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Former Rivals Now Inseparable Softball Teammates

Weltha, Leonard Pals On And Off Field

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. - Mackenzie Leonard and Ellie Weltha are nearly inseparable.

But it wasn't always that way.

"I first met Mack in sixth grade. We were always going against each other," said Weltha. "I was not a big fan of Mack, I'm not going to lie."

Early in their softball careers, the two sluggers were in opposite dugouts.They still talk about an eighth grade regional championship game between Bloomington and Chiddix junior highs.

"She beat us in eighth grade, our (Chiddix) team was undefeated," Leonard said. "They beat us in 11 innings or something."

Leonard became a star at Normal Community High School. Weltha a star at Bloomington High.

But once in high school they spent their summers as teammates on the Bloomington-Normal Angels travel teams. And their friendship blossomed to a point they never looked at one another as a rival when they returned to their high school teams.

"We'd laugh at each other in the field, joke around," said Leonard. "It was never hard feelings, we'd
always be friends."

Leonard, a pitcher, frequently throws to Weltha, a catcher.

Now they work out together in the morning and are winning state summer championships with their 18U Angels team. They'll be freshman teammates at Illinois State in the fall.

And that's not all.

"We're playing summer ball together for a different travel program (next year). We're both going to be
on the (Bloomington) Hearts together," Weltha said. "So for the next four years, we're going to be teammates. In college, I live in 505, Mack is in 506. So I'm going to live next to her for another year."


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