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Beyond the Game: De Queen turns tragedy into triumph

Tears and hugs as De Queen celebrates 5A state softball championship (KATV Photo)

Every state championship is special, though De Queen's 5A softball title took on special meaning for the Lady Leopards.

Head Coach Tracy Nealy's daughter, J.K. Nealy, passed from a nocturnal seizure earlier this season. The funeral was March 6th, shortly after De Queen's first game.

"She had told me in January, dad, this is your year," Tracy Nealy said. "And I've told these kids all year long, I reminded them that J.K. has told me that dad, this is your year."

De Queen dedicated its season to J.K.

She was right. They made it their year.

They beat Valley View 4-1 for the school's first state softball title.

"J.K. would be right over there, in the middle of them, just hugging them," Nealy said. "She was like a big sister to them.

"They're special, special kids."

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