Skipjacks gamely competing in JuCo softball
Strong offense, close games are positive indicators
WYE MILLS, April 24 Chesapeake College may not be a Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference title contender this season, but first-year head coach Melissa Thompson believes the Skipjacks are headed in the right direction.
"We´ve struggled to win games, but I´ve seen a lot of positive things take place this season," said Thompson, whose Skipjacks take a 3-9 record into Wednesday´s 3 p.m. home finale against the College of Southern Maryland.
A trio of one-run losses to Allegany, Cecil and Dundalk are one indication Chesapeake is not that far from being a solid Maryland JuCo squad. Another is the team´s strong offensive attack, with includes a .435 team batting average.
Chesapeake featuring players from seven Mid-Shore high schools has at least one player in the top three in the state in batting average, stolen bases, RBI, and home runs while fielding a softball squad for the first time in three seasons.
Shortstop Katie Satterlee, who is currently hitting .511 with three home runs, has already broken the team record for runs batted in with 28. Satterlee was second in home runs, third in RBI and eighth in batting average in last week´s Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference state report.
"I think we´ve done really well," said Satterlee, who played her high school softball at James M. Bennett High in Salisbury. "We´re definitely doing a lot better than most people thought we would."
Satterlee said the pitching the Skipjacks see "is a lot faster than I saw in Salisbury," but the team used their winter workouts to prepare for college pitching.
"Over the winter, we turned the pitching machines up as high as we could to get us ready for the speed we were going to see in games," said Satterlee.
While impressive, Satterlee´s school RBI record may not be safe for long. Third baseman Katie Connolly (Queen Anne´s County High), who is hitting .519 with a .788 slugging percentage, is right behind Satterlee with 24 RBI.
"Satterlee and Connolly work hard every day," said Thompson. "Satterlee´s dedication to our offseason program is a major reason she´s dominating the offensive categories. Connolly is the first one to come and the last one to leave practice."
First baseman Kelly Henckel (St. Michaels High), meanwhile, is batting a torrid .550.
Henckel, Satterlee and pitcher Heather Yanez (currently batting .463) were all in the state Top Ten in batting average in last week´s league report, while second baseman Emily Colton (Gunston Day School) was tied for second in stolen bases with 17 steals. Connolly was fifth in RBI, giving the Skipjacks two players in the top five in that category.
Yanez (Colonel Richardson High) has had to shoulder the pitching load by herself since Karen George (Easton High) suffered a season-ending injury against Dundalk.
"Heather is my hero, the way she has stepped up and helped us through a very difficult situation," said Thompson, noting Yanez has pitched every inning of the last four games.
Sharon Germann (Queen Anne´s County High) has handled most of the catching duties. Five players center fielder Katie LaNeve (Colonel Richardson High), left fielder Hannah Kelley (Kent County High), and utility players Rebecca Whitten (Colonel Richardson High), Cande McElhinny, and Alissa Quinton (Kent Island High) have all taken turns in the outfield.
After hosting Southern Maryland Wednesday, the Skipjacks complete their season Saturday at Prince George´s Community College.
Thompson is already looking forward to next season.
"We are recruiting for next year and we expect to have a few more pitchers to help with the biggest need for our team," said Thompson. "With solid pitching we will compete and do well in Maryland JuCo."
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