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Oldest Softball Player in the League Still a Firecracker on the Mound

July 26, 2019 10:45 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- A local softball player; who’s a firecracker on the mound, is breaking barriers.

“I think every single person who is in this [women’s] league knows who Jan is,” said Kimberly Gustine, a Rochester softball player.

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Janice Baker plays in the Rochester Parks & Rec Women’s Softball League where she not only pitches for the “Family Tree Landscape & Nursery” team, she manages it. It’s a role she took on in the 90’s.

“I can play where I want to If I am managing,” joked Baker.

Watching Baker lob softballs and run bases, it’s hard to tell she’s 71. Baker is the oldest player in the women’s league in Rochester; she often plays against women half her age … even younger.

“I never got sports when I was in school because they didn't have sports for girls then,” said Baker. “I got sick of being at home with the kids so I started playing [softball] with the girls at work. Once Joel; my youngest, was five I took the kids along and I started playing and had fun and I've been playing ever since.”

Baker’s been playing rec softball for 41 years.

When asked how she stays in such good shape … “I started running when I was 58,” she said. “Every morning I walk two to four miles.”

Even in the dead of winter, Baker gets up first thing for her morning walk. She says her gardens also keep her busy.

“If you don’t use it, you lose it,” said Baker. “Just get out there and keep moving because if you don't, your body will stiffen up. Your body was meant to move.”

Baker has become a role model for other players in the league.

“It gives me inspiration as I'm getting older - all of us are getting a little bit older – it’s really a great inspiration to see that she is still doing it and I can still do it too,” said Gustine.

“It's impressive to see her out here doing her thing,” said Kali Aldrich, a Rochester softball player. “She breaks barriers, she is a women leader for sure.”

“I always define Jan as a ‘very good team player’,” Lindsey Hanenberger, a Rochester softball player. “She is a legend.”

Baker has no plays of slowing down anytime soon. “I always say I’ll keep playing until I don't enjoy it anymore,” she said.

KAAL-TV

Copyright 2019 - KAAL-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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