There will be an even bigger Peninsula presence than originally anticipated at Softball Canada’s 2019 awards gala this month, with White Rock Renegades coach Ted Birdsall set to be among those honoured.
Softball Canada announced Oct. 30 that Birdsall would be named the Kahunaverse Sports Coach of the Year, joining a handful of South Surrey/White Rock honourees who had been previously announced.
As well, Surrey’s Julia Berka was announced Oct. 30 as one of two recipients of the Claude Deschamps Memorial Fund.
Softball Canada’s awards gala is set for Nov. 16 in Richmond.
In July, the national softball association announced that longtime Renegades president and Canada Cup chairperson Greg Timm would be inducted into the Softball Canada Hall of Fame, alongside South Surrey’s Melanie Matthews – who starred for years as a hard-hitting outfielder with the Canadian women’s national team – and Surrey umpire Christman Lee.
Also in July, Timm was inducted in the Softball BC Hall of Fame, along with former Renegades coach Chuck Westgard, Surrey’s Jackie and Jerry Duggar and the White Rock Renegades ‘91 team.
Two other Lower Mainland residents round out this year’s induction class – former Simon Fraser University and national women’s team coach Mike Renney, and Coquitlam’s Brian Van Os.
Birdsall has coached for the past decade, and in that span has seen his teams win seven provincial medals – including a gold this past summer with the Renegades ‘04 – and three Canadian championship titles.
Beginning in 2010, Birdsall took the Renegades ‘99 from U12 through to U16 divisions, winning four provincial gold medals and one national crown, in 2015. He then moved on to coach the Renegades ‘02 for two seasons – winning B.C. and Canadian titles in 2018 – before taking over the 2004-born team, which in addition to its provincial gold medal last July also won a national title in August, going undefeated at the Calgary-hosted tournament.
Berka, who recently began post-secondary studies at UBC, is a member of the Surrey Storm 2001A team, and has competed in eight Softball BC provincial tournaments and four Canadian championships, wining a B.C. bronze last summer, and provincial and national silver in 2017.
She is also an assistant coach with the Storm 2007A team and is a Level 1 softball umpire.
Softball Canada’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony and awards banquet will be streamed live on Softball Canada’s YouTube channel, beginning at 8 p.m. Nov. 16.