WINNIPEG, MB-Baseball Canada recognized its best at their annual awards banquet. The banquet was in conjunction with the four-day long Baseball Canada Fall Convention hosted by Baseball Manitoba in Winnipeg.
Jimmy Rattlesnake Award- Ashley Stephenson
Noted by her coaching staff for her dedication, hard work and being a ‘true competitor’, Ashley exemplifies what it takes to win this award. Ashley has been with the Women’s National Team since 2004 and participated in four World Cups. Starting at third base, Ashley also maintained a .444 batting average at last year’s International Series in Cary where Canada won 4 of their 6 games against Team USA.
Women’s National Team MVP- Meagan Cornelssen
Meagan has represented Canada on the Women’s National Team since 2008. During this time she has participated in the World Cup twice including 2008 where she was part of the silver medal winning team. Playing the outfield with the National Team at the 2011 International Series against Team USA, Meagan led the team with 7 RBI in 6 games with a .353 batting average.
This is the first year that Meagan has won Women’s National Team MVP and the first time a player from Alberta has won the award.
Baseball Canada and Major League Baseball Volunteer of the Year Award- Wade Karcha
Nobody has had a greater impact on Yorkton Minor Baseball than Wade Karcha. One of the founding fathers of the association, Wade has spent 14 years volunteering his time to make Yorkton Minor Baseball one of the finest organizations in Saskatchewan. Whether it’s promoting coaching certification, designing a baseball program for kids 5 and under, generating fundraising dollars or preparing a bid to host a provincial championship, Wade’s presence has been felt in many areas of the association.
When it came time to approach officials from the City of Yorkton about improvements to Jubilee Park, Wade was the driving force behind the proposal that now sees washroom and canteen facilities at the park.
Wade is and was one of the main reasons for the resurgence of baseball in Yorkton and without Wade’s enthusiasm and hard work Yorkton Minor Baseball would not be where it is today.
Lionel Ruhr Memorial Coach of the Year Award- Mike Krykewich
Mike’s impressive coaching career in Manitoba has spanned nearly 20 years. Coaching at virtually every level from Rally Cap all the way through to Manitoba’s Selects Team for the Canada Cup, Mike has volunteered his time to coaching without a child associated with any of the teams he’s coached. Mike has also been involved with the game internationally as he has taken teams to Cuba, attended the World Children’s Baseball Fair, travelled to England to introduce the sport to kids as part of Major League Baseball International and coached with the Women’s National Team.
Mike has also spent significant time instructing new coaches as he is a Master Course Facilitator with the new NCCP Program. His relationship with Baseball Manitoba extends beyond just coaching as he has held the Vice-President’s title in both Coaching and Marketing and served on the Management Committee.
Mike’s most recent project has been spearheading the effort behind the new baseball program at the University of Winnipeg where he will coach the club that hopes to participate in the NAIA.
Mike’s dedication and work ethic is second to none which has garnered him great respect from his players and peers alike.
Dick Willis Memorial Award for Umpire of the Year- Trevor Grieve
Trevor has spent over 15 years umpiring which included a four year stint as a professional umpire in the minor leagues. Always looking to give back, Trevor has devoted countless hours as an instructor and is a tremendous asset to the umpire program in Ontario and at the National Level.
Trevor has built an impressive resume including, 1 International Championship, 4 National Championships, acting as Umpire Supervisor at 1 National Championship, and has done numerous Provincial Championships and Provincial Elimination Tournaments.
This dedicated individual is also known for being reliable when called upon to complete a task for the Provincial Umpires Association or fulfilling an umpiring assignment.
Home Run Sports Lifetime Umpire Achievement Awards- Larry Nicholls
Larry’s impact on baseball in Manitoba has been felt in many areas including: a player, coach, builder and umpire. After his playing days were over in 1978, Larry turned his attention towards umpiring part-time and he spent many weekends working tournament games and also doing games in the Manitoba Senior Baseball League.
At this time, Larry was also coaching his sons team and eventually became president of the Killarney Minor Baseball Association in 1983. He was also responsible for assigning umpires for the popular, end of May tournament in Killarney where over 60 teams participated. Eventually, in 1986, Larry’s efforts were rewarded as he was given the Volunteer of the Year Award from Baseball Manitoba.
Larry has built an impressive umpiring resume that has seen him umpire 2 international events and act as the umpire supervisor at the 1999 Pan Am Games in Winnipeg. He has umpired and supervised at many National Championships and lent his time to instructing as he is a Master Course Conductor in Baseball Canada’s Umpiring Program. Larry’s career accomplishments and impact on the sport of baseball are virtually unmatched in Canada and thus the ‘lifetime’ award is a fitting tribute.
Province of the Year Award- New Brunswick
New Brunswick led all provinces in increased players registered by a whopping 25%. They also led the Officials development category, finished 2nd in governance and followed that up with a 2nd place overall rating in the Program Area as well. New Brunswick placed one player, Jay Johnson from Sussex Corner, on one of three National Teams and showed their knack for fine hospitality as they hosted the Baseball Canada Cup in Moncton and Senior Men’s National Championship in Miramichi/Chatham during the month of August.
This marks the 3rd time that New Brunswick has won this award. They last won this award in 1991.