Senior softball league heats up

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Vernon/Region - posted Fri., Jul. 15, 2011
Richie Chmielecki watches his hit fly deep into the outfield as his Falcons faced the Ravens in a Vernon Senior Softball game on July 13. Photos by Steve Smith.
Richie Chmielecki watches his hit fly deep into the outfield as his Falcons faced the Ravens in a Vernon Senior Softball game on July 13. Photos by Steve Smith.

The playoff chase is heating up in the Vernon Senior Softball league.

The Cardinals (all teams are named for birds) are atop the standings, but six of the eight teams in the league are within 4.5 games.

On July 13, the Falcons met the Ravens in what was essentially a battle for third place, with the Ravens prevailing in an 11-2 win.

With four weeks left in the regular season, including several make up dates for early-season rainouts, it's still anyone's ballgame.

The league's public relations chair, Rich Andreoli, (also a member of the Blue Jays) said the players know what's at stake.

“We're very competitive at the top, and we have one team at the bottom that's a new team,” he said. “Our top five teams are real competitive. It always comes down to the wire.”

Andreoli added that last year, the last place team made it as far as the playoff finals.

John Dufford, the Falcons' 90-year-old catcher, said he hopes to step up his game for the playoff push.

“[My season hasn't been] as good as I'd hoped,” Dufford said. “I figure I ought to be doing a little better. But, I'm enjoying it.”

Dufford said he is just grateful for the opportunity to play, and added that it helps him stay healthy, despite being a generation older than some of the other players in the league.

“One of the guys did the math, and the 55-year-olds (the league's minimum) are over 30 years younger than I am,” he said. “I try to be as healthy as I can, but a lot of them are good. They have lost one step, but they're pretty much still in the prime of life.”

Andreoli said the league has had a well-attended and relatively injury-free season, with 115 players from several Connecticut towns taking part.

“So far, so good,” he said. “We haven't had a lot of injuries. It's usually this time of year that we see that.”

The league's games are played at 3:45 p.m. and 5 p.m., at the field behind Center 375 on Hartford Turnpike.

For more information, visit www.vernonseniorsoftball.org.


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