Cat Walker Field is a welcoming ground for all former athletes every Wednesday night. Former basketball, football, baseball and softball players can be found getting together for their new love – slow-pitch softball.
While interest for softball seems to be waning, it isn’t obvious Wednesday nights. The stands are packed as Ramirez Transport headlines a group of teams vying to be the best adult team in the area.
Ramirez Transport kept its unbeaten run alive Wednesday, beating Morrison Industries 28-15 to improve to 8-0. In other action, Shockmasters topped Wanted 20-14 and Namaste destroyed Throwing Shade 20-4.
The Wednesday co-ed adult league is the final remnants of what used to be a softball breeding ground locally. Just a decade ago, as many as 30 teams participated in church league softball. Now, just six teams remain.
Many of the players Wednesday have been playing for years, watching the participation slowly slide.
“Softball just isn’t as popular as it used to be,” said Shockmasters second baseman Penny Wanamaker, a former WCHS softball standout who made the transition to slow-pitch in the last decade.
Still, it’s worth it to the many still playing to come out each week. They crave the competition and camaraderie.
“It’s all about competing and being with friends,” said Bailey Barrett, who plays for Wanted.
There’s plenty of fierce rivalries on the diamond.
Ramirez Transport gets every opponent’s best punch each week. With a lineup that could rival the “Big Red Machine” from the Cincinnati Reds in the 1970s, Ramirez Transport has spent weeks crushing teams.
The top squad has bashed a league-high 21 home runs in eight games, including five players – Caleb Northcutt, Justin Stevens, Josh Winfree, Jathan Baker and Houston Youngblood – hitting three each this year.
A powerhouse Ramirez Transport offense is backed by a stellar defense, captained by vocal catcher Worm Ramirez.
Shockmasters currently sits in second place at 6-2 following Wednesday’s win. Pitcher Lynn Gann is the group’s undisputed leader. The man behind the mask has hit two home runs this season, including a walk-off shot against Throwing Shade.
Shockmasters gave Ramirez Transport its closest game May 29, falling 23-21. It’s the lone game Ramirez Transport didn’t win by double figures. A rematch is on the slate in two weeks.
After Wednesday’s game, Wanted’s Tim Conley stands alone atop the league’s home run list. Conley has crushed four home runs, helping add to the 73 total smashed in eight weeks.
Currently, Namaste sits in third place at 4-3, followed by Wanted at 4-4, Throwing Shade at 1-7 and Morrison Industries at 0-7.
Next week’s scheduled games on July 3 have been postponed for the city firework show. Play will resume Wednesday, July 10.