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Orillia's 'boys of summer' ready to hit diamonds for 14th season

The 55+ team is having open practices over the next couple of weeks in a bid to 'recruit some younger, skilled softball retirees'
Orillia Team
The Orillia Senior Softball team will compete with Wasaga Beach Warriors on May 24.

The Orillia National Nutrition senior slo-pitch team is preparing for its 14th season, commencing with open practices starting next week at Tudhope Park in Orillia.

The team is planning two open practices for players 55 years of age and older in advance of the season beginning May 23.

The Orillia team originated 13 years ago when local softball and tennis pro, Peter Koehli, garnered a group of interested softball enthusiasts to form a team to play in the Simcoe-Muskoka Senior Softball League. Orillia's squad competed against teams from Huntsville, Bracebridge, Wasaga Beach, Midland/Penetang and two Barrie teams.  

The initial 10 years were a great success for Orillia, winning the league championship each year.

However, the past two years, Barrie has successfully recruited a winning team to relegate Orillia to finalists.  

"The boys of summer from Orillia would like to turn the tide this year and return to their winning ways with an effort to recruit some younger, skilled softball retirees as the core group of players seems to be aging and talking a better game than they are capable of playing," quipped Wayne Martin, the team's player/coach.

The season will start May 23 with Orillia travelling to Barrie to face their arch rivals, in the season opener.  Thereafter, teams alternate home and away games until the end of August.

The season concludes with a year-end tournament typically in Barrie or Bracebridge, communities that have at least a three-diamond complex accommodating the six-team format.

'We only have a few openings as we like to keep the roster at a manageable level of 15-16 as I bat the whole lineup during regular season play," said Martin.  

"We do have an alternative recreation league option in Barrie that balances four co-ed teams, which is less competitive than the travelling teams. We do have a few players from Orillia that play in this league as well," Martin said.

Due to the weather, the city has kept local diamonds closed. As a result, the team's first practice will be Tuesday, May 9 at 9 a.m. at Tudhope Park, followed by a second practice in the same location, May 16 at 10 a.m.

The team's home opener is slated for Tuesday, May 30 at 9:30 a.m. at Tudhope Park.


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