Heather Savitsky receives the 2013 Kelly Roste Memorial Trophy from Chris Lynch of the Vernon Umpires Association. The award recognizes Savitsky’s dedication to the sport.

Savitsky an easy call for umpires

Heather Savitsky earns 2013 Kelly Roste Memorial Trophy.

Heather Savitsky put hours into preparing the right words to praise longtime umpire Vic Rantio at his retirement party.

Turns out there was no retirement gathering at Alexander’s Beach Pub. They tricked Savitsky and then showered her with praise and the 2013 Kelly Roste Memorial Trophy, awarded by the Vernon Umpires Association for dedication and determination.

“I spent three days working on a three-page speech and then I walked in and Vic wasn’t even there,” laughed the fun-loving Savitsky. “I’m very honoured and I was actually speechless. I thought I was helping Wendy (umpire Filbrandt) on Vic’s retirement do. I called her some names she didn’t like.”

The trophy, presented in memory of Roste, a popular fastball player and umpire who died in a December, 1998 car accident, has gone to the likes of Keith Louis, Gary Roste (Kelly’s father), Dennis Einarson, Ann Holmes, Rob Ferroux and Jim Sanderson.

Chris Lynch, president of the umpires association, said the group unanimously selected Savitsky.

“Basically, Heather was involved in minor ball for so many years and was the guiding light for slo-pitch,” said Lynch. “She was the perfect choice. She has contributed to ball in many ways.”

Savitsky, the mother of two grown ball-playing daughters – Samantha, 24, and Robyn, 22 – has been a slo-pitch fixture in the area for 20 years.

“I played first base in mixed and shortstop in ladies and I coached,” she said. “I was injured in a collision with a guy at first base and had to stop playing.”

The Kamloops High grad of 1982 lost her left arm after complications during surgery, but hasn’t let that tragedy taint her positive attitude and love of people over the years.

She coaches co-ed teams – 19th year with the Ratz and seventh with the Okanagan Fever – and is the Slo-Pitch National (SPN) regional director. She has helped Bob Bishop put on at least eight provincial and two national championships.

“One of the most humble and heartfelt reasons I love my job so much, is running my Doug Massie  Memorial Tournament every June. Next will be the fourth annual. The money raised over the weekend from the teams all dressed up in the year’s costume theme, and playing a crazy two-pitch format of slo-pitch, is incredible. Their support of the silent auction and just having fun makes it all worth doing every year.”

Massie, a highly popular player with the Fever, died on Aug. 20, 2010 from a brain aneurism at the age of 51.

Heather was coached as a kid by her parents until she started playing Rep fastball at age 12. She and husband Kevin moved to Vernon in 1993 and played together with the Ratz. The ever-smiling Kevin lost a courageous battle with cancer two years ago.

“Kev was the pitcher and comedian of the team,” chuckled Heather.

She plans to stay in the game for perhaps another 20 years.

“I love the game and all the people I’ve met from all over the country. I’ve been playing ball since I was five.”

Just Posted

Vernon author shorlisted in B.C. historical writing competition

The BC Lieutenant-Governor’s Medal for Historical Writing will be awarded together with $2,500 to the author whose book makes the most significant contribution to the historical literature of British Columbia.

Lumby fire destroys five vehicles

Auto wrecker blaze believed to be accidental

New restaurant on The Rise in Vernon

Multi-million dollar project plans for a 30,000 square foot multi-amenity building with the restaurant and bar

A campaign encourages families to put down their phones and talk this Mother’s Day

OpenTable’s #DiningMode gets Okanagan restaurants on board with a no phone policy while dining

Vernon council will hold town-hall on downtown issues

Notice of motion on meeting put forward by councillor wins near unanimous approval

VIDEO: Driver in bizarre hit-and-run at B.C. car dealership turns herself in

Police believe alcohol was a factor in incident causing estimated $15,000 in damages

‘B.C. cannot wait for action’: Top doctor urges province to decriminalize illicit drugs

Dr. Bonnie Henry says current approach in ‘war on drugs’ has criminalized and stigmatized drug users

B.C. woman, 76, challenges alcohol-screening laws after failing to give breath sample

Norma McLeod was unable to provide a sample because of her medical conditions

New report on 2017 wildfires calls for better coordination with B.C. First Nations

Tsilhqot’in National Government documents 2017 disaster and lists 33 calls to action

Okanagan experience for the Blue Man Group

The world tour of the Blue Man Group came to Penticton this week for two shows.

B.C. youth coach banned amid sexual harassment, bullying scandal: Water Polo Canada

Justin Mitchell can’t take part in Water Polo Canada events or clubs

Wilson-Raybould: Feds want to just ‘manage the problem’ of Indigenous Peoples

Former federal justice minister speaks at First Nations Justice Council meeting in B.C.

Olympian Andi Naude retires from freestyle skiing

Penticton native skied in 62 World Cup single and dual moguls events in her career

Most Read