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2023 Musial Awards

SEU Fire Softball team together on the field

SEU Softball Players Receive National Recognition for Sportsmanship

Our very own SEU Fire Women’s Softball team garnered national attention during their 2023 season after an inspiring display of sportsmanship from athletes Chapel Cunningham and Leah Gonzalez. Their story was covered in outlets such as ESPN, the Today Show, Fox News, Inside Edition, and many others. Due to their sportsmanship, Cunningham and Gonzalez were honored at the NAIA Champions of Character Luncheon in early November, and at the Musial Awards on November 18, which aired on CBS. 

All About the Musial Awards

As mentioned on their website, the Musial Awards were established in 2005. The nation’s best sports come together in St. Louis for the most important awards in sports. Named after baseball hall of famer Stan Musial, they celebrate “the year’s greatest moments of sportsmanship and those in sports who embody class and character.”

Giving a Helping Hand

In a doubleheader on the Fire’s home field against the Grand View Vikings, Cunningham and Gonzalez sacrificed their team’s win to help a player from the opposing team. The Fire had been leading 4-1 in the top of the fifth inning when Grand View catcher Kaitlyn Moses hit a grand slam with two outs and the bases loaded. This hit gave her team the lead; however, she injured her Achilles tendon on the way from first to second base. Cunningham and Gonzalez stepped up and carried Moses around the bases, helping her to tap her foot on each one all the way to home plate, in order for her run to count and the points to go to her team. The Vikings came away from the game with a 7-4 win and swept the doubleheader.

“I just knew it was the right thing to do, so we didn’t really think twice,” reflected Cunningham.Gonzalez added, “I asked myself, ‘What would happen if those were one of my girls?’ I would have loved for someone on the other team to pick them up and take them around. The softball world is small, and as players, we have to look out for each other.”

To watch Chapel Cunnigham and Leah Gonzale receive recognition, you can stream the full 2023 Musical Awards here! Read our other blog below highlighting SEU Softball’s admirable sportsmanship. 

Learn More

Musial Awards 

SEU Softball Players Demonstrate Christian Character 

SEU Athletics 

Apply to SEU 


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