(ST. JOSEPH) For Wayne Miller and the Bishop LeBlond softball team, it still feels like the season hasn't ended.
"The council meetings, the Lion's Club Dinner, everywhere somebody wants to honor you for something," he said. "It's been a lot of fun."
That's what happens when you become the first team from St. Joseph to win a softball state championship, which the Lady Eagles did in October. It's a feat Miller admittedly wasn't sure would happen after his runner-up finish in 2004.
But this year's squad thought differently.
"We just got together and decided we were going to make the most of this season" senior Dayle Dickens said.
"We had been hearing about the 2004 team and we were just ready to make it that 2013 team," senior Mackie Browning added.
After losing three of their first eight games, the Lady Eagles didn't lose again. They went on to capture their second straight district championship and took a roster of 12 players, one of the thinnest in Missouri, all the way to the state championship in Springfield.
"They were all involved one way or the other," Miller said. "They just bonded together. Our defense was great, our hitting was timely, and that's what we did all year long.
Timely hitting throughout the order and sub-1.00 era for senior pitcher Kennadi Barron allowed LeBlond to jump out to big leads on Marionville in the semifinals and South Callaway in the title game. The Lady Eagles held off a late South Callaway rally for an 8-6 win, capturing the school's fourth team state championship.
"When we got back to school, it was really cool because a lot of students, parents, and friends of players were there and cheering for us when we got off the bus," Dickens said.
"A feeling of elation for something the school hadn't done for quite a few years," Miller said. "There's 260 or 270 Class 2 schools and we're the only ones that got anything out of it this year."
"My kids got to experience that feeling and they get to take that with them the rest of their lives."
Along with LeBlond, Maysville captured their first ever Class 1 State Softball Championship.