Newsletter No. 3

November updates

The Michiana Senior Softball League’s third newsletter. If you have questions, contact kenbradford@comcast.net.

Fall league champs and runners-up

This is Adam Kroemer’s photo of the fall league finalists after Thursday’s showdown.

It all came down to a cold dark night at Normain Park with Helfman’s Thunder Bats and Price’s Ball Bashers battling for the fall championship.

 Helfman’s was more than up to the challenge, scoring in every inning to win the title, 18-8. Ron Carter’s long home run was a highlight for the champs.

To reach the championship, Helfman’s had to overcome a determined effort from Snookie’s Monsters With Bats. Tied 4-4 in the sixth inning, Helfman’s scored five times for a final score of 9-4. Rodney Smith’s two-run double led the winners.

Our sponsors

We all benefit from the generosity of our 12 sponsors. Last year’s junior-division sponsors were Access Sportswear, Holy Smokes Pizza, Palmer’s Funeral Homes, Powerhouse Electric, Putt Putt and TAG. For the seniors, they were AIM Water Treatment, Barnaby’s of Mishawaka, Builders Store, Christman Construction, OC Hardware and Wesolowski Insurance.

In some cases, these are local businesses that hope to create a positive impression for potential customers. In other cases, they are just good people who want to support our league.

The sponsor fee has been $400 per year for the past several seasons and will stay that way for 2023. Basically, that money pays for your shirts, hats and other incidentals.

On occasion, we lose a sponsor and need a replacement. If you know of a business or individual who may be interested in supporting our league, please let us know so we can put them on our list.

And if you’re buying a pizza or replacing a lost screwdriver, please consider supporting the local businesses that serve as our sponsors. Thank them for their support.

More to the story

Our mid-October newsletter told the story of Dick Martens, who founded our league in 1988. As it turns out, Bob Tajkowski of OC Hardware in the senior division is Dick’s son-in-law.

Bob was at the league’s first game at Merrifield Park and videotaped it, using equipment that Dick kept for his job as a wedding photographer. Bob also recalls that his daughter served as a batgirl and ran the bases for team members who needed a pinch-runner.

This wasn’t Dick’s only project, Bob says. He also was instrumental in starting Northside Little League, where he served as a coach for his son, Rick.

New treasurer

Bob Gorny will be our league’s treasurer for 2023. That means, basically, he’ll be collecting and disbursing funds, and he’ll keep us up to date on our bank balance.

We all owe a big thank-you to Pam Gosbin, who has been our treasurer for the past decade or so. We’ve asked her to take on other projects instead, and we hope to see her around the ballpark for many years to come.

The reason for the switch is this: We were putting Pam in a dangerous spot when she was keeping our books while also being the league’s No. 1 vendor. We function like a non-profit, and the rules are clear on perceived conflicts of interest. Pam and Rich Gosbin own Access Sportswear, the company that supplies us with shirts, hats and other items.

In no way are we implying that there has been a problem with our purchases in the past. It’s more likely that Access is barely breaking even or losing money in its business relationship with the league. We just need to comply with rules that are on the Internal Revenue Service books. The next time you see her, please thank her for her good work.

Do you hate your bat?

It might be worth a try to set up an off-season equipment exchange here. If you have a bat, glove, bag or other softball gear to sell or trade, or if you’re looking to buy something, send me an email at kenbradford@comcast.net. Maybe we can help each other out.

While we’re at it, the league is looking at new ways to raise funds. One idea is to have a spouses’ auxiliary that could organize raffles, 50-50 drawings or food sales. Would anyone be interested in getting this started?

Senior division update

At our October managers meeting, we asked Rich Gosbin for an update on his efforts to move our senior division back to Mishawaka. He said he’s still working on it and can’t estimate when he’ll have a decision or announcement.

In the meantime, we will continue to plan for at least four senior teams to play in 2023 at the Byers Complex. It’s essential that we have a seniors league at Byers for those players who wish to play in both divisions.

Most likely, we will recruit two senior players to serve on our commissioners’ board in advance of the 2023 season. Once we have them in place, we will begin collecting names of players who wish to be on those teams. We will keep last year’s teams as intact as possible but some reconfiguring of rosters will be necessary if we shrink from six to four teams.

Our ideal solution would be for the Mishawaka proposal to be shelved for a year. That would allow a more orderly transition, if there is one. However, that’s not our decision to make. We will get through this together and just have fun in May.

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