After missing two years of competition, the New Providence Old Timers Softball Association will return to action this weekend (April 9th and 10th, 2022) with a memorial tournament, but at a different venue under new leadership.
Led by its president Tommy Stubbs, the legendary modified-pitch softball league went inactive due to the pandemic shortly after an executive body was elected to serve a two-year term.
Elected to serve from 2019 and getting unanimous support from council members to officially start their term this year with Stubbs include vice-president Marvin Wood, treasurer Clelia Armbrister, assistant treasurer Andy Ford, secretary Keith Smith and assistant secretary Benson Young. Danny Stubbs has been appointed commissioner.
The 47-year-old league had its 2020 season interrupted two years ago less than one month before opening day due to the coronavirus pandemic which forced the country’s lockdown in March 2020.
The league will launch its return with a preseason double-elimination tournament at Banker’s Softball Field on the weekend of April 9-10 as it awaits the restructure of the William Thompson Softball Park at the Southern Recreation Grounds.
Tommy Stubbs said the tournament will be a two-fold event, one to give teams a chance to better prepare for stiff competition to which they are accustomed and to pay the highest respect to at least 18 league members who died since March 2020.
“Over the past two years we lost some great members of our association and outstanding citizens, including brothers Ed and Kelson Armbrister and their teammate Anthony ‘Poker’ Huyler from the KC Construction team, sponsored by Kelson Armbrister,” he said.
They also lost Judy Brown, a fan favourite who made the park her second home and treated it as such serving as caretaker.
“We knew we had to pay our respects in a significant way since most of us were not able to due to restrictions when they died,” he said. “We thought it only appropriate to stage this tournament as a memorial to remember and celebrate the lives of our fallen members.”
This weekend’s tournament is designed to showcase nine teams from the league and will start action at 10am Saturday and finish on Sunday.
There will also be a home run derby named after prolific slugger Crestwell Pratt, which will allow teams to prove who has the most powerful hitter in the league. Crestwell also lost his brother Tyrone “Grouper” Pratt during the pandemic who was also a league member.
It will be interesting to see which teams and players are ready to compete and take home the Lorenzo Doni Lockhart’s team championship and Eddie Ford MVP awards.
The league anticipates the loss of four teams from its 2022 schedule, Blue Postal Sharks, Carlo Rossi Stallions, BDP Rattlers and Pearl Island Pirates. However, the 10 remaining teams expected to compete are Yelrom Home Boys, Q Club Divers, Lone Rebels, ABC Truckers, BTC Vibes, SWD Boyz, Dozer Pros, Corner Boys, KC Construction and Masqueraders.
“At this stage, it appears those four might have dissolved,” said Stubbs. “But there’s still time for them to meet our April 21st team registration deadline to return, if they wish to. We hope so.”
The regular season is scheduled to start May 2, either at Bankers field or at The Archdeacon William Thompson Softball Park at the Southern Recreation Ground when its renovation is completed.
Yelrom Home Boys captured the championship to conclude the 2019 season which was considered one of its most competitive on record.
Here’s the rules under which the tournament will be played:
1) One championship trophy named after Lorenzo “Doni” Lockhart.
2) 18 medals for championship-winning team players.
3) Trophy for tournament MVP named after Eddie Ford.
4) Trophy for Crestwell Pratt Homerun Derby Champion. Each team must submit one (1) participant.
5) Teams will receive up to 18 wristbands for its roster players to enter the park free.
6) Line-ups must be submitted to the scorer 30 minutes before scheduled game time.
7) 1-1 count on each player coming to bat; no stealing bases or bunting.
8) Roster players must be age 40 and over before April 9, 2022.
9) Teams may include one (1) extra hitter (EH) in the line-up, not including DH for the pitcher.
10) Select 1 batter per team needing a runner; only players not in the line-up may “pinch-run.”
11) Tie-breaker: Team with most home runs or less walks allowed wins game after one-hour of play; extra innings only in championship game.
12) 5 innings or 1-hour game time limit. Mercy rule: 15-run lead after 3 innings.
13) No intentional physical contact by a player to break-up plays while running the bases; player will be automatically ejected; use extra base at first and extra home plate.
14) Flip coin for visiting-home teams before entering dugout; home team on 3rd base side.
15) All game participants and spectators must follow current government health protocols.
16) No outside food & beverages allowed inside the park, except water by teams.
17) Food or beverage vendors are prohibited outside the park.
18) All protests will be decided upon by NPOTSA commissioner or tournament directors.