By Cody Thorn / St. Joseph News-Press
ST. JOSEPH, MO – For the better part of a quarter century, Northwest Missouri offered a unique experience for student-athletes that attended smaller schools.
In many of the rural farming towns that lay between larger towns, football wasn’t offered, so each fall, the boys from those towns hit the diamond to play boys fastpitch softball.
During the fall of 1992, the sport became sanctioned by the Missouri State High School Activities Association and state championships were awarded. For 24 years, a total of 11 different towns throughout the area laid claim to winning a state title.
Jefferson defeated Winston 1-0 in the 2015 state championship game, and that turned out to be the final game played in the sport.
One year shy of the 25th anniversary of the sport, it vanished due to various reasons this fall.
Now, former standout athletes at those schools have moved onto other sports, but the legacy built over the years will live on with trophies, softballs with players signatures, and team photos taken over the years at the state tournament sites.
“The best athletes at these small farm towns would play softball. It was just expected,” said former Winston coach Eric Lewis. “Likely, the basketball coach was coaching the team, so they went out and played softball.
“It is very disappointing. I grew up playing high school fastpitch and I played with my father and I coached my sons and several of these young boys. I’ve been taking them to youth softball tournaments across the country.”
Click to continue reading