Starboard repeats as world softball champion

The Starboard, a men’s 60-and-over softball team whose roster features players from a Dagsboro-based Old Tymers League, repeated as world champion by winning the recent Tournament of Champions/Senior Softball USA 60-over division in Florida. The Starboard went up against six other teams from the U.S. and Canada, which had all previously won major championships. The 2020 Starboard members, standing from left, Keith Purdy, Ed Givens, Chuck Corrigan, Jamie Alzin, Russ Lederman, Dave Grimshaw, Dave Boyajian and Chuck Emerson; kneeling with banner, Joe Oswald, Mike McClatchey, Mark Potter, John Smart and Boog Laird. Submitted photo

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — They call themselves old timers, and some may have a shade or two of gray.

But when it comes to softball and competition, they certainly are not softies.

The Starboard, a 60-and-over men’s softball team hailing from Sussex County, recently achieved a repeat feat, reigning for the second consecutive year as world champion at the Tournament of Champions for Senior Softball USSA held Feb. 7-9 in Winter Haven, Florida.

Sponsored by The Starboard Restaurant in Dewey Beach, the Sussex squad went 5-0 in the tournament, which featured six other teams from the United States and Canada, which all had previously won major championships. The repeat came in the 60-plus age division.

The Starboard qualified for the TOC by winning the Tidewater Classic in Virginia Beach, Virginia in April 2019.

The local team is comprised of members of the Old Tymers Softball League, a 60-and-over softball league based in Dagsboro.

The league itself is 21 years old, and the Starboard tournament team, which competes nationally, is mostly comprised of players from within the league.

“We are really proud of our league and tournament team because we are a self-funded league and we also don’t handpick players from other states to compete on our tournament team, which can be a pretty standard practice,” said Keith Purdy, player/manager for The Starboard.

While Kent and New Castle counties both have parks and recreation departments for creation of public leagues, Sussex does not.

OTS took the self-funded enterprise route, which they say is no easy feat. The team has 13 partial sponsors and player dues in order to run the seasonal league.

The tournament team is separately funded. So when Mr. Purdy and player/general manager Boog Laird decided to create a tournament team five years ago, Steve ‘Monty’ Montgomery, owner The Starboard Restaurant, stepped up to the plate as sponsor.

Mr. Purdy and Mr. Laird say the relationship with Mr. Montgomery and The Starboard is the reason they can play so many events and win qualifying regional and ultimately world championships.

“Monty has had a huge impact supporting senior softball within Sussex County,” Mr. Purdy said.

“On a personal level, when you have The Starboard name on your shirt, people know it no matter where we travel. We love when people approach us with a story about The Starboard,” said Mr. Purdy.

During the TOC this year, The Starboard scored 113 runs in five games, even with a cap of five runs per inning.

“Our second consecutive world championship was nice, but more importantly we had no injuries over a long weekend in Florida,” said Mr. Laird. “Being our age, staying active and healthy, as well as the camaraderie, is more important than winning the ring.”

Of course, winning the world championship title doesn’t hurt, either.

OTS with a wide range of softball skill level participants is gearing up for the 2020 season of league play, which starts in March. Anyone interested in joining the 60-plus senior softball league can visit: http://oldetymerssoftball.teampages.com/.