The Mount Pearl Men’s Slo-Pitch Softball League just clewed up its 40th season, and already the boys in the 35-plus circuit are looking forward to next season.
The league is certainly one of the oldest slo-pitch organizations in the province, originating in 1978 with six teams from the community of Mount Pearl playing softball at St. David’s Field.
It’s grown to its current 16-team league today, with 15 players per squad, playing five nights per week from Sunday to Thursday at the Richard Levandier Softball Field, adjacent to the baseball field on Smallwood Drive.
“Having a bit of fun is the primary goal,” said league president Stan Linstead. “We’ve got ’em in the league from 35 to 80.
“We have some teams that try to pick the best players they can because you know men, they don’t go at anything unless they can win. But it’s not a win-at-all-cost league.
“We’ve never had anyone kicked out of a game.”
The league ran this season from mid-May to October, providing each team with 37 games of ball. All for only $100 per player.
“A lot of teams can’t maintain a 16-team league,” said Linstead, the 11th president in the league’s history. “We can.”
“I think it’s safe to say a lot of friendships have been made from the league,” he said. “Every year, there’s a player draft so there’s different teammates every year. So over the course of a couple of years, you get to know everyone in the league.”
The season schedule consists of 15 games per round, with two rounds. The top eight teams continue to play in a playoff format for the K&D Cup, in memory of Clayton Jacobs, and the league championship. The bottom eight teams play a playoff format for the Charlie Sing Memorial Trophy.
Two players, Steve Bugden and Wally Westcott, were part of the original league 40 years ago and still playing today.
In addition to providing a game of ball, the league is active in the community in making financial contributions and participating in various events. The league offers four $500 scholarships to children and grandchildren of members each year, and its provided financial contributions to organizations such as the Canadian Cancer Society, Mount Pearl Special Olympics, the Food Bank and the Royal Canadian Legion.
On Mother’s Day each year, players visit the Janeway Hostel to prepare breakfast for parents staying there.
The 2017 season officially closes with a dinner and dance Oct. 28 at the Reid Community Centre.