Saddlebrooke Senior Softball–How It Began

By Mark Hojnacki

Many in our Association credit SaddleBrooke resident Vic Garcia as the individual who kick-started the SSSA in 1996 when he formed a softball team, The SaddleBrooke Blues, to play in the Senior Softball League in Tucson. Those games were played at the Craycroft and 22nd Street softball field and consisted of teams from Sierra Vista, Green Valley, Oro Valley, SaddleBrooke and Tucson. Because of the distance the teams had to travel they played double-headers on Fridays from October to April. In 1999 the SaddleBrooke Reds were added with the SaddleBrooke Whites joining a year later. The Blue team, during the first two years were rarely beaten but the downtown league folded following the 2004 season. Four of these early players are still active in our leagues today, Brad Adair, Jack Graef, Ron Quarantino and Larry Weber.

Looking for a place to play closer to home, four of our players (Ron Sanders, Gene Bovee, John Vosper and Charlie Brehm) met with Mr. Robson to determine if he would build us a field within the SaddleBrooke community. Near the end of 2004, Mr. Robson agreed to build the facility which exists in the southwest corner of our development just off Edwin Road.

May 17, 2005, the field at SaddleBrooke was ready for play with 138 players signed up to play in four leagues, Recreation, Community, Coyote and Competitive. Ron Quarantino was the first batter up and hit an inside-the-park home run on the first pitch thrown. Today, we have more than 180 players who now play in those four leagues plus a new Sidewinder League which begins play this month. Many of our players play in multiple leagues based on skill level.

Including the above-mentioned players, Al Cangeme, Jerry Cowart, Ken Crossman, Mike Hamm, Leroy Johnson, Mark Magdanz, Mark Schauer, Bill Spevak, Dave Stevens and Jim Westerberg were early participants who still play today. We have a league for residents of all skill levels, so if interested in joining us, contact Association President Mark Hojnacki at [email protected].

We have four tournaments every year where we put our skills on display for the community — St Patrick’s Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day and Veteran’s Day — with free Hot Dogs, Brats, cookies, sauerkraut, chips and non-alcoholic drinks. We do accept donations. Come out and see us play either at tourney time or during the week, mornings Monday thru Friday.