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North Van's Derek Mayson hits the World Cup stage for one final shot

The 38-year-old softball slugger has been a fixture with Team Canada since 2005, winning a world championship and the Pan Am Games in 2015
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North Vancouver's Derek Mayson plays third base for Team Canada in a tuneup game before the 2022 WBSC Men's Softball World Cup. The 38-year-old slugger is hitting the field for his final World Cup this week. | Softball Canada

A North Shore national team softball slugger is taking his final swings on the sport’s biggest stage.

North Vancouver’s Derek Mayson has been picking up grounders and crushing dingers for Canada’s national team for nearly two decades, and this week he’s stepping to the plate for his final tournament, the WBSC Men’s Softball World Cup. The 38-year-old has two young children at home and said it’s time to focus on the family, but not before he pulls on the Maple Leaf jersey one more time at the World Cup, running Nov. 26-Dec. 4 in New Zealand. Representing Canada has been the fulfillment of a lifelong dream, he told the North Shore News from New Zealand as he was preparing to hit the field.

“It’s been my sole goal in the sport, really, since I knew that there was a national team,” he said. “It brings me an enormous sense of pride to be able to represent our country, represent our community, all the players that I’ve played with over the years and coaches, as well as my family.”

And family plays a huge part in Mayson’s story as a softball player. His father Ken, a longtime teacher at Carson Graham, was a titan of the North Shore softball scene, coaching teams and running the local association as president. His mom Janet was also always on the field, and Derek’s two older brothers. Scott and Brian, were excellent players as well. Derek was raised on the ball diamond, making his first appearance at the park when he was just 10 days old.

“My dad was coaching one brother and my mom was coaching the other, so I needed to be at the field. I’ve really grown up there,” he said. “It’s been very much a family and community endeavor throughout my career, and I’m just very grateful.”

Mayson thrived on the local scene, earning the interest of national team coaches at a young age. He attended his first national team camp as a 21-year-old in 2005, and made his debut with the team at age 22. Since then, he’s been a fixture on Team Canada, helping the team score some massive victories on the global stage. Mayson has played in three previous World Cups (called the World Championships until 2015), winning gold with the team in 2015 and bronze in 2009 and 2017.

In those three World Championships, he maintained a .343 batting average with five home runs, 12 runs batted in, and 23 runs scored. Mayson also won a gold medal at the 2015 Pan American Games, where he hit .583 with three RBIs.

“It’s been an awesome journey getting to play with the best in the world, with amazing teammates from across the country,” he said, adding that the memories are flooding back to him as he prepares for his final World Cup. “I think it’s a bit bittersweet, knowing that I won’t be on this stage and playing with this level of teammates and competitors again. But there’s definitely no regrets, and hopefully I go out on top after this World Cup.”

Mayson is still a fixture at third base for the team, playing some first base as well, and he swings a big bat in the middle of the lineup. He thinks this Canadian team, featuring a mix of new players along with veterans who have played at the game’s top level for years, has what it takes to compete for gold again.

“I’m really excited about the team we have,” he said. “In my mind there are four or five teams that could take this tournament out as winners, but we fully expect to be there right till the end competing and looking to win this thing.”

Canada is off to a hot start at the tournament, scoring a 3-2 win over Venezuela Nov. 25 before hammering Denmark 10-0 Nov. 26, with Mayson going 2-3 with two runs in the big win.

The bronze and gold medal games are scheduled for Dec. 4 in Rosedale, New Zealand, which is the evening of Dec. 3 Vancouver time. For updated tournament results, visit the tournament website.

aprest@nsnews.com
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