TOP GONG: Maryborough Softball was named District Association of the Year. Apaches’ Tyler Duggan is pictured last season.
TOP GONG: Maryborough Softball was named District Association of the Year. Apaches’ Tyler Duggan is pictured last season. FILE

Maryborough named Softball Qld Association of the Year

MARYBOROUGH can now claim to have two of the state's best sport associations after the Softball Queensland awards night.

Softball Maryborough was named District Association of the Year on a night the Heritage City dominated.

Softball Queensland president Mark Jeppesen, who was awarded a 20-year service award, said it was recognition for Maryborough's devotion to the sport for almost 65 years.

"It recognises that there has been a lot of people who made sure the association was a success," he said.

Jeppesen, who is also a Softball Maryborough board member, said Maryborough dipped to only 150 members 15 years ago.

A decade and a half of hard work later, that number is up to 244.

To put that into perspective, national numbers have declined rapidly.

There were 65,000 registered players in 1996; now is closer to 27,000.

Jeppesen said Maryborough's success was due to the organisation working to a strategic plan, as well as the hard work of countless community members who ensured the sport got through its dark patch.

And if the plan comes to fruition, it could secure softball's future in the region.

"We've had four years in a row of growth, and it would probably be close to nine of the last 10 years as well," he said. "You just can't do the same thing. We trialled a social program developed by Softball Queensland last year, which helped.

"We have a strategic plan for development of facilities.

"We haven't held a state championships for 40 years, but we want to get back to a level where we can."

Jeppeson also thanked Fraser Coast Regional Council who funded several projects, including upgrades to diamonds, security and fencing, for their help.

Maryborough District Hockey Association was named Association of the Year earlier this year.

Awards

 District Association of the Year

 Barbara Morris (Queensland Administrator of the Year)

 Bev Thatcher (Queensland Volunteer of the Year)

 Tarsha White (5yr Softball Queensland Service Award)

 Mark Jeppesen (20yr Softball Queensland Service Award)