By Brent Huelsmann
This Sunday the Nashville Hornettes Softball team, will celebrate their 40th year. The Hornettes will host a fundraiser at Kretzer’s Bar and Grill in Hoyleton. The event is open to the public and all of the money from the fundraiser will be use to help with general field improvements as well as uniforms for the upcoming season.
The fundraiser will feature an all you can eat BBQ buffet for $10. The buffet will be available beginning at noon. There will also be a washer tournament. Cost for the tournament is $10 per player, and signup begins at 1 p.m. Prizes will be awarded for the tournament. The fundraiser will also have a silent auction with around 20 pieces, as well as a 50/50 raffle, and Pot Shots. The silent auction will feature a lot of Hornets gear. Some t-shirts will be for sale at the event. The band 2-Play will provide entertainment from 2-6 p.m.
The Hornettes softball team, is one of the most successful teams in Illinois State history. Coming into the 2015 season, the Hornettes had won the twelth most games in IHSA history.
The Hornettes softball program began in 1976-77 with Helen Dude as the programs first coach. Overall the program has had twelve head coaches. Dude is the longest tenured coach for the Hornettes, as she coached eight years for Nashville. Dempsey Witte holds the all-time wins record for Nashville, as he finished up one of the most successful eras in Hornettes history with a state championship in 2015. Witte finished his career with 173 wins, two state titles, and one third place finish. Overall the Hornettes have won three state titles, with the first title coming in 2001. The 2001 Hornettes softball team, coached by Chad Malawy tied the state record for wins in a season, as they finished with a record of 41-2.
This season, marked the first season for new coach Shaun Renth. The Hornettes finished with a 23-12 record, and a regional championship. Renth said of celebrating the tradition of Hornette softball, “we talk about tradition often. From the first teams that shared uniforms with the track team, to our state teams. We have a tremendous amound of respect for the teams that have come before us.” Renth went on to talk about the program being 40 years old, “ any time a program gets to a 40 year mark, that’s an accomplishment in itself. But the accomplishments that this program has achieved in its 40 years years of existence are special. Over 700 wins, three state titles, seven overall state trips, seven sectional titles, 16 regional titles, and 10 conference titles. Those are things that every person that has been a part of this program can look back on and be proud of. We hope this year will be a celebration of past, the present, and the future of our program.”