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.
As a man devoted to sports, Mick Donahue contributed an essential (and sometimes underappreciated) service to organized sports in Peoria for decades. His passion for athletics began as a youth as a participant in the Salvation Army Junior League Tournament and Proctor Center Basketball League. At Peoria Manual High School in the early 50’s, he played on the baseball team. After graduating from Manual, he was a player/manager on the LeTourneau-Westinghouse team in the old Industrial League, which was one of the nation’s top amateur sports organizations at the time.
Mick spent much of his life coaching, organizing and officiating youth sports in the area, especially baseball, softball, basketball and volleyball. He volunteered as a coach from 1957-72 for the St. Boniface Mustangs. Additionally he coached numerous Little League and Pony League teams.
Over the next several decades, he volunteered thousands of hours organizing and administering officials for various league play in the community. Beginning in 1972, he supervised adult softball and basketball leagues for the Peoria Park District. He also scheduled officials/umpires for the area’s catholic grade schools as well as many basketball, baseball, and softball games for the Peoria Public Schools. In his over 30 years with the Peoria Park District, Mick trained, assigned, and supervised officials for adult softball games for leagues at Peoria Stadium and Sterling school. He organized a force of volunteer basketball officials for the Prairie State Games.
Even after his passing in 2011, his legacy in sports continued to have a positive impact for a charitable cause. As a tribute and acknowledgement of his decades of dedication to local softball leagues, a Mick Donahue Memorial Tournament was held in August of 2013, on the park district diamonds near Peoria Stadium. Many teams participated and many others, including umpires, volunteered their services. Proceeds from the successful event were donated to the PKD (Polycystic Kidney Disease) Foundation, a disease being fought by his granddaughter. Concurrent with the tournament, a park bench was dedicated near the large diamond near Peoria Stadium. The small plaque affixed to the bench, reads, “In Memory of Mick Donahue for his dedication to softball and the Peoria Park District.”