By Nathan Ham
It’s never too late to bring back the glory days on the diamond. The High Country Senior Softball Team is hoping to add more men ages 60 and over to their team for the upcoming season.
Players get together each Tuesday at 10 a.m. at Lees-McRae College and each Thursday at 10 a.m. at Watauga County Parks and Recreation’s Complex Field in Boone.
The season starts on June 1 and ends on September 30.
There are two styles of play for the group: A competitive team that wants to play games against teams from surrounding areas and a casual team that wants to use the sport as a good way to be outside and get exercise.
Players are invited to choose one location to play at each week or play at both spots. Bats and balls are provided, players should bring their own glove and any other equipment they might need.
This is the second year of the league, organized by Bert Valery. Valery said he tried to get the league started in 2016, sending out flyers to five local counties and their parks and recreation departments and senior groups, but had no luck.
“In 2017 I expanded my advertising to the local papers, magazines, city halls and the YMCA,” Valery said.
After that, interest started to grow in Avery and Watauga.
“Almost every time I went to those two sites there would be a new face wanting to play ball. By mid-July, we had enough guys to actually play other senior teams from the Tri-City and Asheville area,” Valery said.
The teams will continue to practice on Tuesday and Thursday and play games on Monday, Wednesday and Friday against other opponents. According to Valery, right now he has 10 guys ages 60-69 and 12 guys from 70-79. Some of the games they play, including the games against Hendersonville, Johnson City and Franklin, mix the age groups together. He said if they can find another 20 players this year that want to compete, they’ll be able to compete in five-year age group games.
For more information on the senior softball team, give Bert Valery a call at 727-215-5560 or email him at [email protected].
Avery County Parks and Recreation, Watauga County Parks and Recreation, High Country Senior Games and Lees-McRae College have all helped make this senior softball team possible.