Did anyone believe at the beginning of the year that John Carroll would go 18-2 and finish as the No. 4 team in the metro area? The Patriots were 10-7 the previous year, but returned 10 players and a coach who recognized their potential.
Drexel, in his 15th season, had to "instill a little more confidence in them, especially hitting-wise," he said. And pitcher April Lynch "came into her own." The result: John Carroll's only losses occurred in March, against No. 1 Spalding and Catholic.
It closed the year by winning 16 straight games and the Harford County championship. The loss to Catholic, which was the result of some shoddy play by the Patriots, was followed by a come-from-behind, 6-4 upset of IND.
"That swung our season around," said Drexel, whose career record is 183-71. John Carroll's previous best season was 1991, when it went 15-2. Drexel calls this year "definitely my most satisfying. Average-wise, we didn't really stand out, but everybody contributed."
One of Drexel's biggest contributions to softball in Harford came five winters ago when he helped to start a battery clinic. That led to the development of fast-pitch pitchers, something not previously seen in the area.
"We had girls coming into the high school who had never played the game," he said. Few teams played it better than John Carroll