- Associated Press - Saturday, July 26, 2014

WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) - Shortstop Don Basinsky picked up a ground ball, stepped on second base and underhanded a throw to first to complete a double play at Rockwood Field.

You’d never guess that the Holden resident is 79 years old. Does anybody tell Basinsky that he’s crazy to be still playing softball at his age?

“No,” Basinky said. “They just say I’m crazy. Everybody says that. I tell them I have brains I haven’t used yet and they believe it.”

Basinsky is quite a character, and Worcester Senior Softball is filled with them. They’re true old-timers who want to compete and share a few laughs. The league is open to anyone age 55 or older. Many of the players are in their 70s and 80s.

At many games, Basinsky wears Superman socks with streamers attached to them, but not the day a reporter interviewed him at a game.

“This is the first time I’ve washed them in three years,” he explained. “Otherwise, I wouldn’t have been able to get them off.”

Each time Basinsky steps to the plate, he points his left hand toward the outfield fence like Babe Ruth once did. Basinsky said his wife, Isabelle, likes that he plays because it gets him out of the house.

“I haven’t talked to her the last three months. I didn’t want to interrupt her,” he deadpanned.

Worcester Senior Softball plays a game each Tuesday and Thursday morning at Rockwood Field. Usually, enough players show up to field three teams, so they rotate at bat, in the field and sitting out so they don’t overdo it. The travel team plays doubleheaders throughout the region on Mondays or Wednesdays.

Ray Lauring of Worcester formed Worcester Senior Softball in 1991 after playing in Florida. At 88, he’s the oldest player in the league, a year older than Dudley Bowker of Worcester.

During a recent game, Lauring answered a call on his cell - while he was playing in the outfield. He had to tell the caller to hold on a minute because a fly ball was hit in his direction. After he caught the fly for the third out, he resumed his phone conversation.

“We do a lot of unusual things around here,” he said.

But they can still play. Shortstop Ralph “Fuzzy” Fusaro still has soft hands and a strong arm at age 81.

“When Fuzzy goes in the hole, makes the play and throws to first base,” said Rich McMahon, 67, of Worcester, “you take it for granted. But I say, ‘Wait a minute, he’s 81.’ He makes it look easy.”

Former Worcester police chief Ed Gardella, 74, calls Fusaro “Brooks Robinson.” Fusaro can hit as well. In a recent game, he lined a home run over the left-field fence.

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