A first and last Eagle Road match

By Seamus Feeley
March 20, 2024

Senior pitcher Avery Byrnes on the mound. Photo by Seamus Feeley.
Senior pitcher Avery Byrnes on the mound. Photo by Seamus Feeley.

A dreary forecast delayed the anticipated Cabrini vs. Eastern softball game to Tuesday, Mar. 12. Come Tuesday, the weather was perfect, and many Eastern fans gathered in the bleachers and grass hillsides around the field as the teams marched across the diamond. This was clearly a numbers game, as the Eagles team dwarfed the Cavaliers by a rowdy 28 to 10. 

Despite their small roster, the Cavs fought hard. Though this was the first time the teams faced, it would also be the last; Cabrini took a devastating 7 – 1 defeat. 

After the game, Cabrini softball head coach Chris Protesto talked about putting the loss behind them to focus on upcoming games. Players, though grateful for the chance to play Eastern, discussed how frustrating it was to take the loss without the chance of a rematch.  

Moving forward

Protesto said, “It’s always a game you wanna win, it’s right across the street, and I know the coach pretty well, so it would’ve been a good win, but we didn’t play our A-game today.” 

He said the team prepared for this game the way they always have, the only difference being that they practiced hitting in the gym right before the game because of its proximity. 

“The commute is great,” joked Protesto. “Second-best commute next to our field, which we don’t even have anymore.” [Cabrini relinquished use of the field to its owner, Valley Forge Military Academy.]

Protesto said that when it came time to play his team simply wasn’t ready. “It can be distracting when you’re playing so close to home.” 

Senior shortstop Madison Gugel at bat. Photo by Seamus Feeley.

He said he knows the team is frustrated especially when considering Eastern was asked to make the game a doubleheader, which they declined.  “There was a big build up, we wanted to win this game. These are our rivals, and we wanted to go out on a high note. Unfortunately we didn’t,” Protesto said.

He continued,  “With having 10 players it’s hard to practice as much as we want to because we’re scared of injuries, and sometimes it shows.” But, he said, even after this loss the team will land on its feet to continue working hard. “We’ve always been slow starters and strong finishers.”

Appreciation and frustration 

Senior pitcher Avery Byrnes, who ended the second inning with a 1-3 double play, said the game was much anticipated. “I’ve been here for four years, and I’ve been waiting to play Eastern, so I am grateful we got the chance to play them eventually.”

Byrnes said, “I think offensively we could have done a little bit better, but that is something were still working on. Its early in the season.”

Junior outfielder and pitcher Dorian Ilyes felt much the same about the teams’ matchup. “Honestly, it was a little nerve racking because we haven’t played them, and I knew this was gonna be the last time too. It’s always a battle against Eagle Road, and I know we all wanted to come out and really win, but I’m glad we did get the opportunity to finally play.” 

She said if circumstances were different, perhaps if the doubleheader happened or in a different year, “then we definitely would have had them.” 

Ilyes said, “We lost a lot of our players, we went from a 22-man roster to a 10-man roster, and we are a lot of people out of position and were not fully used to that. 

The team goes on the road again Mar. 23 for a conference game against Gwynedd Mercy University.

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Seamus Feeley

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