For most of his life, when Allen Green wasn't pulling teeth, he was pulling pitches.
The 75-year-old retired dentist from Westerville is one of 126 players, all of whom are at least 60 years old, in the new Hilliard Senior Rec Softball men's league.
As Green stood between the chalk lines at home plate June 27, he was greeted with a call: "Get a hit for us, Doc."
Moonlight Graham comes to Hilliard.
The Hilliard Senior Rec Softball league has seven teams, which play Monday and Wednesday evenings at Roger A. Reynolds Municipal Park, 3800 Veterans Memorial Drive.
It was created earlier this year to provide a haven for camaraderie and competitive play that is devoid of the win-at-all-costs approach in other leagues, said its commissioner, Bob Zabloudil, 65, of Westerville.
"It really exceeded all our expectations," he said.
The league's first spring-summer season began April 30 and will conclude Aug. 13, with a tournament following Aug. 15 and 20.
A fall league will pick up Aug. 22 and run through Oct. 17, Zabloudil said.
Players said they enjoy the character of the new league, which doesn't "stack" rosters with tournament players.
"There were too many 'wanna-bes' in other leagues," said Larry Alvaro, 69, of Norwich Township. "We wanted a league where we could just have a good time."
The camaraderie extends beyond the baselines.
"I think we have more fun after the game than we do during the game," said Zabloudil, referring to a social gathering at the same Old Hilliard watering hole after each game. "We talk about our families, anything and everything."
Those relationships mean a lot, Alvaro said.
"At our ages, some of us are battling cancer or have lost spouses, and this is a time for us to forget about things like that for an hour or two," Alvaro said. "We play hard and we want to win, make no mistake, but at the end of the game, you can't tell apart who won and who lost."
Roger Rill, 68, of Hilliard left his feet June 27 in a league game to make catch a pop-up in foul territory and accepted a helping hand from an opponent to regain his feet.
He said he has played in too many leagues to count.
"It's my 48th softball season," Rill said. "I keep playing because I can ... even if I'm a little slower."
Rill and other players, such as Steve Ridenbaugh, 66, of Pickerington, said playing helps keep their bodies in shape.
"I enjoy getting out and playing and running," said Ridenbaugh, who pitches and also plays basketball.
Green is among the older players in the league but it's hard to discern that.
The third basemen, who retired from dentistry in 2012, is somewhat of a pro. Each winter, Green said, he plays in the Men's Senior Baseball League World Series in Phoenix and the Roy Hobbs World Series in Fort Myers, Florida. Between the two, he said, he has been on five championship teams.
Anyone looking to join the Hilliard Senior Rec Softball league can do so individually or as a team by calling the Hilliard Recreation and Parks Department at 614-876-5200, going to hilliardohio.gov or emailing Zabloudil at email@example.com.
The deadline to register for the fall league is Aug. 1. The registration fee is $18 per player.
Sponsors are covering most of the expenses for the spring-summer season and the fall season, Zabloudil said. The league furnishes softballs, umpire fees, field conditioning and other game necessities.
Players need to bring personal items, such as bats and gloves.