Dozens gather for softball league reunion

Published 6:00 pm Friday, May 24, 2024

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While baseball might be considered America’s pastime, softball is not far behind. 

On Thursday, May 16, many who participated in Clark County reunited once more. 

Dozens showed up at the Golden Corral location on Bypass Road for a reunion of the Winchester Fastpitch Softball League. 

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“I haven’t seen some of these guys for over forty years, some fifty, and it’s been a great, great thing,” said pitcher Gary Willoughboy, a former pitcher helping to organize the reunion. “Everybody’s just enjoying it so much!” 

Competitors with Winchester Fastpitch Softball League got together for a period of approximately fifty years.  

While Winchester’s team was referred to as the Royals, the league saw competition against teams from Georgetown and other locations around central Kentucky and beyond. 

Regularly meeting at Massie Park, the seasons were initially from May to August, but later extended into September as more teams and postseason tournaments occurred. 

Among those present was Glenn Gorley. 

Not only was Gorley a member of the 1966 Walton Softball Club Tournament Championship team, he also was named the Citizens Security Invitational 1966 Most Valuable Player after amassing eight hits in fourteen at-bats during the tournament for a .571 batting average and singling to drive in the winning run in the championship game. 

Bob Spencer, a native of Waddy, pitched 20 no-hitters as well as four perfect games, winning multiple games on teams which he helped lead. 

“I started to play when I was ten years old…I played for 35 years,” Spencer said. “It was really a joy! I was wild as a buck when I was younger and gradually got better…I played for nine state champions all-together and seven runner-ups.” 

Ray Smiley, another standout pitcher, also appeared. 

“We had a lot of good times together,” said Smiley, noting that players native to places including New Zealand and Canada participated. “I’m glad to see everybody…we all kind of know each other even though it was [involving] the state.” 

While the games were memorable and competition could be intense, it was that sense of camaraderie that brought many to Winchester. 

“It’s just been a blessing,” Willoughby said. “We tried to beat each other, but now we’re just a brotherhood. That’s why we’re here today.”