“I remember walking around campus and they were talking about all the state-of-the-art things the school was going to build for the program eventually,” McClure-Isable recalled. “At the time, though, we didn’t even have a place to practice yet. We had to work out on the baseball diamond
“There were six junior college transfers, including myself, and 11 freshmen that were on that first team. To take all these girls that didn’t know each other and get them to mesh together was something special.”
The Cardinals were 36-26 in their first season and 40-26 in the second with McClure-Isable leading the way. In Louisville's inaugural season, McClure-Isable posted the second-lowest ERA in single-season history for a Louisville pitcher with a 0.96 ERA followed by the third-best ERA single-season a year later with a 1.16 ERA.
For McClure-Isable, it was the talent that surrounded her on Louisville’s first two softball teams that allowed her to pitch so effectively.
“Once we actually got into practice and we started working together that first season, you could see that the talent we had was certainly capable,” McClure-Isable said. “Coach (Sandy) Pearsall recruited the best she could for that first-year team. To me, she got the best players she needed to start that team.”
Pearsall just completed her 14th season as the head coach of Louisville softball. After building the program from scratch in 2000, Pearsall has guided the Cardinals to 553 wins, five conference championships, 10 consecutive NCAA regional appearances and served as a host site in 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013.
For McClure-Isable, having a coach like Pearsall made it an easier choice to join a start-up softball program at Louisville.
“She knew exactly what she needed and what kind of person she wanted to be part of that team,” McClure-Isable said. “Even to this day, Coach Pearsall will keep up with us. She’ll always email you and, if going to (Louisville) games to this day, she’ll always make conversation with you.