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Vince Ingrilli Plumbing still going strong

Chemistry the key for longtime team

Aug. 10, 2011

Camaraderie can be defined as the friendship that is built among people who spend a lot of time together.

For many players on the Vince Ingrilli Plumbing softball team, including longtime player and team manager Dave Brand, camaraderie has come naturally after spending up to 40 years playing on the same team.

Although the team has changed sponsors several times over the years, Brand said being able to be competitive each and every year has helped keep the majority of the team together.

"We've always been able to be a good team in a good league," Brand said.

In fact, the team has won the city tournament twice and has always finished at at least .500.

But looking at the makeup of the team, you might wonder how it could stay together and have such good camaraderie for so long.

"It's an odd softball team," Brand said. "Teams will look at us and say, 'how'd you guys all get together?'"

You might think it would be hard for the team members - five players in their 50s, one in his 30s and the rest in their 20s - to relate to one another.

But that's not the case.

Brand's three sons - Chris, Mike and David - have joined the team. And they brought along some of their early-20-something friends to play too.

"I love it because they bring energy, they bring an excitement to the team that we certainly feed off of," longtime player Tom Kozlowski said. "It has really given us a shot in the arm.

"People would think it wouldn't be a good chemistry, but everyone gets along and everyone's friends. We have really good, strong team chemistry."

Much as the younger players bring life to the Ingrilli team, Kozlowski, who has played since the mid-'90s and is one of the 50-year-olds on the team, said playing against younger players on other teams is the biggest challenge he and his older teammates face.

"You get smarter, you have more experience, you've been down the road so many times and you know in certain situations what to do, but sometimes your body doesn't cooperate," Kozlowski said.

Brand said the older players on the team are still in great shape, running marathons and participating in triathlons. But with the younger guys coming in to take over eventually, Brand and Kozlowski both have thought of hanging it up soon.

"At this stage, it's always year to year - you never know," Brand said.

Although the team has not played to expectations this year, they expect to make a run in the playoffs.

"Even though we're a little disappointed in our performance, we still look ahead to the city tournament every year and hopefully we can make some noise in the tournament," Brand said.

Other older players who also are thinking of hanging it up soon include Dan Eichner, Bob Steiner and Steve Schmidt. Kozlowski said he would miss the team.

"Those are the guys I really love to see each week," he said.

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