The back-to-back reigning National Pro Fastpitch champion Chicago Bandits underwent a big transition in the last offseason. Sharonda McDonald took the manager's job.
It is a great job and Sharonda was a very nice hire, but she did inherit an unenviable position. Repeating in any sport is difficult. Three-peating is even harder, let alone attempting to do so in this situation is nearly impossible.
Coach Sharonda did not inherit the two-time defending champs as is. About 40% of the team left through trade, free agent signing or retirement. The Bandits did gain the "Aussie Elite Eight," eight Australian players, but how they would fare was to be determined. Sharonda certainly had her hands full, but it was also a chance to really make her mark quickly.
Sharonda has an impressive resume. She was a three-time all-NPF selection during her six-year career in the NPF and had a .270 career batting average. After retiring as a player, Sharonda became an assistant at the University of Florida.
As of this writing, the Bandits are in a virtual three-way tie for 3rd place. Only two of these three teams will make the playoffs. Despite winning the NPF title last year, the Bandits were not a powerhouse during the season. Right now, all that matters is reaching the playoffs and Sharonda has the team in position to reach that goal.
I have not interviewed Sharonda yet, but I really am looking forward to it. I have been impressed with what the team has done and how they have handled everything. All things considered, it has been a successful season so far and hopefully it will keep getting better.
Sharonda McDonald and me in Rosemont,IL-July 2017.