You Are Never Too Old to Step Up to the Plate
More than 250 seniors will gather in Winston-Salem this weekend to play some serious softball.
The annual Piedmont Plus Senior Games Tournament will be held at the Washington Park Softball complex on Saturday, June 1.
“We have one of the most powerful softball divisions of anyone in the state,” says Chuck Vestal with the city’s Recreation and Parks Department, which is sponsoring the event.
He says the softball tournament is part of a local initiative that offers activities for seniors year-round.
“It’s a great time for our athletes to come together and realize that they do not have to compete against folks who are much younger than they are and who face similar challenges.”
Vestal says there is a lot of camaraderie that you don't see sometimes with the younger leagues.
“When these ladies and gentleman play, it is like a homecoming or a party. It's just a celebration. They can still get out and enjoy something that they did so much as a kid or a younger adult. They keep perpetuating that forward, and it is something to see.”
The players will be divided into teams based on their age groups. Participants range in age from 55 to around 80.
Ten men’s and women’s teams from Forsyth and Stokes Counties will take the field. Vestal says this year’s tournament will also include additional teams made up of players from across the state.
“We have opened this tournament up as an invitational tournament, which has teams coming this year from Burlington and Salisbury. We also have multiple teams coming from Charlotte and Hickory.”
Vestal says, “The really unique thing about the softball teams is that they are actually playing locally to qualify to advance to the state tournament held in Raleigh in September of this year.”
Every two years, the teams that medal in Winston-Salem and in Raleigh win a bid to the national senior softball tournament in Cleveland. Vestal says two teams from the Triad will compete for a national title in July. He says the public is invited to come and cheer on the athletes free of charge.
The senior games begin Saturday at 9 a.m. at the Washington Park Softball Complex off of Peters Creek Parkway.