Pam Pack poach Panthers en route to three-straight winsPublished 12:13pm Wednesday, April 9, 2014
The Pam Pack stepped on to a soggy, rain-soaked field at North Pitt Tuesday evening, honored the flag by pausing for the National Anthem, twice, and came away with a third-consecutive conference victory, activating the mercy rule for the fourth time this season in an 11-0 rout of the Panthers.
“Very good at bats tonight,” said manager Doug Whitehead. “We hit behind the runners, we went back door and hit it to opposite field and girls went with the pitches. We had great defense, as well, other than one little blunder. Very good overall play. We’re just continuing to work our way through the conference.”
Washington entered the contest averaging about nine runs per game, and faced a young 10-2 Panthers team with similar offensive production. The North Pitt lineup also featured one of the area’s premier talents, freshman Grace Cochran, who is currently second in the Eastern Plains Conference in hitting.
In a near perfect performance, junior hurler Haley Hutchins took to the rubber for the ninth time in as many games, as Cochran failed to record a hit for the first time this season.
“Haley got ahead of hitters and kept the ball low,” Whitehead said. “She moves the ball around in the zone and keeps batters off balance, big time. Facing a lot of left-handed batters can be tough, but she did a great job tonight. We’re going to ride that horse as long as we can.”
Hutchins pitched five innings of one-hit ball, striking out six Panthers and allowing just two base runners. With all of Washington’s decisions falling on her shoulders, the Pam Pack ace improves her season record to 8-1 with a microscopic 0.56 ERA.
At the plate, the Pam Pack lineup jumped on North Pitt junior Makalya Meeks early for two runs in the first. Hutchins continuing to throw up zeros, and the offense stayed consistent.
Freshman Hailey Harris led off the second inning with a double to left, as Hutchins and junior Haley Wright both picked up hits and RBIs later in the frame to put the Pack 5-0.
The loudest hit of the night came from the unlikeliest of sources. Making the most of her playing time, freshman Jada Lodge, who was scrutinized by Whitehead in the first inning for not running out a pop fly, rocketed a triple to deep center, scoring junior Allison Brantley from first. It was Lodge’s biggest hit to date in Pam Pack uniform.
After scoring three in the third inning, Washington tacked on another three in the fifth on a triple from senior captain Meghan Warren, RBI single from sophomore Chrissy McKissick and RBI double off the bat of Hutchins.
Washington’s standout junior sat down three in a row in the fifth, two via the strikeout, and sent the Pam Pack faithful home early.
Hutchens went 2-for-3 with two RBI at the plate, improving her season average to .613 (.002 of a point behind Cochran), while McKissick also finished with two hits and two RBI.
Washington will hit the road to face Farmville Central on Friday in hopes of picking up the win and keeping pace with Beddingfield in the conference standings.