The Wilmington University softball team got off to the right start on the first day of the 2015 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Tournament, defeating Felician, 4-0, and Dominican, 3-2, on Thursday afternoon at Georgian Court.
The third seeded Wildcats (33-14) used the arm of senior Chelsea Botsch in the first game, as she tossed her second no-hitter of the season, this time a seven-inning complete game no-hitter against sixth seeded Felician. Sophomore Becca Stanley rose to the occasion once again in the CACC Tournament in game two, knocking in the game-winning run in the top of the sixth with an RBI double against second seeded Dominican.
Botsch (Smyrna, Del./Smyrna) walked two batters, hit a batter, and had a runner reach on an error as the only base runners in the first game. She struck out six batters in improving to 18-5 on the year. She also threw a five-inning no-hitter against USciences during the regular season.
After leaving a runner on first in the top of the first inning, Botsch was given an early 2-0 lead as the offense got to work in the home half. Kelsey Doherty led of the inning with a single before Cambria Ziemba followed with an RBI single up the middle, scoring Doherty from second. Ashley Bennett then collected the third hit of the inning for the Wildcats with another single, scoring Ziemba from second.
Botsch went 1-2-3 in both the second and third innings and the offense added two more runs in the bottom of the third. Danielle Bradley started the inning with a single before the Wildcats had runners on first and third with only one out. The Wildcats executed a perfect first and third double steal, allowing Bradley to score. Michelle Panasiti followed with an RBI to right center, scoring pinch runner Shannon McMahon for the 4-0 lead.
Felician left single runners on in the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings, including a runner at second base with no outs in the fifth inning. Botsch then ended her no-hitter with a 1-2-3 top of the seventh, inducing three fly balls to the outfield.
Doherty welt 3-for-4 with a run from atop the lineup while Ziemba batted 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored from the two-hole.
The winner's bracket game was pressure packed in the nightcap, with the Wildcats scoring three runs on eight hits while the Chargers scored two runs on nine hits, while also committing two errors.
Both the Wildcats and Chargers threatened in the second innings, with each team stranding two runners on base before each pitcher was able to get out of the jam. Botsch got out of another jam in the third, leaving two more Chargers on base.
It was the Wildcats that struck first however, scoring twice in the top of the fifth. Stanley led off the frame with a bunt single before Doherty doubled to the wall in center, scoring Stanley from second. With runners on second and third, Bradley hit a deep fly ball to left, scoring Doherty on the sacrifice fly.
But the Chargers answered right back, scoring two runs in the bottom of the fifth. A walk and a double got things started before Alyssa Schwed put Dominican on the board with an RBI single. Brooke Lachette came on to replace Botsch and earned the firs tout of the inning. Shannon Truppi then doubled to left center, tying the game at 2-2, but the Wildcats relay cut down the go-ahead runner at the plate.
The game wasn't tied long as the Wildcats went back to work in the top of the sixth, as Miranda Pedersen singled to start the frame. Now on second with two outs, Stanley doubled to left center to easily score pinch runner Taylor Rizzotte for the 3-2 lead.
Dominican put two runners on base in the bottom of the sixth but Lachette picked up a big strikeout against leadoff hitter Shannon Haukap to get out of the jam unscathed. The sophomore pitcher then put the Chargers down in order in the bottom of the seventh to secure the victory.
Lachette improved to 12-7 on the season with the win, striking out two while only allowing two hits and a walk. Stanley went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored.
The Wildcats move on in the winner's bracket on Friday, advancing to play CACC regular season champion and No. 1 seed Caldwell at 1 p.m.