News and Announcements


Lewis Hugh Bender

Date: Saturday, February 17, 2024
Time: 1:00-3:00 P.M.
Place: 272 Red Gate Drive
Attire: Benny’s Favorite Sports Team (hat, shirt, etc.), A Team Benny Played On

Lewis Hugh Bender, 80, of Cumming, Georgia, passed away on February 12, 2024 surrounded by the love of his family.

Lewis, fondly known as Benny, Sweet Lew, or Pop, was born to Lewis and Mary Bender of Pensacola, Florida on August 17, 1943. Benny was a graduate of East Atlanta High School and went on to study business at West Georgia College. He was a talented athlete who spent many of his college days playing baseball as a West Georgia Brave. After graduation, he went on to work for his father. Benny loved spending time with his two children, coaching and playing softball, playing poker, attending bible study, and spending time with friends. Benny was a lifetime fan of Georgia Tech Athletics, but most importantly, a fan of his family and being in their presence.

Benny is survived by his wife Linda McHale Bender, his two children, Greg Bender and Kelley Bender Hudgins, his son-in-law Jeff Hudgins, and his five grandchildren, Franci and Tanner Bender, and Colby, Mathis, and Rory Hudgins. Benny is also survived by two sisters, Sue Rhoden (Ken) and Sylvia Stevens (Lynn), along with beloved nieces and nephews. In addition, Benny has three stepchildren, Ginger Davis (Richard), Craig Brown (Christy), and Chad Brown. Benny is also a doting “Pop” to step-grandchildren Emory and Elizabeth Davis, and Luke, Abby, and Carrie Brown.

Benny will be missed by countless friends, teammates, and family. We look forward to celebrating Benny’s life.


We are very sad to share the news that Lew Bender passed away this afternoon from a heart attack. Lew was a star player and manager in the CSSA, and a tournament player. He will be greatly missed. More details will be forthcoming regarding services. All of us in the CSSA send our deepest condolences to his family and friends. Rest in peace, Lew.

The meeting of the CSSA Board of Directors was held January 4th, 2024, at Wicked Wings, Kennesaw, and called to order by Norman Thiem at 6:40 P.M.

Board Members Present: Norman Thiem, Mike Parson, Robbie Crider, Dick O’Connor, Maria Burden, Paul Markley, Marty Aftewicz, Randy Bergman, Dewey Hom, Dan Bonham, John Humeston, Mike Maguire and Ray DeLuca.

Board Members Steve Fleming and James Bauch were absent.

A. Minutes of the December 4, 2023 meeting were reviewed and Board approved.
B. Treasurer’s Report: Mike Maguire presented a complete financial statement for 2023 with final reporting on the golf tournament and award banquet financials as well as projections for income for 2024. The charity fund is larger than ever, mainly due to the 2023 golf tournaments benefiting this fund, making it available for use to assist those in need within our organization.
C. Sponsor Report: The board discussed the status of current sponsors, and potential replacements for sponsors possibly leaving this year. More will be known in the next two months. Getting early and firm commitments from new sponsors is critical so new jerseys can be ordered and received prior to the start of the spring 2024 season. Player sponsors are solidly returning as sponsors this year.
D. New City of Refuge Team: Mike Parson proposed creating a team named “City of Refuge” in honor of the great works of Bruce Deel, a player in the CSSA. Team sponsor fees will be paid from the charity fund. The sponsorship will bring more awareness to the good work done by this incredible organization, which includes housing to end homelessness, health, wellness and nutrition programs, youth development programs, as well as shelter and support programs for human trafficking victims, domestic violence survivors and much more. The board voted to approve the proposal.
E. Storage Shed: A 4’x6’ lockable storage shed has been approved and will be placed inside the gated maintenance area at Hobgood Park to keep CSSAs equipment safe and secure. Our inventory of new softballs will be housed in a climate-controlled storage facility held by Norman Thiem.
F. Bat Checks: The board discussed the merits/need for bat checks in the Patriots League, where there are some questions of illegal or altered bats in use from time to time. Dan Bonham will head a committee to study the need and logistics.
G. Strike Mats: The board concluded CSSA would stick with the existing plywood strike mats for 2024.
H. New Competitive Balance Tool for Draft: Dan Bonham introduced a dynamic cloud-based Competitive Balance Tool which he developed to assist League Directors in carrying out the vitally important responsibility of creating and maintaining a competitive balance among teams in each league to ensure that this element of CSSA’s mission is carried out each season during the draft. Using statistics and data Dan entered from recent seasons and skill scores from player evaluations, this simple but powerful program makes it easy for League Directors to look at team rosters objectively and manage the job of creating/maintaining competitive balance between teams to make playing in the CSSA fun, competitive and fair.
I. CRPA Annual Banquet: On January 18th, the CRPA will hold its annual banquet honoring outstanding members of recreation leagues and locations. CSSA discussed and nominated our honoree for this year. CSSAs honoree will be named at the banquet. Last year’s CSSA honoree was Marty Aftewicz for his innumerable contributions and dedication to CSSA.

