Play Ball!

by Jul 24, 2023South Brunswick, Sports

Men’s Senior Softball is popular in Brunswick County, but they’re always welcoming new players.

Danny Kallick enjoys playing softball, and so do about 300 other Brunswick County men who are at least 50 years old. As president of the Brunswick County Men’s Senior Softball League, Kallick is reaching out to new residents, nonresidents and those not familiar with the league, which organizes teams in the spring and fall.
“We are always looking to recruit new players to help strengthen and grow the league,” he says.

From 15 to 20 men comprise a team, and the 2023 Tuesday spring league included 10 teams. The spring league plays 14 weeks, two games a week or a double header, starting the last Tuesday in March and going through June. It ends with playoffs and awards. The fall league begins in September and goes through the
third week of November, also with playoffs and awards. Sign-up is year-round.

Rather than being assigned a team, some of the neighborhoods throughout the county developed their own team, such as Sandpiper Bay in Sunset Beach, the Bandits at Ocean Ridge Plantation in Ocean Isle Beach, Winding River in Bolivia and the Jimmies and the Gators from St. James Plantation in Southport.

There are teams with sponsors, including TLC (Total Lawn Care, a business in Sunset Beach), Coastal Tire in Shallotte, the team Kallick is on, and Humana.

Tom Kilbridge Danny Kallick Greg Martin Larry Long

Larry Long of Calabash is on the TLC team and says he joined the league “a long time ago.” Since the league started in 1996, he says he could have been on the first teams because he moved to the area in 1989. “It’s all about fun,” he says.

Three years ago the league introduced the Thursday draft league. It is made up of four teams of 14 players each. “We take the first 56 people who pay to play,” Kallick says.
“First come, first served. Nobody gets left out because of the way they play. We rank them according to ability.”

These teams follow specific rules that include following a batting order and playing in the field for at least two innings.

Teams play 10 weeks and have playoffs and awards. Ted Symanski of Ocean Isle Beach joined the league seven years ago and plays in both the Tuesday league on the Bandits and the Thursday draft league. “We really do have a lot of fun,” he says. “I really love playing.” The Senior Softball League has the support of Brunswick County Parks and Recreation, which has reserved parks each morning throughout the week so teams can practice. It designates a home park for teams, usually the one closest to where the majority of the players on that team live. It also provides the umpires and prepares the fields for the games.

jack stoneberg pitching at practice

“Brunswick County is awesome,” Kallick says.  Players practice hitting a few times a week at their home parks. “I want to take a minimum of 100 swings when I get up there,” Kallick says.

Rodney Gause, first baseman on the Coastal Tire team, says he joined a team in 2017 after he retired as Shallotte’s long-time chief of police. “I enjoy the fellowship of these players,” he says. “Everybody gets along. We have a good time and get some exercise. We have fun.” Tom Kilbridge of Ocean Isle Beach joined the league in 2015 and plays outfield on the Bandits.

“It’s fun because you have a bunch of 50, 60, 70-year-olds that get to play like they are 25,” he says.

Greg Martin of Calabash, who joined the league four years ago and plays outfield with the Bandits, agrees with his fellow players. “I like the camaraderie, the male bonding,” he says. “I’ve played ball most of my life.” “Everyone is friendly, and getting to know so many men is making retirement life terrific,” Kallick says. He left Burke, Virginia, eight years ago where he was a high school math teacher and baseball coach, but softball was part of his life there, too. He also plays in the Wednesday night draft league in Myrtle Beach. “It’s very competitive,” he says.

danny kallick

The participation form is at the league’s website. The initial yearly fee is $15 for Brunswick County residents and $25 for nonresidents. Each team then pays $150 for the spring league and then again for the fall league. If they wish, each team can have a sponsor.

Get in on the action:
Brunswick County
Men’s Senior Softball