GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Antiques of Iowa 55-and-over senior slow-pitch softball team placed second recently at the Senior Softball USA Winter World Championships.
The Antiques went 1-1 in pool play at the Sagouro Park Softball Complex and received the No. 4 seed in bracket play, where they went 3-2, losing only to the champion Arizona Scorpions.
The Antiques have competed in Senior SSUSA for nine years. Playing senior softball can be quite a commitment and playing in tournaments involves quite a lot of travel.
“Senior softball can be an expensive venture with travel expenses and entry fees,” Steve Paulsen said in a release from the team. “We are blessed with some great sponsors ... It would be a tough road without their valuable contributions to our efforts.”
Success has followed the Antiques for many years.
“Our biggest achievement, thus far as a team, was winning the World Masters Championships in Las Vegas in 2016 in the 55AA division,” Paulsen said. “The World Masters is the most prestigious senior softball tournament in the nation, drawing over 700 teams from all 50 states and several countries across several age groups.”
The Antiques roster includes Paulsen, Leo Agnew, Paul Kaefring, Jeff Kuepker, John Ormsby and Kevin Rauch of Iowa City, Greg Allen of Tiffin, Rick Dautremont and Larry Lipcamon of Solon, Mike Hartman of North Liberty, Denny Jenn and Larry Jenn of Riverside, Tracy Prouty of Coralville, Kirt Sickels of West Liberty and Steve Schroeder of Cedar Rapids.
There also are players from Clive, Boone, Urbandale, Bettendorf and Boone.
“Most of our team members have played with or against each other for over 40 years,” Paulsen said. “We are just a bunch of old guys who love staying active and have a passion for softball and the camaraderie. We often have as much fun together off the field as we do on the field.
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“We are going to enjoy ourselves at a tournament whether we go 0-5 or 5-0, as we have the most loyal group of wives, girlfriends, children and fans of any team we compete against in the nation. It’s not unusual for us to have a contingent of 25-30 people in our group as we travel to a tournament.”
It’s also not hard to find playing time for a roster of 20 players.
“What makes the Antiques of Iowa unique from many teams is the unselfishness of its members,” Kaefring wrote in an email. “Several players are happy to provide support however they can, whether it be as a base coach, cheerleader or as courtesy runners to keep the field players legs fresh for the long haul of a tournament.”
In senior softball, he noted, liberal courtesy runner rules allow players whose running abilities are diminished a chance to still participate.
“We would not have become 2016 World Champions without the valuable contribution of our courtesy runners,” Paulsen said.