MANITO, Ill. - This softball season is more than just a softball season for Skipp Reining.
"At times it's been tough and I told the girls that sometimes I'm just nt going to be great but we are going to keep going," the MIdwest Central head coach said.
Last summer, Reining's wife Sue lost her four-year battle with ulcerative colitis, an intestinal disease without a cure.
"Sue Reining taught a lot of us as a second grade teacher," said Midwest Central junior. "We wear purple ribbons in our hair during the game to represent her and the disease and other people who have it."
The purple ribbons are one thing but players are also selling t-shirts and getting pledges per hit during a special game.
On Aprl 23 Midwest Central hosts Dee-Mack in a game to honor Sue Reining and raise money for Crohn's and Colitis research. In many ways the players say that will be the most significant game of the season.
"Last year was tough," senior Haley Nieuwkoop said. "(Coach) Reining was trying to balance taking care if her and taking care of us. This year he is glad to be back and we are happy to play for him."
Midwest's Central's 3-2 win over Lewistown Thursday improved the Raiders' record to 11-5.
"They're making a difference with this," Reining said of his players. "I know it will carry with them the rest of their lives. It has definitely helped me in the healing part of it."
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