Persistence pays off. No one knows this better than Mike Crossley.
For 27 years, Crossley, Chickasaw, has been the head coach of the Newcastle High School softball team in Newcastle, Oklahoma, and on October 18, he took home his first Class 4A high school state fast-pitch softball championship trophy. “It’s been tough, it really has been,” Crossley told NewsOK.com. “It was just a big relief to win this tournament because there’s so many good teams and so many good coaches and so many good players.”
Crossley, as head coach of the Racers, brought his team to the state tournament 22 times. In his 27 years, they’ve been runner-up five times in the championship game, so this one was the win he’d been waiting for. “We just couldn’t seem to win the big one. It really was a surprise this year as young as we were, but what a surprise.”
Crossley and his niece, Kobi, hold the state championship trophy.
Crossley’s niece, Kobi Crossley, Chickasaw, was the lone senior on the team. “They responded in a big way. They didn’t let the pressure get to them,” Crossley said.
“It just means so much to my family,” Kobi said about her uncle’s win during an interview with NewsOk. “As far as the title, and my team getting it for me being a senior, it just means so much.”
Newcastle beat Fort Gibson 3-0 behind a one-hitter from sophomore Emily Cerny and a two-run home run from sophomore Kindle Nelms for the championship, NewsOkreported.
It was also the first championship in the school’s history.
“The way the kids responded; I just can’t believe it,” Crossley said.