Sidwell Softball Wins ISL Championship for the First Time


The softball team defeated St. Andrew’s Episcopal School 7-3 in the ISL Championship game. Photo: Sidwell Friends.

On May 13, Sidwell’s softball team beat St. Andrews 7-3 to win the Independent School League (ISL) A Championship. This marked the first time Sidwell softball has ever won a championship and was an emphatic end to a historic 15-5 season.

Just a month prior, Sidwell had lost 1-2 to St. Andrews in dramatic fashion, as the Lions pulled off the upset in the final inning. This game, however, started off strong, and Sidwell ended the first inning with a 2-1 lead. The score remained tight until the fourth inning, and from there Sidwell widened the lead and held it until the final play. Overall, Sidwell had many good catches in the outfield, which helped them diminish the Lions scoring chances.

In the seventh inning, sophomore Isabela Alves ended the game catching a foul ball at third base. The pitcher’s mound was subsequently overrun by a crowd of Sidwell players, which freshman Elisa Tsao says was definitely “her favorite moment of the season.” Overall, Tsao said that she is thankful for her team and the time she spent with them throughout the season.

It can be a little disheartening to know that your peers are much more interested in going to baseball when the softball program at Sidwell is equally strong.

— Sofia Gaviria '23

The season started with some changes to the coaching staff. Former Head Coach Joshua Markey was “sorely missed this season,” as this year’s team was led by new Head Coach Heath Simon and new assistant coaches Maya Silva and James Gould.

The 2023 season also saw the return of many experienced players. With ten out of the thirteen team members being upperclassmen, and the addition of a new freshman pitcher, Sidwell was ready to compete. Senior Helen Primis said that the “presence of experienced players” was definitely one big difference, and the “team vibe we have built over the past couple years allowed us to play really well together.”

Primis also made sure to acknowledge Tsao, claiming that the freshman “stepped up big time this year, and we all are super glad to have gotten the chance to play with her.” Junior Margot Wheeler reemphasized how important Tsao was to the team, saying that she brought new hope and talent.

Wheeler said that the new coaching, which was more structured, helped the team greatly improve. She also explained that as the season progressed, the team realized their potential and their goals changed. The team set winning the ISL A championship as one of their goals and was looking forward to the rematch against St. Andrews.

However, Primis noted that the culture of the softball program remained consistent throughout her years at Sidwell. For Primis, her favorite part about this program is that “we don’t take ourselves too seriously… We love to win but we also love to have fun.” This positive energy and team culture has clearly paid off, as softball went 15-5 and claimed their first championship.

However, there were some setbacks. One notable obstacle was the lack of support from the Sidwell community. Prior to the championship game, Sidwell’s FAN club sent out an email in support of the Boys’ Varsity Baseball Team, who were also competing in their conference championship, also at noon. The softball team received no such recognition, despite qualifying for the chance to win a banner for the first time.

For senior Sofia Gaviria, it can “be a little disheartening to know that your peers are much more interested in going to watch baseball when the softball program at Sidwell is equally strong.”

Gaviria also hopes for more support in the future, saying that “increased support can keep motivating us and push us down the path of success.”