WYE MILLS - First-year Chesapeake College softball coach Matt Elzey certainly can’t complain about a lack of pitching.
He is loaded in that area, and it just might be the team’s biggest strength.
From transfers Madison Gentry and Oliva Wheel to Emily Darling and Macy Griffin, the Skipjacks are well-armed for the 2022 season.
“I think we are very fortunate to have four arms that we can turn to where many schools have just one or two,” said Elzey, who has all freshmen on his 14-player roster. “I really get excited about the pitchers. They are a huge part of the puzzle. If you have good pitching, you can do a lot of great things.”
Gentry, a transfer from Mount St. Mary’s University, immediately caught Elzey’s eye. The Arundel High graduate could develop into the team’s ace.
“I think Gentry has the ability to get back to a Division I college program,” Elzey said. “She can be a catalyst and potentially put the team on her back and carry us. She has a great curveball and change-up. She throws really hard, but has a lot of movement and changes speeds well.”
Elzey also has been particularly impressed with Wheel, who arrived from Division II University of Newport in Connecticut.
“Wheel has a great curveball and screwball,” Gentry said. “And she has great velocity.”
Whoever stands on the mound should get plenty of run support. Haley McDaniel, Madison Covey, Gentry, Dustin Nose and Mackenzie Willey form the nucleus of the power-packed lineup.
“We have five or six players that can hit home runs,” Elzey said. “The others are line drive, gap hitters that can get on base. I think we have a pretty darn good lineup.”
The versatility of the lineup in the field is another of the team’s assets.
“The versatile we have is huge,” Elzey said. “Having that versatility makes it hard to make a decision on who will be in the lineup because all of them are good. I haven’t seen a drop-off from one to another.
Ten players can man multiple positions, including catcher/outfielder Hailey Peay, infielder Shyra Jones, infielder/outfielder Alexis Zurkan, infielders Olivia Brown and Covey and sisters Megan and Cassidy Stubbs. The sisters both play the infield and outfield.
Chesapeake seems to have the ingredients to have an impressive season.
And Elzey knows the recent history of the program, which put together a string of winning seasons before he took over the program.
“We want to continue with the tradition that was set here,” Elzey said. “We want to leave the program in better shape than we found it.”
Elzey’s coaching is one of the keys to a winning campaign. He served seven years as an assistant coach at Easton and St. Michael’s high schools and 12 years combined as head coach for two high-level club teams.
“We have meshed as one, and have good communication,” Gentry said. “We are one big family. We all know how to talk to one another. Some teams lack chemistry, but we don’t. Coach really helps us stay together.