MKSL celebrates incredible season at biggest ever awards night
An amazing season of softball was celebrated at Midsummer Tap – with a record number of tickets sold.
The 2022 season was our first playing at Conniburrow and our chairperson Leah Holmes explained it was testament to the community we’ve built that not only did we retain our membership, but many others returned from sabbatical breaks to rejoin the league. This paired with another successful recruitment drive bringing in more new players has led to the highest number of members in MK Softball history.
The Base Cadets provided a fantastic new team and we welcomed several new umpires and coaches volunteering theit time to the league for the first time. Leah also said we smashed our previous record of numbers of female players – matching male membership numbers, something which is hugely rare across the country – if not unique!
Tournament highlights included victory for the Milton Keynes Diamonds in the BSUK Cup, Kass Carry winning MVP in the Hit and Run tournament in September, and our All Stars incredible promotion from NSL3 to NSL2.
Our own Codebreakers Cup sold out in record time and was expertly project managed by Hedley Bevan, who military helmet provided one of the most memorable sights of the season.
Finally, our outdoor league was tightly contested with the Rhinos retaining their title against perennial bridesmaids, the Lakers.
There were also two sad goodbyes as we bid farewell to Tilly Jones and Chloe Love. Both have been huge parts of our leagues and Tilly has the honour of being the only Laker to get their hands on the league trophy. Hopefully we’ll see them in a Diamonds team soon further down the road!
The thank yous
Leah then shared a number of thank yous to our incredible team that has made to 2022 season happen. Leah said: “This league is a truly special thing to be a part of. Thank you to anyone who has gone out of their way to welcome a newbie at their first session, to anyone who has checked over at the storage unit to see what kit needs carrying before heading to a field, to anyone who has told their friends about us or even dragged them along, to anyone who has supported our events or encouraged teammates. All of these small actions make a huge difference and turn us from your average sports league and into a community. Cheers to all of you!”
Thank yous were extended to the league captains who organise their teams to take the field each game, our new umpires Chloe, Richie and Laurie, and the rest of the umpire and coaching team Adam, Carl (who it should be noted travels all the way from Coventry each week), Craig, Hedley, Jake, Jon, Trev, Flynny, and Jod.
Committee thank yous were given to the social team of Kat and Rach who make events like this happen – and many more throughout the season. Next were the comms team of Keith, Paul, Jon and Sam. Jon continues to take on many roles fence building, captaining, coaching, umpiring, scheduling, website updating but most importantly stats. He was on a stag do on the Isle of Wight so couldn’t attend in person. A cardboard cut out meant he could join us in spirit, although after a few drinks it was easy to mistake it for the real Jon...
Jod’s incredible contribution to the league was also celebrated and we thanked the Codebreakers team led by Hedley – which included Shosh, Paul and Fyona. It was an incredible success and we can’t wait for the 2023 version!
Gareth aka Mr Debs was awarded an extra special award 'Spouse of the Year' for the incredible support given to improving the Diamond.
Finally it was time to thank Jake who is stepping down as keeper of the coins for his huge contribution.
Leah said: “Jake has overseen the biggest growth in MK softball going from a four team league with barely enough players for those teams to what we have now. As you can imagine the management of finances through this have grown hugely and he also contributes in many other ways such as coaching and umpiring. But best of all committee meetings are just way more fun thanks to his presence!”
Thankfully, the brilliant James and Debs will be taking over finances and have made the handover really seamless.
Of course, the biggest thank you of the night was reserved for Leah. Her total dedication, enthusiasm and brilliant management skills brings it all together. Thanks a million Leah.
Next up were the awards. Not all nominees could be with us, and I don’t think anyone will forget Sean McGinn’s dial-in which would have made Borat blush.
Awards were presented brilliantly by Hedley, Rachel Hunter and Jake. Here are the nominees with the winners marked in bold:
Jake to took the win and everyone enjoyed some audience participation learning his infamous batting routine.
INJURY OF THE YEAR
● Craig – Thumb (attempted to slice off own thumb with a circular saw)
● Debs – Ball to the face (chose to headbutt a ball at first base rather than catch it)
● Flynny – Ball to the face (fractured cheek bone after a horrific hop off the dirt lip)
● Jahlynn – Ball to the face (Foul tip)
● Tilly – Ball to the face (bad bounce at three)
All the nominees were given a drink on the house as an apology for the pain our beloved sport had caused them... Except Craig as his injury was his own fault.
● Matt Barber – Clutch homerun in the final bringing Lakers back into contention
● Laurie Markatos – Diving catch (faceplant) at one, keeping foot on bag for the out
● Robyn Hillyard – Walk off homerun for the win against Tigers, her second of the evening
● Craig Holmes & Nikita Shkurko – Sprinting catch at full stretch from Craig for out number one, followed by long accurate throw to Nikita on one (nice one hop pick up) for a tag out
● Jon Reynolds – Hitting his fourth homerun of the game (against Rhinos)… Off of four at bats
Robyn Hilyard (2) and Jon Reynolds (8)
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
● Andy Britton
● Kim Harrison
● Jess Gunn
● Mark Cook
● Rich Stubbs
● Jahlynn Britton
● Matt Barber
● Marcie Gray
● Ryan Marthinussen
● Lizzie Cooke
TOURNAMENT PLAYER OF THE YEAR
● Adam Bee
● Fyona Shannon
● Tilly Jones
● Sean McGinn
● Steve Lamb
MVP SMALL BALL
● Chloe Love
● Fyona Shannon
● Leah Holmes
● Hannah Galloway
MVP BIG BALL
● Adam Bee
● Carl Billson
● Craig Holmes
● Jon Reynolds
● Steve Lamb
MEMBER OF THE YEAR
● Craig Holmes
● Debs Guilbault
● Jules Peck
● Shosh Dzioloszynski
● Matt Barber
MK SOFTBALL LEAGUE FINALISTS/RUNNERS UP
Willow Lakers (obviously)
MK SOFTBALL LEAGUE WINNERS
After the presentations the dancefloor opened with tunes courtesy of DJ Debs and a few hangovers were suffered the following morning. All in all, a great night and a huge thank you to everyone involved with organising and the awards presentation team of Hedley, Rachel H and Jake and all the award selection committees.
See you at the indoor league!