Recap: Seven Victorians Honoured with Merle Short Service Award

Recap: Seven Victorians Honoured with Merle Short Service Award

At the Softball Victoria AGM held recently, seven members were recognised with Merle Short Service Awards. 

These Service Awards are bestowed upon volunteers who have demonstrated outstanding service within the softball community. 

On behalf of the wider softball community we congratulate the following members on being recognised for their valued contribution to our sport:

Andrea (Andy) WankeDandenong Softball Association

Andrea, affectionately known as ‘Andy’, served as Secretary to various Committees since 1982, when she was the DSUA Secretary, and has been a member of the DSA Executive since 2003. Andy is also the current Registrar for Southern Knights Softball Club. 

Andy started playing softball for Dandenong in underage teams and progressed through the ranks to Open Representative teams in a career that has spanned more than 40 years. At a state level Andy has been team manager for both U23 Men’s and Women’s teams.

Andy continues to be an active member in all facets of the Dandenong Softball Association. These volunteer roles include work at state championships held by Dandenong, as tournament coordinator and scorer.

Andy’s dedication and loyalty to the game she loves makes her an ideal award winner.

Find out more about Andrea’s story here:

Lawrie Hand – Knox Softball Association

Lawrie has been around softball for nearly 50 years. When his wife first started playing softball, he took on umpiring duties (from 1967 to 1971). He started out coaching a junior team in 1986 with the Knox Eagles and soon after joined the Kilsyth Diamonds club.

In 1996 when Hard Knox Masters established its club, Lawrie became one of its early coaches of its Men’s and Women’s Masters’ teams.

During those early years, Lawrie also became involved in the Knox and District Softball Association. He first took on the role of President in 2003, then for a longer four-year stint from 2009 to 2012, and again in 2018 and 2019.

For the last two summer seasons he has also volunteered his time to coach and mentor the girls teams from the Worowa Aboriginal College in Healesville.

He has also been the convenor of two State Championships at the Knox Association grounds, was on the committee for the World Master’s Games and was on the Victorian Softball Association’s Master’s committee for a number of years.

Find out more about Lawrie’s story here:

Mark Rigg – Knox Softball Association

Mark’s dedication to Club and Association softball for nearly three decades has seen him hold roles most recently at state-level coaching. Last year he was re-appointed as Head Coach for the 2019 Open Women’s Victorian State Team – a position he’s held since 2017.

Mark has been the President of Lilydale Ejays Softball Club for over 20-years and has coached many of the club’s teams during that time. He was honoured with the Club’s Life Membership in 2017.

He has also coached Knox Representative Teams for at least 15-years and continues to volunteer his time for this important role alongside his State Coaching duties.

Mark has been a member of the Knox and District Softball Association committee for over ten years. He was presented with the Association’s Life Membership award in 2014. 

Mark coaches many of the Association’s individual junior players during his free time, to help them in their efforts to gain entry to State Teams.

Find out more about Mark’s story here:

Maureen Young – Knox Softball Association

Maureen has been involved in the sport of softball for several decades – as a player, a club and association administrator, and as a high-level scorer – with an extensive understanding of the game.

She was on the Knox and District Softball Association Committee for nearly 15-years in the 1980s and 1990s, mainly in the role of registrar. Maureen has been an administrative stalwart of two of KDSA’s member clubs – Lilydale Ejays and Hard Knox Masters.

Maureen’s other passion has been scoring. She was recently re-accredited with her Level 2 Scoring Certificate.

Maureen’s dedication and valuable contribution to her sport, Association and Clubs has been recognised by her achievement of Life Memberships from Lilydale Ejays Softball Club (in 1999), Knox and District Softball Association (in 2002) and Hard Knox Masters Softball Club (in 2013). 

Find out more about Maureen’s story here:

Lee MarshDandenong Softball Association

Lee is the current President of the Southern Knights and Secretary of the SEMR committee. Whilst in this role, Lee has also served on the executive at Dandenong as the Assistant Secretary for two years and Treasurer for six years.

Lee’s softball career spanned over 40-years and seen Lee take on a number of roles during this time. 

At a state level, Lee served on sub committees including the current competitions committee, and has also been chief selector for many state teams including Titans Open Women’s team and the U23 Men’s team. 

The inaugural Men’s season commenced in 1981 and saw Lee not only coach the team, but also serve on the committee established to run the Men’s competition.

Lee was pivotal in her role as canteen manager over a number of years during Easter Tournaments conducted at Dandenong. 

Her dedication and loyalty to the game she loves makes her an ideal award recipient. 

Find out more about Lee’s story here:

Neil Duyvestyn – Melbourne Softball Association

Neil has been an active member of softball in Victoria since 1997 and still remains committed to the sport.

Neil has been a great ambassador for softball and has involved himself as a player, umpire, statistician, administrator and coach covering all age groups. 

Melbourne Softball Association has benefited greatly from Neil’s commitment and contribution to softball at Fawkner Park.

Find out more about Neil’s story here:

Kylie JamesWerribee Softball Association

Kylie began playing juniors for the Melton Softball Club at Werribee and starred as a junior in the position of pitcher. As an adult Kylie represented Werribee at the State Championships as both a player and coach.

Always on hand to help out with the development at Werribee, Kylie regularly presented pitching components at association clinics. 

Kylie also served on the Werribee Executive for multiple years in the role as Vice President and currently she is the Association’s social media officer.

Find out more about Kylie’s story here: