LIBERTY TOWNSHIP, Ohio – Lakota East softball coach Steve Castner won his 500th career game Friday night as the Thunderhawks defeated Centerville.
Castner ranks ninth on the state’s all-time wins list, according to the unofficial records from the Ohio High School Athletic Assocation. He’s the ninth coach in Ohio high school softball history to reach 500 wins.
Castner was not aware of the upcoming milestone entering Friday's game. Like every season, he likes to keep things in perspective.
"We look at one pitch, one out, one inning, one game at a time," Castner told WCPO.com. "That is what keeps us focused and produces quality performances. I am most proud of how hard we work every day. Anyone who has played for our program knows what I am talking about."
In his 28th season as head coach, Castner has a career record of 500-223, according to information provided to WCPO.com. He’s coached at Lakota East since 1998.
"We are proud of what we have accomplished over the last several decades and all credit should be given to any player, coach, parent or athletic administrator involved," Castner said. "I was not aware of the milestone and to our players it was just another game."
Castner previously coached at Lakota High School from 1990 to 1997 prior to the district splitting between East and West in the fall of 1997.
He’s won 18 sectional titles, 10 district titles and a regional title in 2010, according to information from Ursuline head coach and former East assistant coach Missy Keith.
Castner doesn't seek the spotlight but his program consistently wins. He advises his team to put in all the hard work its capable of doing each season and those players certainly understand that.
He posed for a group photo with his team after the milestone win Friday, and he received a plaque commemorating the 500th win. His daughter Brianna is a senior pitcher/third baseman on the team. Castner is thankful that his wife Delina and his brother Dan are also part of the program.
The other assistants - Rico Hill, Jess Howard and Amanda Lahti - have also made significant contributions.
Castner has won five GMC titles including two at East and three at Lakota. Lakota East (8-1, 5-0 GMC), a 2016 Division I regional runner-up, next plays host to Princeton (1-6, 0-4) Monday.
Castner couldn't be happier to share this moment with a team and a district he's invested so much into over the years.
"I spent my entire career with Lakota and I can tell you the players of this district are as good as any in the state," Castner said. "I am extremely proud to be a Thunderbird and now a Thunderhawk."