ST. JOSEPH — The Lady Golden Eagles, the 2013 Bishop LeBlond girls softball team, rode a 22-game winning streak to the Class II state championship in Springfield, Mo., this past October. The Lady Eagles, with a 26-3 record, became the first St. Joseph team to win a softball state title. LeBlond beat South Callaway High School’s team 8-6 in the state championship game a day after beating Marionville High School’s girls softball team in the semifinals.
This was LeBlond’s second time in the state championship game. In the 2004 title game, the Lady Eagles fell 1-0 to Kelly High School (Benton). For LeBlond Coach Wayne Miller and the four senior players (Mackie Browning, Dayle Dickens, Sophie Gentry and Lauren Lewis) it was an amazing season.
Miller, also the Physical Education teacher at St. Francis Xavier School, is in his 13th season leading the LeBlond softball team. He has coached the Lady Eagles since the program’s inception in 2001. Miller said the girls’ refusal to quit and their ability to remain focused on team goals throughout the season had impressed him. “They are very resilient. They faced a lot of adversity and rebounded all year long, and I didn’t expect anything less,” he told the St. Joseph News-Press. “It’s been T-E-A-M for us all year. It’s not me, me, me. It is us, us, us. It is a dream come true. I never thought I would ever get back here. This group proved me wrong.”
Junior Kennadi Barron pitched both games in Springfield. LeBlond advanced to the championship game after a dominant semifinal victory 9-1 over Marionville; a 14-4 quarterfinal victory over New Bloomfield and a 3-1 sectional victory over Brookfield. In district play the Lady Golden Eagles never surrendered more than one run in a game with a 2-1 win over North Platte in the district championship game; a 5-1 win over West Platte; and a 15-0 win over Mid-Buchanan to begin district play.
The seniors who finished their high school careers as state champions include: infielder Mackie Browning, pitcher/outfielder Dayle Dickens, four-year catcher Sophie Gentry and outfielder Lauren Lewis. Others on the LeBlond roster include Assistant Coach Lindee Corkins, PE teacher at St. Joseph’s Cathedral School; Juniors: Kennadi Barron (pitcher/infielder), Audrey Glenski (outfielder), Lexi Kobett (infielder), Emily Nellestein (infielder/pitcher), Brenna Knapp (infielder); Sophomore: Claire Doolan (pitcher/infielder) and Freshmen: Samantha Fuson (outfielder/pitcher) and Olivia Pollard (utility).