Forty years of hard work has paid off for the Hawks Fastpitch Softball Club after it was named the Softball Victoria Club of the Year for 2019-20.
The Hawks, who play in the Werribee Softball Association, were named the club of the year earlier this month, recognising the hard work of volunteers.
A change of direction in the last 12 months, which included the club rebranding from Altona Hawks to Hawks Fastpitch and moving from Hobsons Bay to Wyndham, resulted in a 49 per cent increase in membership growth last year.
While the award recognises the work the committee has done the past 12 months, president Jason Kriehn was quick to say it goes a lot beyond that.
“We’ve been so successful over the last years, rather than just a single season,” he said.
“This is for everyone who has been involved over the years. I’m so happy for everyone.
“With it being our 40th anniversary last year, the award has come at a perfect time. We can’t celebrate the award now, but we will look to later on.”
Kriehn said he believed it was the first time that the club had won an award such as this.
The club fielded eight teams last season, three juniors and three women’s and two men’s sides, and showed some really good signs on the field.
Kriehn said much of the growth last season was getting former players back to the club.
“We reached out to a lot of past players,” he said.
“A lot said that they wouldn’t mind coming back for a bit of a hit and which then led to a lot of others then coming back too.
“We want to build on the ideas we have for the future, and hopefully after this pandemic period, we’ll be able to get more people involved in softball.”
The club has also increased its social media presence to connect with current players and former players, to try and get them more connected with the club.
As well as being named Victorian Club of the Year, the club finished third in the Softball Australia’s Homeplate Ladder Program, which recognises clubs and associations for implementing best practice governance and management, as well as membership growth and retention.
Kriehn said the club was starting to plan for the upcoming season. With restrictions due to COVID-19, they were unsure when they would start.
He said anyone was welcome to come down and join the club.
“Normally the season starts at the start of October, “ he said.
“We’re in the process of planning for the season and hopefully building on last year.
“It’s a good opportunity for players that didn’t get to play winter sport and want to play a sport over summer.”