Out to the ball game

Codgers from across the country and Canada commandeered every softball field in the county Saturday and Sunday for the first International Softball Federation Senior World Cup.

The players in the tournament belied their age when they took the field and played ball.

They could hit the ball, they could throw and they could catch the ball and most of them still exhibited pretty good running speed.

“It’s just the kid in us,” said Anthony Tutt, 53, of the Lake Ridge Gents as he and several of his teammates watched a game at the Prince William stadium complex.

Another Gents player, Larry Locklair, said he took up softball after a 10-year hiatus, so that he could regain his boyish figure. He said his wife never thought he’d play ball as long as he did.

“She thought I’d retire from this when I was thirty,” said Locklair, a mechanical inspector who works at Quantico Marine Corps Base.

“I quit when I was forty I guess … just laid off for awhile,” Locklair, 55, said.

“I didn’t start playing again until I was in my fifties. I got lazy and fat. I had to do something,” Locklair said.

R.B. Thomas, federation executive director and tournament manager, said more than 55 teams came to Prince William County to play in the tournament.

Thomas said the federation’s mission is to give older ball players somewhere to play.

“The World Cup gives senior players the chance to play in a competitive and exciting environment,” Thomas said.

In one respect the players showed their age.

It’s not that the seniors were reluctant to question an umpire or referee’s call and comment accordingly as any athlete must. They just seemed more willing to get the complaint off their chests and move on where younger players might continue protesting past good judgment.

Steve Anderson, of Woodbridge, worked as an umpire at the tournament and said the seniors don’t need to carry on at length. They have learned proficiency over the years.

“They don’t have to say as much because they’ve been saying it a lot longer,” Anderson, 48, said. “They know just how far to take it.”

Tim Molle, Anderson’s partner in a game at the stadium complex, said the senior games are his favorite.

He said the players who argue a call generally come over to shake hands after the game.

“They’re very courteous and very complimentary as well,” said Molle, 37, a U.S. Army instructor from Fort Aberdeen Md.

Thomas said the county hasn’t seen the last of the aging boys of summer and expects the events to continue and grow.

“We have another tournament even bigger than this in August,” Thomas said.

In the two-day double elimination tourney, RECKO won the 50+ Majors. Joseph Chevrolet won the 50+ A Division.

In the 50+ B Division, Joe B’s AC, of Rockville, Md., walked away with the win and Spring Ford, of Birdsboro Penn., took first place in the 50+ C Division.

The Georgia Peaches, from Montgomery Ala., of all places, won the trophy in the 65+ A Division.

Staff writer Keith Walker can be reached at (703) 878-8063.

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