Softball recruit courts seniors for local teams

Coach Gene Tuffs started the coed senior softball team, Maple Valley Merchants Plus, in 2004. This year he is handing over the coach title but will retain recruiting and managerial duties.
Coach Gene Tuffs started the coed senior softball team, Maple Valley Merchants Plus, in 2004. This year he is handing over the coach title but will retain recruiting and managerial duties.

Well over a dozen players on Maple Valley’s co-ed senior softball team met last week to discuss spring practices and coaching. They have put out the call encouraging those over age 50 to consider joining them on the field this season.

Both practice and identifying potential players begin now. Men and women over age 50 with skills ranging from beginners to accomplished athletes are welcome. Maple Valley, with two teams, recruits senior players who “can catch, field the ball, make the proper throw and be able to run; players who automatically make the correct play without thinking about it.” Maple Valley also has a recreational team with a wide range of softball talent from starter to skilled. ”We need new players and we need a lot of them for many different teams in surrounding towns,” said Gene Tuffs who is accepting correspondence via email from those would like to practice. Email genetuffs2012@gmail.com or call 253-632-4591.

There are 12 teams from surrounding towns including Des Moines, Federal Way, Kent, Maple Valley, Mercer Island, Renton, Seattle, Tukwila, Bellevue, Issaquah, and Sumner. Entry fee is around $55. “We need a lot of additional players for the teams at both levels of skill,” said Tuffs, the coach/pitcher who started the Maple Valley team in 2004 and will continue to recruit and participate in filling town play lists.

Dependent upon unusual weather conditions, practice days for the Maple Valley teams have been scheduled Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:00 a.m. to noon, beginning February 21 and continuing the two-day schedule through April. Practices are held at the Ravensdale field, because it is not negatively affected by weather conditions. Games are held at several town fields on Tuesdays and Thursdays in May, June and July with a tournament in the first week of August.

As to the status of Maple Valley coaching, those in attendance at the softball meeting selected Ed Bretz who was out of town but previously said he would accept the position when offered. Ron Stansell chose co-coaching or assistant coaching duties; Roger Jones committed to scorekeeping; Gene Tuffs maintains a role as financial general manager. Others volunteered for specific tasks like contact information and computer tech. A meeting of all the town coaches was held Thursday along with Harlen Ward, manager of the coed softball association. A topic to be discussed was separation of the softball skill levels into two distinct divisions independent of one another.