Pack tops South Central with gutsy effort
By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
A broken finger nail threatened to fracture Washington’s shot a Coastal Conference championship, but a gutsy performance by Marissa Fucito combined with another dominant night on the mound by Charity Watson held the Pam Pack together as it won 6-0 over South Central on Thursday.
Heading into Thursday’s game it was a three team race for the conference title as Washington (12-1), D.H. Conley (12-1) and South Central (11-3) were all in contention.
The Pack, who’s lone loss came at the hands of the Falcons, exacted revenge on its conference rivals Thursday as its 6-0 win guaranteed that Washington would finish no lower than second in the conference.
Thursday’s win also allowed the Pack to control its own destiny as it will play D.H. Conley for the conference title at home tonight.
Washington, which also celebrated senior night Thursday, had to pull out the win without one of its most celebrated seniors.
While warming up Watson before the game, Pack catcher Taylor Rogers had her finger nail torn off and sat out.
Rogers’ injury had a major impact on Washington as it now had to chase the conference crown without one of its top defensive players and most dangerous bat, plus a realigned defense.
Filling in for Rogers at backstop was Fucito, who normally plays third and hadn’t caught in over a year. Sliding in at third was the regular shortstop Hayley Stowe.
Davey Ann Burbage came over from right field to play short, while Lauren Allen filled in for Burbage.
Washington wasn’t getting any sympathy from the Falcons who had to play without their ace pitcher Kaitlyn Wainwright who was sick.
Washington coach Emily Pake said she was happy to escape Thursday’s game with a win.
Bottom line, Washington handled the adversity better. Fucito did a magnificent job behind the plate handling the fireballer Watson, while Stowe played a strong third base.
Watson struck out eight batters in five innings while letting up three hits. In an effort to save Watson’s strength for today’s D.H. Conley game, Burbage pitched the final two innings for the Pack.
After thee game Pake praised her team’s efforts.
The Falcons fared far worse without their star player. Fill in pitcher Carly Hobbs had a mound of trouble on the hill and struggled mightily with her control.
Hobbs allowed six runs in 2 2/3 innings, and while she only let up one hit, she issued seven walks.
The Pack took full advantage of the inexperienced starter as it turned the free passes into six runs in the third inning.
Hobbs walked four out of the first five batters she faced in the third, but was able to pick up and out when Samantha Mobley reached on a fielders’ choice.
The Pack picked up its first run on the next at bat when Burbage, who was on third, scored on a Hobbs’ wild pitch to batter Meredith Duke.
Washington scored its second run on the very next pitch as Hobbs sailed another one passed the catcher which allowed Mobley to cross the plate.
After walking Duke, Hobbs drilled Fucito in the left elbow and created a panic among the Pack.
The game paused while Fucito had her arm examined by the Washington coaching staff, and after several minutes the backup backstop decided to gut it out and stay in the game.
With the bases loaded, Watson delivered the big hit in the next at bat as she blooped a two RBI single over the second basemen’s head to score Duke and Mobley and extend the lead to 4-0.
The Pack tacked on two more runs on before the inning ended as Fucito and Crystal Ireland, who pinch ran for Watson, both scored on a Hobbs’ wild pitch for the game’s final runs.
Hobbs was pulled shortly after that and replaced by Emily Perkins who did a nice job in relief.
Falcons’ coach Kimp Ewing said Thursday’s pitchers were inexperienced, but gave a good effort.
Free Admission to today’s game
Washington has announced that any girl wearing her team’s softball uniform will be granted free admission for today’s Coastal Conference championship battle between D.H. Conley and the Pam Pack at 6:30 p.m.
The Washington J.V. team also topped South Central Thursday winning 10-2.
South Central 000 000 0 — 0 4 2
Washington 006 000 x — 6 3 1
WP: Charity Watson; LP: Carly Hobbs
Hitters: S — Emily Perkins 1-3 (2B), Kayla Kraft 1-3, Nina Varner 2-3; W — Samantha Mobley 1-4 (R), Marissa Fucito 1-2 (2 B), Charity Watson 1-3 (2 RBI)