The meeting adjourned at 8:35 p.m. The next meeting will be February 5th with location TBD.


Cherokee Senior Softball’s 2024 spring season starts in just a few weeks!

The last day of new player evaluations will be held at THE TURF FIELD ON THE EAST SIDE OF Hobgood Park, Woodstock, Georgia

*Saturday, February 24th from 2:00-3:00 pm


With 500 members ranging in age from 49-90, and with nine leagues and about 44 teams, we have a league that fits every ability level. Many of our new members haven’t played softball for thirty years until joining our organization. All new player evaluations are based on abilities, and not ages. CSSA softball is more fun than you can imagine, with a ten week spring season and a ten week fall season, weekly stats and standings posted here on our website, awesome new jerseys, and a year-end awards banquet. So come on out to evaluations and get ready for some great recreation and camaraderie.

Fees for the 10-week spring season are only $55.00, payable online at:

If you know of anyone who would be interested in playing, please put the word out regarding new player evaluations. All men and women are welcome to join in. There are leagues playing at Hobgood Park (corner of Bells Ferry and Towne Lake Parkway in Woodstock, Georgia) on Monday and Wednesday mornings as well as Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. We also have leagues playing Thursday mornings and Thursday nights at Skip Wells Park off Bells Ferry Road in Marietta, Georgia. Players can be in several leagues if schedules/abilities permit.

Spring season starts the week of March 4th, 2024 – weather permitting. For more information, please call 770-400-9121 or email

The meeting of the CSSA Board of Directors was held December 4th, 2023, at Ralph’s Tavern, Kennesaw, and called to order by Norman Thiem at 6:40 P.M.

Board Members Present: Norman Thiem, Mike Parson, Robbie Crider, Dick O’Connor, Maria Burden, Marty Aftewicz, Randy Bergman, Dewey Hom, Dan Bonham, John Humeston.
Paul Markley was a guest.

Board Members Mike Maguire, Ray DeLuca, Steve Fleming and James Bauch were absent.

A. Minutes of the October 23rd, 2023 meeting were reviewed and Board approved.
B. Treasurer’s Notes: Norman Thiem reported that Mike Maguire would have a full financial statement ready by year end with final reporting on the golf tournament and award banquet financials.
C. Board Members Retiring: Leland Brown and Bob Werner have resigned from the board. Their service and commitment to CSSA are greatly appreciated and they will be missed. Paul Markley was invited to join the meeting to observe and consider a position on the board as a league director/manager. The question of the need for player representatives was discussed.
D. Legends League Director: Randy Bergman volunteered to serve as Legends League Director if Paul Markley would take over the directorship of the Legacy League. The board voted to approve that change.
E. Storage Shed: Norman Thiem proposed the purchase of a storage shed and hand truck to move batting mats at Hobgood Park to secure our equipment, considering the ongoing problem with equipment and supplies being taken from the existing storage area at the park.
F. Batting Titles and Forfeits: The board discussed the impact of forfeited games on qualifications for batting titles and the number of games a player must play in order to be the batting champ.
G. New Balls for 2024 Season: A temperature-controlled storage space will be used for the safe storage of the balls arriving in late December – early January. It was decided that two new balls would continue to be used for each game for the upcoming spring season.
H. Patriots League: The board concluded that 70-year phase-out rule qualifies as league-specific and can be modified with board approval.
I. 2024 Sponsors: The board voted to make sponsor fees $400 for the 2024 seasons.
J. 2024 Scorekeepers and Umpires: Fees will remain the same as last season.
K. 2024 Player Fees: Fees will remain at $55 per player per league. Eighty-up players will continue to be awarded one fee waiver each for the 2024 seasons. Scholarships are available for fee payment based on need, and should be submitted to Stacie Pittman by league directors so they can be properly accounted for in the system.
L. 2024 Calendar: Norman Thiem presented a 2024 calendar with slightly earlier dates for spring evaluations, drafts and league start dates than previous years. As always, weather may affect dates. The calendar will be confirmed and announcements made accordingly.

The meeting adjourned at 8:40 p.m. The next meeting will be January 8th with location TBD.