Up on Coquitlam’s Burke Mountain you could always tell which house was owned by Mary-Anne Walz’s family. All you had to do was look for the basepaths worn into their front lawn. First base was a corner of the house and third base was a tree. Mary-Anne, her three siblings, and her parents all played countless mini-games of softball on that lawn over the years. For Mary-Anne it was the perfect training ground on the road to becoming one of Canada’s best softball players of the 1980s.
Although she lived in Coquitlam, most of Mary-Anne’s sports activities growing up were at the bottom of the hill in Port Coquitlam. She was an outstanding athlete in basketball, soccer, and track and field, but she was truly something special in softball. After starring for Surrey’s Newton Rebels, she was offered a scholarship to play at Oklahoma State University.
Back at home, Mary-Anne played with Adrian Lavigne’s vaunted Alpha Sports Club out of Vancouver, winning five Canadian championships and six BC titles in six years. She later helped the White Rock Renegades to her sixth Canadian title and two more BC championships for eight in her career. Alpha Sports travelled to top international tournaments all over the world and Mary-Anne was named an all-star at shortstop at many of them including the World Challenge Cup in 1985, 1986, and 1987. In the latter, she was also named top batter.
In 1986, Mary-Anne made Canada’s national women’s softball team and she remained Canada’s starting shortstop until 1990. In that time, she led Canada to a fourth-place finish at the 1986 ISF World Series in Auckland, New Zealand, where she was named to the All-World Team. At the 1990 ISF World Series in Normal, Illinois, she helped Canada to sixth place overall. In between, her strong play propelled Canada to a bronze medal at the 1987 Pan American Games in Indianapolis.
Written and researched by Jason Beck, Curator of the BC Sports Hall of Fame.