MISSOULA — Thompson Falls will be honoring longtime softball coach Randy Pirker, who died following a battle with cancer, by hosting a dedication ceremony in May.
The outfield fence will be dedicated in Pirker's memory with a 50-foot banner near center field that has the wording "Pirk's Place" along with Thompson Falls' "TF" logo and its Bluehawks mascot logo.
"We were looking for something for Randy that was a lasting thing and someway he'd be remembered for a long time," Thompson Falls athletic director Jake Mickelson said, noting that the softball field has already been dedicated to the people who helped build it. "This will be a pretty visible banner. We'll put it up every softball season in memory of him."
Pirker was a 1978 Thompson Falls grad who went on to coach the Bluehawks to the State B-C title in 2010 and runner-up finishes in 2005 and 2008. He coached Thompson Falls for 21 seasons and was the head coach for 14 years.
Pirker was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer in August 2017, stepped down as head coach but stayed on as a volunteer assistant in the spring of 2018. He died at 57 years old in May 2018.
Thompson Falls will hold the dedication ceremony at 12:45 p.m. May 4 ahead of its softball game against Anaconda. Pirker's daughters, Arikka Pirker and Stephanie Castillo, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch. Pirker's former coaches and players have been invited, too.
Thompson Falls will be selling T-shirts and the stickers in memory of Pirker that the softball players are wearing on their helmets.
"It'll be a memorable day," Mickelson said. "He's tattooed on that park with the impact he made."