Watson sparkles on the diamond

Published 4:20 am Friday, June 13, 2008

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
Charity Watson is as cool as they come.
Even facing a bases-loaded, nobody-out situation and the game on the line, Watson doesn’t let it bother her. She calmly collects herself on the mound, then proceeds to get out of the jam with no harm done.
It’s that kind of savvy, maturity and confidence that helped Watson, the ace of the Washington Pam Pack softball team, land her third straight Washington Daily News’ Pitcher of the Year honor.
Watson, a junior, earned 15 wins on the year. Thanks to a blazing fastball, along with a couple other specialty pitches, Watson fanned 271 batters in 138 1-3 innings.
She allowed just four earned runs on 27 hits and finished the season with a sensational 0.202 ERA.
Watson credited and thanked her coaches, including Daniel and assistant coaches Doug Whitehead and Doug Mumford, for helping guide her throughout the year.
She also thanked her teammates and all the Pam Pack supporters for a memorable season.
Watson, named to the All-District 1, Class 3-A Team by the North Carolina Softball Coaches Association, recorded nine shutouts and two no-hitters this season. She earned the no-hitters in a 2-1 win over J.H. Rose and in a 9-0 nod over Havelock. The junior struck out 18 batters in each game.
After three straight seasons of facing competition like South Central, the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A state champions, and D.H. Conley, Watson believes that has made her a better pitcher.
Watson may have saved her best for last. She was terrific in the playoffs, leading the Pam Pack into the third round for the first time in school history.
In Washington’s first-round playoff game, Watson struck out 18 batters and allowed just two hits in a 3-0 win over Gray’s Creek.
She followed that up with a 24-strikeout, three-hit performance in a 14-inning, 3-0 thriller over Charles B. Aycock in the second round.
That was the highlight of Watson’s brilliant season.
Watson helped lead the Pam Pack to the Washington Daily News/Northside Easter Softball Invitational championship, out-dueling Southside star Gabby Cilluffo and Northside standout Amanda Beirne along the way.
She recorded the win in a 14-0 nod over Northside in the semifinal, striking out nine and giving up just one hit in three innings. Watson also got the win in a 6-0 victory over Southside in the championship game, fanning nine and allowing just one hit in five innings.
Watson, who hit .290 during the regular season and .400 in the playoffs, has racked up some impressive numbers over her first three high school seasons. She has recorded 52 wins, four perfect games, 14 no-hitters (fourth best on NCHSAA Record Sheet),
39 shutouts (fourth best on NCHSAA Record Sheet) and 886 strikeouts (sixth best on NCHSAA Record Sheet).
She isn’t about to rest on her laurels. Watson, who said she loves everything about the game of softball, plans to practice three times a week and play on a traveling team this summer.
She’s already setting big goals for her senior season.
And, of course, she hasn’t given up on her goal of pitching at the collegiate level.