Ridge Meadows minor remembers a pioneer

Long-time RMMBA executive member Don Breu passed away Tuesday.

Lorne Upsdell (left), Greg Bodnarchuk and Don Breu at the 2004 B.C. Minor Baseball Association Hall of Honour ceremonies.

Lorne Upsdell (left), Greg Bodnarchuk and Don Breu at the 2004 B.C. Minor Baseball Association Hall of Honour ceremonies.

The Ridge Meadows Minor Baseball Association season has lost one of its original pioneers.

Long-time RMMBA executive member Don Breu passed away Tuesday and will be honoured with a moment of silence Saturday during opening day ceremonies at Pitt Meadows Athletic Park, Diamond 1, starting at noon.

The Don Breu pee wee AA tournament, a 10-team annual event, is on the RMMBA schedule for later this season.

Breu led Ridge in first joining Baseball Canada.

“I call him an icon of Ridge Meadows baseball, an icon of the association,” said Larry Walker Sr., who is the RMMBA’s umpire in chief for the 2015 season.

Walker and Breu were good friends for close to 50 years. Walker said he’ll miss their weekly chats about all things baseball.

“He was a good guy and great to have as a friend. It’s a big loss to the community. He’s one of the major reasons for baseball in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows,” said Walker.

Cornelius Temple, president of the RMMBA, said he wishes Breu’s family the best and appreciates everything Breu has done for Ridge Meadows baseball.

“The importance of the contributions he’s made to the association over the years is hard to put into words,” said Temple. “He’s definitely going to be missed at his tournament this year.”

As well as a tribute to Breu, opening day ceremonies will include Maple Ridge Mayor Nicole Read and her Pitt Meadows counterpart, John Becker, throwing out the ceremonial first pitch.

RMMBA will also honour some of its top coaches from last season, as well as celebrate the day with a rousing edition of Take me out to the ball game before the first pitch is thrown at 1 p.m.

The season will also mark the reopening of Hammond Stadium following its $750,000 make-over. The park is set to open May 23 at 11 a.m. after undergoing extensive upgrades, including the field getting new drainage and grass, a new back stop and a permanent outfield fence.

The upgrades  will allow it to be used year-round. The diamond will also will be re-oriented to the northwest for better vision.

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