Softball:Bay stalwart chosen as year's personality

By Shane Hurndell

Hawke's Bay stalwart Mel England was named personality of the year at Softball New Zealand's annual awards function in Wellington at the weekend.

England, who has been involved with the code in the Bay for more than 40 years, had one of his busiest years. He coached Hawke's Bay's senior men to a top-four finish at the February National Fastpitch Championship and was on the coaching staff of the New Zealand under-16 boys development side which played in Sydney back in July.

As well, England was a team selector at national age-group tournaments in January.

Four former Hawke's Bay players were named players of the decade as part of Softball New Zealand's 75th jubilee celebrations.

Thomas Makea, who has played in four world championships since 1996 and is a three-time world champion, was named player of the decade for 2007-2012. His long-time Black Sox teammate and former Fast Pitch teammate, Jarrod Martin, was named player of the decade for 1997-2006.

Michal Tangaroa, who has played in two world championships, was named female player of the decade for the same period as Makea.

Rhonda Hira was named female player of the decade for 1997-2006.

Tangaroa's father and three-time world champion Chubb Tangaroa was to be one of three Kiwi softball legends formally inducted into the International Softball Federation's Hall of Fame at the function. While fellow pitching legend Gina Weber and former Black Sox statistician Russell Moffatt were inducted, Tangaroa has opted to have his induction ceremony at Akina Park, Hastings, on Saturday.

"I want it here among Hawke's Bay softball people, who have given me so much support over the years," Tangaroa said when told of the induction in November last year.

The ceremony will be the highlight of Softball Hawke's Bay's open day. This weekend will also see a Junior White Sox training camp at Akina Park.

Five members of last summer's national title-winning Hawke's Bay under-17 girls team, pitcher Courtney Gettins, catcher Emma Houkamau and infielders Samantha Cooper, Brooke Eden and Evana Schinkel are in the Junior White Sox training squad preparing for next year's Junior World Series in Canada.

Mike Bills, a long-time Hawke's Bay Evergreens teammate of Chubb Tangaroa, retained his berth on Softball New Zealand's board at the weekend's annual meeting after beating a challenge from Otago's Kath McGilbert.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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