There's one particular assignment retiring Softball Hawke's Bay managing director Mark Carter hasn't got past second base on and it nags him.

It's the project to get the facilities at Akina Park, Hastings upgraded to include changing and storage rooms under a grandstand around the first and third base lines on diamond one. Plans for what was to be a $320,000 upgrade were drawn up in 2006.

"We've got the base of a fund. We just need to continue working with New Zealand Lotteries so we can fund the rest of the project," Carter said.

"We haven't got the money to pay a professional to do that and when big organisations are doing the same thing they have people who are paid to come up with the answers. When you are always taking on the big boys you are chasing all the time."


Carter, 59, who has been on the SHB board since 1991 and is into the fifth year of his second stint as managing director, will step down at the June annual meeting. This weekend's national Evergreens women's tournament at Akina Park will be his last major event as an SHB official.

"I reckon I've been there a term too long. Our board needs a fresh voice, someone with new ideas and a fresh look. I'm pretty staid in my thinking," former CEO Carter said.

"I'm always a phone call away. I'm prepared to help all sports in Hawke's Bay if somebody needs a hand. I thought about that when I received my Service to Sport award at the Hawke's Bay Sports Awards function in 2015.

The 2001 and 2008 winner of the administrator of the year award at the Hawke's Bay Sports Awards, Carter, was quick to reply when asked about his highlights during his time on the SHB board.

"Every year is a highlight when junior teams achieve. No matter what the code is there is nowhere better than Hawke's Bay in our country for junior talent. Hawke's Bay people have to realise when youngsters mature they need to move on for tertiary education and development in their respective codes."

"But you talk highlights and the real highlight for me is the people you meet and the people you work with. There are three people who have been involved with the board for as long as I've been there - Joyce Chapman who was made a life member in 1979 and is still there at 84, Craig Waterhouse and Vicky Julian."

A former Junior Black Sox manager who attended three World Series with the national team in 2001, '05 and '08, when fourth placings were achieved at all three, Carter, pointed out the visit from the University of Oregon women's team earlier this summer provided another highlight.

"They conducted a coaching clinic here and I was impressed with the enthusiasm they got from taking our young boys. They had never worked with boys before and to see world-class athletes get that level of enthusiasm from our young men made me proud."

Carter agreed there had also been tough times for his organisation, including one particular season when the ejection count in the premier men's competition was almost as high as the home run count.

"There have been some instances of poor behaviour ... occasions when people have let their passion get in the way of common sense."

A former Softball New Zealand board member, Carter had three terms on the national body.

"We were different people trying to bring the game forward. I was part of the initiative to have appointed members on the board as well as elected members. We always had female representation so gender mix was never an issue," Carter recalled.

The mentor driver with Got Drive Community Trust, Carter will miss the annual Fun in the Sun tournament in Hastings on April 7 and 8.

"I've booked tickets to the Warriors double-header weekend in Auckland so that will be the priority that weekend."

We couldn't let Carter sign off without naming his best Hawke's Bay men's selection, a team containing what Carter considers the best male players in their respective positions since he has been in the Bay. It is (from 1-9 and subs):

Chubb Tangaroa, Mike Bills, Rayner Te Wake, Vinnie Wildermoth, Joachim Paul, Curtis Huata, Campbell Makea, Thomas Makea, Jovaan Hanley, Rongo Rapaea, Kahutia Mitchell, Callum Lewis-Carson, Vincent Swanwick, Adam Woon. Coaches: Tangaroa and Kevin Gettins. Manager: Craig Waterhouse. Scorer: Joyce Chapman.