This season ended short of expectations for the Columbia High School softball team, but the program’s steady rise over the past few years is cause for great optimism heading into the future.
“This was by far the best season since I’ve taken over five years ago,” Eagles head coach Rhonda Major said.
This year’s team, featuring the pitching and offensive prowess of Brianna Weilbacher, posted a school record 34 wins and captured the program’s first sectional softball title since 2002.
Weilbacher threw four no-hitters — none larger than her 1-0 sectional clinching performance against Centralia — and another nine one-hitters this spring. She pitched 17 shutouts in all.
Weilbacher, who will play for Iowa State next spring, this week was named St. Louis Post-Dispatch Softball Player of the Year.
The team hit 49 home runs, led by Weilbacher with 15, and scored 340 total runs.
The Eagles have never been to the state tourney in softball, and fell just one game short with a supersectional loss to eventual Class 3A state champion Chatham Glenwood.
“It just wasn’t our day,” Major said of the June 9 loss.
Still, it was an amazing season.
“These girls achieved so many accomplishments as a team, which is unbelievable,” Major said. “These are memories that we all will be proud of and remember the rest of our lives.”
The quest for a state tourney appearance will just fuel the fire for further success, Major said, and there are plenty of players from this year’s team returning next season.
In all, the Eagles have a record of 141-26 since Major has served as head coach.