TriCounty Leanne Bonifas' never-give-up attitude manifested itself in the spring when her 10th Limestone softball team went from a third-place finish in the eight-team Mid-Illini Conference to the Class 3A state championship.
The seven postseason wins raised the Rockets' record to 32-8 overall. The streak included a 1-0 victory in the sectional semifinals over Mid-Illini co-champion Metamora, which swept a pair of one-run decisions from Limestone in conference play.
The first state team title in Limestone's 55-year history came two years after Bonifas was diagnosed with cervical cancer. In celebration of the former Bradley softball player from Aurora Central Catholic High, the Rockets wore pink ribbons on their cleats in the 3A title game.
Leanne Bonifas' never-give-up attitude manifested itself in the spring when her 10th Limestone softball team went from a third-place finish in the eight-team Mid-Illini Conference to the Class 3A state championship.
A two-sport star (baseball and basketball) at both Limestone High School and Illinois Central College, Thome went on to a legendary baseball career as one of the top sluggers in Major League Baseball history. A 13th-round selection by the Cleveland Indians in 1989, Thome made his MLB debut in 1991. After a 22-year career with Indians, Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Minnesota Twins and Baltimore Orioles, Thome ranks seventh in Major League history with 612 home runs and 24th with 1,699 runs batted in, while boasting a .276 career batting average. He was a five-time All-Star and received Most Valuable Player votes in nine different seasons. Thome helped Cleveland to World Series appearances in both 1995 and 1997 and he hit 17 career postseason home runs. Thome led the American League in slugging in 2002 (.677) and the National League with 47 home runs in 2003 and he received a 1996 Silver Slugger Award. Thome also was the 2006 Americal League Comeback Player of the Year. Recognized for his integrity, sportsmanship and community involvement, Thome received the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award in 2001 and 2004, as well as the 2002 Roberto Clemente Award and the 2004 Lou Gehrig Memorial Award. The Cleveland organization dedicated a statue of Thome outside Progressive Field following his official retirement in 2014.