Durant Community Celebrates State Championship - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Durant Community Celebrates State Championship

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The Durant High School girls' softball team rallied alongside the community Monday night to celebrate its state title tonight after beating out Treynor to win the 2A championship.

The win is a first for the girls' softball team in the school's history. It's also the first time any team in the school has brought home a state championship title in more than 10 years.

Aside from celebrating the victory Monday night, the team said it was also celebrating its biggest fan who passed away from a heart attack last year at age 51.

"Dean McCleary - he was always on the side - always down the third base line," Senior Pitcher Paige Compton said. "Always sat in the same spot every single time and was at every game."

"He was always that bubbly character that was on the sidelines," Junior Pitcher/Third Baseman Anna Bentley said. "He even liked to bring us softball cookies!"

McCleary graduated from Durant High School in 1980 and tried to make it out to every high school sporting event he could since then. His mother, Doris Hanson of Stockton, said he would have loved nothing more than to see the girls' softball team win state this year.

"He would have been right there, he would have been crying along with them!" Hanson said. "He would've been so proud."

To honor its number one fan, the team presented his family with an autographed softball - a way of saying they finished this year for dean.

The team members even wore T-shirts that had his initials on them with a halo over the letters. They said they wore the same symbol on their helmets when they played the championship game this year.

"Dean was a big part of our softball program," Senior Sidney Lilienthal said. "We just really missed him so much this year. So they told us right before we went to state - we have an angel in the outfield, and that really stuck with us."

Dean McCleary's family said it plans on spreading some of his ashes across the girls' softball field so when they play their games next year, McCleary will be right there with them.