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  • Writer's pictureDan Russoman

St Joe cruises in playoff win

THG/Dan Russoman. To purchase photos in The Gazette, call (609) 704-1940. St. Joseph catcher Macie Jacquet tags out Rutgers Prep runner Cali McCoy.

HAMMONTON—A 12-run third-inning outburst led St. Joseph Academy’s softball team to an 18-1 victory against Rutgers Prep in a South Jersey Non-Public B quarterfinal playoff game on May 26.

The win sent St. Joseph, the three-time defending champion into the semifinals against Doane Academy in a game played on May 30. That game ended too late for this edition.

After surrendering a run in the top of the first inning, St. Joe tied the game in the bottom of the frame when Kylie Tomlin drew a bases-loaded walk. The Wildcats wasted an opportunity to score more, leaving three runners on base.

Things were different in the bottom of the second, as St. Joe delivered with three runs to take a 4-1 lead.

The big hits came from Bella Davis and Jenna Calchi, who each drove in runs in the rally.

Davis, who struck out in her first at bat, roped a two-run triple down the right field line to put the Wildcats in the lead for good and Calchi followed with an RBI double.

THG/Dan Russoman. To purchase photos in The Gazette, call (609) 704-1940. St. Joseph’s Jenna Calchi (9) rounds second base after she hit an RBI double early in the Wildcats playoff win against Rutgers Prep.

“I haven’t been hitting all that well this season, but I felt good today. My first time up I struck out, chased a pitch, but the next time I had a good swing,” Davis said.

Pitching in relief of starter Ava Fisher, Leilani Muniz retired the side in order in the second, then left a runner on in the third before the Wildcats broke the game open in its half of the third inning.

St. Joe sent 18 batters to the plate, scoring 12 runs. Both Davis and Fisher homered in the rally, while Macie Jacquet added an two-run single and Brooke Tyndale also drove in a pair of runs.

Davis’ 3-run homer gave her five runs batted in for the game. She later added a single.

“We felt good today, there was a lot of energy and after a slow start we came around and showed what we can do. We have a lot of good hitters,” Davis said.

Fisher returned to the circle in the top of the fourth and finished the game for the Wildcats, recording five strikeouts in three total innings of work.

“She [Fisher] was a little shaky to start, but she finished well,” St. Joseph coach Les Olson said.

The Wildcats added a pair of runs in the fourth, taking advantage of walks issued by Rutgers Prep reliever Victoria Scheflen.

St. Joseph is seeking its fourth-straight South Jersey title.

The Wildcats won in 2019, and there was no season in 2020 due to COVID-19. St. Joe then captured the championship again in 2021 and 2022.

“That’s our goal. We’re going to win it again and make it three championships for the seniors,” Davis said.

Playing its regular season finale on May 22, St. Joseph edged Haddon Heights 1-0 in a matchup of two of southern New Jersey’s top teams.

The game was a pitchers’ duel between Fisher and Haddon Heights’ Sophia Bordi, who combined for 31 strikeouts.

Fisher allowed just three hits in the win, walking five and striking out 16. She also drove in the game-winning run in the bottom of the sixth, doubling in Macie Jacquet, who had walked to lead off the inning. The hit was the Wildcats lone of the game against Bordi, whos struck out 15 and walked four.


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