Chatham upends Randolph in opener

Chatham upends Randolph in opener

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Chatham upends Randolph in opener

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CHATHAM

In a battle of streaking teams, the Chatham softball team used some timely defense and hitting to knock off Randolph, 6-4, in the first round of the Morris County Tournament on Tuesday.

The defense didn’t start pretty for the Cougars. Following a single from Rams’ sophomore Amanda Beatrice, who fouled off four two-strike pitches, the Chatham defense produced three-straight errors that led to a run.

Chatham head coach Alexis Davies said the errors may have been a result of her not being used to sophomore Susie Wolsch on the mound.

“Our pitcher has been away and we have been having another pitcher throw and maybe they are just not used to the way the pitches are different,” she said.

The deficit wouldn’t last long though as Chatham scored two runs in the bottom of the first off doubles from senior shortstop Kendall Davies and junior first baseman Charlotte Zukauckas.

In the bottom of the second Chatham got its first of four two-out runs, thanks to a rally from the bottom of their lineup.

Junior Erin Winans, entered into the lineup just prior to first pitch, started the rally with a two-strike single that fell just over the head of Randolph first baseman Chrissy Pilkington.

Heap then stepped to the plate and dropped a single into right field as well, her first of two on the day.

“We have been hitting up and down the lineup, which is something a little different with us,” Davies said of her team. “These kids battle, they just battle back from mistakes, they never give up.”

Senior McCall Moore drove in her two teammates with a triple into the right-center-field gap to extend the Chatham lead to 4-1.

Things stayed that way into the fourth, thanks to stout Chatham defense, which included a play in the top of the inning that produced a loud round of applause from the fans.

Randolph right fielder Casey Levens laced a ball down the third baseline that Chatham third baseman Meg Pinaire reached out and snagged out of mid-air.

“I was up for the bunt and all of a sudden she turned and lined it at me so it was pretty much just a reaction,” Pinaire said of her play.

The play helped build momentum for the Cougars who struck for two more two-out runs in the bottom of the inning, with Heap again in the middle of the rally.

Heap came to the plate with two outs and a runner on second and was able to drop a ball into shallow right field for an RBI single, and she scored later on a pass ball.

“I just go up there and just trying to get on base, I really just focus on getting the ball in play,” Heap said of her approach at the plate. “Since I am at the bottom of the order when I get on I usually end up getting home and it is great to know I have such an awesome top of the order to back me up when I get on.”

Randolph threatened in the final two innings as Pilkington launched a home run to left field to lead off the sixth, and in the seventh the Rams got a double from sophomore Cynthia Meringer, an RBI single from senior Kayla Johnson and an RBI double from junior Lauren Mastropierro.

But with the tying run on second and two outs Wolsch got the final out on a groundball back to the mound.

Chatham now moves on to face the winner of Jefferson and Boonton on Saturday.

“We are going in with confidence and are going to try and play the best we can,” Pinaire said. “And whatever happens happens.”

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