By DAVE O’SULLIVAN

Staff Writer

EGG HARBOR CITY — The Cedar Creek High softball team won the South Jersey Group 2 championship last spring. The Pirates might even be better this year — a scary thought to most of the upcoming opponents on their schedule.

Visiting Ocean City got a first-hand look at how explosive Cedar Creek’s offense can be on Friday afternoon in the season opener for both teams, as the Pirates rapped out 18 hits en route to a dominating 20-0 victory in a mercy-rule shortened four-inning affair.

There are no easy outs in Cedar Creek’s lineup, which scored three runs in the bottom of the first against the Red Raiders, then exploded for 13 in the second to pull away. The Pirates followed that win up by winning two of three games in an early season tournament to start the year off with a 3-1 record in just two days. In those four games the Pirates have outscored opponents 42-12.

“We have a really good energy together this year and a really tight bond. Obviously, you can tell we play really well together. Once we get rolling we don’t stop — even if we have some errors, we just wipe that away. We have really good chemistry this year,” said senior Chasedy Johnson, the older of two Johnson sisters who combined for six hits and 12 RBIs against Ocean City. Casedy was 3-for-3 with a grand slam and three runs scored, while younger sister Chaneyl, a junior, was also 3-for-3 with a double, triple and four runs scored. “We’ve been working a lot as a team on hitting. Our hitting has been phenomenal.”

Cedar Creek’s Kelsey McFadden had a home run and five RBIs in the Pirates’ win over Ocean City.
Glory Days photo/Sully

Sophomore pitcher Liz Martin cruised through the top of the first, retiring the first three hitters she faced, and then Cedar Creek’s offense got to work. Olivia Catalina started things off with a walk and Chaneyl Johnson followed with an RBI triple to center to make it 1-0. Johnson then scored on a fielder’s choice and Martin helped herself out with an RBI single to push the lead to 3-0. In the second, the floodgates opened, as the Pirates (3-1, 1-0 Cape-Atlantic League National) piled up 13 runs, including three on a homer by Kelsey McFadden. She had five RBI in the inning, including a pair on a two-run double down the left-field line that made it 7-0, and later in the inning Catalina’s two-run double to left pushed the lead to 11-0.

Cedar Creek kept things going in the top of the third as Chasedy Johnson blasted a grand slam to left-center to make it 20-0. All those early runs were plenty for Martin, who struck out four in three innings of no-hit ball before giving way to Giavana Torres, who allowed just one runner to reach base in her inning of work.

“It’s really nice to have a pitcher like Liz, and Gianna, she’s a very good second. We have a very strong pitching staff this year. We’re definitely planning to go even farther this year. A state championship is definitely our goal this year. We’re very excited about this season,” Chasedy Johnson said. “We’re trying to figure out our lineup, like who our starters will be and who the backups will be in case there are any injuries. In every game this year we’re focusing on starting out hot and getting a lead so we don’t have to fight back — even though we will fight back if we need to.”

Cedar Creek will face some tough challenges coming up, including a road game at Hammonton on Monday and a trip to Mainland on April 14.

What’s next: Cedar Creek travels to Hammonton on Monday at 4 p.m. Ocean City travels to Absegami on Monday at 4 p.m.

Contact Dave O’Sullivan: sullyglorydays@gmail.com; on Twitter @GDsullysays