EGG HARBOR CITY — Cedar Creek High School softball pitcher Brianna Young scattered just two hits over five innings Thursday.
But the most scattering she did was at the plate, as the ball rocketed off her bat and over the fence.
Young blasted two home runs to left field for five RBIs to lead fourth-seeded Cedar Creek past No. 13 Burlington County Institute of Technology-Medford, commonly known as Medford Tech, 20-0 in five innings in a South Jersey Group II first-round playoff game.
“It’s just a philosophy of ‘see ball, hit ball,’” said Young, a 17-year-old junior from Egg Harbor City whose two homers each came on the first pitch. “Usually, the first pitch you see (in an at-bat) is the best one to hit. Today, I was able to connect.”
On Monday, the Pirates (13-10), who play in the Cape-Atlantic League’s National Division, will host No. 5 seed West Deptford, which beat 12th-seeded Oakcrest 5-2.(tncms-asset)f330890c-3c1c-11e7-bc7f-00163ec2aa77(/tncms-asset)
The Jaguars, who play in the Burlington County Scholastic League’s Independence Division, finished their season 8-8.
Cedar Creek catcher MyKayla Bird-Clahar returned from a few games out due to injury and went 4-for-4 with two RBIs. The Pirates had 22 hits in four innings, as they didn’t have to bat in the fifth due to the 10-run rule.
Bird-Clahar said she adjusted quickly to the slower-than-usual offerings of Medford Tech pitcher Tara Girgenti.
“It’s a different type of speed,” said Bird-Clahar, an 18-year-old senior from Egg Harbor City who had the tough job of donning the catcher’s equipment on a day in which temperatures soar into the 90s. “You just have to get your bat on the ball and drive in runs when you can.”
The Pirates certainly did that from the get-go, sending 14 batters to the plate in the bottom of the first to go up 10-0. No. 2 hitter Sage Errera singled with one out before Young launched the first pitch she saw well over the fence in left for a quick 2-0 lead.
Cedar Creek then produced eight sharp singles in the next 10 at-bats sandwiched around a walk and an out. Errera and Bird-Clahar each had two hits in the inning.
Young’s pitches were trending high in the first inning, in which she surrendered a base hit and a walk. Once her adrenaline from starting a playoff game subsided, she was lights-out. Young struck out the side in the third and finished with seven strikeouts.
“Once I settled down and got into a groove, everything was OK,” she said. “At the end, I was getting tired because of the heat, but we only had to play five innings because of the score, so that helped.”
The Pirates tacked on another five runs in the bottom of the second for a 15-0 lead and continued the onslaught with four more in the third. Gianni Luciano led off with a triple and Jenna Price followed with a walk. Lauren Palomo singled to center to plate Luciano.
Two outs later, Young sent a high, deep homer just inside the foul pole.
His team’s offensive outburst impressed Cedar Creek coach Shawn Cohen.
“I didn’t expect this,” he said. “We’ve been up and down a bit recently, but we kept working hard. It’s nice to see the team come together and stay on the gas pedal enough to win a game like this. It’s a good springboard for next week.”
Medford Tech — 000 00 — 0 2 6
Cedar Creek — (10)54 1x — 20 22 1
HR — Young 2 CC. 3B — Luciano CC. 2B — Sanchez CC.
WP — Young (7k). LP — Girgenti (0k).
Records — M. Tech 8-8; C. Creek 13-10.