CHATHAM, NJ - Chatham pitcher Susie Wolsch arrived earlier than usual for her team's softball game against Hackensack on Saturday.
The reason she was there early was for a good cause. Not only did Susan G. Komen of North Jersey receive a check for $900 from the Lady Cougars, but Wolsch turned out to be a beneficiary as well in Chatham's 11-0 victory over Hackensack at the middle school.
"We got here a little bit earlier because we knew we were presenting the Susan G. Komen check," Wolsch said. "Having a little more time to warm up helped me out in the end. I felt good. I was really working in and out on this team, so I threw a lot of curves and screws."
Wolsch allowed just one hit - a single - in her four innings, striking out nine. The senior struck out the side in the second and fourth innings. Chatham (8-1) backed Wolsch with one of its best hitting days of the season.
"We actually haven't been hitting the ball great, even though we've been scoring runs," Chatham coach Dave Shellenhamer said. "We've been putting the ball in play, but we haven't been hitting line drives. Today we did. It makes it hard on the defense when you're hitting line drives and hard grounders and not popping it up or making weak outs."
The biggest line drive of the game was produced in the second inning by center fielder Isabel Chin, who pulled the ball into the left-field corner with the bases loaded to knock in three runs and stake Chatham (8-1) to a 5-0 lead. Chin started her at-bat with an 0-2 count before she came through with her big hit.
"It doesn't matter how many outs and how many strikes, I had to come through for my team and luckily I did," Chin said. "With two strikes and two outs, you're always a little more aggressive."
The only real threat to score against Wolsch came in the top of the first when a bloop single and an error put runners on first and second with two outs. But a grounder toward the hole at short was fielded by Chatham shortstop Camryn Davies, who threw to Hallie Pellegrin at third for the force.
In the bottom of the first, Chin had hit a line drive that got by the left fielder for an error, allowing her to reach third base. Elizabeth Silveira then walked and when she distracted the Hackensack pitcher, Chin scored on a delayed steal, sliding in safely for a 1-0 lead. Silveira then scored from second on Chloe Blanc's line single to right.
After Wolsch struck out the side in the second, Chatham's offense broke the game open. Sarah Stubeck singled to right, Bonnie Kennedy reached on a grounder to short and Davies loaded the bases with a single to left. That brought up Chin, who delivered all three runners with her double. Pellegrin's RBI single to left scored Chin for a 6-0 advantage.
In the third, Chatham pushed its lead to 8-0. With two outs and courtesy runner Amelia Hoffman on third base, Kennedy purposely got caught in a rundown, allowing Hoffman to score. The speedy Kennedy not only escaped the rundown, but managed to steal second on the play. That allowed her to score on Davies' RBI single.
"It's part of our game plan," Shellenhamer said of the steal of home. "With two outs, Bonnie has to get in a rundown and make sure she isn't tagged before the runner reaches home. She knew what to do and executed it."
In the fourth, Silveira lined a single and scored when Blanc drove the ball over the left fielder's head to make it 9-0. Stubeck then capped the scoring when she used her field hockey swing to whack a low pitch through the middle for a two-run single and an 11-0 bulge.
Anya Raadam came on to pitch the fifth for Chatham and gave up a leadoff double before closing out the shutout, striking out the final batter in the game shortened by the 10-run mercy rule.