BY GENE NARDI
On Saturday, June 27 and Sunday, June 28, the Florida Half Century Softball League hit Palm Beach County with full force, drawing in 64 teams from as far away as Tallahassee to compete at three different county venues: Okeeheelee Park, John Prince Park and PGA Park. Multiple venues were needed to accommodate all the teams. Several local teams participated.
The Florida Half Century Amateur Softball Association is a nonprofit organization made up of experienced softball players throughout the state who strive to promote the sport and participate at a more competitive level.
Every year, the tournaments are hosted by a team within the association. This weekend’s event was hosted by the Kahiko (Ancient) Hawaiians, a local team.
“We have the top 38 teams from the 50-to-59 age group playing at this venue,” said tournament sponsor Spike Goddard of the Hawaiians.
The association has been in existence for more than 25 years, and has divisions for those 50-59, over 60, over 65, and over 70. The Palm Beach County tournament was only for the 50-59 division. Within the age group, there were six total divisions that compete in the association’s circuit during the calendar year.
Teams accumulate points from 12 tournaments played, and are placed in various divisions to compete for the championship.
“The Half Century Softball Association is the best softball circuit in the state for competition,” Tournament Director Wayne Berryhill said. “Some of the players compete at the national level as well.”
Teams play a total of four seven-inning games, or for one hour, whichever comes first. Head-to-head games could be played based on a tie in accumulated tournament points to determine who will move on to make the playoffs.
This year’s Palm Beach County event exceeded last year’s participation. “We’re growing each year, and expect it to be bigger next year,” Berryhill said.
The next tournament will be in July in Winter Haven, for the 60-65 and 70-75 divisions. For more information about the Florida Half Century Amateur Softball Association, visit www.fhcsoftball.org.
ABOVE: All-Secure pitcher Greg Ibrahim from Seffner sends the ball toward the plate.