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Old 05-14-2020, 12:10 PM
JLH1962 JLH1962 is offline
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Planning on moving to the Villages in the next 12-18 months, and very interested in playing softball. What is the quality of play like? How often do you play? Where are the games played? I know when I've been there for tournaments most of the games were in the Saddlebrook area? Is that true for "regular" play? When we did our lifestyle visit last October, there was a new complex by the new Rec center (Eisenhower?). What will that be used for?
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Old 05-14-2020, 12:16 PM
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Topspinmo Topspinmo is offline
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Softball probably close or the no. 2 sport in villages. Have several divisions that’s you can try out for, get rated, then get drafted in division. Division 1 just as good anywhere in the country, several play on national teams and won. You won’t be disappointed with level of play. I pretty sure the villages has 3 softball complexes and one field at paradise park. Should be one fairly close no matter where you buy.
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Old 05-14-2020, 12:54 PM
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The Villages has the largest softball leagues in America, over 200 teams and 2500 players during the winter season. Before you can join a league you must evaluated. The ratings are 1 thru 5, those with rated 1 are usually players who have continued playing into their adults years. Those rated 5 are those who probably haven't touched a glove since little league or may have a disability. The majority, about 50% will be rated 4. After you've been rated and played a while, you can request to go up or down.

The evaluations are held at Buffalo Glen complex every Tuesday morning (during normal times) at 7:30. You must attend at least 3 and these need not be consecutive. Once you are rated, you'll need to decide what kind of playing do you want to do.

There is Neighborhood Leagues, they are made up of teams generally from one village. Although I played for my village Tamarind Grove as a level 4 for two years but then my team divided into two new teams, one level 5 and one level 3 and the two of us rated 4 went to play for other villages. I then played 3 years for the Village of Amelia until I retired from softball in 2016. This is fairly common, to play for a village you don't live in. Also these teams are co-ed, although the female players are usually no more than a couple on a team. All use the same aluminum bats.

There is Rec Leagues, which play two weekdays usually Monday thru Thursday. The woman players have their own all female league in Rec League. The men use their own bats, Micah Bats you have to buy about $175 a piece. The balls will fly a lot faster, especially on the infield, so shin guards and face masks are seen.

RBL (Restricted Bat League) is a league that plays Tuesday Afternoons. It's similar to Rec League, but it's only one day and unlike Rec Leagues that play in the morning, RBL plays one afternoon about 3pm - 4pm. You use your own bat, but you use better quality aluminum bats, about $75 at Dick's Sporting Goods and the teams are mixed with players from 1 trough 4, I played one season and it was a real eye-opening.

All the games use to be played at either the Saddlebrook Complex, next to the polo fields, or the Buffalo Glen Complex next to the high school. There are 4 diamonds at each field, and Knudson Field in the historic section. That's a level 5 league only for playes with disabilities, regular level 5 leagues play at the other complexes.

In the last couple of years, they have opened up Soaring Eagle Complex, which is two diamonds at Rohan Rec Center at Morse & 44. I believe only the ladies leagues are using Soaring Eagle. They have also built a new 4 diamond complex in the new area south of 44 called Everglades, but I don't know if that has officially opened.

After you've been evaluated and you have decided what you want to play. Go to Saddlebrook Rec Center and at the reception area you'll see applications stacked up for each league, each is a different color. For example Neighborhood 4 are blue sheets. Fill out the application for the league and level you want to play and drop it in the box and they'll call you. I started playing in 2011 in a neighborhood league. After I filled out the application, that night I had 3 neighborhood managers and 1 Rec League Manager call me wanting me to join their team.

Softball Information

The Villages Florida

The Villages Florida

The Villages Florida
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