The Bishop Ireton Cardinals after the WCAC quarterfinal win over Elizabeth Seton.
The 2017 Spring Softball season was one of change and rebuilding for Bishop Ireton softball. In her first year as head coach, Coach Ann Krebs and her assistant coach Olivia "OC" Compton, were faced with the task of rebuilding a Varsity softball squad that had lost five graduating seniors after the 2016 season. All five of which were experienced and talented travel ball players when not on the field for the Cardinals.
Krebs still had a good core to build around starting with the battery of Erin Rockwell and Sawyer Warren. It helped that Erin and Sawyer played together in travel ball in the off season as well. There were also four "battle tested" Varsity players returning: Dominique Gill, Eva Gilbert, Julianna Beck, and Izzy McGuire, two of which (Dominique and Eva) play travel ball.
Krebs was still faced with fielding a competitive team of mostly younger players, albeit talented, in a strong softball WCAC conference, and in a relatively short amount of time. In an effort to “jump start” her initial season as head coach, Krebs held optional pre-season workouts for the softball wannabes, at least in part to get a look at the personnel she was to work with. By the time the season rolled around, the Cardinal coaches, along with team manager Margaret Kettel, had the team as ready as any team in the WCAC could be given the short amount of time for practice before the WCAC season starts.
By opening day, the roster was ready, Krebs added some mostly younger promising players, namely: Marina Ekman, Christine Davis, Ailita Whalen, Alejandra Caballero, Sarah Milam, Lily Wohnig and Erin McGuire. Krebs also had talent that she could pull up from the JV squad when necessary, and did do so with good success during the season in the form of Grace Chang and Alice Innis.
The season opener was tough as it was against the always tough WCAC softball powerhouse St. Marys Ryken. The Cards lost that opener, but won their next two conference games 27-4 against Holy Cross Academy, then 5-1 against PVI. The cards found themselves 2-1 in conference play to start their rebuilding season.
The team lost its next seven games in a row, however, to the credit of the team and the head coach, four of those seven losses were very competitive games. Three one run losses and a two run loss. Those four games — against Good Counsel, St Johns, and PVI (the one-run losses) and the two-run loss against Elizabeth Seton were battles that, though losses, proved the Cardinals were strong in the rebuilding process. The two other losses were by wider margins to the WCAC’s top two teams — O’Connell and Ryken.
ISL Powerhouse Flint Hill then came to Luckett and handed the Cards a 15-5 loss at home. The Cards hit a new low for their rebuilding season.
Nevertheless, the Cardinals finished the season winning four out of their last six regular season games. Three of those wins were “payback wins” against McNamara, St Johns, and Good Counsel all of which had handed the Cardinals losses earlier in the season.
The Cardinals ended their regular season Conference play with a second regular season loss to Elizabeth Seton 8-1, but roared back the very next day to defeat the #3 seed Seton in the WCAC Championship Quarterfinal game 5-4 for yet another payback win.
The season of rebuilding for the Bishop Ireton Cardinals in the WCAC ended the way it started, with a loss to WCAC powerhouse St Marys Ryken, this time in the WCAC Championship Tournament Semi-finals.