Souhegan Valley Fossils provide a way to keep playing softball

Mason Fossils team manager Jon Lavoie runs to catch a fly ball in the outfield.

Mason Fossils team manager Jon Lavoie runs to catch a fly ball in the outfield. STAFF PHOTO BY CAMERON CASHMAN

Mason Fossils player Eric Anderson (11) waits for a throw.

Mason Fossils player Eric Anderson (11) waits for a throw. STAFF PHOTO BY CAMERON CASHMAN

Mason Fossils player Eric Anderson at bat.

Mason Fossils player Eric Anderson at bat. STAFF PHOTO BY CAMERON CASHMAN

The Mason Fossils play the Wilton Fossils at Carnival Hill in Wilton.

The Mason Fossils play the Wilton Fossils at Carnival Hill in Wilton. STAFF PHOTO BY CAMERON CASHMAN

Mason Fossils player Brice Miller (25) at bat.

Mason Fossils player Brice Miller (25) at bat. STAFF PHOTO BY CAMERON CASHMAN

 Brice Miller pitches for the Mason Fossils.

Brice Miller pitches for the Mason Fossils. STAFF PHOTO BY CAMERON CASHMAN

The Mason Fossils against the Wilton Fossils at Carnival Hill in Wilton.

The Mason Fossils against the Wilton Fossils at Carnival Hill in Wilton. STAFF PHOTO BY CAMERON CASHMAN

 Brice Miller pitches for the Mason Fossils.

Brice Miller pitches for the Mason Fossils. STAFF PHOTO BY CAMERON CASHMAN

By CAMERON CASHMAN

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Published: 06-27-2024 11:32 AM

Modified: 06-27-2024 3:17 PM


The Souhegan Valley Fossils men’s softball league provides a way for men 35 and older to continue playing softball as the opportunities to participate in organized, competitive sports become less frequent.

“Some of the younger guys that join, they want a league that they can go to after high school or after college, and there isn’t one for them,” said Aaron Kullgren, the league’s commissioner. “So we’re trying to encourage more of them [to join] while still protecting the ‘fossil’ nature of the league.”

The “Fossil” name is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the age of many of the players. Officially, each team is only allowed one player between the ages of 30 and 35. The rest of the players are older than 35, with many in their 50s and 60s.

For the older players, “It’s guys trying to put lightning back in the bottle, playing a sport that we all grew up loving,” Kullgren said. “We’re not willing to relinquish our childhood – that to me is the most-fun part.”

The Souhegan Valley Fossils grew out of a more-formal regional adult softball league that went defunct. In that league, Kullgren played for the Temple Tigers along with his brother, when he was about 17 or 18, he recalled.

After the previous league broke up, the local softball players still wanted an organized way for towns to play each other. They formed an informal adult softball league, which eventually became the Fossils. According to Kullgren, many players were local farmers, and would show up in their gloves, work boots and jeans covered in mud.

While Kullgren fell out of playing softball, his brother Bruce continued to play for the newly formed Fossils. Aaron estimates that about 15 years ago, Bruce called to tell him that the Temple Fossils needed a pitcher, and asked him if he’d like to take up softball again. Aaron accepted, and he has been playing ever since.

Many of the Fossils players have been playing softball with the league for a while. On the Mason Fossils, Eric Anderson has played for 11 years, team manager Jon Lavoie for 22 and Amyas Huston for 36.

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“Back in the early days it was kind of informal – guys would show up and cook, have drinks and so forth,” Aaron Kullgren said.

Eventually, the league became more competitive and bylaws were established, but Aaron Kullgren said food and drink are still involved.

The league has six teams: Brookline, Hollis, Mason, Temple, New Ipswich and Wilton. The regular season consists of 10 games, played weekly on Wednesday from early May to mid-July. Since there are only six teams, every team makes it to the playoffs, and the top two teams get byes. The bottom four teams play until two are eliminated, and the remaining four teams play best-two-of-three series to determine who makes it to the championship.

Aaron Kullgren said Wilton is “the team everyone loves to love, and loves to hate – they win all the championships!”

In the past 22 years, the Wilton Fossils have won 20 championships, with Brookline taking the other two years.

“For people that  don’t want to completely give up competitive sports, it’s a good environment,” Aaron Kullgren said. “And there’s a little more physicality to it than playing, say, golf.”