The Reno-Tahoe Senior Winter games are in full swing, and Lucy C.A. Mastrantuono of Sparks was already sporting three medals, two golds and a silver for bowling, as she practiced Friday for this week’s beanbag baseball competition.
Mastrantuono, along with teammates and competitors, tossed a 4-inch by 4-inch corn-filled bag toward a board with nine holes. The holes represent either a single, double, triple, home run or out. The format is a lot like baseball, but instead of swinging with a bat, the competitors aim a 4-ounce beanbag at the board. And instead of running to bases, players make their way to chairs numbered 1, 2 and 3. A beanbag “hit” – a single, double, triple or home run – will send a player to one of the chairs, where he or she waits for the next player to come up to bat. The action takes place regularly at Teglia’s Paradise Park Activity Center on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Several Sparks seniors who participate in the activity at the center will be putting their beanbag-throwing skills to the test in the senior games at the Sands Regency, in hopes of bringing home the gold.
Mastrantuono, captain of a beanbag baseball team dubbed the Eagles, says she’s been participating in the winter and summer senior games for about three years. “I enjoy it. It keeps you fit and active,” she said.
Another member of the Eagles team, Sparks resident Linda Collachi, agrees. “I just love it. It keeps you in shape,” she says. Collachi said she has been competing in the winter and summer games for about four years. Why did she pick beanbag baseball? “I’m used to playing softball. But since they don’t have softball, this is the next (thing) to it,” she answered.
Ann Moran, also of Sparks, is a newcomer to the sport, and although she won’t be competing at the games this week, she plans to show up to cheer on her teammates. “I’ve just enjoyed it,” she said of the sport. “I played softball in school, and after I graduated from high school, I continued to play.” Moran said her friend Carol Scheuermann of Sparks got her involved in the activity.
“I did it to socialize and meet people because I’m new to the area – again. I lived here before and I just moved back a few months ago, and I wanted to meet new people,” Scheuermann said.
A lot of friendly bantering goes on as each player comes up to bat, standing behind a line that’s 15 feet from the baseball board. “It takes concentration,” one player remarked. Another player said the arm motion was similar to bowling.
And when that beanbag lands in the “home run” hole, cheers ring up, and teammates raise their hands to high-five the scorer.
This year’s senior winter games, at sites throughout the Reno/Tahoe area, have drawn about 300 competitors who range in age from 50 to 100 year old. In addition to beanbag baseball, sports include archery, bowling, pickleball, table tennis and winter snow sports, as well as card games and games of chance.
The senior games wrap up with a Valentine’s Day dinner and dance on Sunday at the Eldorado Hotel Casino. Doors open at 5 p.m. and the dance ends at 10 p.m. Tickets are $25 each or $40 for two. For tickets and information, call 775-334-2262.