ROXBURY, NJ - The Chatham softball team has at least nine more games in its 2017 campaign to show that what happened Monday night was an "aberration."
That was the message Lady Cougar coach Brian Figueiredo delivered to his team after Brooke Wiarda pitched a five-inning no-hitter for top-seeded Morris Knolls in its 10-0 win over Chatham in the Morris County Tournament semifinals played at Landing Park.
"The bottom line is that this game is a complete aberration of who we are," Figueiredo said. "Unfortunately, it happened on a pretty big stage. We've got at least nine more games to go in the season. The state tournament starts next Thursday. We're looking to get 20 wins, which is a nice number."
A year ago, Chatham reached the MCT final and was no-hit by Butler's Larissa Spellman in a 1-0 loss, also at Landing Park.
"We've had our moments this year with struggles offensively," Figueiredo said. "Including last year's final, we've gone 12 straight innings without getting a hit on this field.
"What hurt is that we gave away runs early in the game. In these situations, when you give away runs, you put yourself behind the eight ball. To their credit, they took advantage. They scored six runs with two outs in the fourth inning."
That's when the game fell apart for Chatham (14-5), as Morris Knolls sent 11 players to the plate. The big hit for Morris Knolls was a three-run double by Melissa Ackerman.
In both the final against Butler last year and the semifinal this season, outfielder Sarah Stubeck was the only player to reach on a batted ball for Chatham. Both were errors, including a dropped pop-up on Monday night.
In the field, Lady Cougar center fielder Bonnie Kennedy used her speed to make two big catches. First, running in to make a shoe-string catch on a ball hit by the leadoff batter in the bottom of the first, and then racing deep into center to make a catch of a long drive.
Chatham second baseman Morgan Tobin made a head-first drive to get her glove on a bloop hit behind the first-base bag and managed to record the out. And pitcher Melissa Landry fought to corral a ball that hit off her wrist and recovered to throw the batter out at first.