Skip­jacks sweep Ce­cil, ex­tend win streak to 11

Record Observer - - Sports - By RICHARD MID­CAP

Ch­e­sa­peake 4 — Ce­cil 2 Ch­e­sa­peake 8 — Ce­cil 0

NORTH EAST — Ch­e­sa­peake Col­lege took another big step to­ward its first undis­puted women’s soft­ball con­fer­ence ti­tle in 35 years Satur­day af­ter­noon by sweep­ing host Ce­cil Col­lege, 4-2 and 8-0.

The Skip­jacks (14-3 over­all, 6-0 league) have won 11 straight and are the last re- main­ing un­beaten team in Mary­land Ju­nior Col­lege Ath­letic Con­fer­ence play. The only op­po­nent left on Ch­e­sa­peake’s con­fer­ence sched­ule with a win­ning league record is Mont­gomery Col­lege — and the Raptors (7-3-1, 3-1) haven’t played a team cur­rently over .500 in the con­fer­ence.

Mean­while, Ch­e­sa­peake’s six con­fer­ence vic­to­ries have come against a trio of teams — Ca­tonsville, South­ern Mary­land and Ce­cil — that are a com­bined 17-9 in the league.

“With all due re­spect to every­one else, this was the tough­est part of our con­fer­ence sched­ule,” said Ch­e­sa­peake head coach Dur­rie Hayes, whose teams won shares of con­fer­ence ti­tles in both 2010 and 2014. “Based on what’s hap­pened up to now in the con­fer­ence, we’re in pretty de­cent shape.”

Satur­day’s sweep, how­ever, came at a steep cost. Sec­ond base­man Tori Hughes and short­stop Jenna Wil­ley were in­jured in the opener and night­cap, re­spec­tively. Hughes was hit by a pitch in her right hand and Wil­ley hurt her left knee, leav­ing Hayes with a makeshift lineup by the end of the day.

“We can limp through a cou­ple of weeks,” Hayes said of the im­pact of the in­juries. “If it’s more than that, it could be a chal­lenge for us.”

Wil­ley played a key part in Ch­e­sa­peake’s tie-break­ing, sixth-in­ning rally in the opener. With the game tied, 2-2, Wil­ley sin­gled to lead off the in­ning, went to sec­ond on Chloe Day’s one-out sac­ri­fice, and scored on Brit­tney Platt’s sin­gle.

Ch­e­sa­peake added a

sev­enth-in­ning

in­sur­ance run as Caro­line Clarry sin­gled, went to sec­ond on a sac­ri­fice by Kris­ten Catlin (dou­ble), and scored on a dou­ble by Cat Ra­m­ag­nano (3-for-4, three RBI), whose two-run homer in the top of the third had given Ch­e­sa­peake an early, 2-0

lead.

“We stress so much how im­por­tant bunting is when you get into tight games,” Hayes said of the suc­cess­ful sac­ri­fices by Day and Catlin in the sixth and sev­enth in­nings, re­spec­tively.

Ce­cil (12-7, 6-4) had scored a pair of un­earned runs in the home third to tie the game, 2-2.

Rachael Mil­li­gan earned the first-game win, throw-

ing a four-hit­ter with seven strike­outs and four walks while not al­low­ing an earned run. Kara Wood was even bet­ter in the night­cap, notch­ing a two-hit shutout with two strike­outs and a walk.

Ra­m­ag­nano led the of­fen­sive at­tack again in Game 2, go­ing 2-for-3 with a three­run, fourth-in­ning homer that com­pleted the scor­ing.

“She’s just smokin’ hot,”

Hayes said of Ra­m­ag­nano, who is 11-for-14 over the last four games.

Abby Nel­son went 2-for3 for Ch­e­sa­peake in the night­cap, dou­bling in a firstin­ning run and plat­ing two more runs as part of a three­run fourth with her sec­ond dou­ble of the game. Day, mean­while, went 2-for-2 with a dou­ble as Ch­e­sa­peake fin­ished with 11 hits.

Hayes said the sweeps of

Ca­tonsville, CSM and Ce­cil leave the Skip­jacks in a great po­si­tion since they now own the tie-breaker edge against all three ri­vals.

“I don’t want to get ahead of our­selves, but for all in­tents and pur­poses we’re three games ahead of Ca­tonsville be­cause we have the tie-breaker,” Hayes said. “That’s a pretty nice lead. If Ca­tonsville sweeps every­body, we’ve got to lose

three games to lose the ti­tle. We’ve got in­juries, but right now we look to be in pretty good shape.”

Notes: Ch­e­sa­peake’s Sun­day dou­ble­header against Po­tomac State Col­lege of West Vir­ginia Univer­sity has been post­poned due to a wet field. The Cata­mounts are the reign­ing Re­gion XX champions, hav­ing beaten Ch­e­sa­peake in last year’s re­gional fi­nals.

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