July 18, 2014 at 11:36 PM
RANDOLPH, NJ- The Randolph men’s master softball league has been around for almost forty years. When a sports league is around for that long, the tradition and history that surround it grows richer with every passing year. But tradition and history alone cannot keep something alive, it takes dedication, hard work and organization by members and leaders to make each season a success.
League president Mark O’Sullivan explained the set up, “Each year there are about 11 teams on average, in two separate divisions, who fight for the right to be crowned champions. There are about 15 - 20 guys on each team and they all must be over the age of 30.” We have a White division and a Blue division.”
This year the teams in the white division are BAC HVAC, Metro Supply, Morris Tap and Grill, Ryan Chiropractic and The Orthopedic Group. The teams in the blue division are HCB/First Bank, NJ Bar and Grill, Provident Bar, Randolph Diner, The Barn and Taste Bar and Bistro.
Anyone who has ever attended one of these games, could attest to the feeling of “friendly competition” in the air. That is just another reason why the league has been around for such a long time. Many players who join the league are playing the game for fun, yet they still take it serious enough to make for good competitive games. Matt Milano shortstop for Metro Supply said it best “It’s fun, competitive and great to be around the guys again, it makes you feel like a kid again.”
With the regular season ending and the playoffs starting it is the most exciting time in the league. By this time in the season, many of the guys have battled through aches, pains and strains, among a host of other injuries. In this league, the body doesn’t heal as fast as it used to, but that is also part of the fun and camaraderie as the jokes fly from everywhere each time someone gets nicked up.
O’Sullivan described the season format, explaining “Each team plays 20 games in the regular season. Everyone makes the playoffs and has a chance to earn bragging rights as champions. The playoff series are all ‘best out of 3’.”
The games are played Monday through Thursday night at Brundage Park in Randolph at 8 o’clock. The league is well sponsored by establishments such as The Black River Barn and the Randolph Diner, however they always welcome new sponsors as well as new players. President Mark O’Sullivan is doing a great job keeping the league fun, relevant and organized. O’Sullivan said, “Everybody who’s involved enjoys it, it’s a great thing for the town.”
Hitting a softball pitch falling from a 6-12 foot arc isn’t as easy as these guys make it look. Age isn’t slowing these guys down either, as they play the games with just as much enthusiasm as kids in high school or college, and they probably have more fun. The semi finals start next and the finals start in the first week of August, so the best softball has yet to be played.