Opening Week

Organizing a softball season is a lot like planning a wedding

….when the wedding has about 120 brides.

Perhaps we missed a detail or two, but we hope you are as happy with the first week of our 2023 season as we are – not to mention the great weather we had! If we didn’t get the chance to personally welcome you or thank you for playing with us, we still have three months to get that done.

Special Welcome

We have about 25 new players across our two divisions this season. This means 25 more people are playing senior slow-pitch softball now who didn’t play last year. A few have told us it’s actually been a decade or two since they stepped into a batter’s box. We’re glad to see you back on a diamond.

Schedules, Standings and Scores

Our thanks to Mike Sniadecki, Asst. Director of the Byers complex, for making our scores, standings and schedules readily available on the South Bend softball web site ( The button on the right will take you to there. Scores and up-to-date standings will typically be posted the night of the games. Also, when you click on your team’s name you’ll see your next week’s schedule.

Speaking of schedules, we found and corrected some glitches in the Juniors schedule as of 5/14/23. We have also provided a link on the right of this page so you can download a printable copy. The Senior Division schedule remains unchanged. Any copies of the Junior Division schedule issued prior to 5/14 can be discarded.

Catching up with details

Players on teams with new sponsors have received uniform shirts by now. We’ll be talking with managers to see if we missed anyone.

Another detail we are working on is our rule book. Since rule books can start to read like IRS regulations, our commissioners have posted the noteworthy rules applicable to our league and the Byers complex. (See “Rules, Changes and Updates” to the right.) For example, other leagues playing at Byers do not use the alternate third base line to avoid collisions at home plate. We are working closely with the Byers umpires on nuances such as that. As situations arise or something needs clarification we will work to update the document accordingly. One such rule being revisited as I write this is the time limit for games. Many senior leagues nationwide (and other leagues that play at Byers) use a 60-minute time limit. Our circumstances present the opportunity for a 75-minute time limit, giving a little more breathing room to the seniors while still allowing the junior division games to begin on time.

We all appreciate a longer game is fine when there is good pace and a lot of action. That said, we do not want to see a snowball effect impacting the games that follow throughout the evening. Let’s all do our part: Get on and off the field quickly; Avoid wasting time by choosing our bat at the last second or hunting for our gloves; On-deck and in-the-hole batters – be ready! Substitute runners – be ready! Let’s all do our part to keep up the pace of play to avoid a game being called prematurely and to help ensure the last game doesn’t run too late into the evening.

Ways you can help us

If you enjoy the league, please consider helping us in three ways:

  • Throughout the season, teams sometimes run short on players. They can avoid forfeiting or playing short-handed if they can get a substitute. Steve Sporinsky is collecting names of players who are willing to be on a sub call list. It’s a great way to get more play in when your regular team has a bye or is playing the 7:30 Junior game.
  • The Byers park opens about an hour before our 5 p.m. Senior games. We’re looking for 10 or so volunteers to come a bit sooner to help put up the white home run fences on Tuesdays, Thursdays or both. With a crew that size we can get the job done by around 3:30 leaving the volunteers a little extra time to loosen up and get in some batting practice before other players arrive.
  • We’ll be electing new commissioners in a couple months, and we’re always in need of new managers and assistant managers. The hard work for the procedures, tasks and such are ironed out so it’s easy to step in. If you have ideas that can make us better, please consider assisting us. We also could use a volunteer or two who would like to organize things like this year’s season-ending celebration, home run derby, and maybe a golf, bowling or mini-golf challenge. If you or your better half have the knack for such things let Ken Bradford know.

A personal story

I was at the ballpark early Thursday because I had a lot of things to do. Those chores suddenly didn’t seem important when I looked up and saw Guy Berquist. Guy was the first friend I made when I joined this softball league 10 years ago. He and I were the only rookies that year, and we ended up on opposing teams. But I always kept an eye out for Guy.

I remember one game when I knocked him flat while he was covering second base and I was still learning the league’s odd rules for base-running. Our friendship was tested but survived that.

We would see each other from time-to-time in unexpected places – Notre Dame’s Performing Arts Center; Coveleski Stadium and on golf courses. On Thursday, that unexpected place was the Byers Complex.

He’s not in the league this year. His wife has retired, so she and Guy are moving back east. I had heard he was moving and didn’t know if I would get a chance to say good-bye. This brief time with him Thursday was well-spent. It seem fitting that softball became the bookends to our time together here in the midwest.

This softball league has a lot of comings and goings. One of our commissioners, Steve Latzke, isn’t with us this season because he answered the call to serve as Pastor to a congregation in the Indianapolis area. Bobby Lute has retired after three decades in the league. Snookie Ferency is out for a month or more after a recent surgery.

I’ve played about 400 games in this league and recall only bits and pieces of them. What I remember instead are the thousands of conversations with folks like Guy and Steve and Bobby and Snookie.

For me, the best times in softball are when no one’s keeping score.

Enjoy the game — enjoy the season — enjoy making friends. ~Ken

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