Hudson Valley Sports Report

WITH ANOTHER FUNK ON THE BENCH, PINE PLAINS SOFTBALL ROLLS

Haleigh Joins Dad Les, Bombers Win 5th Straight Sectional Title

By Rich Thomaselli
HVSR Staff

PINE PLAINS – It’s safe to say it’s a dynasty for girls sports at Pine Plains, particularly for softball and girls basketball as the Bombers have won multiple Section 9 championships and made multiple appearances in New York State Final Fours.

Coach Les Funk has been in the middle of it all and, with a 12-4 victory on Friday over S.S. Seward, the Bombers won their fifth consecutive Section 9, Class C softball title.

It was over early. Pine Plains led 6-0 after two innings as Emily Lindquist stroked an RBI single and Lourdes Belanger rapped a two-run double.

Miranda Koch, Lily Fanea, winning pitcher Lindsay Farinaccio … everybody hit.

And despite No. 5 in a row, nothing was ever taken for granted.

“No, not at all, especially in a year like this when we played just 15 games,” Funk said. “Our kids are still so young that they’re learning things every day. We’re making up for lost time.”

Funk said he enjoyed this season.

“I really did. I really liked getting back to the teaching part after losing our top seniors from two years ago,” he said.

But there was another reason why Funk enjoyed it so much. His daughter Haleigh, herself a former two-sport star for the Bombers who knows the feeling of getting to state Final Fours, joined him as an assistant coach this year.

Haleigh graduated from SUNY Cortland last spring, following in her father’s footsteps for college.

les Funk with daughter Haleigh

“I think it stems from my love of sports and love of the game. I knew phys-ed and coaching was going to be my go-to,” Haleigh said. “And, what better way to learn than with one of the best coaches in the area and the same program that I had success in.”

It was an eye-opening experience for Haleigh.

“It gave me a whole new feel for the game,” she said. “Especially close games. I feel like it’s more pressure than when I was playing. So many choices to make.”

Les Funk said everybody on the current team knew who Haleigh was. Kind of hard not to given her resume of success and being part of the First Family of Pine Plains. He said he was especially pleased with his daughter after Pine Plains lost its first game of the season, to Marlboro, after starting the year 10-0.

“Sports helped develop me as a person, and that means you have to learn how to lose as well,” Haleigh said. “It’s humbling. With all of the success and being on the top of the world, the fact remains that at some point you are going to lose. It’s going to be ugly and it’s going to hurt and tears are going to be shed. In a way, I’m glad I went through that and I’m able to pass that along to these girls.”

Going forward, one of those girls will likely be her sister, who was called up to varsity late in the season. In a family filled with success stories – big sister Jordyn is the oldest, then Haleigh, then Zach – comes the baby.

Fluff.

No, really.

Katherine Funk got the nickname Fluff when she was younger and, well, that’s worth a whole story in itself. But Katherine has her own career ahead of her at Pine Plains.

“She really did well!” Haleigh said of her sister’s brief visit to varsity. “She was nervous at first but that goes away with growth.”

And, who knows? Haleigh could be coaching Fluff in the near future. Because this is her calling. This is what she wants to do.

“It really is,” Haleigh said. “I can’t wait.”

“It was definitely special to have her out there this season,” Les said of Haleigh. “She’s going to make a great phys-ed teacher and coach.”

Les and Haleight Funk

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