With 60 years of fierce and fair competition behind them, the Port Pirie Softball Association’s diamond jubilee will be celebrated by many – both on and off the Leonard Park diamonds.
Port Pirie Softball Association president Bev Argent said the history of the sport in Port Pirie fulfilled the powerful vision of original founders Evelyn Tavener and Leicester Russell.
In 1956 Evelyn enlisted the help of Leicester to help form the softball league as a summer sport for women.
“We were very fortunate to have people who used to think outside the square,” Bev said.
“Tav’ encouraged people to play but as we evolved, people had a vision to see what softball could become in Port Pirie.
“Right now the Port Pirie Softball Association is probably one of the most respected associations outside of the metropolitan area just because of its vision.”
After the association built its first enclosed international diamond with money borrowed from and repaid to Port Pirie Regional Council, the organisation now has four enclosed diamonds.
The quality facilities have attracted the state junior championships to Port Pirie six times in 60 years, including during the 2016/17 season.
The Port Pirie association has also had strong state success, winning the state A-grade championships six years in a row – a record never bettered by any softball club or affiliate.
Despite consistently strong performances, Bev was also proud of the off-field management of the association and the way in which the organisation had navigated challenges through its history.
“When we took over the ground from the hockey association water became a huge cost for us … one of the things I’ll remember is signing a lease agreement with the Port Pirie Regional Council.
“They are now taking over and watering our grounds and we are very appreciative of that.
“I believe that the association has always been one that has vision. We’ve prided ourselves on having good strategic plans and business models and we are fortunate that we have a group of people that are dedicated to softball.
“To reach 60 years is something to be proud of.”
The 60-year anniversary will be celebrated on Saturday as a part of the association’s presentation night.