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For his kids, Sheriff Leitha will put in the miles — lots of miles

Kerr County Sheriff Larry Leitha makes sacrifices (his time) to watch his children excel on the baseball and softball diamonds.

Kerr County Sheriff Larry Leitha is now entering his third year on the job, and one that’s going to get a lot harder.

When you’re the sheriff of a county dealing with drug issues, illegal immigrants racing through it and a host of other problems, it’s not surprising that Leitha will face challenges, but this year brings a unique one for the first-term sheriff. See, Leitha’s youngest child, Bobbi, is prepping for her first year of NCAA Division II softball, and that’s where the challenge lies.

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Larry Leitha doesn’t like to miss his children’s events — ever. Last Spring, the sheriff routinely drove to Lubbock, where his son Larry Jr., played centerfield for the Lubbock Christian Chaps, where he was a three-year starter and standout.

The mileage Kerr County Sheriff Larry Leitha will have to cover to see his youngest daughter, Bobbi, play softball in 2023.

Sheriff Leitha was known to even provide live stream glances of his son at the plate, and don’t be surprised if he does the same for his daughter.

However, Bobbi Leitha is taking her talents to Rogers State University in Claremore, Okla. — a 575-mile one-way drive from Center Point. Located northeast of Tulsa, Rogers State is the defending Division II national champion.

Oklahoma is also the unofficial capital of American softball. Oklahoma City is the longtime host of the College World Series — drawing significant crowds. The University of Oklahoma won the Division I title — the program’s fourth in six years.

For Bobbi Leitha, like her siblings and her dad is a Center Point High grad, landing in Claremore is just the next step in what she hopes is a coaching career.

“I know she’ll be a successful coach,” Sheriff Leitha said. “I tell you she loves the sport; she wants to give back to it. I’m really kind of looking forward to go watch her coach.”

But first, she’s still got work to do on the softball field, where like her brother, she roams centerfield. How much she will play is still determined, but her junior college stats were impressive.

At Seminole State in Oklahoma, Bobbi Leitha had a career .432 batting average, with 134 hits and seven home runs, and she stole 53-of-54 bases.

The challenge for Sheriff Leitha is none of Rogers State’s games are within easy driving distance. Conference games are in Nebraska, Missouri and Kansas. The closest drive is to Edmond, Okla. There may be some flying time, but the sheriff will attend those games if possible.

Sheriff Leitha said he had gone to Lubbock for a fall baseball game in 2021 when the drag racing crash at Kerrville-Kerr County Airport left three spectators dead, including two children. The sheriff made an immediate return trip to Kerrville.

There is also a bittersweet component for the Leithas — Bobbi is the youngest. Larry Leitha Jr., now armed with a bachelor’s degree, is headed to the Department of Public Safety Academy to follow in his father’s footsteps in law enforcement.

“I started preparing myself a year in advance (for Larry Jr.’s final game) because I knew it was going to end someday,” Sheriff Leitha said. “We’ve traveled a lot, man, I think that’s 20 years of baseball since he’s five.”

And the other hard part is that both Larry Jr. and Bobbi have battled injuries, but their father was right there for them.

While Bobbi has two more years to play softball, there’s an up-and-coming group of Leitha family members ready for softball. Sheriff Leitha’s daughter, Dani Jo, has two daughters already itching to be like their aunt.

“We were throwing the ball just the other day,” Bobbi Leitha said.


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