National Cathedral repeats as DCSAA softball champ

The National Cathedral softball team has won four of the last five DCSAA championships. (photo by Marcus Summers)

In March, the National Cathedral softball team lost its season-opening scrimmage to Wilson. In that contest, the team’s inexperience showed — after graduating a talented senior class — as errors and mental mistakes led to the defeat.

Following that game, Eagles coach Jennifer Phelps told The Current that Cathedral would look like a different team as the season unfolded.

On Sunday afternoon, the team delivered on that promise as it outlasted Sidwell 4-3 to repeat as DCSAA champions.

“In the DCSAA tournament, they put it all together,” said Phelps. “It was fantastic. You got to see a wide range of emotions. You had kids who were ecstatic.”

The Eagles were dominant for most of the afternoon as junior pitcher Logan Robinson rang up 14 strikeouts to keep Sidwell scoreless through six innings.

“She started off throwing the ball the best that she had all season,” Phelps said. “She was just nailing her spots and mixing it up really well.”

Meanwhile, Cathedral’s offense also sizzled.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, sophomore Jamie Wang got on base with a triple, and then Robinson jumped on with a solid hit. The Eagles scored when sophomore Greta Drefke notched an RBI for a 1-0 lead.

The Eagles’ strong hitting continued in the bottom of the fifth inning, generating three more runs. Wang launched a triple to score two runners, and Robinson added an RBI for a commanding 4-0 lead.

Despite the deficit, the Quakers never wavered. Sidwell senior Kaylee Simon worked Robinson through 14 pitches, which created an opening for the Quakers in the final two innings. “Kaylee fouled off a lot of pitches, and you could see then that Logan was tired,” said Phelps.

In the top of the seventh inning, the Quakers took advantage of the situation as Sidwell used textbook small ball — as Simon, junior Maddie Watson and junior Abby Meyers all scored to make it 4-3 with two outs on the board.

“I want to give credit to Sidwell,” Phelps said. “We had them 4-0 at the top of the seventh and they came in with the heart of the lineup. They got bunts down and kept fighting. They never gave up. We have to tip our caps to them.”

That’s when Phelps went to the mound to have a word with her defense.

“I called a timeout to calm everyone down,” said the coach. “We had two outs at that point. I told them to do their jobs and settle down.”

The break proved to be just what the team needed. Robinson forced Sidwell into a popup fly ball, which Wang tracked down to end the game.

“We got a nice fly out into left field, and Jamie wasn’t going to let it drop. Jamie went and got it for the victory,” Phelps said.

Cathedral pitcher Logan Robinson rang up 14 strikeouts in the championship game. (photo by Marcus Summers)

It was a fitting end — with the duo of Robinson and Wang leading the way — for the Eagles to close the year.

“It was Logan and Jamie showing how to do it,” Phelps said of their leadership on a young team. “Logan and Jamie had been pumping them up and it all came together. This is Logan’s game, and the kids know it and realize and recognize and respect that. It helps that Jamie is right there with her. Jamie is the quiet type. Logan goes out and does the motivational things in the huddle or getting them calmed down, too.”

Throughout the DCSAA postseason, the duo went on a tear. From the mound, Robinson rang up 42 strikeouts while allowing just 10 hits and three runs in 19 innings. The pitcher’s work gave her a .368 ERA for the state tournament.

Meanwhile, Wang hit .750 for the DCSAA tournament while scoring five runs and connecting on six hits.

“Jamie is shy and quiet and pretty stone cold, but before the game she was relaxed and cheeky, so I thought we were in good hands,” Phelps said. “When she is really relaxed, she has big games.”

Aside from the team’s two young leaders, Phelps also pointed to the rest of the Eagles’ coaching staff — Heather Dent, Danielle Malagari and Tracie Shaw — as a major reason Cathedral went from rebuilding to title winners in just one season. “It’s large compared to other schools, so we could give more individual attention to the kids,” said Phelps.

The Eagles finished the season with an 11-5 overall record and have now won four of the five DCSAA softball title games.