• Dan Russoman

St. Joseph falls in CAL playoff semifinal


St. Joseph’s Xelynn Rodriguez drove in seven runs to help the Wildcats earn a win against Holy Spirit last week. (THG/Dan Russoman.To purchase photos in The Gazette, call (609) 704-1940.)

EGG HARBOR CITY—A late rally fell short for St. Joseph Academy’s softball team, as the Wildcats were ousted from the Cape Atlantic League (CAL) playoffs last week by Cedar Creek, losing in the semifinals 8-6.


Cedar Creek appeared in control early in the game, scoring four runs in the bottom of the first to take a 4-1 lead.


Pirates’ pitcher Liz Martin held St. Joe in check for five innings, allowing just one base runner and setting down 15-straight Wildcats batters.


Cedar Creek added a run in the third and three in the fourth to increase its lead to 8-1.


St. Joe finally broke through in the top of the sixth, sending 10 hitters to the plate and rallying for five runs to put themselves back into the game.


After retiring Angelina Bill to start the inning, Jenna Calchi ignited the rally when she singled to right field and the ball skipped past Cedar Creek’s outfield allowing Calchi to reach third base. Katie Dainton followed with an RBI single, and after a strikeout, Xelynn Rodriguez singled before Ava Fisher drove in a run with a base hit. With two on and two out, freshman Abby Willis connected for the first home run of her career, a three-run blast to left field that cut Cedar Creek’s lead to 8-6.


With the game on the line in the bottom of the seventh, Martin issued a leadoff walk, but retired three straight Wildcats to end the game and clinch the win for the Pirates.


The loss capped a week that also saw St. Joe post two lopsided victories, the first a 23-2 win at Holy Spirit.


Ellie Dainton had two hits, including her first varsity home run, drove in three runs and scored three times for the Wildcats. Isabella Davis homered twice and had four RBIs, while Rodriguez went 4-for-5 with a home run, a double, three runs and seven RBIs, and Katie Dainton scored five times for St. Joseph.


Davis earned the win with four strikeouts.


Rodriguez drove in three runs and had two doubles in a 17-0 win at Oakcrest later in the week.


Fisher had three hits and earned the win striking out six in three innings.


Earlier this week, St. Joseph hosted Mainland and also played at Ocean City, but those games ended too late for this edition.


St. Joseph, the defending South Jersey Non-Public B champions, earned the top seed in this year’s tournament and a first-round bye. The Wildcats will open the playoffs at home on May 26 against the winner of Wildwood Catholic and Doane Academy.