The NACSSL is a competitive, slow-pitch Senior Softball league located in the North Hills of Pittsburgh. Games are played primarily at the North Park Senior Ballfield Complex at the Lodge at North Park.
The league was founded in 1988 and has continued to grow over the past 33 years. With over 200 players competing on 16 teams in two age divisions: Silver Division is for ages 52-61, and the Gold Division is for ages 62 and up, the NACSSL is the premier senior softball league in western PA. Players range in age from 52 to 80. Most players come from Allegheny County, but some travel from several surrounding counties to participate.
The history of the league dates back to when Tom Foerster was County Commissioner. During its 2nd season, the league requested and was granted permission by Commissioner Foerster, to build two ballfields across from the Lodge at North Park.
Starting in Spring 1990, and using a bulldozer borrowed from Mashuda Contractors, a heavy/highway contractor located in Cranberry Township, league members began clearing the land. Rocks as big as automobiles had to be removed. Backfilling the area with tons of soil took several months to complete. Once backfilled, Mashuda Contractors provided a computerized grader to level the ballfields.
Work continued through 1991 with backstops and outfield fencing installed on both fields.
The ballfields were completed and ready for play in July 1992. Before league play commenced, there was a dedication ceremony held at the ballfields with dignitaries from the North Hills attending and participating in a celebrity softball game. The ballfields were named for Ralph Lambert, President of the NACSSL during its early development, and for Richard Mashuda, owner of Mashuda Contractors, who had generously provided equipment and manpower to help construct the fields.
Over the years, a large pavilion was been built next to the ballfields to provide shelter and safety during inclement weather for players and fans. This facility is important because the fields are located at the highest point in North Park.
Grants have been obtained to purchase equipment to maintain the fields, replace backstops and fencing, and install irrigation systems to keep the grass outfields in good playing condition throughout the summer months.
The 52-61 age division plays at Lambert Field which has outfield dimensions of 300 feet to left field, 290 feet to center field, and 300 feet to right field. The outfield is surrounded by an 8-foot-high fence.
Just beyond the center-field fence is the North Park Water Tower which was built in 1937. It is 102 feet tall, has a diameter of 25 feet, and holds 300,000 gallons of water. The observation deck of the tower has been closed since the 1970s.
The 62+ age division plays at Mashuda Field where the dimensions are slightly smaller: 276 feet to left field, 277 feet to center field, and 263 to right field. The outfield fence is 4-feet high. (The older guys can’t jump quite as high!)
Both divisions have players who can clear the fences with home runs.
All 16 teams in the league are sponsored and have uniforms sporting the sponsor’s name.
When Pittsburgh hosted the Summer Games of the National Senior Olympics in 2005, the league hosted the men’s softball competition at the Lambert and Mashuda ballfields.
The Summer Games of the National Senior Olympics are scheduled to return to Pittsburgh in 2023, and the NACSSL plans to help again in a major way.
Players join the NACSSL for many reasons. Some because they want to stay in shape physically, mentally, and socially as they get older. Some because of the competition and the opportunity to make new friends. Others because of the well-maintained, excellent facilities at the North Park Senior Ballfield Complex. Approximately 40-50 players are members of traveling regional and national tournament teams. However, the majority of players are average guys who still enjoy the game they grew up playing as kids.
Teams play an average of two games per week from May to July. All teams participate in a double-elimination league tournament during the month of August.
New player registration and evaluations are held in late March or early April at the Senior Ballfield Complex.
If you are looking to keep that New Year’s resolution to stay in shape or to become more physically active, the Northern Allegheny County Senior Softball League is open for the 2022 season. To sign up, please visit their website at www.nacssl.com, or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.