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Watson strikes out 18 in shutout victory over Gray’s Creek

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
Charity’s Watson arm and some timely hitting were just what the Washington Pam Pack needed.
Watson was brilliant, holding the Gray’s Creek Bears to two hits and striking out 18 batters en route to a 3-0 win in Tuesday’s first round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3A state softball playoffs. Watson also belted an RBI double in Washington’s three-run uprising in the sixth inning.
Lauren Allen got Washington (16-4), the No. 2 seed in the Coastal Conference, rolling with an infield single to lead off the sixth. Kristi Wood followed with a bunt single to put two aboard. Marissa Fucito then reached on a fielder’s choice. An error on the play by Gray’s Creek (12-13) allowed Allen to race home.
Kayla Spain kept things going against Gray’s Creek pitcher Jessica Farmer, spanking a single up the middle to score Wood for a 2-0 lead.
One out later, Watson helped her own cause by smashing a double into left that plated Spain, giving the Pam Pack a 3-0 cushion.
The Bears, the No. 5 seed from the Cape Fear Valley Conference, had their chances earlier in the game, but Watson kept them at bay.
Jessica Farmer was hit by a pitch and Toni Jones singled to start the fourth. The two moved up on a wild pitch, putting runners at second and third with nobody out. Watson bore down on the Bears and fanned the next three batters to get out of the jam.
Gray’s Creek got runners to second and third with two outs in the fifth, but Watson fanned Farmer to end the inning.
Daniel knew the Bears would come in ready to play.
Watson retired the final five batters she faced, all by strikeout.
Washington will play the winner between Charles B. Aycock (19-4), the top seed from the Eastern Carolina Conference, and the Northeast Guilford Rams (12-13), a wild-card entry, in Friday’s second round.
NCHSAA 3-A Playoffs
First Round
Gray’s Creek 000 000 0 — 0 2 2
Washington 000 0003 x — 3 6 1
WP: Charity Watson; LP: Jessica Farmer
Hitters: GC — Toni Jones 1-3, Kayla Dillon 1-3; W — Charity Watson 1-3 (2B, RBI), Kayla Spain 1-3 (RBI), Marissa Fucito 1-3 (2B), Lauren Allen 1-3, Kristi Wood 1-3, Stacey Mayer 1-3.