Local Man Organizing Adult Baseball Team
Dennis Johnson is a man with a plan.
That plan is taking shape on a field in Pinebluff and involves a group of baseball players that don't believe the sun has set on their playing days.
Johnson is spearheading an effort to organize a local 35-and-over baseball team to start competing in the Central North Carolina Senior Men's Baseball League.
"We've got 11 or 12 players right now," Johnson said, "but we are looking for more. We would like to have somewhere in the area of 20-plus players when the season starts in April."
The stalwart few have a name for the team -- Sand Gnats -- and are already practicing for the upcoming season on a field located in Pinebluff. Practices are held on Sunday afternoons from 2 p.m. until 3:30 p.m.
Games are scheduled to be played on the "C" field at Memorial Park in Southern Pines.
Other teams in the league are based in Fayetteville, Pittsboro, Apex, Raleigh, Smithfield, Cary and Yancy County. Johnson has played in the league before for a team in Fayetteville.
He said the competition is good, but the real reward comes from getting the team together with family members and friends and "just having a good time."
The squad needs a minimum of 13 players, Johnson said, and there is some expense involved. He also said that age shouldn't be a factor for people considering playing.
"Our oldest player right now is 62," he said. "He's in great shape. I've gotten several calls from other people that are interested in playing."
Right now the expense for running the team is being offset by the contributions of two sponsors.
"Ferrell Gas and American Legion Post 72 in Aberdeen have stepped up to help with the sponsorship," Johnson said. "But we are always looking for more."
For anyone interested in playing, or providing help with sponsorship, Johnson said they should call him at (910) 603-5768 and leave a message.
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