By Kevin Eickman
On a hot summer afternoon in Roxana, the District I Big League Softball team was faced with another difficult challenge. Due to illness on the opening day of the tournament, that had effected more than half the players on the team. Their opening game against District III had to be rescheduled. As a result, District I would be forced to battle both the Southwest and District III teams back to back in the middle of the afternoon.
In the end, the team from District I fell short of their goal of making it to the championship round of play. There is little doubt that the disappointment will linger for some time to come, but even with the disappointment of defeat, the magical softball journey that this group of young ladies has taken us on is something to take notice of. In winning the East Regional three years ago, the team from Milford earned a trip to the Senior League World Series. While they played poorly in that tournament, the groundwork was laid for some great moments to come.
Last season, many of those same girls who had been part of the Milford squad earned a spot on the Big League team in District I. That squad battled their way out of the regional once again, this time after dropping the opener to New York, before avenging that loss in the championship game.
On their return trip to Roxana, District I was an experienced squad, eager to improve on the poor showing of the previous year. That is exactly what they did, battling their way to an eventual title game match up against the host team District III. The game was full of great performances and solid play. With Shaina Reed pitching for District I, while Regan Green was tossing bee-bees for District I. The game would go to extra innings, where District I was able to push across the go ahead run. It took a questionable call and once again a great deal of guts, but in the end District I were World Champions.
This past Wednesday they were champions once again. No, they did not win a title, but once again they captured our hearts. Demonstrating a determination and resiliency that has been a hallmark of this team over all the years we have had the pleasure of watching them.
Life is full of ‘coulda, woulda, shoulda’s’, but these are words for those who are looking for excuses. Champions do not go out that way, they go out giving it their all and leaving it all on the field. That is exactly what District I did. So even though things did not go their way, they should take pride in the joy they have brought this community, garner strength for learning how to battle through adversity and lastly, take joy in the fact that they never quit.