Rain stalls Skipjacks in regional softball tourney
Chesapeake-Cecil winners’ bracket final postponed a second time
FREDERICK So far, the only thing stalling the Skipjacks’ march through the regional tournament is the weather.
Third-seeded Chesapeake College (21-13) and fourth-seeded Cecil College (23-19) had their meeting in the NJCAA Division II Region XX winners’ bracket final postponed for a second straight day on Sunday. Region officials had to scrub the day’s entire slate of games in the double-elimination tournament, which was to have concluded Sunday.
Chesapeake and Cecil sprang Saturday upsets in their respective games against second-seeded CCBC-Dundalk and top-seeded CCBC-Catonsville. Catonsville then routed Dundalk in a six-inning losers’ bracket contest, eliminating the Lions (26-7), but the Chesapeake-Cecil meeting originally scheduled for the last game on Saturday never had a chance to be played due to a Saturday rain delay that pushed back the games.
Region officials, looking at a long-range forecast that called for rain for much of this week, scheduled a Monday conference call to discuss the waterlogged tournament.
"We’re just looking forward to playing," said Chesapeake head coach Durrie Hayes, whose team is 2-0 in the playoffs with 4-3 wins over both the College of Southern Maryland and CCBC-Dundalk. "I really wish we could have played today (Sunday) because our mental state is exactly where you want it to be."
Hayes said the Skipjacks’ spirits have been buoyed by the presence of Jill Piasecki, the freshman pitcher who had three teeth dislodged and suffered other facial injuries as the result of being hit by a line drive in the CSM playoff opener.
"She was with us all weekend and her teammates loved it," said Hayes. "That was a boost for them to have her there. Everybody was asking, ’Is Jill coming?’ She was actually at practice the next day (after the accident), which was unbelievable. And she came up with the rest of the team Friday night and was there in her team jersey on Saturday. She’s an inspiration to her teammates."
Hayes said the Skipjacks, who have won 18 of their last 23 games, are playing inspirational softball.
"Just look at the plays we made yesterday tagging up on fly balls, getting bunts down when we needed them, the heads-up base running those are things that we’re doing now that we weren’t doing earlier in the year," said Hayes. "We turned a game-ending double play against Southern Maryland (started by shortstop Jordan Glessner) and then (second baseman) Erica Kinney started two double plays against Dundalk. Those are big plays in one-run games."
The fact that both of the Skipjacks’ playoff victories have come in one-run games is another positive omen, according to Hayes.
"The first year we won a state title at Easton (High), we went 12-0 in one-run games," recalled Hayes, who guided the Warriors to three state titles before moving to Chesapeake prior to the 2008 season. "When you’ve been in those games you don’t get flustered or bothered by them.
"That’s a place you strive to get to a team that is confident playing in tight games," added Hayes. "You tend not to make the nervous mistakes that cost you in tight games. It says a lot for our pitchers and our defenders they’re just playing steady and letting the game come to them."
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