• Dan Russoman

St. Joe softball off to strong start


Brianna Bailey connects for a hit during last week’s game against Wildwood Catholic. (THG/Dan Russoman.To purchase photos in The Gazette, call (609) 704-1940.)



HAMMONTON—Playing for the first time since the 2019 Non-Public B state championship game, St. Joseph Academy’s softball team rolled past Wildwood Catholic in its 2021 season opener last week, posting an 11-0 victory.


The Wildcats took control in the bottom of the first inning, scoring five runs. Katie Dainton’s two-run double sparked the rally, and Makayla Veneziale added a sacrifice fly.


St. Joe added two runs in the second, a pair in the third and two more in the fourth to secure the win.


Dainton, a junior second baseman, finished 3-for-3 with two doubles, three runs scored and two RBIs.


Brianna Bailey, making her debut at St. Joe after transferring from Wildwood Catholic prior to the 2020 season, added three hits, including a double, scored twice and drove in two runs. Davi Jimenez added two hits and two RBIs.


Veneziale earned the win, throwing four no-hit innings, walking one while striking out 10.

Two days later, St. Joseph began a stretch of five games in six days by winning at Schalick 12-1.


St. Joseph led 3-1 after three innings, then scored two in the fourth and seven in the fifth to take control of the game.


Dainton went 3-for-3 with a triple, three runs scored and two RBIs. Xelynn Conde finished with three hits, including a double, scored once and drove in two while Bailey added two hits, three runs and an RBI.


Veneziale picked up the win, allowing one hit with 10 strikeouts.


The Wildcats followed the win at Schalick with a 16-0 victory at home against Cape Atlantic League foe Bridgeton.


Like the Wildwood Catholic game, St. Joseph took control early, scoring five times in the first inning and adding seven more runs in the second.


Dainton continued her hot start, again going 3-for-3 to remain perfect for the season, scoring two runs and stealing a base.


Ellie Dainton added a triple and drove in three runs for St. Joe.


Jimenez tossed a five-inning no-hitter, striking out four. She helped her own cause at the plate, going 2-for-3 with three runs scored and two RBIs.


St. Joe’s offensive onslaught continued the next afternoon, as the Wildcats blanked Lower Cape May 15-0.


Veneziale improved to 3-0 on the season, as she struck out six in three innings of work, combining with Jimenez on another no-hitter.


At the plate, Katie Dainton went 3-for-3 with a double, two runs and three runs batted in, and Atira Myrie was 2-for-2 with a home run, three runs scored and three RBIs.


Macie Jacquet added two hits, including a double, and scored three runs.


Last weekend, St. Joseph played in the Betty Howell Classic Softball Tournament at Oakcrest High School. The Wildcats opened play with a 13-3 win against Vineland.


That game was tied 3-3 after five innings, but the Wildcats broke it open with six runs in the top of the sixth.


Myrie paced the offense with two home runs, scoring twice and driving in three. Her first home run was two-run shot that broke the tie in the top of the sixth.


Jacquet, Veneziale, Jimenez and Conde each added two hits.


Veneziale earned her fourth win of the season, striking out 10 and walking three.