Major milestone for a special league

South Placer club celebrates 20th year
By: James Leash, Special to The Press-Tribune
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The South Placer Senior Softball Club begins its 20th season in April. The league plays its games at Maidu Park on Tuesday nights from April through September. “We want people to know that we exist for all skill levels and that at this age the game we play is as much about friendships we develop and getting off the couch as the competition, although it is amazing how we ‘old guys’ can still play,” said Bob Paese, a five-year veteran of the league. The members range in age from the over 70-year-old crowd down to the 50-year-old youngsters. “I think the best thing about the league is that we have a draft every year so players end up on different teams, said Tom Best, a former league president. “Within a couple of years you get to know everyone.” The league began as an idea of Ida Mae Ding in the summer of 1989. “It was sort of a joke at first,” Ding said. “I said I would start a league for my husband, Jerry, and give it to him for his birthday.” With that a board of directors was formed in 1989 that included Jerry Ding as president, Jerry Lovelace as vice-president, and Ida Mae Ding as the secretary/treasurer. Clyde Kennedy, Jim McCormick, Eddie Fisher, Ron Maddox, Dell Frederick, Ruth Lockett, Ralph Becker, and Bill Ross also participated in the formation of the league. The first group of seniors that responded formed the basis for the SPS Softball Club. They played pick-up games in the winter of 1989 at Saugstad Park in Roseville on Sunday mornings. Then came the big day when the original group of 59 charter members comprised of five teams held its opening ceremonies at 5:45 p.m. on Tuesday, April 3, 1990, at Saugstad Park. Bob Turner, with NorCal Embroidery, led off the game, and the league, with a triple. The 1991 through 1994 seasons were played with eight teams at Saugstad and Buljan Parks. In 1995 the league moved to Maidu Park, and grew to 10 teams. By 2004 the League was split into two divisions (50 and 60 age groups) with a total of 14 teams. The decision to form two divisions allowed the over-60 players a choice to play with the older guys. Approximately a dozen of the original charter members are still playing. Wally Rosenberg, 77, holds the distinguished honor of being the oldest and first player. “If you like to play softball and aren’t worried about your abilities it’s the thing to do,” said Rosenberg. Buzz Homsy, 74, and owner of California Backyard sponsors a team each year and includes the two championships his teams have won over the first 19 years among his favorite memories. The club is always looking for players, and this year they are still short a few in the 50 to 60-year-old age group. Those looking for more information can contact President Bill Hill at 804-2243.