For three decades, hall of fame coach Mike Wilson's Boonville softball teams were perennial contenders for state crowns. Three years after Wilson's retirement, one of his disciples has brought the program back to Indiana high school softball's ultimate game.
"Leaving it all on the field for your teammates, your coaches and the community," said Boonville senior catcher Jayce Purdy.
"You put the bunt down when you need to put the bunt down. You make that diving play in the outfield," said Boonville senior outfielder Madi Hill.
"At the end of the day it all about no regrets," said Boonville senior pitcher Ariel Thomasson.
And that's a slogan this Boonville Pioneer softball team has taken to heart, as they've shaken off the duldroms of a late season slide to roll through the 3-A post-season all the way to a Semi-State championship victory over Danville this past weekend. And it's a slogan born out of the ashes of the lost season of Coronavirus 2020.
"This was kind of an "in your face COVID" last year, since our year was robbed," said Hill. "We just worked harder every single practice, thinking that no game is guaranteed. No practice is guaranteed. So, we just went out there with that mindset that you try your hardest, put the biggest effort, you have no regrets."
"I feel like we lost our junior year, so we were all like "we want to get this year and make the most of it"," said Thomasson. "We just won't to make sure there's no drama. We just want to have fun. Play our game."
And the Pioneers game stems from solid starting pitching in the circle from Ariel Thomasson and line-up of hitters that has battered opposing pitchers throughout the playoffs. The fun has been restored by Kalyn Chapman, a former all-state pitcher for Boonville, who has restored the roar to a program that has challenged and won title in the past.
"The tradition's back this year," said Chapman. "We've all honed in on the tradition, the community, what it's like to play for Boonville softball, representing Boonville on our shirts. We've been talking about how we're capable if we play to our abilities and that's how we have all of those out there. We play to our abilities here at Boonville softball. We told the girls from the very beginning that we would be getting or a state out there And we are getting a state no matter what."
"She's really brought a lot back," said Thomasson. "She's really brought back what it means to play Boonville softball and I think that all the girls would agree that just her coaching and her style, we all really respond to it really well."
"I'm definitely part of something bigger than me," said Purdy. "And it's an amazing feeling to break this losing streak and start up the winning one again. And I cannot wait to put a plaque up there."
And this Friday, they'll get that chance as they go up against Guerin Catholic in the 3-A title game. And just what would a win in that championship game mean?
"An undescribeable feeling that these girls deserve," said Chapman. "We have done nothing but push these girls and test their mental toughness and test what they can bring to the table each day."
"I know these girls come out here and they work their butts off every single day," said Purdy. "For me, for the coaches, for all the seniors, I want to give that to them and I know they want it too."
"I've been playing softball my whole life and just to have something that big and that awesome to be a part of out there," said Hill. "That would be a great way to end our senior year."