Graduating Parksville Royal Kevin Biro has been hitting the books at the University of British Columbia since the start of the school year, but last week the dedicated ball player from Deep Bay got word he’d been rewarded yet again, by being named the recipient of the 2011 BC Premier Baseball League Academic/Athletic Excellence Award.
“I just found out two days ago — It was great,” Biro, 18, said from his digs in Victoria.
The annual award is chosen by UBC baseball in conjunction with the BCPBL and is for a minimum $6,000 a year for up to four years. It is awarded to a graduating BCPBL player who is attending UBC and achieves outstanding success both in the classroom and on the baseball field. This on top of a $4,000 UBC athletic scholarship Kevin was already awarded, as well as some other smaller ones he earned heading into his freeman year.
“It was pretty overwhelming actually,” he said of the latest award, “just because there were quite a few guys that go to UBC that compete in the BCPBL. It’s quite exhilarating,” Biro added, “because as long as I stay eligible for all four years (he has to maintain an over 60 per cent average by his third year) it pays for my school, and that’s huge.”
The Thunderbirds compete in the NAIA’s Cascade Collegiate Conference five-team North Division. The T-Birds finished the regular season at 23-9 (and 31-17 overall) for second place and were one win away from advancing to the NAIA’s World Series.
Biro, who has been platooned at his usual short stop position, and his Thunderbird teammates have just finished their fall ball program, “so we’re done for about a month and a half. Right now it’s all weight room training, conditioning and all that, then we’ll practice about four or five times a week and play on weekends,” Kevin explained.
Biro is taking a wide range of courses in the faculty of arts, all geared towards his ultimate goal of becoming a sports writer. He says his dream is to one day write for Sports Illustrated, but in the meantime, he’s still having a ball.
“Absolutely,” he chuckled.
The Thunderbirds open the regular season at a tournament in California and will be traveling to play teams in places like Idaho and Oregon.
In the meantime, the longtime local player concedes while this down time is good for the body and all, “I’m really looking forward to getting the season going.”
“This is another example of what players may accomplish in baseball through hard work, perseverance, and dedication combined with outstanding athletic ability,” longtime Parksville Royals’ skipper Dave Wallace said of the award.
Kevin is the third (and final) Biro brother to come up through the local PBL club.
According to UBC head coach Terry McKaig, “Kevin had an outstanding 2011 BCPBL season,” pointing out that when the dust had settled, he was ranked second in the league in hitting (.370), first in runs (43), second in hits (54), was tied for first in triples (4), and tied for first in home runs (3). Kevin was also selected as the 2011 BCPBL MVP.