When longtime Grand Island softball coach Kester Bleich found himself unable to coach his team this year, the girls rallied to ensure Kester's Krew continued.
William Kester Bleich just turned 84 and has coached Grand Island softball teams for more than half his life. He has a long legacy of coaching, umpiring and playing softball on the Island. His current team has players who have been coached by him since 1987. In fact, Bleich has coached so long that he's mentored the daughters of many of his former and current players.
Bleich, who resides at Elderwood of Grand Island, couldn't coach the team this summer, but his longtime players decided that the Krew would carry on. Laura Anderson stepped up as manager/coach, and Fahim Mojawalla, owner of Island Ship Center, was honored to sponsor the team. The Island Ship Center on Whitehaven Road joins a long list of Grand Island businesses that have sponsored Kester's Krew through the years, including The Beach House, Fuccillo Auto Dealerships, Aceti's Wine & Spirits, Marco's Italian Deli and Rocky's Island Pizza.
Kester's Krew recently gathered for a team photo with their longtime coach. From left, front row: Lynn Kelly, Laura Anderson, Tyler Anderson, William "Kester" Bleich, Amanda "Mandy" Lofft, Fahim Mojawalla (owner of Island Ship Center and team sponsor) and Cherrish Beals. Second row: Melanie Anderson, Jackie McBride and Jessie Balling. Third row: Amanda "Buck" Lake, Tori Albert, Ashley Peresie, Amy Davis and Allison Donahue. Fourth row: Janine Moran, Jennifer Peresie, Sydney McBride, Jessica Kuehne and Jude Kuehne.