EGG HARBOR CITY - The Cedar Creek High School softball team seemed relaxed and was having fun during the first state playoff game in program history on Wednesday.
It may have helped that the Pirates dominated visiting Palmyra from the outset on their way to a 19-0 South Jersey Group I victory that ended in the fifth inning on the 10-run rule.
Cedar Creek's Chelsey Peterson pitched her first no-hitter and the team's third of the season. She also hit a three-run homer and three-run triple.
The Pirates, who don't have a fence in their outfield, hit three long shots in the third inning that went for homers. Angela Hood hit a three-run homer, and after two more runners reached base, Peterson hit a three-run shot. The next batter, Amanda Fletcher, added a solo home run.
Cedar Creek (10-9) is in its second year of existence, and the softball team is in its first varsity season after playing a junior-varsity schedule last year.
"It feels great to win a playoff game," Cedar Creek coach Shawn Cohen said. "I was really nervous and tried not to let the girls see it. I'm glad it was at home because that's where most of our wins have been."
The game originally was scheduled for Tuesday but was postponed due to rain, so the fourth-seeded Pirates come right back today and host a quarterfinal game at 1 p.m. against Schalick, the No. 5 seed. Schalick beat 12th-seeded Salem 12-5 on Tuesday in another first-round game.
"I'm excited for Chelsey because her last couple outings have been rough ones, so it's nice for her to get this one under her belt," Cohen said. "Being 6-foot, she throws pretty hard and has a pretty good wingspan for throwing the ball."
Immediately after the game, the whole Cedar Creek team did a baserunning drill for 15 minutes. Their daring on the basepaths showed in the game as the Pirates constantly tried to take extra bases on hits. They nearly always succeeded, drawing errant throws.
Peterson, a junior, struck out four and walked one, and the Pirates committed three errors.
"I was trying to find out what the umpire's (strike zone) limits were, and was working with my catcher (Shannon Fletcher)," said Peterson, 17, of Mullica Township. "I tried to make them hit groundballs and have the defense help me."
Cedar Creek scored five runs in the first inning. Angela Hood, a junior, doubled to center field and her sister Rosalie Hood, a sophomore, singled. Cheyenne Meyer (two hits) walked to load the bases, and Peterson tripled to right-center for three runs.
Amanda Fletcher, a junior, walked, took second on a wild pitch and stole third. Freshman sister Shannon Fletcher drew a walk and just kept running. She drew a throw to second base that went to the outfield, and both Fletcher sisters scored to make it 5-0.
The Pirates totaled 12 hits, and only four were singles.
Cedar Creek is 6-0 in the Cape-Atlantic League National Conference Division II and has clinched a tie for the division title. The Pirates can win it outright with a victory at home against Pleasantville on Friday.
"It doesn't surprise me that we've had success because we play as a family more than as a team," said Amanda Fletcher, 17, of Mullica Township. "We push ourselves to become better."
Palmyra, of the Burlington County League Freedom Division, fell to 6-18.
"They can hit," Palmyra coach Ken Miller said of Cedar Creek. "We made some plays, but they hit the ball. We're a young team and we don't have the experience they do, but we've improved. (Palmyra pitcher) Jamie Smith has only been pitching two months. Our first pitcher left the team and our second pitcher is injured. Jamie said she would do it, and she throws strikes."
Contact Guy Gargan:
Palmyra 000 00-0 0 4
Cedar Creek 529 3x-19 12 3
2B-A. Hood, A. Fletcher CC. 3B-Peterson, Meyer CC. HR-A. Hood, Peterson, A. Fletcher CC.
WP-Peterson 4k (7-6). LP-Smith 1k (4-16).
Records-Cedar Creek 10-9; Palmyra 6-18.