Washington posts 17 runs in explosive Senior NightPublished 11:58pm Tuesday, May 6, 2014
When the Pam Pack inched out a one-run victory against a tough Beddingfield team last Friday, they established themselves as the team to beat in the conference, but on Tuesday night at home, Washington made a demonstrative statement on Senior Night. Head coach Doug Whitehead had his team ready to play, knocking off one of the better teams in the conference, North Pitt, in five innings, 17-0.
North Pitt starter Makalya Meeks, who has thrown all 119 innings for her team this season, was at the mercy of a nasty stomach ailment before the game that left her unable to pitch. The junior hurler toughed it out and remained in the lineup, positioned in right field.
Unfortunately for the Panthers, they needed more than their No. 1 pitcher to beat the Pack. Haley Hutchins, pitching for Washington, is unquestionably the top pitcher in the Eastern Plains Conference with a microscopic 0.50 ERA and 113 strikeouts. On top of her stellar performance on the rubber, she also leads the conference in hitting with a .596 average, as fans received a taste of her prolific power Tuesday night.
In five innings, Hutchins completely shut down the opposition on the mound, striking out 12 and allowing just three base runners on one hit and two walks.
“She definitely was on her A-game tonight,” Whitehead said. “She moved the ball around, had hitters off balance and did an excellent job. We’ve been pounding it in her head about getting ahead of hitters. Her ball had a lot of movement on it and she just had a great night.”
The Pam Pack junior mirrored her dynamic pitching performance at the plate as well. She finished 3-for-4 with two singles and a towering three-run homer to left-center to put her team up 10 in the third inning. Hutchins wasn’t the only player to have a huge day at the plate. Sophomore Chrissy McKissick went 4-for-4 with four singles, while junior Haley Wright also posted four hits, three singles and a double down the third base line in the first inning.
The day wasn’t solely about putting up big offensive numbers, however. Head coach Doug Whitehead, pitching coach Wendy Godley and nine players honored their two charismatic senior captains, Kaylee Jackson and Meghan Warren, before the first pitch.
“Kaylee Jackson has been with us four years and she’s just a great team player, does everything and anything I ask her to do,” Whitehead said. “She caught one year for me, we moved her to second base another year because we needed someone at the position, then this year, we needed a first baseman, so we put her there. She’s jumped in wherever I needed her and does it with a smile. She’s just a great, great kid.
“Meghan has made some key catches for us this year, some key hits. She also does everything with a smile. She was the first one out here today in the cage, by herself, to work on her swing. They’re two great girls and we’re going to miss them greatly.”
Before Jackson and Warren ride off into the sunset, Whitehead will need both of them to step up when they face a veteran North Johnston team Friday on the road. With a win, Washington wins the conference. But if the Pack fall, the regular season could end in a three-way tie for first place.
“We’ll put ourselves in a pickle if we don’t win Friday night,” Whitehead said. “Beddingfield has two losses, North Johnston has two losses and we have one. It’s going to be a tremendous game.”