Skipjacks bounce back to split with Cecil
Chesapeake closes in on home-field advantage in opening playoff round
NORTH EAST The Skipjacks weren’t themselves in the first game of Wednesday’s softball doubleheader, a 7-6 loss to Cecil College in which they committed seven errors. They were more recognizable in the nightcap which is to say Jordan Wright collected three more hits, Erica Kinney launched another bomb, and Chesapeake College received contributions from just about everyone in a 6-2 triumph.
Chesapeake (14-12 overall, 10-4 league) used the split to remain in third place in the Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference, just in front of both the College of Southern Maryland (10-9, 9-5) and Cecil (18-18, 10-6). The Skipjacks also maintained third place in the NJCAA Division I Region XX standings, virtually locking up home-field advantage in next week’s regional play-in one year after finishing 6-17.
"You can’t win without talent," said Chesapeake head coach Durrie Hayes of his team’s strong season. "We had talent on last year’s team, but we certainly have more of it this year.
"Of course, it’s not just about talent," added Hayes, whose team has won 11 of its last 15 games. "It’s also about execution and having kids with good attitudes who are willing to learn and make adjustments."
Jill Piasecki was the tough-luck loser in Wednesday’s Game 1, pitching a complete-game seven-hitter with four strikeouts and three walks. She did not allow an earned run, but was beaten by a five-run Cecil fifth that included three Skipjack errors.
Piasecki actually lowered her ERA which was already ninth-best in the league from 2.84 to 2.59 in the loss.
"Jill was not the recipient of much support defensively," understated Hayes.
Even so, the Skipjacks nearly stole Game 1 with a seventh-inning rally that narrowed a 7-2 deficit to a single run. Anna Morris and Kinney had RBI singles, Antoinette Hughes added a run-scoring double, and Piasecki doubled in two runs to make it 7-6 before winning pitcher Katie Ferguson struck out Melanie Buck to end the game.
Jordan Glessner (double), Hughes (two RBI), and Morris each went 2-for-3 in Game 1.
Kinney staked the Skipjacks to a 1-0 lead in Game 2 with a fourth-inning homer, her league-leading seventh of the season. Chesapeake then broke the game open with a five-run fifth inning that included a two-run homer by Piasecki and run-scoring singles from Wright, Hughes and Morris.
Wright went 3-for-4, making her 4-for-7 for the doubleheader and raising her state-leading batting average to .551. She was also the winning pitcher, spacing eight hits and four walks in a complete-game effort that included four strikeouts.
Kinney, Hughes, and Piasecki each added two hits to Chesapeake’s 11-hit attack.
Hayes said the program’s turnaround season has included some pleasant surprises.
"When I was at Easton, you’d have seniors you knew were going to perform, but I’d also have players who stepped up their game," said Hayes, who won three state softball titles while coaching at Easton High School. "You’ve got to have players step up. Some of our girls did exactly what we thought they would do, but we’ve also had several who went well beyond what was expected.
"Melanie Buck wasn’t recruited as a pitcher and Jill Piasecki walked on, but they’ve been keys to our pitching staff," added Hayes. "We’ve also been a good defensive team most of the year, anchored by Glessner at short. We’ve gotten a lot of really good performances."
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