midwest. The seasonal players start making their return back to Marco as early as October and stay until after the season is over around late March.
According to Senior Softball USA (SSUSA), there are more than 1.5 million active senior softball players in the country and that number continues to grow as more boomers take to the field to stay active.
The summer pick-up games give new players the opportunity to work on their softball skills, agility, flexibility, and endurance and the game is said to also improve mental awareness.
During the summer months of pick-up games, the seniors don’t mind playing in the morning heat. It is a way for them to work on the finer points of the game, to stay fit and get out of the house and have some fun with the guys.
Rules vary slightly from traditional softball. There are 11 players on the field, and batters can remain in the lineup after being replaced by a pinch runner. Two home plates ensure that there are no collisions between catchers and base runners.
If interested, applicants must be 55 years of age as of 1/1/20 and live on Marco Island or Goodland. Players need to be available to play for the entire regular season (early January through March) to be considered for the league’s regular season. Residents and snowbirds of all ability levels are welcomed.
Games are played at Winterberry Park, which is very well groomed and maintained by Marco’s Parks and Recreation Department. The summer pick-up games are played on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 8 – 10 AM. If interested, stop by Winterberry softball field and check out the game; chat with a couple of players or plan to join in. New players are welcome to join the pick-up games.
For more information, please visit www.marcoseniorsoftballleague.com.