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The Virginia Vipers Softball Club for Veterans had another strong season in 2019.  The organization sponsored one spring open team, one summer open team, one Senior team, one fall Seniors teams and two fall open teams. Possibly, the big challenge this year was Fairfax Adult Softball (FAS), particularly Seniors softball and how the seeding of teams took place.  This compelled the Vipers to play in Arlington and FXA. Both new leagues were a super experience. Additionally, this year, the local news station – WJLA – covered the Vipers and their advocacy mission, which supports educating the Fairfax community on Military and Veteran suicide epidemic.  We appreciate all of our sponsors who have helped us since 1997 create this fabulous group supporting our active military, veterans and their spouses.  Thank you.


The operative word in this season is “old.”  The Five-Sided Team continues to play in the open (any age) division but struggles to compete in the 2nd highest division on Tuesday nights with six players over 50 years of age.  The Five-Sided Vipers endured a 9-11 season after starting off strong. Lead by Wes Poyner and Chip Campbell, the team had some great games but unfortunately ended up with a losing record.  As a team that plays in the 2nd most challenging league in the county, it may be time to consider moving to a league with appropriate competition for the Five-Sided Vipers or move the team out of Fairfax Adult Softball.  


The Long-Fanged Vipers continue to have a strong team but not strong enough to win division 1.  As the league gets older and the LF Vipers get younger i.e. a few guys ready to play who are just 50 this coming year, the team suffered through a 9-11 4th place finish.  As usual, the team was led in hitting by Troy Weatherholz.  Bob Barnes and Chris Jensen supported very well on both sides of the ball.  Our power came from Chris Benoit, John Letos and Mike Macrina this year as the team had a disappointing summer season.  Additionally, the playoffs showed that the Vipers could compete with any team in the division but not win the tournament.  


 his season was transitional for the Vintage Vipers as we played in a Summer Mens Open league rather than our usual Seniors Division. It provided us with the opportunity to play against totally new opponents who in most cases were considerably younger. We met this challenge head on and finished in First Place with a 10 – 3 record thus capturing our second championship. This was brought about by strong long ball batting provided by Chip Campbell, Chris Benoit, and Jim Beatty. Outstanding defensive play was made by infielders Goeff “Putty’ Putnam, Steve Elson, Darrell Henning and Chris Benoit. Outfield was led by John “Chief” Kalfas and Lee Neill who both made game saving catches. Job well done for the entire squad. 


Finally, the Long-Fanged Vipers won the Seniors Division 1.  In an effort to deny the team an opportunity to win their first Seniors Division title, the Fairfax Adult Softball league administrator moved their rainout game to Monday, 28 October so that this over 50 year old team would have to play four games in one night to win the title.  In fine fashion, the Long-Fanged Vipers stood up to the league that has it in for them and won four straight on a chilly Monday night. Super performances by Chris Nelson, Chris Benoit and Greg Alda enabled the team to roll into victory. Additionally, Milan Peich made his fall debut and was flawless in the field.  This was the first Seniors D1 championship in the Viper’s storied history.  


We continued our non-Senior play this fall moving to the FXA league. We began the season dominating our opponents off to a 6-0 start in the first several weeks. However, that all changed as we then played much more competitive teams. Our lesson learned was that we can’t overcome RAW SPEED. Players in this league were all in their mid-twenties {more than half our ages) and able to take extra bases at will. We completed the Fall season in 8th place (out of 13 teams) with a 7 – 9 record. The fall roster had many player changes from the summer. We also had to adapt to injuries and player conflicts requiring constant line up adjustments. In the end, it was still enjoyable for all. 


The Five-Sided Vipers struggled with the FAS leadership this spring and summer season and decided to move out of FAS.  The team moved to Arlington was pleasantly surprised at the support from the league administrators. The team asked for a majority of early games and had 6 sets of early games out of 8 nights scheduled.  Opening night was a struggle to get a team together and the league facilitated an alternate date and time without issue. The Arlington league was well run and was close enough to DC that players were able to make games without having to travel to Braddock Park to play.  Additionally, the Vipers met some new players from the local area. Unfortunately, the Five-Sided Vipers were met with stiff competition and although they had a winning record, they have some work to do to win this division in 2020.