The Atlantic Stewardship Bank Inter-Church Softball League was founded over 55 years ago. It is a competitive men’s softball league consisting of 10 to 14 local churches in the North Jersey area. The teams within the league are primarily from towns such as Wyckoff, North Haledon, Midland Park, Prospect Park, Ramsey, Haledon, Pompton Plains, Wayne, etc. When two churches have a game against one another, it’s not just about who wins, because being at the ball fields together gives both churches an outstanding opportunity for joint fellowship and a way of representing their church within the local community. It is also a great way to potentially gain new young members that might be searching for the right church family on Sunday’s. Games are never played on weekends, always weeknights at 6:30. The current League Commissioner is Alan Verduin, who attends Living Word in North Haldeon. Prior to becoming the Commissioner, Alan Verduin played in the league as a member of the Sixers, who were originally known as Sixth Reformed. The League is sponsored by Atlantic Stewardship Bank, whose main headquarters are located in Midland Park. They have banks located in basically the same towns as the churches that participate in the softball league.
OLDER TEAM HISTORY
Second Reformed Church (SRC) was one of the original churches to join the league. The team was never able to win a championship, but had some of their best seasons during the 1970’s under the leadership of Pastor Bruce Hoffman. SRC was no longer able to field enough players for a team in the early 1980’s and had to temporarily drop out of the league.
RECENT TEAM HISTORY
SRC rejoined the league in 2005 under new Team Manager Scott Botbyl. After 4 years, SRC merged with Union Reformed Church of Franklin Lakes and became known as Abundant Life Reformed Church (ALRC). Prior to the 2005 season, Botbyl had played for several years on the Unity Church Softball team. At that time, Botbyl was dating Alison Donkersloot, and most of her family (her grandparents, her Aunts, her Uncles, and her cousins) attended Unity in Prospect Park. Botbyl credits Alison’s Uncle Bob for bringing him into the league and allowing him to play for Unity. Scott and Alison got married in July of 2003. The following year, in 2004, Botbyl was the winning pitcher when Unity won the League Championship. Alison’s parents had been members at SRC, and Alison’s father Walter played for the SRC softball team during the 1970’s. Botbyl also credits Craig Huizenga for inspiring him to start the team once again in 2005. Between 2005 and 2016, the ALRC softball team has played 158 games (132 regular season and 26 playoffs), and Botbyl has played in all 158 games.
In terms of regular season, the two best years for ALRC came in 2010 and 2011, as they captured back-to-back division titles, for finishing the regular season in 1st place with the best record in the league in both those years.
In terms of the playoffs, the best two years for ALRC came in 2012 and 2016. In both those years, ALRC won a Final Four game and fell just one win short of advancing to the championship game. The difference between 2012 and 2016 though was the amount of playoff wins. 2016 was the most playoff wins (3) in team history, as ALRC won games in the first round, second round, and Final Four. In 2012, ALRC had a first round bye, and then won two games (second round and a Final Four game). The team also reached the Final Four in both 2005 and 2006.