POUGHKEEPSIE – The Poughkeepsie Men’s Senior Softball League has a reputation locally, regionally, and internationally.
While this local league of “old-timers” plays at fields in Spratt Park in the City of Poughkeepsie and Stanley Stills Park off Jackson Road, the league has produced tournament team championships on every level of recreational senior softball extending beyond the borders of the U.S. to as far as the World Championships in Japan.
Targeted to local players 60 years of age and older, the Poughkeepsie league boasts 150 players in the Monday “A” and “B” leagues and another 120 players in the Wednesday league. “That’s pretty good when you consider the league started twenty one years ago with just six teams”, said League Administrator Jack Sullivan.
Now the league has four teams in the “A” league and eight teams in the “B” league and another eight teams in the Wednesday league.
The oldest player in the league is 87, with a good number of players in their early to mid seventies.
East Fishkill resident Joe Broun is 72 and still active in the regular season games as well as monthly tournaments. “I’ve been blessed I’ve been able to play successfully and win just about any tournament we’d played in, at least once”, said Broun, a standout player in the local league and named MVP in the All-Japan tournament.
Jim Ranucci, a former Athletic Director at John Jay High School, will turn 70 in March and is still one of the more active players both in the Poughkeepsie league and in tournaments. He plays with a hybrid tournament team made up of players from the Poughkeepsie league as well as players from Syracuse. “The Cyclones’ 60’s and 65’s, 70’s and 75’s have all won national championships”, he said.
A good many players are in it just for the camaraderie, and the chance to be a kid again. “These are guys I played softball with, or against, for forty years,” said Bill Norton, former City of Poughkeepsie Recreation Director. ” You come out, you play, you kid each other, and when the game is over you go out and enjoy each other’s company.”
The league is unique in that it conducts a re-drafting of teams each year to avoid any one team dynasty. “It’s the best thing about this league”, added Ranucci. “Because unlike in the 30’s and 40 year old teams, if you don’t get a long with another guy from another team, those teams stay together and the rivalries continue, but here, the guy that you may not be best friends with, may be the guy you’re playing next to the following year and things smooth out.”
The league has altered some of the standard softball rules, for safety reasons. An alternative base at first and at home is designed to avoid any collisions at first base or at the plate.
“It’s great”, said a smiling Stan Smilkstein, manager of this season’s “A” league championship team. “I get to be a kid again for two hours. Then we get in the car and get old again, but it’s really a lot of fun”.
Smilkstein’s Miller’s team beat Junior’s Lounge 18-11 for the 2017 championship. Miller’s also won the 2016 championship.<img class=”size-medium wp-image-118026 alignleft” src=”http://hudsonvalleynewsnetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Miller-Funeral-Home-300×169.jpg” alt=”” width=”300″ height=”169″ />
For more information about the league, and to sign up for next season, contact Jack Sullivan at