Stephenville reached 20 wins for the first time in school history and was awarded accordingly when District 8-4A coaches voted one Honeybee to a superlative award and three others to the league's first-team all-district list.
Senior pitcher Katelyn Conlee, who has signed with Tarleton State, was named defensive MVP of 8-4A, while junior middle infielders Kaci Wells (shortstop) and Leslie Billings (second base) join sophomore third-baseman Haylee Fritts on the first-team. All superlative award winners are first-team honorees by default.
Second-team honors went to Stephenville outfielders Ashleigh Ballard, a senior, and Ashlynn Mayfield, a sophomore.
The Honeybees also had three recognized on their honorable-mention list - catcher Chrislyn Wells, first-baseman Merideth Culpepper and outfielder Chelsea Baggett.
Waco Midway finished ahead of second-place Stephenville for the district title and has marched all the way to this weekend's state tournament. The Pantherettes were fittingly the only team with more honorees than the Bees, including league MVP Monica Miller at shortstop, offensive MVP Amy Friend at first base and pitcher of the year Katie Neal.
Stephenville reached the playoffs for the second straight year and second time in the history of the program this spring and was eliminated in two games by Joshua after defeating the Lady Owls in bi-district last year.
The Bees, coached by Rus Mayes, will be transitioning from 4A to 3A next year.
"We're starting to have some success at the high school level and we can build on that," said Mayes. "What's cool is that success has caused some excitement around the community and we're seeing more girls playing softball through the city leagues. That can only result in a pipeline that provides us players in the future."
Mayes said a big part of that pipeline is established through the annual Honeybee Softball Camp, which is June 12-14 at McCleskey Field in City Park.
"That's a big week for us, a big week for our future," Mayes said. "We're going to have a lot of young girls out working with us in the mornings and then some of the older girls will come in and practice in the afternoons. Softball is still taking off here, so all the fundamental training our players and the young players can get, the better. It's also a chance for youth to come out and fall in love with this great game, because softball's a sport you play for life."
Mayes looks forward to the days that Honeybee campers become all-district Bees like those honored by 8-4A coaches.
"You have to start somewhere," he said. "All these girls got where they are by hard work and sacrifice. There are leagues all over and camps, like the one we'll have, where you can get a head start on that."
He says it's all part of building a tradition.
"These girls everyone is reading about have already created that tradition, and their leaving it to be built on," he said. "I couldn't be proud of them for these achievements and for the foundation they've laid for our future."
Follow Brad Keith on Twitter @etsports