The hunter is now the hunted.
The Chesapeake College women’s softball team finds itself in that position this season.
Behind a power-packed lineup and an outstanding pitching staff, the team boasts an 18-1 record, including a sizzling 12-0 mark in league play.
Saying the Skipjacks are exceeding expectations is kind of an understatement.
Freshmen make up the entire 14-player roster and they’re being coached by a rookie in Matt Elzey. 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 travel club teams.
“We have come together so fast and connected so well on and off the field,” catcher Megan Stubbs said. “It’s a great feeling to be up there and be one that teams are scared to play. We are strong at every position, and once the hitting gets going, we stay pretty hot.”
With the Skipjacks’ offense averaging 13 runs a game, they’re never out of any contest. Chesapeake bats .493 with an on-base percentage of .545.
Stubbs (batting .610, 35 RBIs), her sister Cassidy, an outfielder, (.556, 24), outfielder Mackenzie Willey (8 home runs, 39 RBIs), first baseman Madison Gentry (4, 22) and infielder Olivia Brown (.484, 22) spark the offense.
It’s overwhelmingly the team’s biggest asset.
“We have been fortunate to lead the nation in hitting for a couple of weeks,” Elzey said. “It feels good. It is something we wish for, but it has come to fruition. We have power throughout the lineup. We get on-base and pass it along to the next hitter.”
Megan Stubbs, a graduate of Colonel Richardson in Federalsburg, leads the team in batting average and stolen bases (22) while getting on-base at a .676 clip.
She ranks third in the nation in hitting among Division II junior colleges.
She started off the season by going 5-for-5 in a 16-11 win over Anne Arundel Community College on March 11 and three weeks later, she went 3-for-4 with a home run, two doubles and three RBIs.
“She is a special player,” Elzey says. “She does everything well. The biggest thing with her is to stay within herself and not try to do more.”
The pitchers get plenty of run support.
Elzey considers both Gentry, a transfer from Division I Mount St. Mary’s University and Oliva Wheel, a Division II University of Newport transfer, ace-quality pitchers.
“As far as Maryland JUCO is concerned, they are top pitchers in the state as far as ERA,” Elzey says. “Coaches are fighting to get one (ace) and we are fortunate to have two special ones.”
Gentry owns a 9-0 record with a 2.63 ERA and 67 strikeouts in 56 innings.
“Her bread and butter is an off-speed pitch,” Elzey said. “It makes the fastball even faster. She can work all avenues of the plate.”
There’s not much of a drop-off to Wheel if any. She has fashioned a 7-1 record with a 2.29 ERA while recording 37 strikeouts in 36 innings.
“Her strength is the ability to keep batters off-balance,” Elzey said. “She the type of pitcher you can handle the ball to and say, ‘Hey, give us seven innings, keep us in the game and give us a chance to win.’”
Elzey also has plenty of confidence in pitchers Emily Darling and Macy Griffin.
“We have four we can turn to where most clubs have one or two,” he said.