Day, Wood com­bine on six-hit­ter in night­cap win vs. Po­tomac St.

Record Observer - - Sports - By RICHARD MID­CAP

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.”

PHOTO BY CHRIS KNAUSS

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.

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