I can’t wait to turn 50 years old, and I’ll tell you why — the Gold Country Senior Softball Association.
The depth and player commitment for the long standing senior (50+) softball league is like no other in our area.
Nearly 170 ballers over the age of 50 comprise the associations two leagues (weeknight and weekend), which features a draft, all-star games, comprehensive stats, a 40-game season and an end of the year tourney.
“People get invested in the league,” GCSSA President Dan House said. “They do that for a variety of reasons.”
House said, aside from the camaraderie, which he views as the associations greatest asset, the stats and the draft really draw people in.
“The draft makes it so the teams change every year,” he said. “So, if you don’t have a good team this year, maybe next year.”
In addition to being the GCSSA president, House is also the manager of the Players Pizza team, and said the draft is well received by the majority of players, and acts as a level for the league.
“Most of the managers we have that do the draft selections are fairly experienced and know the players fairly well,” House said. “The wild cards are the ones who are joining for their first year, you see them practice a few times, but you don’t know exactly what you’re getting. But, the managers are pretty sharp when it comes to putting the teams together.”
With All-Star games and other tournaments scheduled throughout the regular season, the association avoids growing stale during the 40-game season, and remains fresh and engaging.
The stats are also another great draw for the league, said House. While most players claim they don’t care about the stats, almost all of them are checking their stats on a regular basis.
“Players really enjoy the stats,” House said. “Because, you can track if your getting better, it’s immediate feed back.”
For those who have never taken in a GCSSA game at Western Gateway Park, it takes only a few minutes to realize what a quality product they have.
“There are very few disruptions, very few people who antagonize other people, so it works out really well,” House said. “Everybody is pretty tolerant of every body else. We have such a wide range of abilities. We have people who are 50 to 79 this year. We have people who have professional sports backgrounds and we have people that were just driving by, saw someone playing ball, and said ‘hey that looks like fun.’”
The vast array of talent is only matched by the vast array of personalities, but somehow it works, said House.
“We have such a wide range of people, a wide range of jobs, specialties, attitudes, political backgrounds, religious beliefs and all that kind of stuff, but everybody just wants to play ball,” said house. “Week in week out, game after game, it’s very positive.”
For more on the league visit www.gcssasoftball.org.
The 2014 season at a glance
This season, the top of the standings in the weeknight league is a busy place with four teams within 2 ½ games of each other. As of July 3, Tripp’s Auto Body (16-7-1) holds a one-game lead over Myers Investment group. Tuff Grass and B&C True Value both sit 2 ½ games back with roughly 15 games left.
League stat leaders in the weeknight league are Tom Nicholson (.846 batting average, 48 RBIs, three home runs), Dennis Tucker (.779 batting average, 50 RBI), Bob Hannah (.711 batting average, 37 RBIs), and Scott Murray (.725 batting average, 13 doubles, 25 RBIs). For a full list of leaders and stats for every player in the league visit www.gcssasoftball.org.
In the weekend league, as of July 5, AJA Video (10-5) holds a two-game lead in the standings over second place DMCE Concrete & Engineering.
League stat leaders are Bill Standley (.733, 31 RBIs), Steve Burnett (.647 batting average, 25 RBIs), Ray Patton (.679 batting average, 30 RBIs), and Belden Johnson (.643 batting average, 33 RBIs).
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.