As temperatures rise, so does anticipation for the 2010 softball season. All three Capitol Hill leagues are excited for opening day, and with close to 300 teams already registered among the Senate, House and Congressional softball leagues, teams and players are fired up.
“We’re ready to rock,” said Chris Sarley, captain of Well Swung, the two-time defending champs in the Senate League. “We’re ready to three-peat,’ to see if we can do it. It’s a good goal to have.”
Optimism runs high this time of year, and Well Swung has good reason to like their chances in the Senate League. Well Swung capped off an undefeated 2009 regular season by capturing both the Senate tournament trophy and the King of the Hill trophy. The King of the Hill game is an annual game that matches the champion of the Senate League against the champs of the House League.
Well Swung, of course, is not immune to losing players. Ace pitcher Andrew “Rook” Moon decided to hang up his cleats in preparation for a move to Maine. “It’s a big loss, but we got guys who can step in,” Sarley said. “We know there is a target on our backs, and we like being the team to beat.”
The team that Well Swung defeated in the King of the Hill game also hopes to advance to a rematch. After finishing a perfect 12-0 in the regular season, Texas Republic finally overcame previous playoff losses, playing a brilliant tournament in the House League playoffs en route to the championship.
“Our team is really excited,” said Josh Maxwell, coach of Texas Republic. Maxwell works for the House Agriculture Committee. “All the guys are returning, but we did lose a few girls from last year’s team.” One player Texas Republic is excited to welcome back is Dion Nelson. Nelson was a stalwart for the 2009 team before taking a line drive off his forehead the week before the tournament. Nelson is now armed with a clean bill of health and ready to get back to the field.
Texas Republic will not be without challengers in the House League. “Our fifth-anniversary season looks to be the most competitive one yet,” said Anthony Reed, House League commissioner. In four years, the House League has yet to produce a repeat champion, and with more than 100 teams registered, Texas Republic faces a steep hill to climb. “We expect a heck of a season as teams fight to qualify for the 2010 tournament,” Reed said.
The Congressional League already has a strong field of teams assembled, with more than 90 teams registered. Commissioner Gary Caruso is energized for another summer of intense matchups on the field and fun off it. “The season will be a success,” Caruso said. “I just hope for less rain.”
The Congressional League boasts teams from the Republican National Committee and Democratic National Committee as well as STOTUS, the Softball Team of the United States, a team affiliated with the White House. These teams and others will face a formidable foe in the defending champion, Rob’s Beltway Ballers.
The Ballers have set up a challenging regular season schedule in anticipation of another deep tournament run. “It’s going to be a tough schedule this year, the way we prefer it, a challenge every game,” coach and captain Rob Myers said.
Myers hopes to add one more game to the schedule. The 2009 Congressional League title came down to a tightly contested game between the Ballers and the former two-time defending champs, No Talent AZ Clowns. While a rematch is yet to be planned, coaches from both teams hope to finalize the details soon.