Meet our President: Sammi Williams
Updated: Aug 8, 2021
Photography by Lauren Adler and Amanda Lau
Most Peninsula Softball Club members will have run into Sammi Williams at some point – around the grounds, coaching, playing, supporting and encouraging our players, young and old. All of our members will have benefited from her extraordinary drive and dedication to the Club, and her phenomenal organising abilities in keeping the Club up and running. She has been Club President since the 2018-2019 season, after taking over from her predecessor, Rhonda Williams (no relation!).
But many of us don’t know about her past history, experiences and many achievements.
Sammi was born a long way away from Abbott Road Softball diamonds - in the seaside suburb of Somerton Park, Adelaide, South Australia. She grew up with a huge passion for all sports - especially the ones that boys played. Sammi was crazy about cricket and AFL in particular. Growing up in an era where, as Sammi notes, she was constantly told that “girls don’t play that sport” was a bitter pill to swallow because she believed she could beat the boys at anything and was very determined!
Luckily for all of us, Sammi was nudged toward trying softball. She gave it a go at age 10 and immediately fell in love with it.
Sammi played all her early softball at West Beach diamonds for Seacombe Softball Club. She would play cricket in the morning, dash home for lunch, then go back out to the diamonds in the afternoons.
At age 13, she made the A Grade roster and was the youngest player to have played at that level. Sammi attributes her success to her coach, Barney Williams, who had faith in her, and says she found her feet in no time.
Sammi then represented South Australia in U13s, U16s and U19s, and during this time was awarded Sportswoman of the Year in her final year of high school!
Sammi with her dad at the U16s Nationals at Homebush, Sydney
Unfortunately, Sammi’s career took a turn for the worse at that stage, and after helping to lead Seacomb into the semi-finals at the age of 19 (they had not made a Grand Final for many many years) Sammi tore her ACL when running for a foul ball. She had to have surgery and was off her feet for six months. Sammi was told she would never play contact sport again.
This was a big setback for Sammi, but it only slowed her down temporarily.
Soon, Sammi got married and had a beautiful baby girl, Georgia, and then moved to Sydney in 2002.
In Sydney, Sammi was asked to help a friend coach his daughters’ softball team, and started playing again in the 2003-2004 season with the 'Sorts.' At that point, she fell back in love with the game of softball and has never looked back.
Sammi played A Grade for Peninsula and St Ives for a number of years and when she turned 35, she says “the Masters bug took hold of me.” The Condors took her in and their first ever tournament was back in Adelaide. Sammi was thrilled that her debut appearance in her Masters career was in her hometown.
She recalls playing 7 days of softball with 2 games per day, and remembers that they “lived, ate and breathed softball for that whole week and it was brilliant.”
Her Masters career has taken her to tournaments locally in NSW, on the Gold Coast, Geelong and the World Masters in NZ.
Sammi also continued to play A Reserve for Peninsula and Eagles Black became the team she played with for many years. Together, they have many premierships under their belts.
In 2011, Sammi was selected to represent MWSA for the O35 State Championships and these years saw her play some of the best softball she has ever played with some of the best players and coaches she has known. They were crowned back to back State Champions. Sammi recalls this as “the best time of my life” and adds “I still dream of it!”
Sammi notes that the friendships she has made through sport have been forever friends and they have become family.
Coaching also became a big passion for Sammi and became another career in itself. At different times, and sometimes all at once, Sammi has run pitching, catching and batting clinics, coached MWSA Rep teams as well as her local club coaching and she has been involved on the committee as well. Sammi has found it all extremely rewarding.
Unfortunately again, Sammi’s career took a turn for the worse in 2018. After so many years of pushing herself in the sport she loves, she had to have a hip replacement in August of 2019.
Sammi has had to take a step back from playing while recovering, but she hasn’t lost her passion for softball. While getting back on her feet, Sammi still managed to keep the Club afloat as President and Registrar and even coached the Peninsula Rebels to a Grand Final championship in Div 1R just before the lockdown.
When not down at the diamonds, Sammi loves camping in her trailer with her partner, Pez. She has also served the community outside of softball as Administrator at her large and busy Kindy, where she's worked for the last seventeen years.
But she can’t stay away from the diamonds for too long!
She is still hoping to play in the coming summer season in a more social context – but also notes that - as her mum and dad would say “... social??? how are you going to do that?” And Sammi’s the first to admit that she’s not sure herself!
Sammi at the Pan Pacific Games 2018 with fellow Condor, long-time Peninsula Committee member, and friend, Gai Cohen
Sammi is much loved by all the young aspiring softball players she has coached over the years – and many look to Sammi as an inspirational role model. She is also much respected and admired by the many parents, supporters, and Club members who have all benefited from her experience, enthusiasm, and passion for Softball - not to mention her many teammates and opponents on the field!
Sammi says that she loves softball because its a game in which you can really challenge yourself while being part of a team. "The team camaraderie is the thing I love the most though," Sammi says, and "I wanted to give back to the sport everything that it has taught me." Sammi believes that softball has taught her how "to be disciplined, passionate, dedicated, and respectful to everyone on and off the field." As Club President, Sammi is keen to "to pass this on by helping in every aspect of the game."
We are all looking forward to seeing how Sammi navigates the new season – on and off the field. Only one thing is for sure – Sammi will continue to bring her energy, enthusiasm, and experience to the Club, and inspire us all to keep the softball fire alight!