CHATHAM, NJ - A little tight-rope walking by pitcher Melissa Landry in the first inning and some clutch hitting and base running by Morgan Pellegrin helped Chatham open the NJSIAA North Jersey, Section 2, Group 3 softball tournament with an 8-0 win over Nutley on Thursday at the Chatham Middle School.
Senior right-hander Landry pitched her second straight one-hitter, but needed to escape a bases-loaded jam in the first inning against Nutley (11-14). After striking out the first two batters of the game, a single, a walk and a hit batter loaded the bases before Landry picked up her third strikeout to end the threat.
After the first, Landry (13-6) pitched no-hit ball to earn the shutout, striking out 10 along the way.
On the offensive end, senior first baseman Pellegrin came through with a two-run single in the second to make it a 3-0 lead for Chatham (19-8). Then, in the fourth inning she scored from third on a short pop fly to right by her sister, Hallie Pellegrin. The Nutley outfielder saw that Pellegrin did not immediately take off for home and lobbed the ball in. That's when Pellegrin "stole home" in pushing the lead to 6-0.
"I guess I stole home," Morgan Pellegrin said. "You always want to draw a throw when its a popup and less than two outs. She didn't throw it (home), so I took my chances. Not the best wheels, but I figured I could slide on in there.
"I wasn't really feeling too much pressure (with the bases loaded in the second). I just wanted to put it in play. It wasn't pretty, but it was a hit. It's exciting to play for 20 wins in the state tournament."
Morgan Tobin drove in two runs and Melissa Landry pitched a one-hitter for Chatham
Chatham received contributions from everyone in its lineup. Senior second baseman Morgan Tobin drew a bases-loaded walk to push home the first run of the game and later delivered an RBI single, and sophomore Sarah McCabe reached base all four times she batted, hitting two singles walking and scoring three runs for the Lady Cougars.
Senior outfielder Sarah Stubeck singled across a run and senior catcher Kelly Krincek drove in a run with a grounder. Junior shortstop Camryn Davies singled, stole a base and scored for Chatham, which received a double from sophomore Anna Lengner.
Chatham tries to win its 20th game of the season when it plays host to Summit, 4 p.m. Monday at the Chatham Middle School in the second round of the state tournament.