Month: June 2023

Senior division team photos

By Ken Bradford

Here are the five teams in the senior division.

The O.C. Hardware team. From left are Ken Bradford, Neil Andrews, Bob Tajkowski, Mark Witkowski, Ed Jankowski, Kirby Sprouls, Bobby Hughes, Bobby Knight and Bill Schell. Missing are Dave Ferency, Bob Jameson, Mike Myers and Mike Szymczak.

The Prep & Polish team. In front, from left, are Bob White, Tom Baiz, Phil Zillman, John Albers and George Hartman. In back are Doug Hann, Mike Clark, Jerome Keller, Joe Caruso, Xavier Creary, Heinz Hayen and Ron Betzer. Missing are Tod Moorhead, Terry Hayden and Ken Richmond.

The South Bend Brew Werks team. In front, from left, are Dan Reck, Dave Melander, Ron Wilson, Mike Catanzarite and Corky Towne. In back are John Kjoller, Paul Williams, Faron Lubbers, Paul Wasowski, Mike Pino and Randy Robertson.

The Unity Gardens team. In front, from left, are Don Torok, John Coyle, Steve Klujsza, Russ Kintzele, Dennis Hartsell and Gary Marcus. In back are Gene Kwasniak, Denis Hestad, Emery Hirschler, Dan Thomas, Randy Miller, Jerry AuFrance, Bob Torok, Dale Coleman, Kelly Moyer and Derek Dieter.

The Wesolowski Insurance team. In front, from left, are Keith Peczkowski, Bob Fonseca, Bruce Cernak and Dave Varner. In back are Jerry Hopkins, Jimmy Arnett, Rich Sparks, Gary Duddleson, Jim Gannarelli, Steve Sporinsky and Curtis Kent.

June 27 games canceled

By Ken Bradford

Because of the air-quality advisories, we didn’t play Tuesday night’s games. One of the deciding factors was that many of our players were scheduled for two or three games, which adds to the health risks.

The air quality is improving, and we’re hoping to play Thursday’s games as scheduled.

This was a decision I made after consulting with the other commissioners and the senior division managers. I had worked outdoors that morning as a volunteer at Unity Gardens, and I had noticed that it was becoming difficult for me and others to breathe normally. The health risk was real.

The advisories discouraged prolonged outdoor activities. Our league is comprised entirely of people ages 52 and older, with several close to the age of 80. Even if we feel we were healthy enough to play, many of our friends and teammates may not have been.

An air quality alert is different from a high heat alert. If we have hot temperatures with high humidity, we are likely to play games on those nights. We can shorten those games to five innings and take 10-minute cooling-off breaks to lessen the health risks.

That strategy won’t work with air issues. Sitting in your car with an air conditioner on will not remove particulates from your lungs.

That is how the decision was made. Ideally, this is just a one-time thing that we will not face again this summer. An AQI reading above 200 is considered dangerous. Ours was at 259 at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday and is down to 195 at 10:30 a.m. today (Wednesday). The air quality warning is due to expire at midnight.

Thursday is our Pizza Night before we take a one-week break for Independence Day. I hope to see all of you there.

Junior division team photos

By Ken Bradford

                When I first joined the league a decade ago, I knew only two or three other players. I found myself on a team with unfamiliar guys named Woody, Coach and the Rev. It took a couple of seasons before I knew that Woody was actually Dave Widmar, Coach was Dave Pontius and the Rev was Steve Latzke.

                Elsewhere in the league were at least three guys known as Doc. Everyone knew Snookie, but almost no one knew him as Dave Ferency.

                Over the years, I ran across many players who were identified only by their physical descriptions. James Beldon, for example, was The Deaf Guy. For others, it was their race or their weight or their height. For all I know, people might have known me only as that big, loudmouth, know-it-all idiot.

                It would be better if we knew each other’s names. That way, if we run into each other in a grocery or at Coveleski, we can have an actual conversation and make accurate introductions to our spouses.

                That’s one of the reasons why we’re posting team pictures here. You can match a face with a name. This also is another way to remind ourselves which teams our fellow players are on. If you’re a teammate of Tom Baiz or Bob White on Prep & Polish in the seniors, for example, you’ll also see them with Palmer Funeral Homes in the juniors.

                It’s taken me 10 years and I still know only about 80 percent of the names in our league. This is an attempt to do better than that.

Bowlers Country Club


From left are Barry Schiff, Art Krop, Paul Kazmierczak, Marvin Whitehead, Ron Duvall, Tim Bauer, Dirk Young, Jeff Hainey, Dennis Taylor and Dan Murphey.

Holy Smokes Pizza

In front, from left, are Mike Clark, Jose DeLeon, Rodney Smith and Dennis Hartsell. In back are Al Nutting, Bob Fonseca, Jim Lewallen, Jerry AuFrance, Sean Chiszar, Jimmy Arnett, Mark Witkowski, Jim Gannarelli and Alan Foust.

