About Elinor McKenzie
Elinor McKenzie Shield
Australian U18 Girls’ Championship
In 1971 Victoria put forward the suggestion to the Australia Softball Federation (Softball Australia) to stage an invitational tournament for the 18 and under age group to fill the gap between the U16 and senior championships. The proposal was put forward as a Notice of Motion at the 1972 Assembly meeting. The first 18 and under, conducted as an equivalent event to the Open and U16 events was staged in Melbourne, in 1974. The age group of this championship officially became the U19 in 1976. In 2020, the age group of the championship changed to U18, falling in line with the age change made by the World Baseball Softball Confederation for the Junior Women’s World Cup.
Edna Nash the then President of NSW, travelled to Melbourne to donate the trophy in honour of Elinor McKenzie. Sadly, Elinor never got to present the trophy passing away from the effects of cancer on the eve of its first presentation on 19 May 1974.
Elinor had a long and proud history in the sport of softball playing in excess of 25 times for Australia in an International career that spanned some 12 years. She was a member of the Australian Team for the 1st World Championship staged in Melbourne in 1965, the competition was then known as the Diamond International Trophy. According to Dr Lynn Embrey in her account of softball history ‘Batter Up!’, in the final against USA, it was Elinor who scored the vital run on a wild pitch from American pitcher Donna LoPiano after hitting a double to centre field as leadoff batter in the bottom of the sixth innings.
The niece of Australian cricket great Keith Miller, Elinor was a well-respected first base player who not only excelled in softball but also played at representative level in both basketball and cricket. Her prowess on the Softball diamond was well respected throughout the world.
As a coach Elinor showed her ability and the never give up attitude that she displayed as a player which was instilled in the young Victorian charges she lead to the first U16 Championship hosted by Perth in 1970.
This Championship is a befitting tribute to a great softball player who proudly wore the green and gold of Australia.