The Sebring 70 and Over Softball League winter games began Tuesday at the Highlands County Sports Complex in Sebring. Six teams are participating this season: Andrews Allstate Insurance, Buttonwood Bay, Highlands Independent Bank, Royal Palms, Silent Salesman and VFW 3400.
Highlands Independent Bank overcame Buttonwood Bay with a 19-15 victory. The Bank was down one run in the top of the seventh with two outs. Don Cunningham began this season having a 4-for-5 game and a continuation of last year's home runs. He hit a three-run homer to help the Bank win the game.
Other contributors having 3-for-4 games were manager Harry Bell, Woody Woodward, Gene Phillips and Ross Anderson. Jim Quartier and Robert Fahnestock went 3-for-5.
Silent Salesman tangled with Royal Palms to start the new season. The Salesman kept it close for five innings but let the game slip away, losing by the score of 11-5.
The Palms' Kyle Saunders belted out a 5-for-5 effort and Mo Pier, manager, was 3-for-4. Going 3-for-5 were Jim Hensley and Andy Timmermanis. Charlie Quinn was the winning pitcher.
The Silent Salesman's manager Ken Crandall and Norm Grubbs rapped out three singles each and four batters connected for two hits each. The team's downfall was averaging about two men left on base per inning. First-game jitters in the field didn't help any.
This year's new team is VFW 3400 with John Kloet serving as manager. Their first game and win was a 11-7 victory over Andrews Allstate Insurance. Doran Quinn went 4-for-4. Dennis Burkholtz went 3-for-4, including a triple. Bob Roth, Chuck Fluharty and John Kloet each had a double in their 2-for-3 efforts. John Kloet was the winning pitcher.
The Allstate's Jerry Kauffman had two triples. Eddy Lindberg went 4-for-4, Dick Ostrich 4-for-5 and Tom Ashley was 3-for-4. Allstate's losing pitcher was manager Rudy Pribble.
On Thursday, Highlands Independent Bank had a 26-11 win over VFW 3400. For the Bank, Bob Roth went 4-for-4 with two home runs. Bob Fulcher also had a home run. Cal Brady was 4-for-5, and going 3-for-4 were Ross McMinn and Chuck Fluharty. Bob Fulcher was winning pitcher.
The Silent Salesman and Andrews Allstate Insurance game was another low-scoring affair with Allstate the 9-4 winner. Allstate banged out 20 hits and the Salesman had 18 hits. The difference was Allstate had four- and five-hit innings. Dick Ostrick wen 4-for-4. All having 3-for-4 games were Eddie Lindberg, Jerry Kauffman, Gallo Gonzalez and Dale Baughman. Marvin Knutilla banged out two hits on his 80th birthday. Pribble was the winning pitcher.
Victor Rodriquez led the Salesman with a 4-for-4 game. Norm Grubbs had three hits, including a triple, and Fred Moore went 3-for-4. Bill Todd, Don Goodwin and Larry Ambuel had two hits each.
Royal Palms were really in top shape defeating Buttonwood Bay 12-4, with Doug Hammond going 3-for-4 with a double and a home run. Gene Hanford was 3-for-3, including a home run, and Kyle Saunders 2-for-4 with a triple. Charlie Quinn was the winning pitcher.
Although they lost, Buttonwood Bay turned in a good hitting performance. Jim Monroe and Tom Morrissette were 4-for-4. Jim Jeffery and Bob Wood each had 3-for-3.
The games are played every Tuesday and Thursday at 10 a.m. at the Highlands County Sports Complex behind the railroad station in Sebring. Bleachers are furnished but you can bring your own chair if you wish. Spectators are encouraged to join in the outdoor fun.