(KMAland) -- Throughout the month of August, KMA Sports is announcing its latest Hall of Fame class.
Today, we welcome our third of five teams to this year’s Hall of Fame. In 1991, the Orient-Macksburg softball team made their fourth and most recent state tournament appearance.
“It was something we grew up with at (Orient-Macksburg),” former Bulldog Stacey (Ruth) Cass told KMA Sports. “If you were you going to play softball, you knew what the expectations were.”
This particular team wasn’t necessarily expected to join the 1983, 1985 and 1988 state tournament teams. But there was plenty of belief among the team and coaching staff that they could get it done.
“We were a team that people underestimated,” Cass said. “We heard a lot of comments when we would play where they would say they were just playing against O-M tradition. That this team does not fall into that. I felt we overcame a lot.”
Along with Cass, who played first base, Orient-Macksburg touted All-State pitcher Jennifer McKinney, as well as sisters Angie and Amy Ferber among some of its top players. Guiding all of it was legendary softball coach John Dunlevy.
“He was very tough,” Cass said, “which we were fine with. He let us know what his expectations were, and we were glad to follow them most of the time. He had faith in us. He knew we could do it.”
Throughout the season, the Bulldogs continued to meet Coach Dunlevy’s expectations before soaring to the state tournament. The tournament at the time was a 16-team all-class field that also included the likes of eventual state champion Ankeny, WDM Valley and plenty of other larger schools.
“It was something we were used to,” Cass said. “Back in the ‘80s, when we went we were the smallest school. It gave us motivation not to be intimidated. We had played in Des Moines tournaments anyway, and so we knew them. It wasn’t something new for us.”
While the experience at state is something Cass says she remembers like it was yesterday, she also remembers all the great support from the Orient-Macksburg communities.
“Our stands were full every night, even at away games they would follow us,” she said. “When it came to state, it was the same way. I remember when we left for state, the Orient Fire Department escorted us out of town and all the way to Greenfield. We had a line of parents and cars behind us. It was just amazing.”
KMA Sports will honor the 1991 Orient-Macksburg softball team at some point at an O-M event in the future. Listen to the complete interview with Cass linked below.
2020 KMA SPORTS HALL OF FAME CLASS