Major League Baseball stadiums may be closed to fans, but players are still out on the diamond at the Senior Softball USA Eastern Nationals in Loudoun this week.
Seventy-two teams have come to Loudoun from all over the East Coast to compete at parks across the county. It is the second time the tournament, which draws teams from everywhere east of the Mississippi River, has come to Loudoun. This year, they play at Philip A. Bolen Memorial Park near Leesburg, Brambleton Regional Park, and Potomack Lakes Sportsplex in Sterling. Divisions range from 40-50 years old to 65 and over.
The age division winners of that tournament will get a chance to compete in the U.S. National Championship Game in Las Vegas. Teams that win that game are only a step away from the World Masters Championships and the Triple Grand Slam.
The schedule is in part the result of having to adapt to the reality of the pandemic.
“In normal years, what happens is, at this point teams would have played a number of tournaments to get here,” said tournament director Tim McElroy. “In order to play in eastern nationals, you had to have played and qualified at some prior event. Things are little bit goofy this year.”
Teams are also trying to practice COVID-19 safety measures, such as canceling manager meetings to encourage social distancing and wearing masks off the diamond.