Washington’s Caylee Jackson slides into home during the Pam Pack’s 9-6 win over Cleveland in the first round of the NCHSAA 3-A state playoffs on Friday. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)
Washington’s Caylee Jackson slides into home during the Pam Pack’s 9-6 win over Cleveland in the first round of the NCHSAA 3-A state playoffs on Friday. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

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Published 6:54pm Saturday, May 11, 2013

It was a stock market game as the Washington softball team soared up, then plunged down only to rise again and in end the Pam Pack was money in the bank as it put a 7-6 first round playoff victory over Cleveland in the books on Friday in its first home playoff game in nearly five years.
With the win the second-seeded Pam Pack (18-4, Coastal Conference) advanced to the second round of the NCHSAA 3-A playoffs on Tuesday where it will travel to face Eastern Carolina Conference champions C.B. Aycock, who edged past No. 4 West Craven 7-6 on Friday.
“It was great to have a home playoff game, it’s been a while since we had one,” Washington coach Doug Whitehead said. “We jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first had what I thought was command of the ball game but we ran into a little hiccup.”
The Pam Pack had several big time performances on Friday as Caylee Jackson went 2-3 with three RBIs, while Haley Wright and Catie Dority each went 2-3 and drove in a run.
Pam Pack catcher Allison Brantley gave a gutsy effort as she was struck in the head by an errant Cleveland warm up throw while sitting in the dugout before the bottom of the first inning but refused to leave the game. The incident was a scary one but Brantley recovered to go 1-3 with an RBI and played all seven innings.
“She’s tough,” Whitehead said. “She’s a tough, tough, tough ball player. She’s hardnosed and hates not to be on the field.”
After a scoreless top of the first, Washington jumped all over the No. 4 Rams (11-9, Eastern Carolina) as Wright delivered an RBI base hit before Jackson smashed a two-run single that was followed up by a Dority RBI that put the Pack ahead 4-0.
With two outs in the second inning, Washington pitcher Rebekah Langston proceeded to walk four straight, making the score 4-1 before Taylor Drayton boomed a three-run triple to left field to tie it up. The Rams would take a 5-4 lead in the next at bat as Heather McLean hit an RBI single before Washington recorded the final out.
“It was just one of those things. Rebekah began the inning striking out two batters and then she walked four. I’ve never seen her do that,” Whitehead said. “In hindsight maybe I should have made a change early but I felt that she would recover.”
With the leash shortened, Langston responded and struck out the side the next inning. Overall, Langston went on to strike out nine batters in five innings while allowing three hits and six runs to get the win.
Haley Hutchins came on in relief of Langston and preserved the lead by hurling hitless sixth and seventh innings.
Down 5-4, the Pam Pack rallied in the third as Jackson drilled an RBI single up the middle to tie the game up and Washington took a 7-5 lead when Brantley blasted a sac fly deep to center field that allowed Wright to score from third and Jackson to score from second on a Cleveland error.
The Rams put a scare into the Pack in the fifth as McLean smoked a Langston offering over the left field fence, which would have tied the game at 7-7 had Washington not recorded an out and a close call at first in the previous at bat.
With Cleveland breathing down its neck, Washington scored two insurance runs in the sixth on a wild pitch and an error that would lead to its 9-6 victory.

Cleveland    050    010    0    —    6    3    2
Washington    403    002    0    —    7    10    1
WP: Rebekah Langston; LP: Taylor Drayton
Hitting: C — Taylor Drayton 1-4 (3B, 3 RBI), Heather McLean 2-3 (2 RBI); W — Anna Hardison 1-3 (1 R), Haley Hutchins 1-3 (1 R), Haley Wright 2-3 (RBI), Caylee Jackson 2-3 (3 RBI), Catie Dority 2-3 (RBI), Allison Brantley 1-3 (RBI), Style McKissick 1-1 (1).

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