Johnson City Press Thursday, August 28, 2014

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Sports

Senior softball league seeks players

March 6th, 2014 10:07 pm by Jeff Birchfield

Charlie Matiolli had modest goals when trying to revive senior slow pitch softball in the Tri-Cities area.

He has been able to reach those goals and build more momentum as intraleague play is about to begin every Monday and Wednesday.

There are 33 players committed to playing twice a week at Winged Deer Park and the group had more good news Wednesday that CrestPoint Health has agreed to become the primary sponsor for TriCities Senior Softball.

The current goal is to get more players involved. Another 10-15 players would be ideal for what Matiolli, the organization president, currently envisions.

“We have enough players now where we can split into two teams,” he said. “We have about seven guys playing for other teams where it might take them away from our Wednesday practice. We have enough for league play, but we would like to have a few more players for tournaments.”

The group has elected officials including Ron Settle as Vice President and Ron Settle as Secretary-Treasurer. They have a website up and running, complete with registration forms, by-laws and rules of play for their games.

Matiolli stressed those who are interested in playing, they need to be at the Johnson City Seniors Center on Tuesday at 10 a.m. for a key meeting.

Much of the March 11 meeting is to gauge interest in playing in outside tournaments, specifically if the ones who sign up want to travel and how far.

“There are people who have called who aren’t interested in traveling,” Matiolli said. “What happened in the past, if they weren’t interested in tournaments, there wasn’t much back here for them. We want to emphasize we will have these league games twice a week. That’s the number one goal, the league play. The next goal is the desire of the men on the rosters if we can get games for the 60s, the 65s and the guys 70 and above.”

The group has one tournament scheduled for sure with plans to host the Tom Williams Memorial Tournament in July.

Matiolli is also interested in a Maryville tournament, and he would like to schedule some games with teams from Hendersonville, N.C. since it shouldn’t require more than two hours of travel for either side.

“We have to look hard at the tournaments based on the final rosters,” he said. “We can play down. The 65-year-olds can play down with the 60s, but that’s sometimes a hard deal.”

Matiolli is also working hard to recruit players from the Kingsport and Bristol areas since most of the current players are either from Johnson City or Elizabethton.

Overall, he’s pleased with how the organization they’ve come in a short time.

“We’re doing pretty good,” he said. “I’m trying to be modest in the goals, but we have enough to have league play. We’ve got a lot of guys, even though they’re committed to other leagues, who are committed to the team because they want to be able to stay around here and play on a weekly basis. We really are a close community who enjoy each other’s company.”

For those interested in more information, they may visit the website or call Mike Woods, Sports Recreation Director at the Johnson City Senior Center, at 434-6223 or Charlie Matiolli, league president, at 543-1962.

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