’Jacks sweep CSM, take over first place
So. Md. players Robinson, Labille strong in homecoming
WALDORF There was more on the line than just first place in the Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference when Chesapeake College played a women’s softball doubleheader against the College of Southern Maryland.
Thursday’s doubleheader, played under the lights at Robert Stethem Stadium, was a homecoming for Chesapeake College pitchers Kelsi Robinson and Amber Labille. Both played their high school softball at Southern Maryland high schools, Robinson at Calvert County’s Huntingtown High and Labille at Charles County’s Lackey High.
"There was a lot of pressure on us to do well, particularly Kelsi and Amber," said Chesapeake head coach Durrie Hayes. "There was a pretty good crowd there and, with both girls being from Southern Maryland, we had a lot of support. But if you lose, all Kelsi and Amber were going to hear all summer was, ’You should have stayed home and played for us.’ "
The Skipjacks took care of that issue by sweeping CSM, 7-1 and 6-2. Robinson threw a three-hitter with six strikeouts and a walk in the opener, while Labille struck out nine with no walks while spacing five hits in the nightcap.
"Kelsi and Amber both pitched beautiful games," said Hayes.
The sweep vaulted Chesapeake (17-12 overall, 10-2 league) into sole possession of first place, just ahead of defending Region XX champion Cecil College (23-8, 9-2). CCBC-Catonsville (13-11, 11-3), CCBC-Dundalk (14-16, 8-3), Southern Maryland (7-3, 5-3), and Hagerstown (4-7, 3-3) started the weekend all just one game back of Chesapeake and Cecil in the loss column.
While potential roadblocks still exist including doubleheaders with Dundalk and Hagerstown it’s beginning to look like the state title could be decided in the last league doubleheader of the season on April 27th when the Skipjacks travel to North East to play Cecil.
"We have a lot of tough games left, but we definitely have our fate in our own hands," said Hayes.
Chesapeake used a two-run first inning off losing pitcher Kaylynn Balleaux to take the lead for good in the opener. Tiffeny Ricks (2-for-4, double, two RBI) had an RBI groundout and Becca Wooten (2-for-4, two RBI) delivered a run-scoring single to give the Skipjacks a 2-0 lead.
The Skipjacks added a fifth-inning run as Ricks doubled and Sarah Spicher singled her home.
Chesapeake College’s Tiffeny Ricks, batting, is currently leading the Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference in hitting (.536), tied for third in home runs (four), fourth in runs batted in (25), and fifth in on-base percentage (.554). A Colonel Richardson High graduate, Ricks is currently seventh in the nation (NJCAA Division II) in batting average. Photo by Patricia Hildenbrand
CSM rallied in the sixth, scoring its only run, but the Skipjacks got out of any further damage as catcher Ricks threw out a would-be base-stealer with shortstop Becca English applying the tag. The Skipjacks then broke open the game with a four-run seventh that included a run-scoring hit by Ricks, a bases-loaded walk to Lavin Kulina, and a two-run double by Janean Lowenberger (2-for-4).
Chesapeake scored all of its runs in the nightcap during a six-run second inning that broke a scoreless tie.
Labille (2-for-3) started the scoring with a two-run single to left and Anna Morris (2-for-4) ended it with a two-run double to left. In between, Robinson (2-for-4) and Becca English (2-for-3) delivered RBI hits.
Lowenberger was the fifth Skipjack with two hits in the nightcap as Chesapeake banged out 12 hits against losing pitcher Haley Eure.
While the sweep was important for sentimental purposes for Robinson and Labille, Hayes said it had longer-range impact for Chesapeake.
"Kelsi was our second recruit from Southern Maryland and Amber was our third," said Hayes. "We have two more coming next year. There are a lot of good players in Southern Maryland and winning there should theoretically help us in our recruiting."
Notes: Chesapeake’s Saturday doubleheader at Montgomery College Rockville was postponed due to inclement weather. The Skipjacks play a crucial doubleheader at CCBC-Dundalk Wednesday afternoon. . . .
The Skipjacks have won five straight and 17 of their last 24 games. . . .
Chesapeake has a realistic shot of setting a new school record for victories for the third straight season. The Skipjacks, who have 12 regular-season games and at least four playoff contests remaining, went 23-15 in 2009 and 26-10 last spring.
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