(June 18, 2021) Aware of the talent level of the Chesapeake softball team, Stephen Decatur Coach Scott Kurtz knew the Seahawks would have to play their best to be successful last Saturday in Pasadena.

Unfortunately, the Cougars proved to be a bit too strong, and won the 3A South Region II championship, 5-1.

In the third inning, Decatur junior Abby Wesche’s marathon at-bat ended with a shot that hit off the right field fence. She got an in-the-park home, scoring off a throwing error.

Chesapeake scored four in the bottom of the inning.

“After that, both teams struggled to do anything,” Kurtz said. “Their pitcher was really good. We has a runner on third almost every inning, but we couldn’t get that last hit.”

Wesche had the only hit for Decatur. Junior pitcher Skylar Griffin recorded six strikeouts, allowed five hits and walked two.”

“I couldn’t be more proud of the way the girls competed and battled,” Kurtz said.

The Seahawks advanced to the Region II championship with a 7-1 win over James M. Bennett last Thursday in Berlin.

Bennett scored one run in the first. Decatur tallied all seven of its runs in the fourth inning.

Senior captain Brooklyn Pugner had one hit and two RBIs. Junior Alexa Eisemann had two hits and an RBI. Sophomore Sarah Smith recorded one hit and an RBI.

Griffin pitched a complete game. She struck out nine, walked two and allowed four hits.

“We came out a little tight and rushed. I think the girls were affected by the potential weather, delays and they were not playing at their best early in the game,” Kurtz said. “Once they settled in and got more comfortable things improved. JMB’s pitcher Seidel, was really throwing well early and in the fourth inning we were able to generate base runners through hits, walks, and a couple really nice bunts. That in addition to aggressive base running led to the big fourth inning. Skylar pitched stronger and stronger as the game moved forward.”

Decatur finished the season with a 10-2 record.

“The whole group was so together. They became almost like a family on the field,” Kurtz said. “The way they talked and engaged with each other made me happy. They made memories this year.”

Kurtz also praised his Assistant Coach Beth Laque, who worked with the pitchers and catcher. She called all the pitches and was a big factor why the team was successful this year, Kurtz said.

Two seniors – Katie Wrench (second base) and Pugner (first base) – five juniors, one sophomore and a freshman started this season. Seven of the nine starters should be returning along with players who missed this season because of injury. Returners include Griffin, who struck out one of every three batters she faced, and Eisemann, who led the team with five home runs and ended with a .667 batting average.

“You can’t really replace what Brooklyn and Katie meant to the team from a leadership standpoint,” Kurtz said. “We should have a really talented group coming back. I feel like we’ll have one of the top teams.”

The goal he said is to keep his players engaged and physically ready for next season.

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