St. Theresa Broncos

Coach Shawn Brown, Baylor Wand, Milla Meinhausen, Coach Andy Bandura, Adeleine Bandura, Lila Evarkiou, Lexi Brown, Logan Wagner, Reese Brown, Lucy Dreier, Angelina Falls, Annie Dreier, Katie Bizzozero, Coach Eric Dreier and Meredith Schager.

 

St. Theresa’s softball team is still relatively new to the sport. There was only one team back in 2019 – and before then, only three teams had played in the last nine years. But that only proved to make this year’s teams stronger and more determined – which paid off, as St. Theresa brought home their first softball championship in school history.

The group of eighth-graders played 12 regular-season games before heading to the end-of-season tournament, where they played four games against other Catholic schools for the Catholic Youth Athletic Association Championship.

“We only had a few practices before the season started,” Coach Eric Dreier said. “We focused on some fundamentals, like ground ball fielding, pop fly fielding, pitching, catching and hitting. We also mixed in some fun Wiffle ball games.”

Dreier has much experience in the coaching realm. He also coached youth flag football in Arcadia, was with Arcadia Little League for ten years and coached St. Theresa’s boys flag football, basketball and baseball teams. He also coached the fifth-sixth grade softball team during the 2019 season.

“I think a positive coaching environment is key,” he said. “You coach the girls to improve when you see opportunities and praise them when there is excellent effort or outstanding performance. Additionally, I was fortunate to have the help of Shawn Brown and Andy Bandura coaching the team as well – they are both excellent in a coaching environment.”

At the championship, St. Theresa’s Broncos played against Our Lady Mount Carmel. In the eighth-grade tournament, eight teams played at both St. Francis Xavier and St. Agnes Catholic School in Phoenix.

“It was so fun to play for our school team,” first base and pitcher Reese Brown said. “Our hard work finally paid off!”

Angelina Falls was outstanding on the mound, and several other players were instrumental in achieving a successful season. The team was comprised of one eighth-grader and a mix of fifth-seventh graders. Dreier said that the group hit the ball very well throughout the season, too, so they could regularly put some runs on the board.

“All players are key players if your team successfully wins a championship – which we did,” he said.

According to Dreier, the team had excellent pitching, catching, and timely hitting in the championship game that propelled them to victory.

“We played the entire game very consistently and took advantage of a couple of key spots to gain an edge,” he said. “The win was amazing. It was a cool feeling to know we were the first team at St. Theresa to win a softball championship. I think the girls felt it, too, and carried a sense of pride back to school with them for their performance.”

There’s a display case at St. Theresa, where the winning team has displayed their first state championship trophy for everybody to see. A banner hangs in the gym for the championship team – a daily reminder of their strength and determination.