Softball: St. Bede’s Shawn Sons receives Class 1A Sectional Coach of the Year award

St. Bede coach Shawn Sons (right), pictured with athletic director Michael Armatto, received the Illinois Coaches Association's 2023 Class 1A Softball Coach of the Year  Sunday in Bloomington. Sons led the St. Bede softball team to the 2023 Class 1A State championship.

BLOOMINGTON – Shawn Sons coached the St. Bede softball team to the 2023 Class 1A state championship, the first in school history.

The Bruins dethroned two-time state champion Illini Bluffs by defeating the Tigers 7-6 in the 1A state title game in Peoria, finishing 26-7.

On Sunday in Bloomington, Sons received his award for being named as the Illinois Coaches Association’s 2023 Class 1A Sectional Softball Coach of the Year for the second year in a row.

In his acceptance speech, Sons likened the adage that it “takes a village to raise a child” to his softball team.

“It takes the total and complete buy-in and commitment of what we as coaches are trying to teach and instill in our players, not just the X’s and O’s, but the life lessons as well,” he said. “Parents, teachers, relatives, media and fellow students – everyone had a part in this success.”

Sons thanked his family for its support and gave a special mention to his assistant coaches – Rob Ruppert, Mike Morrow, Lisa Griggs, Rich Williams, Mike Stariha, Rick Pyszka and his son, Jacob Sons – for all their contributions.

“Though this plaque has my name on it, I share it with all of you. For without you, none of our success, would have been possible,” he said.

Sons is 45-11 in his first two years as St. Bede coach with one state championship and two sectional finals appearances.

Bureau County Republican Sports Editor Kevin Hieronymus, who covered the Bruins’ postseason path to the state championship, was named as an ICA Sports Person of the Year.