Gillis, Browning lead Charter to softball win

Gillis, Browning lead Charter to softball win

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Gillis, Browning lead Charter to softball win

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NEWPORT – On the first day of school last August, sophomore Taylor Gillis calculated how many days remained until the start of softball season and placed the number on a sticky note in Charter of Wilmington coach Eileen Voltz’s classroom.

Then Gillis and her teammates charted the long countdown with more sticky notes through the school year.

So when the calendar finally hit zero Friday, the fifth-ranked Force was more than ready. Gillis homered on the team’s first at-bat of the season, and new pitcher Antonia Browning fired a one-hitter as Charter rolled to a 9-0 victory at Conrad.

Gillis even had a couple of extra motivations. She had to add a couple of days to the countdown when Charter’s scheduled opener against Newark Charter was postponed on Wednesday. And she was still simmering over last year, when the Red Wolves trounced the Force 8-2 on this exact day.

“I just had a chip on my shoulder from last year, because they did beat us pretty good on our field,” Gillis said. “I just wanted to come back. I had a little something in me that just wanted to attack that first pitch.”

She did, slicing a liner that skidded past the left fielder. With no outfield fence at Conrad, the ball rolled until it stopped, giving Gillis ample time to circle the bases.

Charter added three more runs in the third. Gillis bunted for a single, then came around on a couple of errors. Then a walk and an error set the table for Mallory McCormick’s two-run single to make it 4-0.

The Force tacked on four more in the fourth, with Gillis bashing a two-run triple that was actually hit harder than her home run.

“I just forgot about my first hit,” Gillis said. “I saw a good pitch, and I drove it.”

Browning drove in Gillis with a double to make it 8-0, then went back to cruising in the circle. The Ursuline transfer struck out the side in the second and third, and fanned 13 overall. The one hit she allowed was a no-doubter, though, as Isabelle Troise rocked a two-out triple to right for the Red Wolves (0-2) in the sixth.

“I was just focusing mainly on spin,” Browning said. “I knew that as a team, Conrad can really put the ball in play. I was just focusing on spin and working in and out, up and down, just trying to get them to swing and miss.”

Gillis finished 3-for-5 with three RBIs and scored three times. Casey Meyer went 2-for-2 and Cam Peters was 2-for-4 with an RBI as the Force finished with 11 hits.

Charter returns almost all of a team that went 15-6 and reached the DIAA semifinals last season. And the Force is still young, with five sophomores and two freshmen in the starting lineup.

“This is a great group that’s excited to play,” Voltz said. “Their goal is to just keep getting better, and hopefully we can keep this momentum going.”

Contact Brad Myers at bmyers@delawareonline.com. Follow on Twitter: @BradMyersTNJ

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Charter sophomore Taylor Gillis throws to first for the out. Gillis went 3-5 with a home run in a 9-0 win at Conrad Friday.

Charter sophomore Taylor Gillis throws to first for the out. Gillis went 3-5 with a home run in a 9-0 win at Conrad Friday.

Charter junior Antonia Browning pitches a one-hitter against Conrad. Charter School of Wilmington defeats Conrad 9-0 at Conrad Friday.

Charter junior Antonia Browning pitches a one-hitter against Conrad. Charter School of Wilmington defeats Conrad 9-0 at Conrad Friday.

Charter sophomore Taylor Gillis rounds third after hitting a home run in the first inning against Conrad. Gillis went 3-5 with a home run and a triple in a 9-0 win at Conrad Friday.

Charter sophomore Taylor Gillis rounds third after hitting a home run in the first inning against Conrad. Gillis went 3-5 with a home run and a triple in a 9-0 win at Conrad Friday.

Charter junior Antonia Browning pitches in the third inning against Conrad. Charter School of Wilmington defeats Conrad 9-0 at Conrad Friday.

Charter junior Antonia Browning pitches in the third inning against Conrad. Charter School of Wilmington defeats Conrad 9-0 at Conrad Friday.

Charter sophomore Taylor Gillis is congratulated by Eileen Voltz after a triple against Conrad. Gillis went 3-5 with a home run in a 9-0 win at Conrad Friday.

Charter sophomore Taylor Gillis is congratulated by Eileen Voltz after a triple against Conrad. Gillis went 3-5 with a home run in a 9-0 win at Conrad Friday.

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