SA Softball started in 1945/46!!
June Devine started playing at the tender age of 12 in the 1946/47 season as a Catch.
She was chosen for the Northern Transvaal Team in 1956 and was chosen for the SA “ALL STAR” Team and was chosen as the “ALL STAR” player in the same year … at the great age of 21!
At this time no Springbok side had ever been chosen … so the “ALL STAR” Team was the equivalent of the Springbok Team!
At the age of 24, June was chosen for the 1959/60 FIRST Springbok Ladies Softball Team and toured down –under … Australia for 3 months.
In 1974/75 she played in the “World Championships” in the USA and against other states in the USA.The same year, June Devine was presented with the “PRESIDENTS Award” for the Most Outstanding Sportswomen of the year in Softball.
In 1967 June played against Australia in SA and in 1976, the Sun City Saints from America.
In total June played 387 games for N Tvl and was a Springbok for 18 years, from 1959 to 1977!
A great GOLDEN OLDIE indeed!
Dereck Soekoe began his ball playing career at the tender age of 10 when he joined a junior baseball club called Imps in Kensington. He moved to the Boys Brigade in Bedfordview at 15 years of age and at 16 he was approached to play for Kensington Polly’s in the Major League.
He later joined Wits University Baseball team and played for them for many years together with the American Eagles players that remained in South Africa after their tour was completed and was selected to represent Transvaal Baseball on a number of occasions. While playing senior baseball he opted to also coach the Under 16 Little League baseball team for Polly’s.
In November 1972 he decided to try out playing Softball and joined Valley Panthers Softball team. In January 1973 Dereck was picked for Transvaal to play in the Inter-Provincial Softball Tournament in Cape Town at the end of the tournament he was selected to the S.A. “All Star” team.
In 1976, Dereck’s childhood dream came true when he was selected as a Springbok to participate in the World Series Softball Tournament in Lower Hutt, New Zealand. However, due to the political situation in South Africa at the time the Springboks tour was kept secret until their arrival in New Zealand. After their arrival became public knowledge they were faced with tense political demonstrations throughout the month long tour. The tour was amazing and while many of the locals participated in the demonstrations against them the New Zealand players and many spectators were very hospitable and made their tour a very memorable one. They competed against countries such as USA, Canada, New Zealand, Japan and Guam and gained a wealth of experience.Dereck, had the bad luck of injuring his knee in one of the games and made the headlines in the local newspaper when he was carried off the field on a stretcher by Andy Leslie the incoming All Black Rugby captain and the paramedics.
On his return to South Africa he decided to start his own Softball Team which went by the name of Black Sox. Black Sox, playing in the Transvaal League went on to win the League, Knock Out and Champions of Champions titles many times during its duration.
Dereck was also selected as the manager/player of the Transvaal Men’s team and held that position for many years, participating in numerous Inter-Provincial games.
While still being an active player he also coached a few women teams, namely Valley Panthers and Jets Softball teams and was later selected to coach the Transvaal Women’s team. One of his highlights was coaching the Transvaal Women’s team against the touring Sun City Saints from the United States of America.
Dereck became the Chairman of the Transvaal Softball Association and remained in that position for many years before taking up the position of the President of Transvaal Softball.
In 1982 he was part of a touring Transvaal Men and Women’s team to the United States of America where they toured a number of Cities and played Softball against various club sides.
Dereck was also selected as the Vice President of the South African Softball Association and became the Convenor of the South African Men’s Selection Panel.
In 1985 he was selected as the Manager of the Springbok Men’s team to tour Taiwan and Hong Kong where they achieved a record of 9 wins and 2 draws out of the 11 games played.
Due to business pressures and numerous sporting injuries Dereck was forced to retire from participating actively in Softball in 1987 but has continued playing on a social level with Transvaal (now Gauteng) Masters Softball Team of which he is the acting Chairman.