By Melanie Petrucci, Contributing Writer
Shrewsbury – What’s in a name? If one were to ask Andrew Moring and Paul Puccio, co-managers of The Geezers, Shrewsbury’s Co-Ed Softball League 2017 champions, they would say longstanding family fun along with a few bad knees and pulled hamstrings.
It all began when Moring and another new player were placed on the same team in their first year. They fell in love with the game and, as a bonus, they could just walk to the field at Dean Park from their homes. After a few seasons they knew enough players from their neighborhood to make up their own team. During their first year on their own some of the players ripped their hamstrings and they joked about how they were getting older so they dubbed themselves “The Geezers.” The name stuck.
The team is one of six in Shrewsbury’s Parks and Recreation Co-Ed Softball League. According to Moring, “Co-ed League has been around since 1995. To be called co-ed, at least three women need to be on the field at all times. It is slow pitch softball with one umpire and is regulated by the United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA) governing body using regulation equipment.”
The games take place on Friday nights, but it isn’t a beer league – it is very family-oriented. They looked forward to playing for an hour or so after a long week of work. It was a great way to unwind. After each game they head over to Dean Park Pizza, which eventually became their team sponsor.
“We are so close; we’ve been together since some of our kids who are now playing were just little shavers,” Moring said.
The age requirement for the league is 18 and there is no cap. The older members of the team are now in their 50s but they aren’t slowing down.
There are 10 games during the regular season, followed by playoffs.
The Geezers have won the Playoff Championship the past two years. Although it’s meant to be recreational, Moring admitted, “It has become a bit competitive over the years as the league has developed and better players have joined. It’s just the way it’s become. But, it’s still just as fun.”
The season begins in April and is usually over by the Fourth of July if weather cooperates. The league has become such an integral part of the lives of the players that trips and weddings have been scheduled around the season.
“We’ve been playing together a lot of years so our team has depth,” Moring said. “We have 18 players and we typically have around 12 or 13 that show up per game. We will have about 10 on the field with two to three who sub in. Everybody plays and everybody hits. It’s part of the fun.”
Playing with the team is a real family affair. Moring and Puccio are now playing with their grown children. Moring is the team pitcher and Puccio plays first and third base. There are a few parent/child combos.
Moring and Puccio have been co-managers for about six years but when they aren’t on the softball field Moring is a physician’s assistant with Grove Medical Associates in Auburn and Puccio is general sales manager with Tuck’s Trucks GMC in Hudson. Moring is now a grandfather and is sharing his love of the sport with the next generation, his grandson Johnny.
The team is always looking for new talent. New players are welcome and Moring and Puccio would welcome an opportunity to pass along their managerial roles. For now, as long as their knees hold up, they are happy to continue to play.
To learn more about the Shrewsbury Co-Ed Softball League, Shrewsbury residents should visit https://shrewsburyma.gov/407/Parks-Recreation.