Athletics News

Softball

’Jacks figure out Hope, earn split with AACC
Chesapeake rebounds from 2-1, eight-inning loss in opener

WYE MILLS – Give the Skipjacks enough looks at even top-quality pitchers and they will figure out ways to score.

That point was driven home Monday afternoon as Chesapeake College split a women’s softball doubleheader with visiting Anne Arundel Community College. Pioneer ace Brandi Hope threw a masterful five-hitter as Anne Arundel took the opener, 2-1 in eight innings. The Skipjacks, however, scored eight runs in the final two innings to run away with the nightcap, 9-1.

"It took us a while to get used to her," said Sarah Spicher, who had a two-run double during a five-run fifth inning and added a run-scoring hit as part of a three-run sixth. "We really got a lot more focused as the game went along."

Becca Wooten said pitching both ends of the doubleheader seemed to fatigue Hope.

"I think she had less movement on her ball (as the second game progressed)," said Wooten, who had a run-scoring hit in the fifth and drew the bases-loaded walk in the sixth that invoked the eight-run mercy rule.

Hope’s eighth-inning, RBI bloop double off hard-luck loser Amber Labille in Game 1 left the Skipjacks (13-12 overall, 6-2 league) battling with the College of Southern Maryland (7-1, 5-1), Cecil College (20-8, 7-2), CCBC-Catonsville (13-11, 11-3), CCBC-Dundalk (14-16, 8-3), and Hagerstown (4-7, 3-3) for the league lead.

"It’s certainly up for grabs. It’s such an opportunity," Chesapeake head coach Durrie Hayes said of the league race. "Everyone’s got talent. I think the team that wants it the most will win it."

Anne Arundel (10-12, 4-8) won’t win the conference title due to a poor start, but the Pioneers may have a say in who does emerge as champion. AACC has now split doubleheaders with both CCBC-Catonsville and Chesapeake, thanks in large part to Hope’s pitching and an improving defense.

"She (Hope) has at least three or four different speeds and she threw very effectively in the first game," Hayes said. "As she slowed down in the second game, the differential between speeds wasn’t as great – but we still had to hit her and we did."

Chesapeake broke a 1-1 tie in the nightcap with a five-run fifth. Janean Lowenberger started the rally with a one-out bunt single, stole second, went to third on winning pitcher Kelsi Robinson’s sacrifice bunt, and scored on the play after an overthrow to third.

Becca English then singled, stole second and scored on an Anna Morris double off center fielder Courtney Strambler’s glove. After Tiffany Ricks singled, Spicher boomed her two-run double and then scored on Wooten’s hit to make it 6-1.

Morris (2-for-4) and Spicher (3-for-3, three RBI) also had run-scoring hits in the sixth before Hope’s bases-loaded walk to Wooten (2-for-3, two RBI) ended the game.

The Skipjacks ended up with 12 hits off Hope in Game 2. By contrast, Robinson handcuffed Anne Arundel on three hits, two of them bunt singles, while striking out six with no walks.

"Kelsi pitched a really nice game," said Hayes.

Notes: Labille threw a seven-hitter with seven strikeouts and five walks, three of them intentional, in Game 1. . . .

Chesapeake plays at the College of Southern Maryland Thursday in a 6 p.m. doubleheader that will play a huge role in the state race.

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