The very first thing you hear from these taking part in within the annual Veterans Softball Match in The Villages is that it’s concerning the camaraderie. However it’s actually about honoring those that have served our nation.

The match will start Sunday morning with Division 4 taking part in at Buffalo Glen Softball Complicated and Division 5 plus a girls’s crew taking part in at Saddlebrook. The groups are damaged up by department of service, with girls taking part in on a mixed crew. Final yr, the ladies’s crew received the Division 5 title.

A kind of taking part in on the Division 5 Navy crew this yr is Wayne Lotsberg, who performs on the Solar Devils. All veterans’ service deserves to be honored, however Lotsberg’s document stands out.

He served as an aviator, flying A-4s and A-7s off carriers throughout two deployments to assault targets in North Vietnam. That nation was often called essentially the most closely defended towards air assault on the planet. Lotsberg received three Distinguished Flying Crosses, two of them for helping within the rescue of downed pilots.

“Fight squadron pilots share an unbelievable camaraderie,” he mentioned. “The priority for one another is unbelievable.”

Then, in November 1972, Lotsberg had an in depth name of his personal. His airplane was hit by floor fireplace and he misplaced hydraulic management programs. He was in a position to nurse the airplane out over the ocean, bailed out, and was rescued. Two days later, he returned to common responsibility. His naval service, and that incident particularly, gave him a novel method of softball.

“I don’t take it so severely,” he mentioned. “I’m fortunate to be right here. It’s actually neat.”

Lotsberg, of the Village of Sundown Pointe, left the Navy in 1973 and bounced round some time. He’d gone into the Navy straight out of highschool, so he had no faculty diploma. Ultimately, he landed within the burgeoning telecommunications subject.

“Due to what I had finished (within the Navy), I used to be employed on potential,” he mentioned.

After working within the subject for years, Lotsberg retired and moved to The Villages in 2010. He’s been taking part in softball since.

“I benefit from the bodily act of taking part in,” he mentioned. “I benefit from the guys and the enjoyable of taking part in.”

He’ll be taking part in Sunday, however not till he represents all of the veterans taking part in as he throws out the ceremonial first pitch.

“It’s good to be within the veterans match,” he mentioned.

Divisions 4 and 5 will proceed the match Nov. 15, when the championship video games might be performed. That’s additionally the opening day for the mixed divisions 1, 2 and three match, which might be performed at Everglades Softball Complicated. That match is scheduled to conclude Nov. 22.

Senior author Steve Straehley might be reached at 352-753-1119, ext. 5228, or

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