Baseball might be America's Pastime, but Softball is The Villages' Pastime.
There are over 200 registered softball teams that compete on nine different fields across The Villages. With that amount of interest, there are leagues and teams open for any skill level. There are highly competitive traveling teams, as well as relaxed leagues that focus more on the social aspects of the game. If you have ever had the desire to play ball, there is a team for you located in The Villages.
The softball program at The Villages is organized and managed by the Recreation Department. There are a total of nine different fields that are located in three different areas.
The Knudson Softball Field is located north of HWY 441 next to Paradise Regional Recreation Center. The Saddlebrook Softball Complex is located just off of Buena Vista Blvd near The Villages Polo Fields. The Buffalo Glen Softball Complex is on HWY 446 near The Villages Charter High School.
The Buffalo Glen Softball Complex is the most recent addition to the program. It is a fantastic facility that features well-manicured fields as well as a full concession stand that operates during league play.
The fields at any of the three locations can also be reserved for private games. More information on this is always available at the Saddlebrook Recreation Center.
The Villages Softball Program is comprised of three different types of leagues. Villagers can participate in Recreation Leagues, Neighborhood Leagues, or Travel Leagues. Each of these types of leagues offer a different level of competitiveness and skill, so there really is a place for anyone and everyone.
The Recreation Leagues offer a fun and competitive environment for players of all skill levels. These leagues play twice per week and have three different seasons per year. Games are generally held on weeknights, and there are fall, winter, and spring/summer seasons.
The Neighborhood Leagues are designed to provide a social atmosphere for residents of the different neighborhoods to get to know each other better. These games are played on Sundays and there are three different seasons each year. Villagers can play alongside their neighbors during the fall, winter, or spring/summer seasons.
The Travel Leagues are the most competitive leagues available to Villagers. They are not sponsored by the Recreation Department, but anyone interested can find more information at the Saddlebrook Recreation Center. These leagues generally play once or twice per week, but games and travel schedules vary depending on the league.
While there is definitely some strong competition in The Villages Softball Program, keep in mind that it is still a recreational softball league. Therefore, there are some limitations as far as equipment goes.
Players are not permitted to wear metal spikes. Gloves and bats must meet the SSUSA standards. Men's games use a 12″ softball and women's games use an 11″ softball.
Whether you've never picked up a softball, or you've played for as long as you can remember, there is surely a place for you somewhere in The Villages Softball Program. There are currently eight different Recreation League Divisions, five different Neighborhood League Divisions, and a number of traveling teams.
Anyone looking for more information about The Villages Softball Program, even if you'd just like to volunteer at a concession stand, should ask for information at the Saddlebrook Recreation Center or call 352-259-5377.