The world softball community is mourning the loss of WBSC Hall of Famer and New Zealand softball legend Dave Sorenson, who was the captain of the first gold medal winning New Zealand Men’s National Team in 1976. Sorenson died in Lower Hutt on May 16, aged 76, after a long illness. He was inducted into the WBSC Softball Hall of Fame in 1993 and the New Zealand Hall of Fame in 1995.
The Cardinals and Hutt Valley legend was the father of Mark Sorenson, current coach of the world champion New Zealand Black Sox and also member of the WBSC Softball Hall of Fame. The pair are the only father and son combination inducted into the WBSC and New Zealand Halls of Fame.
“The softball community is mourning the void left by one of its greatest icons”, said Softball NZ CEO, Tony Giles. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Maureen, Mark and the entire Sorenson family at this sad time”.
David Sorenson was born in Nelson but moved to Lower Hutt with his family at a young age and remained a proud Valley man for the rest of his life. He joined the Cardinals club in 1951 and was proud to say in 2016: “I never played for any other club”.
Sorenson pitched for Cardinals at the premier level for three years and first represented Hutt Valley as a teenage outfielder. But he made his name as a first baseman.
Dave Sorenson was selected on the first New Zealand world championships team in 1966 and was one of the top batters at the world championship in Mexico City for the bronze medal-winning New Zealand team. It was the first of four world championship selections for Sorenson.
Sorenson was vice-captain of when New Zealand won another bronze medal in the 1972 world championships in Manila.
His proudest moment as a New Zealand player came in 1976 when Sorenson captained his country for a world championship at home in the Hutt Valley. Sorenson led New Zealand to a shared gold medal with the United States and Canada when a three-way tie was declared after the tournament was shortened due to rain.
Dave continued to play club and representative softball until 1981 and also found time to become a qualified New Zealand umpire. He served on both the Hutt Valley and New Zealand Softball executives.
But coaching became his forte – both before and after he hung up his cleats. He was coaching Cardinals and Hutt Valley while still a player and coached both to national titles and he coached the Hutt Valley women’s team for a season in the mid-1990s.
He became assistant-coach to Mike Walsh of the silver medal-winning Black Sox at the 1992 world championships in Manila. His son, Mark, captained the Black Sox at that tournament, making the Sorenson the first father and son to captain New Zealand National Team at the sport’s pinnacle event.