Pam Pack tops Patriots in softball

Published 7:59 pm Saturday, May 9, 2009

By By GREG KATSKI, Staff Writer
Lately, the Washington girls softball team has made a habit of jumping out to early leads and riding the arm of standout starting pitcher Charity Watson to wins, and Friday night was no different.
The Pam Pack (14-4, 10-2) cruised to an easy 5-0 win over West Carteret in front of boisterous home crowd, thanks to another stellar effort from Watson and a five-run first inning.
Watson, who had 16 strikeouts on the night, took a perfect game into the seventh inning for the second game in a row. This time, the bid was broken up by a lead off single from Patriots first baseman Lauriel LeBeau to start the frame.
LeBeau hit a sharp grounder just under the glove of Pam Pack starting shortstop Lily Ann Arnold to get on.
Watson followed up her only blemish of the night with three straight strikeouts to end the game.
After Watson retired the Patriots in order in the top of the first, it took Pam Pack lead off hitter Kristi Wood one pitch to rattle West Carteret starting pitcher LeBeau.
Wood smacked the first offering from LeBeau into the left-center field gap, motoring into second base for a double. Stout starting catcher Hayley Stowe followed by lifting the first pitch she saw over the Patriots’ left fielder’s head, scoring Wood.
Stowe came home on the next pitch when the ball got past West Carteret’s starting catcher, putting the Pam Pack up 2-0 three batters into the game.
Senior starting third baseman Brittany Bryant, who was moved from her usual sixth spot in the order to third, dropped in a bloop single for Washington’s third hit in three at-bats.
After a Watson fly out and a walk by Kayla Spain, starting shortstop Lily Ann Arnold hit a line drive single over the head of West Carteret’s shortstop, scoring Bryant on a close play at the plate and moving Spain to third.
Arnold, who usually bats third and switched spots in the lineup with Bryant, said the move immediately paid off for her confidence after being mired in a long slump.
Bryant said there was no animosity between the teammates after head coach Doug Whitehead told them about the lineup
Arnold stayed true to her promise, scoring Bryant from second with her first inning single.
After Arnold’s run scoring single, the West Carteret head coach had seen enough of his starting pitcher, inserting Tia Caldwell in her place.
Brittany Bryant’s younger sister, Morgan, a freshman, delivered with two on and one out facing Caldwell.
Morgan Bryant slapped a single through the right side of the infield, scoring Spain and Arnold. The younger Bryant was thrown out a second trying to turn the single into a double.
Brittany Moss ended the inning for the Pam Pack with a groundout, but the damage was done as Washington took a commanding 5-0 lead.
The rest of the game turned into a pitcher’s duel with Watson and Caldwell. The flamethrowers combined to retire the other’s side in order for three and a half frames.
On the night, West Carteret’s Caldwell gave up two hits and one walk, with six strikeouts, in 5 2/3 innings. Watson gave up LeBeau’s lone hit and didn’t issue a walk.
Whitehead was disappointed his star pitcher didn’t throw a perfect game, but was more than satisfied with the effort.
Whitehead said Watson wasn’t even aware that she was so close to perfection.