Athletics News

Softball

’Jacks clinch share of state championship
Heroes abound in 1-0 win as Chesapeake splits with Catonsville

WYE MILLS – Jordan Wright, Melanie Buck and Jill Piasecki are the only Skipjacks back from last year’s Region XX women’s softball championship team. That experience – and a huge hit from freshman Chelsea Hunt – earned Chesapeake College a share of its first state championship in 29 years.

Wright threw a five-hitter, Piasecki scored the only run and Buck made a game-ending circus catch in center field as Chesapeake College edged CCBC-Catonsville, 1-0, Thursday afternoon. The little-used Hunt had possibly the season’s biggest hit with two outs in the fifth, plating Piasecki and earning the Skipjacks a doubleheader split after they dropped the opener, 7-1.

"The sophomores all stepped up in a big way in what amounted to a championship game," said Chesapeake head coach Durrie Hayes. "Chelsea Hunt came through, Megan Johnson had a diving catch in left – there were a lot of heroes, but it was nice to see the sophomores leading the way."

Chesapeake (24-8 overall, 15-3 league) shares the title with Catonsville and Cecil College, which both also finished 15-3 in the Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference. All three teams split with one another, and with fourth-place Hagerstown.

Ironically, Piasecki and Hunt were the only baserunners allowed by Catonsville pitcher Megan Black. Piasecki – who said her goal in that at bat was to "not pop up like I’d been doing all day" – broke up Black’s perfect game with a single leading off the home fifth. She took second on Becca English’s sacrifice bunt, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored when Hunt drilled a 3-2 Black pitch into left field.

"I was freaking out, actually," Hunt said with a laugh about her time in the spotlight. "It was just a fat pitch in the middle (of the plate)."

Catonsville mounted a two-out, seventh-inning rally as Ashley Aberts and Nicole Chupka each singled just out of second baseman Janean Lowenberger’s reach. Megan Smith then drilled a pitch toward the gap in right-center, with both right fielder Piasecki and center fielder Buck giving chase.

"I really thought Jill had it – then I saw her stumble," said Buck. "I figured I’d go underneath her. It just sort of fell into my glove."

Wright, who pitched at North Dorchester High, struck out four and walked just one despite a back strain that limited her to two-thirds of an inning in Monday’s loss to Hagerstown Community College.

"She’s still hurt. She was in a fair amount of pain in the opener," Hayes said of Wright, who played shortstop in Game 1 while collecting two of her team’s three hits off winning pitcher Kara Malvaso. "That’s why she’s an all-American."

"Kara Malvaso and Megan Black both pitched great games," said Catonsville head coach Chuck Slater after the pair combined to allow just five hits in 13 innings pitched. "That girl (Buck) made a nice catch to end the (second) game. They’re a good defensive team."

Malvaso helped her own cause in the opener with a single, double, RBI and two runs scored. Kelsey Eckenrode had a home run and a double, and Autumn Herrin added two singles.

Losing pitcher Kelsi Robinson allowed 12 hits and a walk while striking out three in a complete-game effort. Tiffeny Ricks had Chesapeake’s third hit in the opener, a run-scoring double in the first that briefly pulled the Skipjacks within 2-1.

Notes: The Skipjacks set a team record with their 24 victories by sweeping the College of Southern Maryland Saturday in a doubleheader at Chesapeake. The three Skipjack sophomores have already participated in more wins (47) than any other players in Chesapeake history.

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