Del Webb Southshore Falls Residents Create Their Own ‘Field of Dreams’ in Apollo Beach

APOLLO BEACH – After winding down busy careers and settling into new homes at Del Webb Southshore Falls, the four retirees were looking forward to their “active-adult” lives.  But, instead of the typical tennis, golf or shuffleboard activities, this lively foursome had plans for a different kind of retirement.

Don Cameron, Al Eaton, Bill Scalpelli and Randy Sanney wanted to do something that most of them hadn’t done for 20, or in some cases even 40, years…play softball.

“Don actually started the team, Southshore, but because he’s a snowbird it basically left Al, Bill and I to keep the team going,” Sanney said.  

And, that’s exactly what they’ve done the past two years practicing every Monday at 9 a.m. and going to another nearby community field on Wednesdays to play against another team “just for fun.” 

The team roster now is up to 14, many of whom were recruited while exercising at the Del Webb Southshore Falls gym or pool. 

“When we first started we could not hit, nor catch,” said Sanney.  But, the Detroit businessman who sold a wholesale business and moved to Del Webb Southshore Falls with wife Nancy three years ago soon discovered that was the least of their problems.

The nearest ball field – about two miles from Del Webb Southshore Falls – was at the Apollo Beach Park on Golf and Sea Boulevard.  There were no fences. No third base. The diamond was covered by grass and weeds.  And, that was the good part.

“The outfield had hundreds of anthills,” he recalled.  After dousing the field with lots of liquid and powdered ant killer that he sprang for, he just hoped he “got them all.”

The weed and grass issue was a different story.  Because the park manager said machines were not allowed on the field, everything had to be done by hand.  That included spraying gallons of weed killer, and digging up more than 50 wheelbarrows of sand and clay to level the field.  To finish it off, it was raked by hand nearly a dozen times.

It took about 30 days to complete, and as Sanney said, it is still a work in progress.

“I go down there every Sunday and drag the field with a homemade chain-link fence that we made by screwing four- and six- inch screws into,” he added.  

Sanney – who played on adult softball leagues for about 20 years before quitting because of health issues – is to be commended for his tireless efforts on the Apollo Beach Park ball field, according to Steve Nicholson, lifestyle director at Del Webb Southshore Falls.  

“Randy has spent countless hours – not to mention money and sweat equity – on that field,” Nicholson said.  We can’t thank him enough.  And, who knows how many Apollo Beach residents are and will benefit from his good will.”

Sanney said the guys – who have purchased jerseys and hats – now are starting to look like a real team and are as excited as a bunch of kids.  But, what’s even more exciting, he said, is knowing that their hard work is appreciated.

“Recently, when we were leaving the field a man and his son thanked us because they now can play T-ball without getting hurt,” Sanney explained.  “Now, it’s all worth it to me.”

Del Webb Southshore Falls offers single-family homes in four designs ranging from 1,730 to 2,278 square feet of living space and ranging in price from $214,990 to $234,990. Single-family homes feature two to three bedrooms and two bathrooms on 50-foot home sites.  Also offered are villa homes in four designs ranging from 1,363 to 1,650 square feet and ranging in price from $157,990 to $184,990.

The community features a 14,000-square foot Wellspring Club with its Seven Seas Grand Ballroom, heated tropical lagoon-style swimming pool, auxiliary pool, resistance swimming pool, state-of-the-art fitness center, tennis, pickleball and bocce ball courts, putting green, billiards room, Internet café, library, card room, arts and crafts room and a multitude of social clubs. 

Del Webb Southshore Falls offers an explore program featuring overnight accommodations in a fully-stocked and furnished villa with full access to amenities, two complimentary bicycles to use for the duration of the reservation and complimentary dinner vouchers. Three models open daily. For more information, contact the sales center at 866-813-4712.