Dave Schaefer thought his litigation skills were needed.
The lawyer with the Vernon firm Davidson Pringle, and president of, and player in, the Vernon Men’s Slo-Pitch League, was lured to a meeting called by the Vernon Umpires’ Association about a league discipline issue involving Schaefer’s friend and teammate, Derek Smith.
Schaefer’s presence, however, was required because the association presented him with the 2015 Kelly Roste Memorial Award for dedication and determination to softball.
“They surprised the hell out of me,” laughed Schaefer, 56. “I was calling around trying to find out details about what Derek had done.
“To win this is an honour.”
During ball season, Schaefer is a fixture on the diamond.
He has coached his son and many current men’s slo-pitch players during their days in minor baseball. He coached his daughter in Vernon Minor Fastball.
Schaefer constantly pitches in to set up tournaments and, according to 2014 award recipient and Vernon Umpires Association president Chris Lynch, is a one-man show in coordinating the men’s league.
“He’s a great choice for this award,” said Lynch. He’s always appreciative of the officials and the job they have.”
Said Schaefer: “We wouldn’t be able to play without them.”
Schaefer thanked Lynch, Wendy Filbrandt and Nancy Agassiz with the umpires association for their help in making his role as league president a smooth one, Lisa Sousa with Greater Vernon Recreation Services for help with the fields and singled out his predecessor, Doug Ross.
“Doug was president of the old Vernon Intermediate Men’s Slo-Pitch League, we were teammates and I took over the job, then two leagues merged to form one,” said Schaefer, who is still part of the longest running men’s slo-pitch franchise in Vernon, the Killer Bees, founded by the likes of Brian Barton, Dave and Doug Lemiski, Keith Richards and Clint Kanester.
The trophy is given in memory of Roste, a popular fastball player and umpire who died in a December, 1998 car accident.
“Kelly was a big part of our league,” said Schaefer.
Past award winners include Heather Savitsky, Keith Louis, Gary Roste (Kelly’s father), Dennis Einarson, Ann Holmes, Rob Ferroux and Jim Sanderson.