‘A state championship is hard to come by; No one will give it to you, You have to earn it’

By Laura Schiermeier, Staff Writer
Posted 4/28/21

VIENNA — In a special event last week, the 2020 1A State Championship Vienna High School Softball Team was honored with a banquet and awards ceremony in Allen Gymnasium.

The players, …

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‘A state championship is hard to come by; No one will give it to you, You have to earn it’

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VIENNA — In a special event last week, the 2020 1A State Championship Vienna High School Softball Team was honored with a banquet and awards ceremony in Allen Gymnasium.

The players, coaches, and families would like to thank Checos of Vienna, TJ and Courtney Jeremy and Mark and Tammy Kleffner for the generous donations for the meal. The food was awesome.

Senior Sadie Novak gave the prayer before the meal. Coach Byrd gave a recap of both the JV and varsity seasons, thanking everyone in the school and community for the support received during the amazing season.

Both Coach Byrd and Assistant Coach Ellie Glick are retiring from their softball duties. Byrd said Ellie wants more time with her kids and for himself there are “other things to do in life and its time I did them.”

He spoke about the “amazing season.” He said they prepare their players, starting when they are freshmen and they expect them to be good for a long time and count on them giving their best effort every day. He said when they can get their players to “buy in, the sky is the limit.”

This softball season was more challenging because of Covid-19. There were problems with the virus along the way and Byrd said, “It’s amazing we got to play at all,” and their chances of finishing the season were not very high. Yet, the elements of luck were with them and the kids were careful about the virus because they wanted to play. 

“We won all we needed to win,” he said. The team had a difficult schedule. They took a few knocks but it helped them in the playoffs when they faced two left handed pitchers. 

The Eagles are winners as the Vienna teams have been undefeated in the GVC Conference six years in a row. Byrd said during this year’s district tournament, the team had a favorable draw and the district was not as tough as in other years. 

“Jesus wanted us to be state champions,” he told the assembly. “I’d like to think we won all those games because I’m so smart, but its Jesus.” 

He spoke of the Weaubleau game and how you have to respect your toughest opponent, and can learn from them. 

At the Salisbury game there were more people from Vienna than the for the home team. He gave a brief description of the action and top plays in each game. 

“And, then we were in the state championship.” As the team left town that day there were people in Vienna lined up waving signs of support. Then, at the state game, there was their favorite umpire, Melvin. He was there to help officiate the game and Byrd said it sure was nice to have someone from “our area call the game.” 

Byrd said, “We would not be state champs without Ellie.” Coach Byrd tells the players what to do, but Ellie helps them stay together mentally. “Particularly with pitching, the kids feel so much pressure. You have to have great pitching to win state champs,” he said.

“Vienna won state champs!” Byrd said. “It’s hard to come by. The last one was 36 years ago. No one will give it to you. You have to earn it.”

The Eagles did it by having a family, a group of kids who were 100 percent committed to it. They all played an important part to being a state champion. He thanked the school which gave the team “every opportunity to be the best we could be. Thank you.”

After Byrd’s remarks he and Coach Glick handed out awards earned by the players throughout the season. The players had gifts for them as well. The banner in Coach Byrd’s honor was revealed. It will be hung in the gymnasium this summer. 

High School Principal Ian Murray spoke to the assembly, telling the softball girls this is a memory they will carry with them their whole lives. “We could not be more proud,” Murray said.

Coach Byrd would like to add a note: “When I was going down my list of administrators to thank I forgot to thank our Athletic Director Mr. Nicholson. Scheduling games, trips and officials during this crazy Covid plagued season was not an easy task and Mr. Nicholson did a great job for us. I am sorry I forgot to thank him during our banquet so I would certainly like to do that now. I am sorry I was in a fried chicken induced state of euphoria. Thank you to our players, our school our families and our community.”

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