Women celebrate 20 years – Mick Wearne

 
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It is only fitting that as the women’s season draws to a close, with all three teams preparing for Grand Finals, we celebrate one of our favourites from the women’s program over the last 20 years.

Mick Wearne, or ‘Wearney’ as he is more fondly known to most, is one of few that have been involved in the program for the last 20 seasons.  A coach, leader, mentor, friend, and a man of many entertaining impersonations along the way, Mick has been the ultimate support to the Big Cat women’s players.

“I began my involvement all those years ago because i believe everyone should get the chance to play baseball.  It’s a great game.  There were not a lot of people putting their hand up to help the girls, so i took on a coaching role”, said Wearne.

Involved with Springvale for the last 39 years, Mick has been part of the committee for a majority of those years.  President for 14 years and Treasurer for 5 years, and with stints as Vice-President along the way, Mick is no stranger to putting in the hard yards.

“The women’s program started off with a group of girls who didn’t really know anything about the game.  There were a couple in there who had played juniors, but the majority were older women who just wanted to have a go.  It was really tough for the club, in particular the players, back in the early days when we didn’t win many games”.

“Over the years i have been able to watch the women’s program go from a hit and a giggle to a serious and organised program that is as good as any in the country.  I am proud to be a part of that”.

Head Coach of the Women’s Firsts for 6 years, 4 years in charge of the Women’s Seconds and a couple of years Assisting as part of the Victorian Women’s Team, Mick has played a role in helping many players over the years.

When asked to name some of his favourite players over the journey, Mick said it was hard to name just a couple.  “There have been so many players who have worked hard and made being part of the women’s program enjoyable for so long.  But if i had to name a couple, probably Siobhan Taylor and Mandi Avent.  I saw Chevy really establish herself as one of the top women’s players in Victoria, and she worked very hard to improve herself as a baseball player.  Mandi loves the game, and loves the club, it’s hard to not have a good time and enjoy being part of the Big Cats family when she is around”.

“I have also had the pleasure to work with some great people along the way.  Greg Morley was a big part of the early years, and helped the girls win their first Division One Premiership.  And Bill Reay made a huge contribution to the women’s program, without his help it would have been very difficult for the girls to continue improving and learning every year”.

Mick remembers the Division 2 Premiership of only a few years ago against Waverley as one of his favourite moments in 20 years.  “Winning in extra innings as the underdogs against Waverley that day was a great game, and something i will always remember.  There have been many other great, memorable moments, but way too many to mention”.

Over the years Mick has seen many players, of all ages and skill levels, come and go through the women’s program, but it is what the women have contributed to the club that he is most proud of.  “The influx of women into our club revitalised what was an ageing and slowly deteriorating organisation.  It has built up numbers, not only of players, but of volunteers and also leaders.  I really think it has enhanced the profile and reputation of our club in a very positive way”.

Mick has a certain ‘way with words’ when chatting to any team after the game, and the girls have always dealt pretty well with copping one of his sprays’.  His famous words “Baseball is an easy game.  Throw the ball, catch the ball, hit the ball…if you can’t do those three things, just go and play soccer”.  Thankfully only one or two players actually took his advice…all of the others were thankful they were treated just like he would treat the men’s players.

“One thing i have always admired about the girls is that they want to learn.  No matter how young or old, or how late in life they have taken up the sport, their commitment to the game is fantastic.  That is one reason i have continued my involvement for so long.  If the girls were going to commit, then i couldn’t really say no”.

Without doubt, Mick’s support has been a major factor in the success of the women’s program at Springy.  And there is no doubt he will continue playing some role as the women’s program continues into the future.

“I have learnt over many years now that there is no reason women can’t play baseball at a very competitive level, and get just as much enjoyment from the game as men”.

On behalf of the club, we say thanks to Mick for all he has done in support of the Big Cat women’s players over 20 long years.

Come down and support the girls as all three teams play off in Grand Finals on Super Saturday @ Melbourne Baseball Club this weekend – Saturday 28th February.

Women’s Thirds v Doncaster @ 10am

Women’s Seconds v Waverley @ 1pm

Women’s Firsts v Doncaster @ 4pm

Good luck to all three teams, and congratulations on another fantastic season!