By Vince Gerasole

(CBS) — Their game is in extra innings.

“I’ve been playing since I was 5 years old,” says Howard Lipschultz.

This is men’s senior softball in Arlington Heights, where some of the fellas pitching and rounding the bases are in their eighties.

“On my team alone, I know we’ve got probably eight new knees,” says Mike Sabatino, who, at age 80, is practically a rookie.

“If the 30-year-old’s see us, they know there’s hope down the road,” he adds.

They pitch from behind a protective net, and pinch runners are okay.

They have stories to tell of the injures they overcame, and the things they’ve seen.

Stanley Rauch of Schaumburg was 15 in 1945, when the Cubs were last in the World Series. He sold soda.

“It was the end of the war, and the Cubs were in the World Series. How much better could it get?” he says.

For people who think age 50 is a time to start downshifting, Ray Persino of Northbrook says, “You’re crazy. That’s when we start having fun.”

Sabatino’s team, The Chicago Hitmen, won world championships in 2010, 2012 and 2014. They’re up for the title this year and are returning this Sunday.

“I see guys here at 85,” he says. “I am only 70, so I have a chance for 15 more years.”

 

Vince Gerasole