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Pack looks to make history; Southside, Northside to meet in playoff matchup

By By KEVIN TRAVIS. Sports Editor
Washington has already made history by getting past the second round of the state softball playoffs for the first time in school history. The Pam Pack will look to take that a step farther when it battles Coastal Conference rival D.H. Conley in tonight’s third round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A state playoffs.
Washington coach David Daniel is hoping to meet his team at home plate following today’s game at Washington High School, which begins at 7 p.m. The team met at second base following a first-round victory and then gathered at third base following a win in second-round action.
Washington (17-4), the No. 2 seed in the Coastal Conference, defeated the third-seeded Vikings (20-5) twice during regular-season play this year. The Pack earned a 3-0 win at home when Conley was ranked first in the N.C. Fastpitch Coaches Association poll, scoring three times in the first inning and making the lead stand up. Washington posted a 2-1 victory at Conley, scoring the winning run in the top of the seventh.
The Vikings, the defending East Regional champions and state runners-up, last beat the Pam Pack in Washington with a 5-0 victory in the final regular-season game of 2007. It gave Conley first place in the Coastal Conference and relegated the Pack to runner-up.
Junior Charity Watson has been brilliant on the mound for the Pack in the 2008 playoffs. She’s allowed just five hits and fanned 42 batters in a pair of shutout victories. Watson struck out 18 in a 3-0 win over Gray’s Creek in the first round, and followed that up with 24 strikeouts in a 3-0, 14-inning victory over Charles B. Aycock.
Washington smacked six hits in each victory. Watson and Kristi Wood had two apiece in the win over Aycock, while Marissa Fucito and Brittany Moss had one each. Moss delivered what proved to be the game-winning RBI in the victory.
Watson, Fucito, Wood, Kayla Spain, Lauren Allen and Stacey Mayer collected hits in the victory over Gray’s Creek.
The Vikings, coached by Wayne Deans, haven’t had to play seven innings yet in the 2008 playoffs. Conley picked up a 10-0 win in six innings over White Oak in the first round, then followed that up with a 12-1 nod in five innings over Bertie in the second round.
Sarah Christian was the winning pitcher in each game. She’s allowed just four hits and has struck out 16, including 12 White Oak batters, in the playoffs.
Brianna Richie had four hits, including three doubles, and three RBIs against Bertie. Janelle Brockett, Kaitlyn Maloney and Allison Brown also drove in runs.
Brown knocked in three runs and Brittany Smith drove in a pair against White Oak. Amber Whitley and Katie Gould both had two hits.
Today’s winner plays the survivor between the South Central Falcons (21-2), the top seed from the Coastal Conference, and the Southern Wayne Warriors (20-5), the second seed from the Eastern Carolina Conference.
Washington lost both games to South Central during regular-season play, falling 1-0 at home and 1-0 in eight innings on the road.
Seahawks, Panthers will play for spot in state quarterfinals
By STEVE FRANKLIN, Sports Writer
A pair of Atlantic Conference foes will square off today in Chocowinity with a spot in the quarterfinals of the NCHSAA Group 1-A State Softball Playoffs on the line.
Southside (19-4), the Atlantic Conference winner, will play host to Northside (13-9), the only wild card team remaining in the state playoffs after finishing third in the Atlantic Conference standings.
This will be the third time the two Beaufort County Schools have faced each other this season. Southside won both meetings, the first by a 1-0 margin, and the second a 9-4 victory in Yeatesville during the regular season finale.
Both the Seahawks and the Panthers have yet to give up a run this postseason. The Seahawks have outscored their opponents 23-0 through the first two rounds, while Northside has won by a combined score of 5-0.
Northside enters the game with a little confidence as well after playing picture-perfect softball the last two games.
Tonight’s matchup could be a pitcher’s duel. Southside’s Gabby Cilluffo and Northside’s Amanda Beirne have carried their teams for most of the season. Both teams feel as though the pitchers could be the difference in this one as well.
Lohman also believes it will come down to whichever team can rattle the opposing pitcher, and steady defense as well.
The Panthers and Seahawks will begin play at 6 p.m. tonight at Southside High School.