• Dan Russoman

Fisher, Willis lead St. Joe back to South Jersey finals


Ava Fisher threw a five-inning no-hitter to help St. Joseph’s softball team reach the South Jersey Non-Public B finals last week. (THG/Dan Russoman.To purchase photos in The Gazette, call (609) 704-1940.)

HAMMONTON—Ava Fisher was dominant for five innings, tossing a no-hitter and striking out 11 to help St. Joseph Academy reach its fourth-consecutive South Jersey Non-Public B championship game last week as the Wildcats rolled to a 10-0 semifinal victory against Wildwood Catholic last week.


St. Joe is the two-time defending South Jersey champion and played its third-straight title earlier this week. That game against Gloucester Catholic ended too late for this edition.


In last week’s game, Fisher did not allow a hit, issuing five walks. At the plate, she helped her own cause with a pair of doubles.


Freshman Abby Willis continued her strong late-season play for the Wildcats, driving in three runs.


St. Joseph grabbed the lead for good in the bottom of the first inning after Katie Dainton and Macie Jacquet drew walks to start the inning. An RBI single from Xelynn Rodriguez put the Wildcats ahead 1-0 and after courtesy runner Tiffany Wiley scored on a wild pitch, Willis’ fielder’s choice scored Rodriguez for a 3-0 lead.


St. Joe added a run in the second when Angelina Bill walked and eventually scored on a wild pitch, then tacked on two more in the bottom of the third after Fisher doubled off the center field fence and Willis drove in the run with a single. Later in the inning, Willis scored when Jenna Calchi reached on an error.


While the offense was producing runs, Fisher was holding Wildwood Catholic off the bases. She cruised through the first four innings, then escaped a bases-loaded jam in the top of the fifth, striking out two to end the threat.


The game ended in the bottom of the fifth after Fisher led off with a double and Willis followed with a two-base hit to drive in a run. After Kylie Tomlin singled and Isabella Davis reached on an error to load the bases, Calchi crushed a double that scored all three runners to clinch the 10-0 win.


The victory sent St. Joe into the title game against Gloucester Catholic, who topped Holy Spirit 4-1 in the other semifinal matchup last week. The championship game was played earlier this week and ended too late for this edition.


Earlier last week, St. Joe wrapped up the regular season with a 14-1 win at Ocean City.


Willis was 2-for-4 with three runs and two RBIs in the win, while Fisher homered and drove in four runs. Tomlin added two hits and three RBIs and Rodriguez drove in two for the Wildcats. Fisher earned the win, striking out 13.