Three members of the NSW Softball family have been awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) during the 2018 Queen’s Birthday Weekend.
Softball NSW General Manager Cathy Kerr, long-time statistician Elisabeth (Lis) Hannelly, and umpire and statistician Mike Hannelly have each been awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for their services to Softball.
Cathy Kerr has been a leader in the NSW Softball community as a player and administrator at state, national and international level for almost 30 years.
Kerr said she was humbled by the award.
“I never set out in my softball career to receive accolades ” she said.
Starting as a representative player for NSW throughout the 1980’s and early 1990’s, Kerr is player number 125 for Australia, playing 35 games as a catcher in the national team between 1983 and 1989.
Currently the General Manager of Softball NSW, she has also held roles as development officer and coaching director previously.
She has also been instrumental in the organisation of countless state and national championships and ensured NSW has stayed at the forefront of Australian Softball with the high-performance programs and numerous development opportunities she has facilitated.
Kerr has also achieved internationally as an administrator, selected as the Field of Play Manager at the Sydney 2000 Olympics and Athens Olympics in 2004.
Elisabeth Hannelly will add a Medal of the Order of Australia to a glittering Softball umpiring and statistical career in Australia and internationally.
She will be awarded the OAM for services to Softball alongside her husband Mike Hannelly.
“It’s a little bit surreal,” she said.
“We were told by our local paper that they’ve never had a husband and wife team get it together. You don’t really think in terms of OAMs when you’re involved in volunteering.
“It’s really nice to have it together because it would have been weird to have one but not the other.”
Lis fell in love with Softball in primary school and it’s a love that has continued throughout her life, from playing to coaching to umpiring and as a statistician.
She has had a huge amount of achievement within the sport, helping amalgamate the East Hills and Bankstown competitions into the Georges River Softball Association alongside Robyn Whittaker.
Lis was a board member for the Revesby Workers Softball Club from 1977 for 20 years and was made a life member of the Georges River Softball Association in 1998 – also alongside Mike.
After coaching and umpiring at various levels over the years, Lis was an official scorer at the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
She then became a Level 6 statistician in 2001 and was appointed to the Australian under-19s World Championship gold medal-winning team in the same year.
Alongside countless state championship team statistician appointments, has also been appointed to several international tournaments.
With an enormous body of work, Lis said Softball has been wonderful to both herself and Mike.
“Apart from the milestones on paper, Softball has taken us both all around Australia and the world,” she said.
“Seeing people that we knew as children bringing their own children back to Softball and involving them in the sport is just as special.
“Softball is not like other sports – there isn’t as much team tribalism. You often see players from different teams sitting and chatting – the tribe is Softball.”
As stated above in Lis’ profile, Mike Hannelly has also been honoured with a Medal of the Order of Australia for his service to Softball.
A former president of the Softball NSW Umpires Association, as well as a life member of the organisation, a life member of the Georges River Softball Association and a life member of Softball Australia, Mike said it was a great honour to be put forward for the award.
“It’s an incredible recognition for the things we do and love,” he said.
“It’s what we enjoy and love.”
Starting as a soccer player, Lis introduced Mike to Softball with his first game coming in the 1982 State Championship.
Enjoying the sport so much, Mike passed the umpires exam and gained umpiring association accreditation within the season.
With countless State and National Championships under his belt as an umpire, Mike retired from umpiring in 2000, but was a part of the results team at the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
Also trained as a scorer, Mike gained an incredible amount of experience at local, state, national and international level.
This included two South Pacific Games in Palau in 2005 and Samoa in 2007, a training role at the ISF Women’s World Championship in Beijing in 2006, the Silver Jubilee Asean Games in Brunei in 2009 and, one of his biggest highlights, being appointed Tournament Chief Statistician at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
He was also Softball Australia’s Chief Statistician between 2005 to 2013.
After several decades of service to Softball, Mike said both he and Lis have always done it for the love of the game.
“We’ve never done this for recognition, it’s always been for enjoyment and giving back to a sport that has given us so much,” he said.
“It has taken us all over the world. It’s nothing compared to what the athletes put into it.”
Congratulations also to South Australia’s Lorraine Brown for her OAM for services to Softball.