Day, Wood combine on six-hitter in nightcap win vs. Potomac St.
PSC 4 — Chesapeake 2 Chesapeake 5 — PSC 3
WYE MILLS — Pitching depth can be the key to championships. It certainly played a central role Friday afternoon as Chesapeake College softball team gained a split with reigning region champ Potomac State College of West Virginia University.
The visiting Catamounts (25-7) held off Chesapeake, 4-2, in the opener while handing Skipjack ace Rachael Milligan (14-2) her first loss as a starter this season.
So how did the Skipjacks respond? Freshman Chloe Day blanked Potomac State for the first six innings of Game 2 and sophomore Kara Wood came on to get a three-out save in what became a 5-3 Chesapeake win, as the Region XX favorites settled for a doubleheader split.
“I think having three pitchers is a big benefit for us,” said Wood, who allowed one hit and no earned runs after inheriting a pair of base runners in the seventh. “When one of us struggles, you just bring the next one in. I struggled last week [against Frederick] and Chloe came in and killed it.”
Day — who struck out one, walked none and hit one batter while allowing six hits in six-plus innings — agreed.
“It’s good knowing I can trust whoever comes in to pitch to get the outs we need,” said Day, who improved to 10-1.
The split almost guarantees Chesapeake — which had no previous Region XX losses — will be the top seed in next month’s NJCAA Division II Region XX tournament at Hagerstown Community College. Potomac State now has three region defeats — including doubleheader splits with Cecil College and the College of Southern Maryland, teams that Chesapeake swept this season.
Chesapeake can lock up the top seed with a split at Hagerstown this afternoon in a 1 p.m. doubleheader, as the Skipjacks play their final Region XX games of the regular season. The Skipjacks host Division III Montgomery College Wednesday in a 3 p.m. doubleheader to conclude their regular season.
Potomac State won the opener, Kendall Keplinger hitting a solo homer in the second and Cheyenne Earle adding a two-run single as part of a three-run third. That was enough for winning pitcher Beth Cook (62), who threw a five-hitter with only Cat Ramagnano and Abby Nelson — who each went 2-for-4 — having much success at the plate for the Skipjacks (28-5).
“Beth did a nice job,” Potomac State head coach Jim Walton said. “She threw strikes, kept them off balance, and we made the plays behind her.”
Milligan yielded eight hits with three walks while striking out eight, but blanked Potomac State over the final four frames.
“Rachael gave us a chance to win,” Chesapeake head coach Durrie Hayes said.
The Catamounts appeared primed for a sweep with ace Danica Rogers starting Game 2, but Rogers (11-2) walked 10 and yielded six hits while striking out seven in the complete-game loss.
“She’s been streaky with the walks,” Walton said of Rogers. “She’s a better pitcher when she’s got command and she’s hitting the corners.
“We do have a third pitcher,” added Walton, who also has pitcher/shortstop Josie Clark on the roster. “The problem is all of our pitchers play other positions. I had to take out our shortstop [Clark] to warm her up and get her ready [when he was considering a Game 2 pitching change].”
Milligan, Day and Wood don’t play other positions with the Skipjacks.
“They really spend their time working on their pitching,” Hayes said.
Chesapeake took a 1-0 lead in the nightcap, as Ramagnano led off the game with a walk, stole second and came home after Rogers
walked three straight hitters, including Tori Hughes, to force in Ramagnano. Rogers issued a one-out walk to Courtney Stubbs to set up Ramagnano’s two-run homer as part of a four-run fourth that included a second basesloaded walk to Hughes and a run-scoring hit by Savannah Miller.
Day, meanwhile, coasted
into the seventh with a fourhit shutout, but gave up consecutive hits to Rogers and Christina Collins leading off the seventh. That sparked Hayes to replace the tiring Day with Wood.
“I just tried to hit my spots,” Day said of her impressive outing.
Carly Nixon greeted Wood with a two-run single, but Chelsea Shepherd then flew out and Cook grounded out. Shortstop Brittney Platt then booted Keplinger’s grounder to allow Nixon to score and
bring the tying run to the plate, but Platt made a tough catch in short left field on an Earle fly ball to end the game.
Ramagnano went 2-for-3, scored twice and drove in two runs for the Skipjacks.
Hayes said the doubleheader simply proved the two powerhouses are “pretty evenly matched.”
“Well, 4-2 and 5-3 — in my math that comes out 7-7,” Hayes said of the doubleheader. “It’s pretty close between these two teams.”
Chesapeake College’s Cat Ramagnano looks toward her first base coach after stealing a base against Potomac State College during the opening game of a double-header last Friday at Chesapeake College.