Softball makes it to State By Rylee Craig


The Bellevue East varsity softball team ended their 2020 season with a huge accomplishment, placing 7th in the State tournament. Head varsity coach Whitney Wilson said the support they received from the staff and students was an amazing feeling for everyone on the team. 

“We were so excited, we had been calculating the wild card points the entire week of districts and knew that making state was a huge possibility. I think deep down none of us felt like the season was really over yet,” Wilson said. 


East was one of two teams who made it to state due to wild card points which meant the more wins they had throughout the season, the more points they received. Having a tougher schedule this year made the season more challenging for the team, however they beat the teams they were supposed to beat as well as having a few big wins that boosted their wild card points. The team’s record going into the state tournament was 21-13. East played against two teams, Lincoln Southwest and Lincoln Southeast and ended up losing to both, but the girls played their hearts out with lots of passion. 


Bellevue East has never gone to the State tournament. That is one reason it was so special. It was the first time in school History,” Wilson said. 


Before the coaches told the team about them making state, lots of anticipation was built up. Co-varsity head coach Casie Onken said she was so excited and couldn’t wait to tell the players the news.  However, some of the players had already heard the news, finding out over social media and in the team group chat. Senior Katie Cunningham said that she found out early in the morning from a text her teammates had sent her that said they were going to state. Cunningham said she was so excited she jumped out of bed and woke her mom up to tell her the news. Other players on the team also shared the same feelings as Cunningham. 


“We were all excited and super proud of ourselves because for years we’ve known what it’s like to go out and earn something this big and a lot of oher schools in the metro area don’t,” Senior Liana McMurtry said. 


The competition was held in Hastings, Nebraska. Wilson said that the atmosphere in Hastings was so amazing and it was so cool that hundreds of people gathered to watch a female sport. The players were also pumped up to be able to play in a state championship tournament.


“It was so exciting, you could feel the energy and emotions in the air. Everyone was watching. It was a totally different experience and it made me feel proud of how far this team has come,” McMurtry said. 


Wilson said it was her first time coaching in a state tournament and it was a rush of emotions. Their first game against Lincoln Southwest lasted three hours, so because of that all the other games were over thus all Nebraska softball fans came to watch the end of the East game. Wilson said it felt like everyone was cheering for Bellevue East softball and that it was a very intense moment for the players. 


“During the games I was extremely nervous. I could feel everyone’s eyes on me. As a pitcher you get used to this feeling and you learn to block it out but this is state and it’s a little harder cause I was taking in everything at once,” Cunningham said. 


For the team next season this means that the younger players will have experience and knowledge of what it takes to make it to State. Hoping to continue down the path of success and possibly making it to State again next year. 

“Metro softball is some of the most competitive softball in the country so making it is no easy feat. Believe it or not overcoming the mental barrier is half the battle.” Wilson said.