Skipjacks thriving at high-powered softball event
Chesapeake College knocks off defending national champs during 5-1 start
COCOA BEACH, Fla. The Skipjacks know how to make a statement.
Chesapeake College’s women’s softball team knocked off reigning national champion Tompkins Cortland (N.Y.) Community College, 9-8 in nine innings, in the first game of its spring break trip. That was the first of five wins in six games to start the trip, which was scheduled to conclude Sunday with a doubleheader against Macomb (Mich.) Community College.
Chesapeake (7-1) was 4-0 against teams that played in last year’s national championship tournaments, including two wins against Lackawanna (Pa.) Community College and a victory over Macomb.
Durrie Hayes, Chesapeake’s third-year head coach, has always believed in playing the best competition he could schedule. The rapid improvement in the Skipjacks’ program they won their first region championship in 28 years last spring simply makes these trips that much more enjoyable.
"You get better playing good competition," said Hayes. "This (Chesapeake’s record in Florida) shows we can playing with and beat some of the top JuCo teams in the country."
Tompkins Cortland won the NJCAA Division III national title last spring and is ranked No.1 again this year. The Skipjacks twice extended Thursday’s opener with runs in what could have been their final at bat, then won it on an RBI single from Tiffeny Ricks (3-for-5) in the bottom of the ninth.
Tompkins Cortland took a 7-6 lead into the bottom of the seventh only to see Megan Johnson (2-for-4) slam a game-tying solo homer to force an eighth inning. The champs scored in the top of the eighth, but Kelsi Robinson’s suicide squeeze in the bottom half of the inning scored Becca English to once again extend the game.
Jordan Wright notched the pitching victory, throwing 3 1/3 hitless relief innings. She also had two hits and scored three runs.
Northern Iowa Area Community College routed the Skipjacks, 11-0, in Thursday’s second game as Ricks and Melanie Buck notched Chesapeake’s only hits.
"They’re as good as anyone here," Hayes said of NIACC.
Chesapeake swept its Friday games by a combined score of 28-2. The Skipjacks hung an 8-0 loss on the London Lightning and 18-and-under team from Ontario as Chesapeake’s Canadian player, Janean Lowenberger, drilled a two-run double. The Lightning walked five batters, four of whom scored, while Wright threw a one-hit complete game.
The Skipjacks then overwhelmed Lackawanna Community College, 20-2. Robinson (two doubles) earned the pitching victory by spacing six hits over five innings with four strikeouts and two walks. Ricks went 4-for-5 while Wright (four runs, three stolen bases), Lowenberger and Jill Piasecki each had three hits.
Chesapeake beat Lackawanna which played in last year’s Division II national tournament again Saturday, notching a 15-1 victory. Piasecki threw a three-hitter with six strikeouts and just one walk. Buck had three hits while Alycia Van Sant (double, three RBI), English (home run), Piasecki (two walks, four runs), Ricks (double), Courtney Aubel (two RBI), and Wright each had two hits in a 17-hit attack.
The Skipjacks then rode a six-run third inning to a 6-3 over Macomb. Robinson laid down a suicide squeeze to bring in the game’s first run and English drilled a two-run sacrifice fly that made it 3-0. Ricks, Aubel and Lowenberger also had run-scoring hits.
"That was a really nice rally we put together in the third," said Hayes, who indicated the victory was especially pleasing after Chesapeake’s 6-5 loss to Macomb on last year’s southern swing.
Wright threw a four-hitter with eight strikeouts and three walks to improve to 3-0 on the trip.
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