Milligan, Ra­m­ag­nano se­lected to two first-teams

Pair named all-re­gion, all-state; Day first-team all-state, se­cond-team all-re­gion

Record Observer - - Sports - By RICHARD MIDCAP

Rachael Milligan, Ch­e­sa­peake Col­lege’s record-set­ting sopho­more pitcher, and fresh­man out­field team­mate Cat Ra­m­ag­nano were each se­lected first-team all-NJCAA Di­vi­sion II Re­gion XX and first-team all-Mary­land Ju­nior Col­lege Ath­letic Con­fer­ence.

Fresh­man pitcher Chloe Day joined Milligan and Ra­m­ag­nano on the all-state first team and was a se­cond-team all-Re­gion XX se­lec­tion. The trio helped Ch­e­sa­peake run away with the con­fer­ence crown, fin­ish­ing three games ahead of se­cond-place CCBCCa­tonsville.

Milligan (17-3, 1.26 earne­drun av­er­age) set a team record for vic­to­ries in a sea­son and fin­ished with 17 com­plete games. The Queen Anne’s County High grad­u­ate also tied CCBC-Ca­tonsville’s Kimberlee Cook for the league lead in vic­to­ries.

Milligan — who struck out 169 bat­ters against 57 walks in 127 2/3 in­nings — fin­ished 9-0 in con­fer­ence games with a mi­cro­scopic 0.38 league ERA.

“Rachael was clearly the best pitcher in the con­fer­ence,” Ch­e­sa­peake head coach Dur­rie Hayes said. “She had the 10th-low­est ERA in the na­tion and ranked 4th na­tion­ally in strike­outs per seven in­nings. And she al­ways got the big games. We al­ways tried to match Rachael up against the other team’s ace.”

Ra­m­ag­nano, a Sev­erna Park High grad­u­ate, hit .368 with four homers, 29 RBI and a team-best 55 runs scored. The Skip­jacks’ cen­ter fielder fin­ished se­cond in the state in stolen bases with 35 and hit .462 in league games.

“Cat may very well be the best ath­lete I have coached at Ch­e­sa­peake — cer­tainly one of the top two with Jordan Wright,” said Hayes, re­fer­ring to a former all-Amer­i­can from North Dorch­ester High. “Cat has plus-speed, a plus-arm, power, de­fense and hit almost .400. That’s all five tools and she is above av­er­age to plus in ev­ery one of them.”

Day (11-2, 1.12 ERA) struck out 82 in 81 1/3 in­nings with 12 com­plete games. The Great Mills High/St. Mary’s County grad­u­ate’s con­fer­ence ERA was nearly as im­pres­sive as Milligan’s at 0.39.

“Chloe was a bit of a sur­prise for us,” Hayes said. “She threw well in the fall but wasn’t al­ways con­sis­tent. Our con­di­tion­ing pro­gram ap­par­ently helped her be­cause come spring time she was

pop­ping the ball.

“She ended up throw­ing in the high 50’s and has a nasty curve,” Hayes added. “She also came a long way with her change up. Her stats show how well she did, and one that re­ally stands out is the walks al­lowed. I think she al­lowed at most five un­in­ten­tional walks in over 81 in­nings. That’s just un­heard of. I have had con­trol pitch­ers be­fore, but not like Chloe.”

Day, Milligan and Ch­e­sa­peake’s third start­ing pitcher, sopho­more Kara Wood (43, 1.82 ERA), were se­cond, third and fourth, re­spec­tively, in the state in earned-run av­er­age as the Skip­jacks led the state with a 1.33 ERA. Ch­e­sa­peake’s pitch­ing staff also led the state in strike­outs (288)

and al­lowed the fewest runs (85) and the se­cond-fewest earned runs (48) in the con­fer­ence.

“Our pitch­ing this year was phe­nom­e­nal,” Hayes said. “All three of them worked very hard on their craft and it showed all year. The staff ranked 4th in the na­tion in ERA and all three were in the top 25, with Chloe eighth, Rachael 10th and Kara 25th.”

That pitch­ing, and a high­pow­ered of­fense led by Ra­m­ag­nano, helped the Skip­jacks (32-8) fin­ish 17-1 in the con­fer­ence while win­ning their first undis­puted state crown since 1981. Ch­e­sa­peake was the top seed in the NJCAA Di­vi­sion II Re­gion XX tour­na­ment, but fin­ished third af­ter con­sec­u­tive, 3-2 losses to Po­tomac State Col­lege and the Col­lege of South­ern Mary­land fol­low­ing a 1-0, open­ing-game win over CSM.

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