Softball takes runner-up


Her first year at East, sophomore Olivia Holtz practices to better herself for a jamboree game at the Lied Center. “It honestly felt great, coming into East with great coaches and such welcoming teammates. Overall it was such an awesome experience,” Holtz said. Photo by Cheyenne Paxton

The Bellevue East Chieftain varsity softball team ended their 2019 season as district runner ups for only the second time in school history.

Ending the season ranked 10th in class A, they finished 17-16.  They fell to Papio La-Vista 9-0 in district championship game.

“The players worked really hard all off season and at practice.  And it was nice to see all that hard work paid off for them. They deserve it,” head varsity softball co-coach Casie Onken said.

For some this was the beginning of and era. But for one other, this was their last time hitting a high school field. Libby Walls was the only active senior on the roster this season.

Being that this was the last of her four years of being on the team, and she said she was proud to have ended her high school career as district runner-up.

“This season was one of my favorite years. The girls on my team aren’t just my teammates they are like family,” Walls said. “which has made watching the season come to an end 10 times harder. We accomplished many goals this year that we never have in the past.”

Onken and the other coaches recognized and appreciated the work Walls put into the  season and the dedication she showed to Chieftain softball. As the only senior, she played a critical role on the team.

“Libby is an exceptional leader both on and off the field.  She is a strong role model for our younger players and she holds everyone to high expectations amongst the team,” Onken said. “She has the ability to keep the long term goal as the top priority and to remind everyone why they work so hard while stopping to have fun and make everyone laugh. Coaches and players have the utmost respect for her and she will truly be missed.”

With the team being young and the coaches happy with the progress they have seen, they said that they expect to have a good season next year. Because most of the team will be returning next year, they will be familiar with the system and ready to start the season strong. They plan to hit the ground running in their first game of 2020

One of the returning players is sophomore Oliva Holtz. Holtz came from Bennington High School before playing for East.

“In the beginning I was very nervous to come into east, but after the first day of practice I knew the season was going to go great,” Holtz said. “This program has benefited me and made me so much better, and I’m so thankful to be in this program.”

Now that the season has ended, the team has time to look back and see what they can improve on. Using her experience as pitcher, junior Katie Cunnigham reflects on her interaction with her teammates.

“I learned how to be a better leader and role model to the younger guys; they improve everyday and it makes me want to be better, too,” Cunningham said. “I think that we are going to be even stronger next year, but I know that we’re all going to miss Libby and all of her funny stories.”