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Frontenac softball stays winning with second state title in three seasons; fourth total

The Frontenac softball train keeps on rolling.

Last Friday, the Raiders added another trophy to the case when Frontenac defeated Silver Lake 3-0 in the Kansas Class 3A state tournament title game. 

“It was a great accomplishment for our kids,” Frontenac head coach Cassie Rhuems told NewsTalk KZRG. “We graduated a pretty big (senior) class last year and we had some kids in new positions. Actually, our entire infield was kids in new positions and three of the four were kids new to the varsity program. We had a new catcher and a new right fielder. Coming into it, we knew we had the potential to be pretty good. We just needed to get the kids repped and improve some of their fundamental skills. Just seeing all of that pay off is tremendous.”

The Raiders had quite the season, finishing with a 28-2 record and splitting the CNC League title. Of course, advancing to and winning the state title was the long-term goal and the cherry on top for a memorable season.

“We had a tremendous season,” Rhuems said. “I think that last loss to Columbus (on Senior Night) at the end of the season really fueled our kids. It made them realize we are a pretty good ballclub when we put things together.”

Of course, it wasn’t always easy for the Raiders in 2024. One of the program’s biggest supporters and Coach Rhuems’ mentor, her father, Francis Buche passed away on Easter. Buche was a big part of all three of the previous state title runs by Frontenac, supporting his daughter the entire way. Not having him at her side left a void, and while nothing will ever fill that loss, the Raider community did its best to show their coach the support she was needing.

“I lost my dad on Easter, which was literally the second week of our season when we started playing,” Rhuems said. “He has been with me for 17 years, so I didn’t know what it was going to look like. It was hard, but I knew I needed to show up for those kids because they mean the world to me and so does this program. I’d be lying if I didn’t say they saved me. They gave me purpose and helped me handle a lot of grief in a short amount of time. I think that they realized they were playing for something bigger, also. We wanted to do it for Dad and we wanted to do it for each other because of the grief and the sorrow that we had in our hearts. They are all special, but this one was really special because of the reason behind it.” 

If there were ever a coach who embedded themselves in a community, it’s Coach Rhuems. Not only does she have the support from the kids in her program, but everyone in and around Frontenac wanted to make sure Rhuems knew what her father meant to the community. 

“I will never be able to repay this group of people for what they’ve done for me,” Rhuems continued. “It was the little (gestures) that went a long way that people probably didn’t even realize happened. They’ve embraced my family and embraced my kids. They let me have my moments when I needed them, and together we achieved something really, really awesome.” 

One thing is certain, with Rhuems at the helm, it’s safe to say the Raiders softball program, which has four total rings and two state titles in three seasons, won’t be slowing down anytime soon.

“We’re fortunate to have kids who come into our program and understand what our expectations are and understand what it means to be a part of Raiders softball,” Rhuems said. “When they step into our program, they know they’re going to have to work hard, they know they are going to be held accountable and they know they’re going to be pushed. And they buy in. Credit goes to the kids. They let me do what I want to do and lead the way I want to lead.”

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