Members of the Venice-based Center for Sight’s 80-plus softball team are not looking like they’re slowing down anytime soon.
The octogenarians won the last three masters championships in the country, and this week they’re defending their United States Senior Softball Association World Masters championship in Las Vegas.
Englewood resident Hugh Brotherton, who played baseball up to his late 20s, started playing softball when he was 62. Turning 82 in November, Brotherton said keeping busy and having a positive attitude are the keys to his success.
“If you wake up with (a positive attitude), all sorts of good things happen,” the infielder said. “We’ve won 50 championships through the years. In order to play this game well, you got to be in shape. When you’re playing strong competition, you got to be at the top of your game or you’ll be beat.”
Player-manager Al Murray has been with the team for 14 years.
“I took over (managing) for Jack (Hudson), who did it for 13 years,” Murray said. “I’m taking it one day at a time. The players just show up and are doing the best they can. That’s all you can ask for.”
Murray pitches for the team and previously played second base.
“You have to put time into it when you pitch,” Murray said. “I played high school baseball. I’ve been playing slow pitch (softball) since I was in my 30s. I was in fast pitch until I was 35.”
Murray said building team chemistry becomes a challenge.
“You always have to bring in new players,” he said. “We’re starting from scratch. In about a month, we should have better chemistry.”
Murray bats last in the lineup.
“I don’t mind it,” he said. “It’s manager privilege. I like to ‘Punch and Judy’(hit with less than full power) and hit line drives.”
The team will be playing up to eight games in a field of 13 teams in the age 80-plus category at the tournament, which runs through Thursday.
Brotherton said they’ll play up to seven games a week year-round.
“We’re too old to take breaks,” Brotherton said. “If we stop, we may never get started again. As long as I can play this game well, I can do anything else well.” Murray said he’s thankful for Center for Sight and all its support.