PSSA recruiting competitive, recreational players for 2017 season
Registration is now open for Pegasus Slowpitch Softball Association’s spring league, and PSSA leaders are encouraging everyone with an interest to attend introductory events and sign up to play,
“We are recruiting right now for the spring season, which starts March 5 at Kiest Park in Oak Cliff,” league President Mark Fiorello said in a recent interview. “All our teams form on their own, and coaches are actively looking for players.”
But, he added, someone who wants to play but doesn’t yet have a team should register anyway. “If you want to play, we’ll find you a team,” he pledged.
PSSA is open to men and women, and although it is known as the “gay” softball league and is affiliated with the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance, it’s also open to non-LGBT athletes. “Straight people are welcome to play in PSSA,” said Recruitment
Coordinator Mark Keerbs. “In fact, we already have a number of straight players who participate. That [sexual orientation] doesn’t matter to us.”
PSSA offers players competition in six different categories: Divisions A, B, Upper C, Lower C, D and Recreational. The lettered divisions are all competitive divisions in which teams play to qualify for NAGAAA’s annual Softball World Series, set this year for Sept. 4-10 in Portland, Ore.
The 2016 Gay World Series was held in Austin, and Dallas Texas Force, “Powered by Woody’s,” won the Division A Championship.
The Gay Softball World Series was first played in 1977, in San Francisco. It’s been held in Dallas three times — 2014, 2004 and 1988 — and Dallas teams have won championships or placed in the tournament’s divisional play several times.
While PSSA officials still want to see their league fielding quality competitive teams that can bring those World Series trophies back home, Fiorello and Keerbs said they want the recreational players to know they are welcome, too.
“The rec division just started last year,” Fiorello said. “A lot of our former players didn’t like the rating system the competitive division players have to go through. They didn’t like the time commitment the competitive divisions required.
“In the recreational division, there are no ratings. Players don’t have to participate in so many fundraisers to get the money to go to the World Series. They are only competing for standing in the league, nothing beyond that.”
Keerbs added, “The recreational division gives people an outlet to come out and play without having to take so seriously as you do in the competitive divisions. In the past, it was really hard for some people to find their own place in the league. With the rec division, that’s not a problem any more.”
Last year, the recreational division included six teams; Keerbs and Fiorello said they expect it to grow this year.
Leading up to the start of the season, PSSA is staging two series of events to introduce people to the league and bring in new players.
The first is a series of PSSA Happy Hours, with board members, players and coaches attending to meet with new and prospective players, to talk with them about the league and answer whatever questions they have.
The next Recruiting Happy Hour will be held Friday, Jan. 20, 6-9 p.m. at JR.’s Bar & Grill, 3923 Cedar Springs Rd. A week later,
Woody’s Sports & Video Bar, 4011 Cedar Springs Rd., hosts the next Recruiting Happy Hour, also starting at 6 p.m. The final happy hour event begins at 6 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 3, this time at Dallas Eagle, 5740 Maple Ave.
PSSA will also being hosting two Field Days at Kiest Park Softball Complex, 2179 W. Kiest Blvd., before the spring season starts. The field days, Keerbs said, will give prospective players a chance to get out on the field and participate in drills, including pitching, hitting, running, throwing and fielding, and it gives coaches looking for players to fill out their teams the chance to see who’s out there and interested in playing.
“This gives people a chance to see if they really want to pursue playing in PSSA,” Keerbs said. “It’s a great way to get your feet wet if you’re thinking about playing, but you aren’t sure yet.”
The first field day begins at 10 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 22. The second begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 4.
“We’ll have a lot of other events throughout the season,” Fiorello said. “There will be tournaments and fundraisers and events just for fun. We hope anyone interested in softball will come and check us out.”
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 13, 2017