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PLAY LIKE KIDS AGAIN

Kids & Kubs, a league for players 75 years and older, returns to the field.

After scoring the first run of the day, Tom Panebianco rubbed his hands together.

"The weather is too cold today, but it's better than what the Rays' weather is in Philly,'' the 81-year-old shortstop said.

Less than 12 hours after Game 5 of the World Series was suspended because of rain, Panebianco and 75 fellow members of Kids & Kubs of St. Petersburg, suited up and took to the field at the Largo Sports Complex on Tuesday.

For the eighth October in a row, Palms of Largo, a retirement community adjacent to the complex, played host to the Kids & Kubs pre-season exhibition event. Kids & Kubs, a softball league made up of players 75 years and older, starts its regular season Saturday.

"It is great to have Kids & Kubs here,'' said Holly Russell, campus marketing and production manager for Palms of Largo. "It shows that staying active like these players keep the elderly strong for as long as possible.''

The program included two softball games. Residents of Palms of Largo and children from the Palms of Largo Learning Center cheered the players on.

In the fourth inning of Game 1, 81-year-old pitcher Clarence Faucett was struck in the nose by a line drive. Teammates helped him from the mound, offering him ice and towels. Once he regained his bearings, Faucett chose to leave the game accompanied by his daughter.

"He was on a raised mound out there, and unfortunately, he got it right square on the nose,'' teammate Bob Tesori said. "I was relieved to hear him joke. He said not to worry, that his nose was always crooked.''

The event was peppered with humor. Toward the end of Game 2, after reprimanding a player for not touching home plate, umpire Bob Newland hollered to the crowd in the bleachers.

"You really need to keep your eyes on these guys," he said. "After all these years, you'd think they'd know what base they gotta touch.''

The 88-year-old smiled, and the game began once more.

IF YOU GO

Kids & Kubs softball season

What: Kids & Kubs, a senior softball league made up of players, both men and women, 75 years and older.

When: Kids & Kubs regular season begins Saturday. Games are Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.

Where: North Shore Park, along downtown St. Petersburg's waterfront.

Cost: Admission is free.

For information: Call (727) 893-7108.

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