The wins do not come much bigger for Bishop Chatard softball than last week’s 4-0 win over Scecina Memorial. It marked only the second time in 14 years the Trojans have been able to best the Crusaders, and it set them up for the chance at a sectional title. They then made the most of the opportunity, defeating conference foe Brebeuf by a score of 10-2. Tonight, they will travel to Tri-West in search of a “Regional Champions” sticker for their sectional trophy.
When asked if they saw this tournament run coming, the girls could only shrug and nervously laugh.
“Scecina’s scary!” exclaimed Christine Oppold. That seemed to be the consensus.
Senior pitcher Sarah Mastrian offered a slightly different reason.
“We just try to take it one game and one day at a time. Really, we just concentrate on the next game and playing our best that day.”
“One of the keys to our success is that we just don’t take ourselves too seriously,” offered Janie Gleaves. “We want to do our best and be the best people we can be. Winning isn’t the most important thing.”
While not necessarily the answers one expects to hear from teams playing at a high level, it goes a long way towards explaining why the moment never seems too big for this group. They strive to keep it light and support one another at all times. It helps that they truly enjoy spending time with each other.
“We try to eat together often. There’s a group that really loves going to Panera,” Dee Dee Caskey shared. “Also, a lot of us carpool, so we get to spend that extra time together – getting to know each other better as people rather than just as athletes.”
“We do enjoy hanging out. In fact, tonight we are going to a pool party for Coach Lynch’s birthday!” added Mastrian. “The best part is that it’s not forced. We really do love it.”
It is easy to see they enjoy their coaching staff, as well. Today, Coach Lynch found the dugout adorned with “Happy Birthday” wishes and about 50 of her pictures everywhere. The players had gone so far as to scale the fence to ensure all was ready before she arrived.
A few weeks ago, they all took part in the 7th annual Katie’s 5K Run/Walk for Hope. The event honors the memory of Lynch’s sister, Katie, who battled Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, raising funds for The Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Sunshine Kids.
The event has long held a special place in the hearts of those in the Roncalli community (the Lynch sisters’ alma mater), but it has grown to be a special day on the north side as well.
“It started with just the girls, but over the years, it has continued to grow. This year we had several families and their kids (brothers and sisters) out walking with us. We also played Roncalli in the event they organize each year in her memory,” Lynch detailed.
The season has had its share of up and downs, but things seem to be coming together when it matters most. After defeating Covenant Christian earlier in the year, they lost the rematch in the City tournament, 2-1. Devastating at the time, it served as a turning point and an opportunity to refocus on the opportunities at hand.
Since then, the Trojans are 10-4. They defeated a top-ranked Lapel team and their long-term nemesis, Scecina. They also played toe-to-toe with #2 Yorktown and the conference champions, Roncalli.
“These girls don’t get rattled. They take big moments in stride and are always ready to meet the challenge,” proclaimed their coach.
There will be plenty of big moments over the next few weeks, but the Trojans are not worried.
When asked what her goal was for the rest of the year, Caskey stated, “To get to Day #67.”
She and her team just want to get to tomorrow. And then the day after that, and the day after that, until the bus shows up to take them to Purdue.