Palmer Funeral Homes

In front, from left, are Ken Bradford, Gary Duddleson, Bob White, Tom Baiz and Curtis Kent. In back are Doug Hann, Dan Reck, Paul Williams, Randy Miller, Phil Zillman, Joe Caruso, Steve Sporinsky and Rick Betzer.  Missing is Ron Betzer.

Power House Electric

In front, from left, as Mike Ernzen, Matt Creviston, Tom Barnes, John Albers, Adam Kroemer and Bill Snyder. Standing are Bob Knight, Gerard Xaver, Jerome Keller, Jim Hill, Jim Ridenour, Jim Nace, Kirby Prenkert and Mike Catanzarite. Missing are Tod Moorhead and Ted Panagatos.


In front, from left, Mark Kruszynski, Andy Gemskie, Dave Melander, Ed Jankowski, Don Torok, Scott Martin. In back are John Rice, Rob Harris, Scott Britton, Faron Lubbers, Mike Fair, Frank Gorny and Joe Gambill.  Missing are Bob Gorny and Wayne Quigley.


Free pizza

We’ll have pizza from Holy Smokes after each of the games Thursday, June 29. Please plan to stick around for a free slice or two. While you’re at it, consider buying a beverage from the concession stand.

Home run derby

Our annual sluggers contest will be at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 12, on the IUSB diamond at Memorial Park. The fences are about 225 feet and we use higher-powered balls, so a lot more players have a chance to win. The entry fee is $10, a portion of which will go into a 50-50 drawing. Spectators can pay $5 as well to get into the drawing.

Fall ball and all-stars

Adam Kroemer is collecting names for a possible fall league. If you’re interested, contact him.

Al Nutting and Mike Fair are interested in having an all-star game against players from the Mishawaka league. Let them know if you’re interested.

Michiana Senior Softball news, June 14, 2023

We’re starting the sixth week of our 2023 season, which puts us close to our midway point. If you’re interested in the standings, click on the yellow tab labeled Scores, Standings and Schedules. The umpires and Byers Complex staff update the scores after all games are finished on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Weather reports

Our seniors played but the juniors were rained out Tuesday. We’re looking at ways to make up these three postponed junior games.

Rainouts are decided by the Byers staff. If the grounds are too wet during the afternoon, a commissioner will get a call from Byers and will contact the managers, who will contact their team members. If the rain arrives later, the decision is made by the umpires at the site.

If there is excessive heat, decisions on postponements are made by our commissioners, not by the Byers staff.

Our primary goal is to make sure players are safe. As long as they are safe, we should play. In many cases, managers can agree to shorten the game to five innings or have a 10-minute cooling-off break sometime during play. Canceling games should be a last resort.

Home run derby

Details will be announced later, but you should circle Wednesday, July 12, on your calendar. That’s the tentative derby date. The entry fee likely will be $10 for ten guaranteed swings. Mike Catanzarite is co-hosting again this year.

League referendum

Another key date is Thursday, July 13, when we will distribute referendum ballots for the 2024 season.

Our goal is to allow good ideas to make the league better and to have our league members make the choices. Referendum topics could include:

  • extending our agreement to play at the Byers Complex.
  • continuing with the portable home run fences.
  • approving a later start time for senior division games.
  • allowing pitching screens for senior division games.
  • adopting a non-profit structure for our league.
  • lowering or raising age restrictions.
  • changing rules on legal bats in both divisions.

Pros and cons of each issue will be presented in a newsletter before the referendum. If you have ideas you would like to submit, please let us know.

Commissioner election

Thursday, Aug. 3, will be our election day for 2024 commissioners. We’ll be replacing at least two current commissioners and as many as four. Generally, we ask that commissioners stick with us for three-year terms.

If you’re interested in serving as a commissioner, please contact one of us so we can put your name on the ballot in August. If you’re curious about what our commissioners do, please ask.

Fall ball

We have the option of playing a fall schedule at Byers. Adam Kroemer will be counting heads to see if we will have enough players. We need to make a decision on this by the middle of July.

End-of-the-year celebration

We probably won’t have the traditional awards banquet at the end of this season. Frankly, it was an expensive event that leaned heavily on presenting championship shirts that cost the league about $19 apiece.

We haven’t had anyone step up to take charge of such an event. Here are two lower-key options that we can consider:

1. Some sort of game – two all-star teams playing each other, or maybe an all-star team playing against the league champions. Food could be available through a carry-in, through the snack bar or from a local vendor. If we apply for a one-day permit, we could set up a beer garden as well.

2. A giant outing at Bowlers Country Club. They have 14 bowling alleys and 9 golf holes, as well as darts and a pool table. We could set up competitions among existing teams for golf or bowling honors.

If you have an idea or want to help organize, please let us know.