Both athlete and official sides of softball have been recognised on the Queen’s Birthday as Peta Edebone, Deb Keogh, John Larter and Andrew Rindfleish received Order of Australia Medals while Debbie Grove received an AM.
Edebone is a three-time Olympian with over 300 games for the Aussie Spirit under her belt, she provided one of the highlights of the Sydney 2000 Olympics when she smoked a home run off US pitcher Lisa Fernandez in the bottom of 13th inning to seal a memorable win for Australia.
From 1998-2000 she was Vice Captain of the Australian Open Women’s Team and in January 2001 was given the honour of captaining the Australian Open Women’s Team, a position she held until her retirement in 2005.
Edebone retired having played a total of 330 international matches for the Australian Open Women’s Team, at the time making her the second most capped Australian player ever behind Sally McCreedy (356 caps).
Since retiring Peta has been awarded Life Membership of the Waverley Softball Association in 2005, inducted into the Softball Australia Hall of Fame in 2008, inducted into the International Softball Federation (ISF) Hall of Fame in 2011 and has also held a position on the ISF Executive Council and ISF Athlete’s Commission from 2005 to 2010.
Australian Olympic Committee Chairman John Coates recognised Edebone and her fellow Olympians on the distinguished list.
“My congratulations to each of these Olympians. There are some incredible stories here – stories of rare achievement, of commitment to their sports long after retirement from elite competition and of lifelong devotion to their chosen sport,” said Coates.
“Peta Edebone OAM is a three-time Olympian and three-times medal winner – Atlanta 1996 (bronze), Sydney 2000 (bronze) & Athens 2004 (silver). While captaining the side which scored Australia’s best-ever Olympic result in Athens losing the final 5-1 to the USA, Peta lives in the memory as our home run hero in Sydney when she scored 4, equalling the then-record for a Games.”
Fellow Victorian Deb Keogh’s softball career has spanned more than 35 years. Beginning her umpiring career in 1992, officiating quickly became her calling that took her all the way to the international stage.
Keogh is highly respected by players, coaches and officials and is valued as both a friend and mentor by her colleagues.
John Larter’s softball career spans a quarter of a century across a range of roles. Larter’s administrative skills led him to take on the position of State Director of Umpiring of which he held for nine years.
Debbie Grove has been involved in umpiring in Victoria for over 25 years, umpiring at State Championships continuously since 1987. Grove has continued to provide exceptional service to softball over an extended period.
Andrew Rindfleish’s impact on softball is multi-layered, given the relative successes he has enjoyed in his umpiring career at the local, state, national and international level.
At the state level, Rindfleish has been servicing State Championships for over 30 years. At the national level, he has umpired at over 50 National Championships and Internationally, he has serviced elite competitions, including four ISF World Championships, for 23 years.
At all times throughout this process, Rindfleish has had the development of others and the advancement of softball as a priority.
“It’s fantastic to have both sides of our game represented with recognition on this Queen’s Birthday,” said David Pryles, CEO at Softball Australia.
“Congratulations to all on their outstanding contribution to the game for both Victoria and Australia.”
The full list of recipients is available via the Sydney Morning Herald.