A record season was honoured at the 16th annual WESPY Awards Wednesday night at the Caboto Club as the St. Clair softball team won team of the year. "This is a great memory for all of us to have together." said infielder Shae-Lyn Murphy. "Undefeated year. Two championships with a great group of girls and awesome coaches you can't ask for any better."
Four-time World Series champion Jack Morris was an enjoyable keynote speaker who shared fun stories and how to deal with failure. "It's not what failure does to you. It's what you do with failure." said Morris. "I think the first lesson in being mentally tough is to admit to yourself there's room for improvement. I can be better and then you have to dissect what I can do better to be better."
Drafted by the Detroit Tigers in 1976, Morris had a stellar MLB career that spanned 18 years and included a title with the Tigers in '84, Minnesota in '91 and two with Toronto in '92 & '93. Morris told the audience he was proud to win with the Blue Jays and has nothing but love for Toronto. "It's my favourite city in North America." Check out his time on stage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2UD4i6EvIw&t=7s
Former Essex 73's head coach Jamie McDermott won the Windsor Wildcats Women's Hockey team Courage and Determination award. He overcame life-threatening health issues to lead the 73's to a first place finish in the PJHL's overall standings this past season.
"This is something I never really expected but I appreciate and again, this is a part of all of you because you're all a part of me."
Ron Smith took home the head coach of the year award beating out Rob Moore of the Sandwich and Doug Wiseman of the St. Clair softball team.
Smith guided the Windsor Stars senior men's baseball team to a national championship last summer.
L'Essor grad Rose Forshaw won the female athlete of the year over Bryanna Kressler and Shae-Lyn Murphy from the St. Clair softball team. Forshaw broke a 40-year old discus record during the WECSSAA championships last spring and went on to triple medal at OFSAA. She is currently on scholarship at the University of Hawaii. Her father Eric proudly accepted the award on her behalf.
Owen Findlay was named male athlete of the year beating out former Windsor Spitfire Wyatt Johnston who is playing for the NHL's Dallas Stars and Ben Tilson of the University of Windsor. Findlay went 7-1 last summer with the Tecumseh Thunder, was named OCAA rookie of the year with the St. Clair Saints and was an alternate captain for the LaSalle Vipers. "I was super shocked. The guys I was going up against were like crazy athletes."
Interviews with Shae-Lyn Murphy of St. Clair Softball and Owen Findlay below.