WILLIAMSBURG — Established in 2019, the Williamsburg Senior Softball League has been offering competitive slow-pitch softball at the Williamsburg Indoor Sports Complex (WISC) for men in the Williamsburg area who are 50 and older and women 40 and older.
Now the league is looking to continue its growth, including possibly playing against other senior leagues in the future.
The league was founded by John Antretter and Jim Ratkus. Both men had played softball in the Wilmington, North Carolina senior league before moving to Williamsburg. Slowly, they worked to build up the league — playing at Quarterpath Park and hosting a winter program to keep the players in shape to avoid injury.
During the winter program, members meet at the WISC facility, using the indoor turf soccer field to do simple softball drills and practices as a way to help their members stay in shape, teach newer members, and give them the opportunity to expand their skills.
When the league started, there were 36 players placed on three different teams. As of last year, the league has expanded to over 100 players divided among seven teams, and next season they expect to see a jump to around 120 players over eight teams broken into two divisions.
One of the things that make the Williamsburg Senior Softball League unique as opposed to traditional leagues is that it will substitute for missing players, according to Antretter. This helps give flexibility to players with busy lives, but still allows them to have something to do when they would usually be free.
“We encourage a kind of a play-life balance, where your wife or significant other might say, ‘we have a picnic to do that day but you can’t go because of softball.’ You can go and keep everyone happy and keep your team happy because we’re going to sub you and allow you to go on a trip to Florida or a vacation,” co-founder Antretter said. “When someone is recruited and they say, ‘oh no, I’m too busy to do this.’ Well what does that mean? ‘Well, we like to travel.’ Good for you, you can travel. As long as you can give us some sort of commitment we’ll patch you in. I’ve never had a league that has done that.”
Currently, the league plays competitively between themselves on two fields at Quarterpath park using Senior League rules. The group will then go out and eat together after they play, saying they enjoy the social aspects of the league as much as the competition.
“This year we are thinking of putting an All-Star team together and maybe challenging some other leagues to make Williamsburg a little more prominent on the map of Senior Softball,” Antretter said.
The league is a completely-volunteer organization with a $75 member fee. The league notes it is the support of the WISC, Colonial Sports, and Pickleburg that makes it possible, as well as all of its sponsors.
For more information about the league, including dates and how to join, check out its official webpage.