Players from a men’s 50+ softball league through the Naperville Park District now have a third feather in their baseball cap: another gold medal from the 2019 National Senior Games. Eight players from the district’s rec league also make up half of a regional team, the Challengers, which is part of Senior Softball USA. The eight Naperville players on the Challengers team are: Chris Argianis, John Fieser, Rich Fleming, Steve Gadja, Larry Hall, George Pappas, John Patti (manager), and Tom Vancura.
Patti (shown, seventh in back row) recalls one exciting moment in the 2019 competition: “In the third game, the Challengers trailed the Four Seasons (from Washington/Oregon) by eight runs going into their last at-bat,” says Patti. “With two outs and still trailing by six runs, 85-year-old Chris Argianis stepped to the plate and hammered the ball deep into right center field for a grand slam. The inspired team then scored three more times for the victory.” With a batting average of over .600, the team looks forward to competing in the 2021 National Senior Games in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Photo courtesy Naperville Park District