Episcopal wins 5 titles in a row, 20 in total

Halfway through this season, Episcopal senior Camille Walker gave a war cry to her softball teammates.

“520.”

The number represented winning a fifth Southwestern Preparatory Conference championship, which would be the 20th overall in the program. None of these marks had been accomplished in the history of SPC.


“We have to work harder than ever before to achieve something that has never been done before,” Walker preached.

That is, until this season. Episcopal hit “520,” beating St. John, 7-3, in the SPC Championship on Saturday.

Five consecutive SPC championships. Twenty in total. The definition of a dynasty.

“Once they hung on to that, doing something that no one had ever done before, it all clicked,” said coach Caitlyn Cain, in her fourth year as head coach and 10th with the program. “It gave us a goal every day. We started working with a very specific purpose. We weren’t there training just to be there.

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Over the past 11 years, Episcopal has won the SPC seven times.

“It’s been super fun,” Cain said. “We are blessed with incredible athletes and a great coaching staff. It’s been a lot of hard work, but at the same time, we’re surrounded by a lot of positive people. It makes for a really good time.

The Knights went 18-9 this year, finishing with eight straight wins. Four of those losses were to the Class 6A programs Pearland, Clear Brook, Clear Lake and Klein Oak. Another was at Huffman Hargrave Class 4A School.

“It elevates our game,” Cain said of the high-level competition. “Of course we get a few bumps and bruises from it, but that just adds to our tenacity. By the time we get to this SPC Championship, some of the things look easy because we challenge ourselves so much along the way.

It was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Knights. It was anything but.

Senior leadership Reese Barrett (the team ace who led the Knights in batting average and on-base percentage in conference play), right fielder Walker (the team’s “mother hen,” said Cain) and catcher Lily Tanner (.349 average, 15 RBI), and junior Emma Poirot was paramount in guiding an otherwise young team. The emergence of four freshman starters – first baseman Gianna Lewis, third baseman Reagan Moriarty, left fielder Bella Woodcox and second baseman Kate Hale – was vital.

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“We had freshmen and we had tremendous leadership to help them get there,” Cain said. “In the beginning, it was a lot of teaching the game and helping them learn our systems. Because we had so much youth, the first half of the season was learning those systems, whereas in years past it was almost always about refresh what had been done.

Add to that the considerable production of sophomores Allie Williams (averaged .353, six home runs, 34 RBI) and Townsen Thomas, who had an injury-plagued season but still hit an unreal .649 average and 12 RBIs in 37 at-bats, and it made for a team that accelerated a steep learning curve.

“Our goal is to win the SPC every year,” Cain said. “That’s what we’re talking about. But how we get there each year is different.

The Episcopal Knights SPC Champions 2022.VYPE Media

The list may change from year to year, but not the episcopal culture and standard. They are the pillars of sustained substantial success.

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The main virtue of the Knights is to “control the controllable elements”. This, for Cain, means focusing primarily on attitude, effort, and communication.

It’s a philosophy that Cain has been preaching since day one.

“Even if something goes wrong for us in a game, we can’t worry about anything we can’t control,” Cain said. “It takes a lot of the negative energy out and just lets us focus on Knights softball. It doesn’t matter who is on the other side of the field. We just take care of our game.”

Cain has a reputable staff. Kary Kemble was part of the program before Cain arrived. He forgot more about softball than many coaches know.

Lexie Elkins was a former All-American in Louisiana-Lafayette. Cortni Emanuel played at Georgia and works with the Knights on speed, agility and movement.

“I doubt many other schools do this,” Cain said. “The knowledge of our coaching staff is phenomenal.”

Cain is confident the Knights can win six SPC championships in a row and 21 overall in 2023.

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Or, as Walker would classify it, “621”.

“Because we’ll have a good core returning, we can do more of this refresher instead of teaching and learning,” Cain said. “I can see us discovering our identities earlier next year.”

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