(4-11-22) 1997 for Parkway softball was a year of firsts…first time they went to the State final four and winning the first ever Midwest Athletic Conference (MAC) title. It is only fitting for one of the first schools in Mercer County to sponsor softball would have these special moments.

In 1997 there were only six schools playing softball in the MAC, five from Mercer County and one from Auglaize County. The Panthers went 5-0 to pick-up the championship trophy.

This group was very special they could do it all, including scoring runs…against St. Henry they had 36 runners cross home plate and would put up 27 vs. Spencerville. In all during the regular season they scored in double-digits 13 time times. Pitching was pretty good too…6 shut outs and nine other games when they gave up 2 or one runs.

Coach Mark Esselstein told SSN after winning his 500th game –

So many special moments. The regional final in 1997 when we won to make it to state the first time after being close so many times before. I remember hugging Annie in the middle of the diamond and getting the water/ice cooler dumped on us. So emotional!