Five Skipjacks named to all-state softball squad
Wright, Ricks, Piasecki, Lowenberger all earn first-team honors
Five players from Chesapeake College’s state championship women’s softball squad were named to the all-Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference team, including four first-team selections.
Sophomore pitchers Jordan Wright (North Dorchester High) and Jill Piasecki (Kent County High), freshman third baseman/catcher Tiffeny Ricks (Colonel Richardson High), and freshman infielder Janean Lowenberger (Greenall High/Saskatchewan, Canada) were all named to the first team. The four first-team selections for the Skipjacks who shared the state title with Cecil College and CCBC-Catonsville were the most awarded any one college.
Freshman pitcher/first baseman Kelsi Robinson (Huntingtown High/Calvert County) was named to the all-state second team.
"We had some pretty nice talent," said Chesapeake head coach Durrie Hayes, whose team finished with a 26-10 record. "It’s nice for them to get recognized by the other coaches. It’s important to point out that the keys to our success this season went beyond those five. I can point to times when every single one of our players stepped up in a crucial game and made big plays for us."
Four of the five Skipjacks who earned all-state honors also pulled down all-Region XX accolades.
Wright and Ricks both claimed spots on the all-NJCAA Division II Region XX first team in addition to being named to the region’s all-tournament squad. Piasecki joined them on the all-Region XX first team while Lowenberger was named all-Region XX second team and joined Wright and Ricks on the all-tournament team.
Wright, one of Region XX’s two all-American nominees, posted an 11-2 pitching record with the second-best earned-run average (1.33) in the state that is currently the 22nd-best ERA in the nation. Her record was highlighted by a regular-season win over eventual Region XX champion Cecil College and two victories against CCBC-Catonsville, including a 3-2 win on Sunday that advanced the Skipjacks to the Region XX title game for the second consecutive season.
"Jordan sets the standard," said Hayes. "Jordan’s not a ’rah-rah’ girl, but she’s serious about what she does. The other girls see how hard she works and they try to work as hard as she does."
Wright, who was a middle infielder when not pitching, also played an integral role in the Skipjacks’ offense as Chesapeake’s leadoff hitter. She finished seventh in the state in batting average (.453), second in stolen bases (21), and third in runs scored (43).
Ricks (.423 batting average) and Piasecki (.395) tied for sixth in the state in home runs (four each). Ricks, who had Maryland JuCo’s eighth-best on-base percentage (.484), finished fourth in the state in RBIs (38) while Piasecki was fifth (36).
"Tiffeny really picked it up the second half of the season," said Hayes. "She proved at the end of the season that she could hit really good pitching. That’s the mark of a big-time player."
Piasecki had a 7-4 pitching record with a 3.33 ERA, including a well-pitched six-hitter in Sunday’4-3 loss to Cecil in the region title game.
"I hadn’t pitched Jill much the last few weeks, and she came in Sunday in a big-time situation and came up huge for us," said Hayes. "(Cecil head coach) Ed Durham said she made one bad pitch Sunday, and when you only make one bad pitch against a team like Cecil, that’s saying a lot."
Lowenberger had the Skipjacks’ fourth-best batting average (.392) and provided dependable defense at both second and first.
"Janean had some big hits for us last weekend in the regional tournament," noted Hayes.
Robinson, who started the season as Chesapeake’s No. 3 pitcher, compiled an 8-4 record with the state’s ninth-best strikeouts-per-innings-pitched ratio (0.73) and 10th-best ERA (2.68). She also established a reputation as a clutch player both on the mound and at the plate.
"When we had to beat CSM (College of Southern Maryland) both games to get the No. 1 seed in the region, Kelsi was the winning pitcher in one game and then comes out and hits a home run in the other game," recalled Hayes. "She surprised a lot of people with her offense (.351 batting average). She’s certainly not a home run hitter, but she’s got alley power. She drove in a lot of runs (20) for a number-nine hitter."
Three of the five players who made either all-state or all-region Ricks, Lowenberger, and Robinson are expected back for next year’s state title defense. And Hayes expects to mount a strong title defense.
"You set a school record for wins and go to the World Series like we did last year and that’s cool," said Hayes, whose 2009 squad posted 23 victories. "To come back and set a new record for victories and win (a share of) the state title and get to the region finals again, that sends the message, ’We’re here to stay.’ It wasn’t a fluke. We’ll be back we’re not going to go away. We want to be there every year."
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