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Obituaries: December 2023 February 2024

Feb. 1, 2024

Softball News Report

Darrell Laschen

Darrell Laschen, 86, of Loyal, Wisc., died on Sept. 23.

     Darrell has a long history with Senior Softball USA, starting in the late 1990s and last playing in the 2022 season.

     He played senior softball to keep busy during his retirement and also enjoyed fishing and staying fit. He started his career in sports early, according to his online obituary. After wrestling in high school, becoming the state’s runner-up, “he went on to teach and coach at… the Loyal School District in 1967, where he taught and was named the head wrestling coach.”

     “He was named to the Wisconsin Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame in 2001.  In addition, Darrell successfully coached girls’ softball, winning three state championships.”

     Darrell has played with Libby’s 65s and 70s (WI), Jimmy’s Minnesota Gold 75s, Jimmy’s MN Legends 80s, Chicago Geezers 80s, ProHealth Care 80s and 85s (MN) and Team Rehabilitation (MN).

Michael J. Cordry

Mike Joseph Cordry, 83, of Seattle, died on Nov. 7.

     Mike started with Senior Softball in the early 2000s before retiring at the end of the 2022 season. During those two decades, he played with several Northwest senior teams.

     He started playing sports at the age of 12 and later coached his daughter’s softball team. Mike spent the last few decades as player/manager of a softball team that won many world championships.

     Beyond sports, which he held close, he loved vacations with family, cheering on his kids and grandkids, and earned advanced degrees in Chemical Engineering.

     He will be remembered playing with First American Title 60s, 65s, & 70s (WA), Portland Disposal & Recycling 65s, and more recently General Equipment 75s and 80s (OR) – (Formerly PDR Fastsigns 70s and 75s).

Sal Rizzo

Sal Rizzo, 74, of Baldwinsville, N.Y., died Dec. 14.

     Sal played ball for most of his life, but started with Senior Softball in the early 2000s, playing solely with his Syracuse Merchant team until 2017.

     “A lifelong ball player, Sal… recently played senior softball with the World Champion Syracuse Merchants earning his spot in the New York State USSSA Softball Hall of Fame,” according to his online obituary.

     Sal also enjoyed camping and fishing when not working at New York’s Department of Transportation, where he worked for 37 years until his retirement in 2007.

     Sal will be mostly remembered for playing with the Syracuse Merchants 55s, 60s, and 65s.

William Broadbent

Will Broadbent, 63, of Rochester, Ore., died on Dec. 25.

     Will played with a handful of Oregon and Washington state teams, starting with Senior Softball USA in 2010.

     “One of Will's hobbies was playing softball for over 35 years,” according to his online obituary. “This was his happy place, being out on the field with his second family and meeting friends. His number was 27 whenever possible, the same as his dad's football number in high school.”

     He also enjoyed smoking meats when he wasn’t working at the Department of Natural Resources, where he worked for 35 years before retiring.

     During his 12 years playing with SSUSA, he played with Doerflinger 50s (WA), Four Seasons/Wilkins Trucking 50s (OR), Wolfpack 55s & 60s (WA), and Spin Tees 55s (WA).

Michael Laird

Mike Laird, 63, of Edgewood, Md., died on Jan. 7.

     Mike started with Senior Softball USA in 2015, last playing in the Winter Nationals in Florida in November.

     According to his online obituary, he was a fan of many sports. “He made significant contributions as a basketball referee for High School and Rec., volunteered for over 30 years in the Joppatowne Rec Council, and served as the President of Joppatowne Senior Softball.”

     After serving in the U.S. Air National Guard, he worked 40 years with the Department of Water and Sewer, meter division.

     Mike will be remember playing with Harford County LV 55s (MD), Maryland Classics 55s, Curtis Engine 60s (MD) and most recently with Howe Enterprise 60s (MD).

Ernest D. Shaffer

Ernie Shaffer, 87, of Sacramento died January 2024 after battling cancer.

     Ernie played with Senior Softball USA for 20 years, starting in 1999 and retiring in 2019, playing on many regional Sacramento teams.

     With the SSUSA office in Sacramento, he was well-known by the staff. “Ernie Shaffer was very special to me,” said Fran Dowell, the executive eirector of SSUSA. “Not only as a softball player but also as my children's elementary school principal. I used to love when he was getting his awards at the tournaments and I’d say “Congratulations, Mr. Shaffer” … he would always tell me to call him Ernie, but I had so much respect for him I could never quit calling him mister.”

     Ernie will primarily be remembered from playing with the Sacramento Gold 75s, 80s and 85s teams.

Mike A. Pickett

Mike Pickett, 81, of Stockbridge, Ga., died Jan. 26 from complications of Alzheimer’s.

     Mike started with Senior Softball USA in the 1990s and retired in 2017, however he started his ball career many, many years earlier.

     Mike played baseball as a kid and at the University of Georgia. After raising a family and a successful career, “he returned to the ball field playing on several nationally ranked senior softball teams,” according to his online obituary. “In 1998, he led his team to the 55+ AAA Senior Softball World Championship in Chicago.”

     “In 2012, as a member of the 70+ Florida Legends, …Mike was inducted into the National Senior Softball Hall of Fame.”

     After college ball, but before senior ball, Mike became a teacher and coached football, basketball and varsity baseball. Later, he became a restaurant owner while playing senior softball.

     Mike will be remembered for playing with Team Florida Raptors 60s, Dirt’s All-Stars/Old South 65s (GA), Florida Legends 65s and 70s, and Southeast Left-Overs 75s (GA).

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