One of the most accomplished softball players to ever come out of the Semiahmoo Peninsula is headed to the hall of fame.
Last week, it was announced that Melanie Matthews would be inducted into the Softball BC Hall of Fame when the provincial organization hosts its annual awards banquet in October.
Matthews – an alum of both the Surrey Storm and White Rock Renegades programs – should be familiar to softball fans in South Surrey, having played a starring role on the Canadian national team for eight seasons, competing in a number of Canada Cup and Canadian Open tournaments, held annually at Softball City.
As well, Matthews – an outfielder – played two seasons at Simon Fraser University after transferring from Florida’s Stetson University,
In SFU’s record books, Matthews ranks first all-time in batting average and is fourth in career home runs, while also holding the record for best batting average in a single season (.559) and longest hitting streak (27).
In 2006, she led the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) in batting, with a .520 average.
“I am very pleased to hear of Mel’s induction to the Softball BC Hall of Fame – a very deserving honour for an outstanding athlete and individual,” said Mike Renney, head coach at SFU and former bench boss of the national squad.
“Mel possessed unbelievable talent, but she was always humble and worked every day at getting better. She truly exemplifies an athlete that earned all the success that came her way.”
When Team Canada came to South Surrey every summer for the Canada Cup/Canadian Open events, the outgoing Matthews was always among the more popular players – often mobbed by young, autograph-seeking fans after games – not just because she was a local face, but also for her prowess in the batter’s box.
Matthews – usually Canada’s leadoff hitter – was among the country’s top offensive threats most years, and was named the Canada Cup’s top batter in both 2006 and ’07.
Matthews also played for Canada at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing and at two world championships, in 2006 and 2010. She retired from softball after the 2012 season to focus on her career.
Softball BC Awards banquet is set for Oct. 22.