Tribune Print Share Text

Having a ball

Greenspring ballplayers take their sport (and fun) seriously

Created date

September 25th, 2015
Greenspring softball team
Greenspring softball team

“The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.”    —Babe Ruth

The dedication of the

Following a winter filled with indoor workouts and a spring of on-the-diamond training, the Greenspring softball team recently faced three Erickson Living communities (Riderwood in Silver Spring, Md.; Oak Crest in Parkville; and Charlestown in Catonsville) at the annual Erickson Living softball tournament.

“We have a great team,” says Roy O’Connor, who has played on the team for the past seven seasons. A former high school and college player, he enjoys the opportunity to throw the ball around the horn again. 

“The Erickson Living softball tournament is a wonderful event,” he says. “Our Greenspring team enjoys the exercise and the camaraderie. We always have a lot of fun. This year we had great weather, and our team played great. Our players fielded well and hit the ball.”

Off-season preparation

Recognizing that the best ballplayers are made in the off-season, the Greenspring team began conditioning for the tournament months before the first pitch. 

“This year, we met for exercise sessions at the Greenspring fitness center January through March,” says Richard Schmidt, who has played for the team for 11 seasons. “I really enjoy playing ball but don’t want to make the commitment to play as often as is required to participate in senior league softball.” 

In April, the team ventured out to hone their skills meeting Monday through Friday mornings at nearby Beulah Park in Springfield, Va.

“A few members of the team drafted me, suggesting I come to a practice to see what the team is all about,” says Mary Sue Garner. “After the first day, I decided that, with some practice, I’d fit right in. That was three seasons ago, and I’m still having a great time. I enjoy spending the time with my fellow teammates. We laugh a lot, encourage each other, and get our exercise. Before joining the Greenspring team, I hadn’t played softball in almost 30 years.”

Like Mary Sue, Gary Traub also took a long hiatus from playing ball.

“I enjoyed playing softball for many years, but it had been almost 20 years before I was asked to play on the Greenspring team five years ago,” says Gary. “I went to a practice and was happy to discover I was still able to play.”

Time to roll

After months of practice and conditioning, the Greenspring softball team was ready to face their competition this past June.

As the team prepared to leave for the tournament, they were joined by a busload of fans as well as Greenspring Executive Director Ben Cornthwaite, who encouraged them to “bring home the trophy.”

Greenspring played their first game against a solid Oak Crest team. Four of the first five batters singled, followed by a series of strong hits throughout the five-inning game. Although Greenspring ultimately lost the game 2-3, it was a huge morale victory for the team; they lost to the same opponent last year by a score of 0-9.

“Even though we lost, we had a great time,” says Mary Sue. “We are so appreciative of our neighbors who came to cheer us on. The sportsmanship of all the teams was also a bonus.”

Greenspring played its second game against the hometown host team, Charlestown. The team’s hard work and dedication paid off with a 9-0 victory.  

“The team played great,” says Roy. “Everyone did their best, and we had a lot of fun in the process.”

Time to celebrate

With one win and one loss, the Greenspring team finished the day in third place. 

“The tournament was well played and very close,” says Richard. “Only one run kept us from a championship win.”

A week after the tournament, members of the team celebrated their accomplishments over dinner in Greenspring’s private Jefferson dining room to close out the season. Practices for the next tournament begin February 16, 2016.

“We all look forward to playing again next year,” says Gary.