22 Softball Teams Qualify for the 2021 National Senior Games in Leesburg

Author  Jason Hendrix & Nick Gandy

LEESBURG, Fla. – With the 2021 National Senior Games to be held in the Greater Fort Lauderdale area next November, Avis Vaught, a long-time Florida Senior Games and National Senior Games athlete, wanted to make sure as many of her counterparts as possible could experience the national biennial event.

leesbuShe made it a personal goal to recruit a significant amount of softball teams to qualify in 2020 giving them plenty of time to prepare for the November 5-18, 2021 event.

Her goal was accomplished the weekend of August 1-2, as 22 teams (19 women, 3 men) qualified in age groups ranging from 50+ to 75+.

“For an athlete, the National Senior Games is a great experience,” Vaught said. “This is one way to get that chance to experience a national event. It’s right here in our backyard, a three or four hour drive. Why not?”

Vaught can speak from experience about the National Senior Games as she has competed in four of the last five events, dating back to 2011.  She missed the 2019 Games in Albuquerque, New Mexico, due to a shoulder surgery.

The teams played a collection of games in and out of their age groups. While Major League Baseball players were playing games in stadiums without fans, Florida Senior Games softball players hit the field in front of empty bleachers at the Sleepy Hollow Spors Complex in Leesburg.

Three teams qualified to make a return trip to the National Senior Games.  The Golden Gals 70+ team, won a bronze medal at the 2019 National Senior Games and were victorious in two Florida Senior Games contests, defeating both 75+ Golden Gals teams. 

Julie Bradley, of The Villages, played on both the Golden Gals 70 and 75+ teams, as a pitcher and first baseman, on Saturday, August 1. She was a member of two gold medal winning teams at the 2019 National Senior Games, the 75+ Golden Gals Softball Team and the 75+ East Coast Bouncers basketball teams

She sees the increased interest of Florida athletes wishing to be a part of the first National Senior Games to come to the Sunshine State since 1999.

“There’s a big buzz among the athletes,” Bradley said, after playing in her first organized softball tournament since March. “This was a good chance to get as many teams and players as possible to the National Senior Games.”

The 75+ Golden Gals team defeated the Freedom Spirit team, from the Tampa Bay area 6-5, in Leesburg.  Freedom Spirit was a bronze medalist at the 2019 National Senior Games and have been playing in the National Senior Games since 1995.

The 55+ Players team, from The Villages, was undefeated in four games, defeating the 55+ Sluggers twice and 60+ Sunny Beaches team twice.

Members of the Players team included; Marisa  Carmody, Sandy Civitarese, Jayme Cordia, Cindy Godfret, Karen Koltnow, Deb Laino, Maria Larageira, Nancy Lee, Julie Robinson-Luca, Connie McNeil, Vicky Reed, Florence Robertson, Mary Pat Schneider, Becky Yurovich.  Midge Ferraro, Verner Uvodich, coaches.

Florida Senior Games Softball
The Sleepy Hollow Sports Complex, Leesburg – August 1,  2020
Women’s Division
50+ - 4 teams (Bags, Kryptonite, Sunny Beaches, Fossils)
Bags 10, Sunny Beaches 9
Bags 10, Players 7
Kryptonite 13, Bags 9
Sunny Beaches 11, Fossils (Rec) 6
Sluggers 11, Sunny Beaches 9
Gold: Bags (2-1); Silver: Kryptonite (1-0); Bronze: Sunny Beaches (1-1)
Gold (Recreation): Fossils (0-1)

55+/60+ Combined
55+ - 3 teams (Players, Sluggers, Sunny Beaches)
60+ - 4 teams (Players, Sunny Beaches, Cappers, Diamonds)
55 Players 10, 55 Sluggers 6
55 Players 13, 55 Sluggers 7
55 Players 8, 60 Players 7
55 Players 8, 60 Players 3
55 Sunny Beaches 19, 55 Sluggers 14
50 Sunny Beaches 10, 55 Sluggers 8
55+ Gold: Players (4-0); Silver: Sunny Beaches (2-0); Bronze: Sluggers (0-4);
60 Cappers (Rec) 6, 60 Diamonds (Rec) 4
60 Sunny Beaches 19, 55 Sluggers 14
55 Players 8, 60 Players 7
55 Players 8, 60 Players 3
60 Players 10, 60 Sunny Beaches 6
60 Players 20, 60 Sunny Beaches 2
60 Diamonds (Rec) 11, 65 Diamonds (Rec) 7
60 Diamonds (Rec) 15, 70 Diamonds (Rec) 3

60 Gold: Players (2-0); Silver: Sunny Beaches (0-2)
60 Gold (Recreation): Cappers (2-0); Silver: Diamonds (0-1)

65+ - 3 teams (Players, Diamonds, Cappers)
65 Players 11, 70 Golden Gals 9
65 Players 7, 70 Golden Gals 4
65 Diamonds  (Rec) 9, 70 Diamonds (Rec) 2
60 Cappers  (Rec)  9, 65 Cappers  OG (Rec) 5
GOLD: 65 Players (2-0)
GOLD (Rec): 65 Diamonds (Rec) 1-1; SILVER: 65 Cappers OG (Rec) 0-1

70+ - 2 teams (Golden Gals, Diamonds)
70  Golden  Gals 7, 75 Golden Gals 4
70 Diamonds (Rec) 8, 60 Diamonds 6
70 Golden  Gals 8, 75 Golden Gals   A 5
GOLD: 70 Golden Gals (2-0)
GOLD (Rec): 70 Diamonds (1-1)

75+ - 3 teams (Golden Gals, Golden Gals A, Florida Freedom Spirit
Golden Gals A 6, Freedom Spirit 5
GOLD: 75 W  Golden Gals A (1-1); SILVER: 75 Golden Gals (0-1); BRONZE: 75 Fla Freedom Spirit (0-1)
Men’s  Division
50+/60+ Combined
50+ - 1 team (Florida Vipers)
60+ - 2 teams (Parady, UCC Hotshots)

50 Fla  Vipers 9, 60 Hotshots 8
60 Parady 25, 60 Hotshots 22
50+ GOLD: Fla  Vipers
60+ GOLD: Parady; SILVER: UCC Hotshots

3 Men’s Teams – All teams qualified for the 2021 National Senior Games
50+ - 1 team (Florida Vipers)
60+ - 2 teams (Parady, UCC Hotshots)

19 Women’s Teams - All teams qualified for the 2021 National Senior Games
75+ - 3 teams (Golden Gals, Golden Gals A, Florida Freedom Spirit
70+ - 2 teams (Golden Gals, Diamonds)
65+ - 3 teams (Players, Diamonds, Cappers)
50+ - 4 teams (Bags, Kryptonite, Sunny Beaches, Fossils)
55+ - 3 teams (Players, Sluggers, Sunny Beaches)
60+ - 4 teams (Players, Sunny Beaches, Cappers, Diamonds)

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