Mooresville Middle School’s softball team serenaded its seasoned coach with a special swan song.

The Red Imps polished off a picture-perfect 17-0 campaign spiced by the capturing of both the regular-season and postseason tournament championship crowns. The Red Imps, in the Rowan-Iredell Middle School Conference ranks, joined a growing list of squads accomplishing such a memorable feat.

The seventh entry in the program’s last decade to complete an undefeated season, the Imps emerge at the top of the list as the final one to be played under the program’s current coaching regime.

MMS head softball coach Johnny Meadows made it known entering this season that it would be his final one at the team’s helm. Meadows has spent the last 10 seasons with the Imps organization, all but the first of them serving as the team’s head dugout boss.

“This is it,” said Meadows earlier this week. “I’m getting too old for this. Actually, I’m ready to step down. It’s time. These girls, all of them throughout my 10 years here, have been special. It’s impossible to pick one team over any of the other.

“Congratulations to these girls for winning the regular season and tournament with a record of 17-0,’’ said Meadows. “This made my last game as head coach at Mooresville Middle all that much better.”

This year’s club joined a half dozen others in posting the perfect season capped with the R-IMSC regular season and tournament titles.

“Thanks for all the memories,’’ said Meadows. “They have something to really be proud of within this span.”

And how.

This season’s showing earned MMS its seventh regular-season conference and matching number of postseason tournament title runs under Meadows’ control.

Included in the effort is a string of 87 consecutive wins over a multiple-season span that serves to establish an all-time school record. It is considered to be one of the longest such winning sprees across the state at the middle school level.

“I give all the credit to the girls,’’ said Meadows, whose personal coaching career includes experiences at the high school and collegiate ranks. “We could not have had this kind of continued success without any of them. I can’t begin to single out any one player or any one group. They’ve all been wonderful to work win. I have to give thanks to the parents and the fellow coaches as well. This is better sweet, but the memories are awesome.”

By accounts, during the past 10-year span, MMS softball compiled an overall record of 146-7, a standard that features only two losses suffered on the Imps’ home field over the last nine years combined.

“Wow,” is the one-word phrase Meadows used to describe the numbers. “I really had no idea. Somebody told me those records. It’s hard to believe.”

As was the case during the most recent campaign, Mooresville Middle has been blessed with the presence of some of the premier players not only within the surrounding area but, in a way, the world. As many as four members of the Rowan County-based North Carolina Little League softball all-star team that snared the Salisbury-homed organization’s second Little League Softball World Series championship crown over a five-year span also suited up in starting and starring roles for this year’s Red Imps.

Several times in the past as well, similar situations have also unfolded. Meadows was also coaching the Imps when as many as five members of the same North Carolina team won the LLSWS title in the summer of 2015 as well. Meadows also served as the head coach of that world championship crew.

Also during his tenure, Meadows has had the luxury of coaching some of his own daughters as members of the team.

Truth be known, it’s because of those deep family ties that he has picked now as the time to turn over the MMS program’s reins.

“I need to spend more time with my family,’’ said Meadows, the father of four girls. “My youngest daughter is already underway with her high school athletic career. I’ve got another daughter who is just starting her college softball career. I want to be able to go to as many of their games as possible.”

By his personal count that includes games at the middle school, high school, college and select travel-ball levels, Meadows estimates that he has coached well in excess of 500 games during his career.

Even after calling the coaching portion of his career to a close, Meadows is still expecting to spend much of his time at softball fields. The biggest change will be in the role being played.{/div}

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