Well fans, at this writing, the Softball group is on hiatus, with our Summer season ending Friday, September 23. Our new season starts Monday, October 10 and with the deadline for the “Notes” being Thursday, October 13, you ain’t gettin’ much softball action in this issue. But… by the time this comes out in late October, our VETERAN’S DAY TOURNAMENT will be just a couple weeks away! That’s right, SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 12, from 8 a.m. to about 2 “ish” p.m., the softballers will be dishin’ out softball drama and a bit (or more) of comedy as well. And… of course… our volunteers will be dishin’ our dogs, brauts, drinks, etc. (donations appreciated) around 11 ish a.m. Be there or be square.
Anyhoo, with little softball action to report, I thought I’d plagiarize a document from our website which provides a bit of history on SaddleBrooke Senior Softball—How It All Began. This was written by our then-President, Mark Hojnacki.
SaddleBrooke Senior Softball—How It All Began“Many in our Association credit SaddleBrooke resident Vic Garcia as the individual who kick-started the SSSA in 1996 when he formed a softball team, the SaddleBrooke Blues, to play in the Senior Softball League in Tucson. Those games were played at the Craycroft and 22nd Street softball field and consisted of teams from Sierra Vista, Green Valley, Oro Valley, SaddleBrooke and Tucson. Because of the distance the teams had to travel they played double-headers on Fridays from October to April. In 1999, the SaddleBrooke Reds were added with the SaddleBrooke Whites joining a year later. The Blues were rarely beaten during the first two years, but the downtown league folded following the 2004 season. Four of these early players are still active in our leagues today, Brad Adair, Jack Graef, Ron Quarantino, and Larry Weber.
Looking for a place to play closer to home, four of our players (Ron Sanders, Gene Bovee, John Vosper and Charlie Brehm) met with Mr. Robson to determine if he would build us a field within the SaddleBrooke community. Near the end of 2004, Mr. Robson agreed to build the facility which exists in the southwest corner of our development just off Edwin Road.
On May 17, 2005, the field at SaddleBrooke was ready for play with 138 players signed up to play in four leagues, Recreation, Community, Coyote and Competitive. Ron Quarantino was the first batter up and hit an inside-the-park home run on the first pitch thrown. Today, we have more than 180-players who now play in those four leagues plus a new Sidewinder League which begins play this month. Many of our players play in multiple leagues based on skill level.
Including the above-mentioned players, Al Cangeme, Jerry Cowart, Ken Crossman, Mike Hamm, Leroy Johnson, Mark Magdanz, Mark Schauer, Bill Spevak, Dave Stevens and Jim Westerberg were early participants who still play today. We have a league for residents of all skill levels, so if interested in joining us, contact Association President Mark Hojnacki at …. (I’ve eliminated his email address as Mark is no longer President).
We have four tournaments every year where we put our skills on display for the community—St. Patrick’s Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day and Veteran’s Day—with free Hot Dogs, Brats, cookies, sauerkraut, chips and non-alcoholic drinks. We do accept donations. Come out and see us play either at tourney time or during the week, mornings Monday thru Friday.”
Well, I don’t know exactly when Mark put that together, but I think early in 2019 “ish.” So, some of the information regarding the members mentioned is no longer current. Currently, Peter Romeo is the Association Prez. And we now have some 200+ members with four seasons, Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. Generally, there is a two-week break between seasons with a three week break in December and January between our Fall and Winter seasons.
Yours truly moved here in 2017, so basically I’m clueless about anything before that time (although there are those that might “suggest” I’m still pretty much clueless about everything after then as well.) Anyhoo, I drifted on down to the ballpark here the other day to gather some intel, and sure enough, some of the softball junkies/deadbeats were hanging about watching batting practice. The “Mayor,” Paul Buchanan, along with Rick Ervin and Alan Stein were “assessing the talent” and generally exercising their jaw muscles, so I shifted into my investigation mode and moved in for the journalistic “kill.” Like taking candy from a baby (well, triplets). You know what they say, “Loose lips sink ships,” and these guys got three of the loosest sets around.
The field with the fencing, when built, was “it.” At the time, there was no scoreboard, scoring/announcing booth, grandstands, seating, etc. Nuthin’. But Joe Lestingi put his nose to the ground and began rounding up funding. Fairwinds-Desert Point assisted with the scoring/announcing booth behind home plate and the Association team built it. Our electronic scoreboard came to us via a generous donation by Jim Click Automotive. Lestingi and “his team” rounded up donors and sponsors, and held a raffle and the covered grandstand area and the dugouts were built around 2015. The grandstand seating with fold-up seats, cup-holders, and all, were sponsored by the members and by the “sale” of the seats, now with commemorative plaques on each. These days, the dugouts have water fountains, fans, and misters for those dog days of summer. Naturally, there are bathrooms, a room for our field maintenance machinery and an equipment room for bats, balls, and screens, including a coupla’ fridges to keep plenty of liquid on hand whether we remember to bring our own or not.
So… the weather is about to turn perfect for the next coupla’ months, so, come on down to the ballpark and check us out, still mornings every Monday through Friday. Or surf saddlebrookeseniorsoftball.com. And don’t forget our VETERAN’S DAY TOURNAMENT!!!!! SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 12, beginning 8 a.m. to the end (around 2 p.m.).