Skipjacks meet and beat four-year schools
Hayes pleased with what team accomplished during fall practice schedule
WYE MILLS Chesapeake College head coach Durrie Hayes developed the fall women’s softball schedule with an eye toward playing the best competition possible.
The wins were kind of the icing on the cake.
"The purpose of the exercise is to play a higher level of competition," said Hayes, whose team put together a 7-5 record that included a 5-3 mark against four-year institutions. "We played a lot of good teams and were able to get some teambuilding in during our trip to North Carolina. I think that’s good for the team when they go away together and room with each other. Our players like one another, and that’s important."
The Skipjacks were 2-3 against NCAA Division I opponents, including a 5-2 win against University of Maryland Eastern Shore that was probably their signature victory. UMES had a 2-0 lead until Chesapeake exploded for five sixth-inning runs to claim the win.
"That just shows a lot of heart," Hayes said of the UMES comeback. "They just jumped up and started stroking the ball. That was probably our best win, and it came against their (UMES’s) ’A’ team."
Hayes was also impressed with his team’s ability to bounce back from a loss, as the Skipjacks did in a doubleheader against Division I North Carolina Central University. The Skipjacks dropped a 6-2 decision to NCCU in the opening, but rebounded for a 12-6 win in the nightcap.
"That second game against North Carolina Central made the girls realize what they could accomplish," said Hayes.
Hayes indicated the fall season was also important because it allowed him to get a look at his all-freshman pitching staff. North Dorchester High grad Jordan Wright anchored what proved to be a strong pitching staff.
"Jordan always drew the toughest assignments and did very well," said Hayes. "She’s probably the most athletic girl on the team she bats leadoff and can steal bases. She’s really going to set the tone at the top of the order."
Kent County High graduate Jill Piasecki, Easton High’s Anna Morris, and Melanie Buck (Lackey High/Charles County) also threw well this fall.
"At the beginning of fall ball, we didn’t know she (Buck) was a pitcher. That was a pleasant surprise," said Hayes.
Morris’ hitting may have been even more impressive than her pitching, according to Hayes.
"Anna led the team in hitting at .488 and she had hits in 11 of the 12 games," said Hayes. "She really hit the ball well every day we were out there."
The Skipjacks didn’t get a chance to see pitcher Erica Kinney (Glen Burnie High) throw due to an ankle injury, but Hayes said the other pitchers used the occasion to step up their play.
"With Erica out, it created more innings for the other girls," said Hayes. "It’s always good for the team to have competition at every position. Everyone wants to play better so that they’re the ones that get the playing time."
Julia Carr (Seaford Christian) was second in hitting at .462 and "showed more power than I thought she had," said Hayes, while sophomore Jordan Glessner (Colonel Richardson) showed improvement coming off a strong freshman season.
"The infield will be very solid with Jordan anchoring it at shortstop," said Hayes, noting Glessner also hit .400 for the fall.
While pleased with the winning fall record, Hayes reiterated the real importance of the fall season.
"You get used to seeing teams that good, so that when you do see good teams in the spring you don’t go, ’Oh, my, look at them.’ You’ve seen teams at that level and either played them or beaten them. You have to believe you can win against teams of the same caliber."
Hayes said the fall season has moved the Skipjacks closer to the top programs in Region XX.
"I’m not sure we’re ready for the national championship yet,’ said Hayes, "but nobody will be able to take us lightly."
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