By John Knebels
It had to happen sometime. And when it did, they celebrated accordingly.
Minutes after Monday afternoon’s 8-1 victory over Conwell-Egan, the players and coaches from Archbishop Carroll reacted the way one would expect after beating a team for the first time in school history.
“They have a great program,” Carroll coach Mark Caserta said. “They have had a lot of success and have a very good team again this year. This was a big win.”
Conwell-Egan has captured 21 Catholic League championships, more than any other school in CL history. During her 18 years of coaching, Eagles coach Sandy Hart has won 10 titles. She has arrived at the point of expecting her team to challenge for a title every season.
For the past three campaigns, St. Hubert’s has ruled the roost. Maybe the Bambies will increase their title string to four when it’s all over, but there are several teams that plan to make that pursuit an arduous effort.
One that has a legitimate chance to dethrone Hubert’s is Carroll. Before the game, it was the first time an undefeated Patriots team (6-0) had faced another unblemished squad (5-0) this late in the season. The easy money was on Conwell-Egan to find a way to win, especially since the Eagles were at home. After all, that’s pretty much what Conwell-Egan usually does against upstart opponents.
Not this time.
The first batter of the game – freshman Monica Clark – continued her outstanding career debut when she slammed a double past the Eagles’ startled outfield. Before the inning was over, a key error had pushed two runners across the plate, and Carroll led, 2-0.
Before the Eagles would bat a second time, the Patriots would lead 5-0. Several miscues later, a potential barnburner had become a rout. Despite seven hits, the Eagles could manage only one run against Carroll pitcher Kristin Beaty.
As disastrous and disappointing as it was for Conwell-Egan, it was sheer poetry for the winners.
“It’s always better pitching with a lead,” said Beaty, who continued to challenge the Conwell-Egan hitters no matter what the situation. “I tried to keep my control and trust my defense.”
Conwell-Egan’s Hart was impressed with the Patriots.
“They have a good team,” Hart said. “Before the game, we talked about them having some very good players. They put the ball in play, and we didn’t make enough plays. Hopefully we will bounce back and learn from it. We’d better.”
John Knebels can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.