Story by Frank Rizzo
They still talk about the year the Sullivan Senior Softball team beat Charlie’s Angels.
It was the only loss of the season for the Sullivan County Women’s Softball League’s perennial champs. Legend has it that the Angels were so stunned (or embarrassed) they demanded extra innings or a game the next day to try to expunge the blot on their record or redeem themselves.
Or so some of the Seniors were claiming on Monday night at the White Sulphur Springs Firemen’s Field, where the annual showdown took place.
Competitive games have been played since the “rivalry” began sometime in the 2000s. Monday wasn’t one of them, as the Angels prevailed 21-4 after falling behind 4-3 at the end of one.
Lisa Krom took the win for the Angels. Tom Schmidt and Ron Canfield shared mound duties for the Seniors.
It wasn’t a simple case of youth versus age; a number of the Angels have played in all three decades since the team was formed in the early 1990s. So it wasn’t surprising that members on both teams took advantage of the loose rules to have “designated runners” standing off to the side and running for them when they took their turns at bat.
As the Angels built up their lead, Manager Jo Walls told some Seniors standing near her third base coaching box that she was missing a couple of her best players.
“They’re taking it easy on us!” joshed Jack Costello of Jeffersonville, 72.
Watching Nicole Accomando, aka “The Gazelle,” flash around the bases, one Senior commented, “Even when she’s slow, she’s fast!”
At least there were no jokes heard about needing oxygen tanks. That was a common gag when Charlie Barbuti Sr. of Liberty was running the team. Charlie, who founded the squad in 1990, managed it until his passing in 2001 and was succeeded by Bill Engle of Callicoon Center. Engle stepped down in favor of Ron Moore this year.
The team played about 10 “regular season” games in 2012, all in Callicoon Center. Catskill Hudson Bank has been a sponsor since 2009, although, according to Engle, “We did not request funds this year but still wear their uniforms when we have a ‘formal’ game such as we did on Monday.”
Engle said an important change in the team setup occurred this year.
“Rather than maintain a strong team identity and search for suitable opponents, we decided to invite anyone who is 55 or over to come to Callicoon Center on Tuesday evenings to enjoy playing a pick-up game,” Engle said. “We’ve been flexible on the age requirement which is why some of our players are in their 40s. This has worked very well. People have joined us from all parts of the county including Grahamsville, Wurtsboro, North Branch, Callicoon Center, etc. Three players are from Pennsylvania.”
Despite the lopsided loss, the Seniors did not demand an immediate rematch. Their revenge will have to wait until next year.