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Monday, June 9, 2014

Nashua area senior softball league turns 10

NASHUA – Bill Mulley wasn’t asking for much. All he wanted was an opportunity to play some softball.

So in May 2005, Mulley, who spends his winters in Florida and summers in Nashua, decided to do something about it. ...

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NASHUA – Bill Mulley wasn’t asking for much. All he wanted was an opportunity to play some softball.

So in May 2005, Mulley, who spends his winters in Florida and summers in Nashua, decided to do something about it.

Mulley put an advertisement in The Telegraph calling all men 60 and older to take part in the Greater Nashua Senior Softball League. The first practice drew 14 people.

By the first game on June 3, 2005, the league had 20 players who made up two teams.

What Mulley couldn’t have imagined was the tremendous growth the league would experience over the next decade.

“I just wanted to play softball,” Mulley said. “I was originally just happy with the two teams.”

On Monday, the league celebrated its 10th season in a brief ceremony at a sun-baked Yudicky Field, and looked back on just how far Mulley’s dream exceeded his expectations.

The league now consists of more than 110 players divided into nine sponsored teams that play 32 scheduled games over a four-month period, followed by a
double-elmination tournament to determine a winner for that year. There are distinct rules, managers and even umpires who answer to a Board of Directors.

“It’s amazing,” said Mulley, who emceed Monday’s event which brought back many of the surviving players from the original two teams.

“I think the people like myself were just looking for something like this,” Mulley added. “I played softball every summer. When I come up here to visit my grandchildren I’m bored to death. I put that advertisement in the paper and people were looking for something to do. A lot of guys haven’t played softball in 20 years. One guy hadn’t even played baseball at all.”

With four players from the inaugural season dying recently, Mulley decided it was time to reunite as quickly as possible. He reached out to all the original players, and the two sides were introduced to the league’s largest crowd of the season, followed by a brief exhibition game. Current Mayor Donnalee Lozeau and former Mayor Bernie Streeter tossed the ceremonial first pitches.

“Player-wise and spectator-wise, this is good,” said league president Bob Lavoie, who is in his sixth year. “We get out here in mornings and rarely does anybody show up other than the players. It’s good to see some spectators.”

Just like the first time around, Mulley’s biggest challenge in organizing the event was getting enough former players to attend. Some had prior commitments, and one had an emergency doctors appointment come up.

“I wish we could’ve had more people,” Mulley said.

Said Lavoie: “We were skeptical for a while because we couldn’t reach a lot of the players for different conditions, but (Mulley) did a good job, really good job.”

Time will determine whether or not the league will continue its upward trend. But considering where it began, Mulley is more than satisfied.

“We used to give out awards. Like Little League, everybody got an award until the league got to be too big. It’s hard to come up with awards for 110 people,” he joked.