Focus on Sports
Armiger, Dajani, Ireland, Wright earn Hall passes
Skipjack greats to be inducted into Hall of Fame in November
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Baseball players Justin Armiger and Brett Ireland, who were teammates on the 2005 team that finished fifth in the NJCAA Division II World Series, will be inducted along with Jordan Wright, who helped take the 2009 women’s softball team to the Division II World Series. They will be joined by Mohamad Dajani, who led the 2009 men’s soccer team to the best winning percentage in program history.
Armiger played third base on the 2005 World Series team and holds Chesapeake’s career hits record (126) as well as season records set in 2005 for RBIs (57), runs (65) and hits (77). A graduate of Thomas Stone High School in Charles County, he also shares the single-game record with five hits in a game.
Armiger second-team all-region and all-state at Chesapeake in 2005 was named 2008 third-team NCAA Division III all-American at Salisbury University. That year, he led the Sea Gulls to a 41-4 record that included 35 consecutive wins and a trip to the NCAA region finals and was named Capital Athletic Conference co-Player of the Year.
"Justin was one of the most talented players to ever play for Chesapeake," said Frank Szymanski, the Skipjacks’ athletic director and head baseball coach. "He could hit for power and average, had a strong arm, was an excellent fielder and also had good speed.
"Justin was also an excellent pitcher for us in 2006," said Szymanski, noting Armiger’s expanded role with the Skipjacks as a sophomore. "He was very coachable and a great teammate." "This, out of all the awards I have received in my career, is the most special," said Armiger, who is a Southland Industries steam fitter with Local 602. "My selection to the Hall of Fame is truly an honor. I couldn’t have done it without my family, coaches and teammates."
Wright led the Skipjacks to their first region softball title in 28 years in 2009, earning National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) all-American honors in the process. The North Dorchester High graduate was also an NFCA and NJCAA all-region selection.
"Jordan epitomizes what a student athlete should be. She had talent, desire and a great work ethic," said Chesapeake head women’s softball coach Durrie Hayes, noting Wright converted from a right-handed hitter to a lefty while at Chesapeake to take advantage of her speed. "She excelled on the field and in the classroom through hard work. That’s how she became an all-American."
The pitcher/outfielder finished fourth in NJCAA Division II in hitting (.525) and 15th in stolen bases (30 of 31) as the Skipjacks won a then-school-record 23 games along with the 2009 Region XX championship. Wright then played two years at Frostburg State University, posting a 14-4 record with a 2.43 ERA and 16 complete games as a senior in 2012 as FSU reached the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) tournament title game.
"It’s unbelievable being selected," said Wright, who finished her first year as North Dorchester High’s head girls’ softball coach in May and is currently a technician in a physical therapy office. "I loved my two years at Chesapeake, so it’s a huge honor just to have been nominated."
Dajani finished second in the state in goals (16) and third in points (38) in 2009, earning first-team all-state and all-region honors as the Skipjacks rebounded from a winless season to go 8-5-1. He was one of three Region XX nominees for all-American that year.
"I’m ecstatic to be inducted into the Hall of Fame," said Dajani, who played midfield for the Skipjacks and is currently a senior at Salisbury University who will be student teaching in the spring.
"He’s very dedicated to his family, religion, academics and soccer," said Mark Dennis, who was Dajani’s high school soccer coach at Cambridge-South Dorchester High and now serves as Chesapeake’s head men’s soccer coach. "He always gave everything he had. I stayed in contact with him when he played at Chesapeake and would text him whenever I saw he did well which was often.
"When I coached him his senior year at Cambridge, I had him playing center midfield. In the first five minutes of our first game he had been in all four corners of the soccer field, and I pulled him out," recalled Dennis. "He politely came over to ask if he had done something wrong. I told him ’Nothing other than no human can keep that pace up for an entire half, let alone an entire game.’ But that was just Mohamad, always giving everything he had."
Ireland, a North Caroline High graduate who tied a Chesapeake record with two triples in a game, was named first-team all-Region XX and second team all-state in 2005. He returned to the area to teach and coach at Colonel Richardson High, where he is currently athletic director and head boys’ soccer and girls’ softball coach.
"Brett was a steady force, great teammate and strong leader who had two of the biggest hits in Chesapeake College baseball history," said Szymanski, referring to the grand slam and two-run homer Ireland hit against CCBC-Dundalk in the opening round of the 2005 NJCAA Region XX tournament that helped spark the Skipjacks on their title-winning regional march.
"It’s an honor to be recognized," said Ireland. "I owe a lot to Chesapeake College and the baseball program.
"Coach (Szymanski) reached out to me when I was looking to transfer (after starting at McDaniel College) and gave me an opportunity to play baseball," added Ireland. "And Chesapeake gave me the chance to continue my education and help me eventually get my bachelor’s degree from Salisbury University."
Notes: Tickets to the November 7th Hall of Fame induction are $75 per person and include a 6 p.m. social, 7 p.m. dinner and admission to the induction ceremonies. Tickets may be reserved by calling Barbara Smith at 410-827-5843 or emailing Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The social, dinner and induction ceremonies will take place in the Todd Performing Arts Center Lobby on Chesapeake’s Wye Mills Campus.
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