Chattanooga Retreads practicing for Senior Olympics

Chattanooga Retreads practicing for Senior Olympics

June 15th, 2011 by Katie Ward in Local Regional News

Sixteen men ranging from age 65 to 69 make up the Chattanooga Retreads softball team, but they hold their own against players half their ages as they practice and prepare for the state Senior Olympics.

The team plays games and practices against 20- to 40-year-olds in the DuPont Church League in Hixson.

The Retreads won a recent church league game 17-14 against Signal Mountain Church of Christ.

The Chattanooga Retreads softball team, with men ages 65 to 69 from all over the Chattanooga area, plans to compete in the Senior Olympics in Franklin, Tenn., this summer. Front from left are Ringgold's Bill Nelson, Dunlap's Curt Grant, East Ridge's Tom Yarman, East Brainerd's Don Johnson and Soddy-Daisy's Guy Harris. Back from left are Evansville's Jerry Howell, East Ridge's Tom Card, Hixson's Rick Anderson, Chattanooga's Raymond Kile, Flat Top Mountain's Conrad Lewis, Rossville's Billy Ingram, Flat Top Mountain's Wayne Keylon, Harrison's Bob Jacobson and East Ridge's Max Patrick. Not pictured is Rusty Aytes, of Elder Mountain.

The Chattanooga Retreads softball team, with men ages...

Photo by Katie Ward /Times Free Press.

"We won the district Senior Olympics softball tournament in our age bracket, 65 to 69, at the Summit May 5th," said coach and player Tom Yarman, of East Ridge. "We will go to state Senior Olympics July 22nd in Franklin. We were third in state last year."

He said the Retreads will play in a double- elimination church league softball tournament in mid-June.

"We compete well if everyone is here; we are competitive," said Yarman. "I can hit it 300 feet over the fence. Our best hitter is Sam Pearson. He is the 100-meter champion in Nashville for the Senior Olympics. He is our best player."

Pearson, who plays shortstop, said he works out daily, eats healthy meals and does what his doctor tells him to do.

"I play hard," he said. "I've played ball since 1966."

Retreads player right center fielder Conrad Lewis, of Flat Top Mountain, said he works out three times per week, hits a punching bag with a ball bat, hikes and rides his bicycle.

Catcher Curt Grant said he runs and jogs a lot to stay in shape.

"I've played ball for 48 years," said Grant. "I have a lot of fun and enjoy getting out and exercising. I love the sport."

Yarman said the Retreads play by softball rules and can run through first, second and third bases. He said that at the Senior Olympics two home plates await scoring runners, keeping them from colliding. The Retreads play seven innings.