ST. JOHN'S - Baseball Canada held its annual national awards banquet in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador over the weekend in conjunction with Baseball Newfoundland and Labrador.
Baseball Canada would like to congratulate the following award winners.
Dick Willis Memorial Award for Umpire of the Year
KEITH MCCONKEY (WELLAND, ONTARIO)
A Master Course Conductor who has Supervised at 3 National Championships, including being a Lead Supervisor at a Baseball Canada Cup, Keith had a busy year in 2023 including a Mentor in Baseball Ontario’s Mentoring Program for Level 4 umpires, where, based on experience, Keith provided feedback and strategies to elevate performance for international consideration. Keith continued his commitment to umpiring in Ontario by umpiring at Baseball Ontario’s high profile Provincial events such as the Eliminations and Provincial Championships. In addition, he was assigned a leadership role at the Level 4/5 National Clinic as a 4-Umpire System Instructor. This was to instruct and provide feedback for umpires who were attending the Blue Jay Showcase. The highlight of Keith’s season came when he represented Canada at the WBSC U18 World Cup in Taiwan last September where his fine work earned him the Home Plate Umpire for the Gold medal Game. This is a rare, if not unprecedented, accomplishment for a Canadian Umpire at an International event.
Lifetime Umpire Achievement Award
LISA TURBITT (BURLINGTON, ONTARIO) & KENT WALKER (EAST ROYALTY, PEI)
An accomplished international and national umpire and supervisor, Lisa has been a leader for almost 30 years in the umpire development programs provincially and nationally. Far from resting on her many accomplishments, Lisa continues to be very active both on-field as an umpire, and off-field on the many committees and events she serves.
Just some of Lisa’s many accomplishments include:
Becoming the first female to umpire at a World Baseball Classic event in 2022
Has umpired and supervised at over 20 Baseball Canada National Championships
Has umpired at 6 and supervised at 4 International events, recently the 2023 WBSC Women’s Baseball World Cup in Thunder Bay and is also a member of the WBSC Umpires Committee
is an active member of the Baseball Ontario Umpires Committee since 1995, with accomplishments in that role including: co-creation of the 5-year Level 1-2 curriculum that is now used across the country along with coordinating and leading all training and development opportunities for prospective Level 4 umpires
Kent has been active in umpiring for his entire 40 year baseball career on PEI serving as a local Umpire in Chief, Board Member of PEI Baseball Umpires Association, and Provincial Umpire Supervisor. The past 25 years of his on field career have seen Kent achieve level 4 and level 5 certification culminating in a selection to umpire at the 2002 World Junior Baseball Championships representing Canada. In total he has umpired or supervised in more than 15 National and International events across Canada. Today, he remains extremely active in the game umpiring up to 10 games a week at the peak of the summer, often being called upon to work home plate of important games. He still supervises at Baseball Canada National Championships, his most recent assignment in 2022 at the Atlantic 13U Nationals in St. John's NL. In addition to all of this, Kent mentors youth umpires on a regular basis, assisting them in their first years as on field umpires. All of this is done in the efforts of hoping they have a good experience and helping retain some of the more interested ones.
2023 Baseball Canada Lifelong Coaching Award
ROB MYRDEN (CORNER BROOK, NEWFOUNDLAND & LABRADOR)
A constant figure both on and off the field in Corner Brook, Rob has been coaching for over 45 years spanning every level possible and holds the title of coaching the most teams in the history of his local association and possibly the most teams in the history of Baseball Newfoundland & Labrador. Coaching at numerous provincial, Atlantic and National Championships over the years, Rob’s coaching resume is matched by few. However, it is the impact that he has had on the baseball community of Corner Brook that would be the real reason he deserves this award. Rob has been the Head Coach for the association overseeing the entire baseball program and he has been a mentor to countless coaches. To quote former Corner Brook Baseball President and former VP of Baseball NL, Kevin McCarthy , "I would say that Rob Myrden coached every player who played baseball in Corner Brook for the last 30 years". Just a few short weeks ago he coached what is thought to be his final game and leaves his coaching post with what so many aspire to do: Leave something better than when you found it and have the respect of many after a job well done!
Lionel Ruhr Elite Coach of the Year Award
MARK HEALY (ST. JOHN’S, NEWFOUNDLAND & LABRADOR)
Mark has been a constant force with the Women’s baseball program in Newfoundland and Labrador for a number of years and continued to lead the program in 2023 as the lead coach for High Performance Program. In addition to this role, Marke was Head Coach for NL’s 21U Women and 16U Girls provincial program where he led the 21U squad to a respectable 6th place finish at nationals while guiding the 16U program to its best finish ever at a national when they reached the semi finals eventually placing fourth. Mark’s work with women’s baseball is being felt throughout the province and will continue to have an impact for years to come.
Baseball Canada Volunteer of the Year Award
DARREL KIREV (SUMMERSIDE, PEI)
It’s safe to say that Darrel had his fingerprints on nearly every facet of minor baseball on PEI and in Summerside in 2023. As a coach he led the 11U AAA Summerside squad, oversaw eight major tournaments on the island, did yeoman's work on the web when scheduling and field usage became an issue and served as a Baseball PEI rep at several provincial championships. All of this was in addition to Darrel’s roles as a local and provincial Board of Directors member. Darrel truly helped get PEI through a really trying season with more rain- rescheduled games and tournaments than any other on record. He has a heart of gold and is always there willing to lend a hand when needed.
Women’s National Team MVP
ZOE HICKS (Boissevain, MB)
It hasn’t taken Zoe long to establish herself as a key piece of the Women’s National Team program by her fierce competitiveness, performance and leadership qualities. Joining the squad for the first time in 2022, Zoe grabbed the starting third base job and ran with it at the WBSC Women’s Baseball World Cup Group stage playing the “hot corner” impeccably while also being a force at the plate. Her .667 batting average was good for second overall in the tournament including a 3-for-3 game at the plate with 3 runs scored and 2 RBIs in a win over Hong Kong. Perhaps what’s more impressive is the fact that Zoe also competed with Softball Canada’s National program earlier in the summer and just last week helping them win a Bronze Medal at the Pan Am Games in Chile.
Ashley Stephenson Award Award
SENA CATTERALL (Pierrefonds, QC)
A member of the Women’s National Team since 2019, Sena took her game to another level at the WBSC Women’s Baseball World Cup Group stage last summer establishing herself as a leader of the squad with her standout performance and tenacious play. Patrolling centrefield for Team Canada, her defensive play was among the best in the tournament while she collected hits in 3 of the 4 games that she started including multi-hit games in wins over Mexico and Australia. Her play was a source of inspiration for younger players with Team Canada’s average age at just over 20 years old.
Men’s National Team MVP
MATT LLOYD (OKOTOKS, AB)
Starting all of Team Canada’s four games at the Pan Am Qualifier in Argentina last June, Matt hit .308 and clubbed a home run in a win over Panama. A former Junior National Team member, Matt played flawless defense all tournament.
Province of the Year Award
BASEBALL NOVA SCOTIA
Now a 3-time winner of the Province of the Year Award since 1986, Baseball Nova Scotia scored first in the categories of Governance, Membership and Program Delivery. Highlights also included placing players on all three of Baseball Canada’s National Teams and winning three medals at Baseball Canada Championships. Congratulations Baseball Nova Scotia.