Focus on Sports
Streaking Skipjacks clinch winning softball season

Thursday, April 26, 2007

ROCKVILLE – A winning season may have seemed like a distant goal when Chesapeake College started its women´s softball campaign with a 3-9 record. The Skipjacks, however, ensured their second straight winning season Wednesday afternoon by sweeping host Montgomery College Rockville, 10-4 and 10-2.

"I´m really happy to see the way the girls came back from that 3-9 start," said Chesapeake head coach Melissa Thompson, adding that the level of competition the Skipjacks faced on their early season spring trip had a lot to do with the slow start. "We were playing NCAA Division II and Division III teams in the South Carolina tournament, which makes a difference."

The Skipjacks´ slow start also included a doubleheader sweep at the hands of Hagerstown Community College in their first two Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference contests. Chesapeake, however, won 12 of its final 16 league games to finish 12-6 in the conference and 15-13 overall heading into next weekend´s NJCAA Region XX Division II tournament.

"We feel like we´ve built a lot of momentum heading into regionals," said Thompson, whose team won its final four regular-season contests.

The Skipjacks broke open Wednesday´s opener in the late innings, then won a nightcap shortened to five innings by the league´s eight-run slaughter rule. Amanda Lord and Liz Kinsey combined on an eight-hitter in the opener while Heather Lawrence (nine strikeouts) threw a three-hit complete game in the nightcap.

Chesapeake´s reserves took advantage of an opportunity to shine against Rockville. Crystal Burns had a run-scoring double and Hannah Kelley had a hit and scored a run in the opener, and Verushka Perez went 2-for-3 with a run and an RBI in the nightcap.

"It was nice to see everyone contributing," said Thompson.

Heather Duncan had a run-scoring single in the second while Lord and Beth Morris (3-for-5, two RBI) each had RBI hits in the third as Chesapeake took a 3-0 lead in the opener.

Rockville got one run back in the home fourth, but the Skipjacks broke the game open with a three-run fifth. Duncan´s sacrifice fly, Kelley´s RBI single, and Burns´ run-scoring double highlighted the fifth-inning explosion.

Jen Garey went 2-for-4 with a walk and three RBI in the opener.

Rockville took a 2-0, first-inning lead in Game 2 on Danielle Gourdine´s two-run homer, but the Skipjacks took the lead for good with a three-run second. Duncan had an RBI double while Monette Malabet (2-for-3, two runs, RBI) and Perez each had run-scoring singles in the second inning.

Garey´s two-run single highlighted a three-run fourth, and Kim Towers blasted a three-run double and scored on Courtney Jackson´s single in a four-run fifth that helped invoke the slaughter rule.

Kinsey went 2-for-3 in the nightcap.

The Skipjacks are off until next weekend´s regional tournament. Maryland JuCo champion CCBC-Catonsville is the favorite going into the tourney, with Frederick, Hagerstown and the Skipjacks also expected to contend.

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