Pack rally falls shortPublished 8:43pm Wednesday, May 22, 2013
The rain threatened late in the afternoon, turning the overcast sky into a giant silver screen hovering above the Washington softball field. With the stage set, the Pam Pack nearly delivered a Hollywood-type ending.
After struggling against D.H. Conley ace Rachel Weidner for six-plus innings, Washington dug deep and found some magic, cutting the Vikings’ lead down to one with two outs. However, the Pam Pack could not pull a win out of its hat as it fell 4-3 to its Coastal Conference rival in the fourth round of the NCHSAA 3-A state playoffs.
“This team never gives up,” Washington coach Doug Whitehead said. “We had them on the ropes in the seventh inning.”
In front of a standing room only crowd, the Pam Pack faithful looked on as No. 2 Washington (20-5) trailed No. 3 D.H. Conley (20-5) 4-0 at the start of the final frame.
Kaylee Jackson led off the inning with a single and was pinch-run for by Faith Benson. Benson would move to second on a sacrifice bunt and advanced to third on a Weidner wild pitch that was also the fourth ball thrown to Allison Brantley.
Pinch-hitter Kat Staton would record the second out of the inning on a infield ground out, but Washington’s hopes of a comeback were resuscitated when Haley Hutchins drilled a hard-hit grounder past a sucked in Conley infield that scored both Benson and Camri Dawson, who pinch-ran for Brantley.
Down by a run, Washington slugger Justyce McKissick battled Weidner to a nail-biting 3-2 count before the final out of the game was recorded on a pop up down the third base line.
“I told (McKissick) tonight that there was nobody else that I’ve coached since I’ve been coaching softball that I would have wanted up in that situation,” Whitehead said. “There’s no doubt about it.”
Playing in the fourth round of the playoffs for the first time in the school’s fast-pitch history, Washington got off to a slow start as it could not keep up with Weidner, who got the win by scattering three hits over seven innings.
Pam Pack ace Rebekah Langston was nearly as strong in the loss, allowing five hits and three walks in 4 1/3 innings of work.
The Vikings took a 1-0 lead in the third when Kesler Singleton’s RBI single plated Kori Adams.
In the fifth, Langston recorded an out before walking two straight, leading Whitehead to bring in Hutchings to face Weidner, the Vikings’ No. 3 hitter. Weidner pounced as she rocketed a Hutchins’ pitch to center, which rolled underneath the glove of Anna Hardison and allowed two runs to score to go ahead 3-0.
D.H. Conley got the fourth and fatal run in the sixth as Caroline Roberson reached base and advanced to second on two Pam Pack errors and would eventually cross home on a Allsbrook ground out to short.
D.H. Conley 001 021 0 — 4 6 3
Washington 000 000 3 — 3 4 3
WP: Rachel Weidner; LP: Rebekah Langston
Hitting: D — Danielle Nadeau 1-2, Kori Adams 1-3 (1R), Rachel Weidner 1-3 (2B, 2 RBI), Kesler Singleton 1-3 (RBI), Julia Allsbrook 1-3 (RBI); W — Haley Hutchins 1-3 (RBI), Haley Wright 1-3, Kaylee Jackson 1-3 (1R), Style McKissick 1-3 (RBI).