Lady Pam Pack tripped up by Golden Falcons|Fall in third round for second straight year

Published 10:38 pm Wednesday, May 27, 2009

By By Kevin Travis
Sports Editor

PIKEVILLE — Charity Watson is excited about a “new beginning.” However, the Washington Lady Pam Pack senior was hoping to postpone that new beginning for at least another couple weeks.
Watson pitched her final game in a Washington uniform Tuesday, coming in a 1-0 loss to the Charles B. Aycock Golden Falcons in the third round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A state playoffs. It was the second straight year Washington (16-7), the second seed in the Coastal Conference, fell in the third round.
“We were just trying to get past the third round,” said Watson, who fought tears after the game. “But, we’ve accomplished more this year and last year than anybody has before in Washington High School softball.”
Watson was her usual brilliant self on the mound. She struck out 11 batters, raising her season total to 359 and her career total to 1,245, thesecond most in NCHSAA Fastpitch history.
The future Pitt Community College pitcher allowed just one hit, but that’s all Aycock
(24-2), ranked fifth in the latest 3-A prep softball poll, would need.
Cara Frederick, Aycock’s ninth batter in the lineup, faced an 0-2 pitch to lead off the bottom of the sixth inning.
Watson’s next pitch was a bit too inside, as Frederick was beaned to get a runner on base.
Brooke Bell’s sacrifice moved Frederick to second. After Watson fanned Torie Benton, Cynthia Burroughs laced a single into left-center, easily scoring Frederick for the game’s lone run — and lone hit.
Burroughs was solid herself for the Golden Falcons, the top seed out of the Eastern Carolina Conference. She fired a no-hitter, fanning seven batters in the process.
Aycock will face top-ranked D.H. Conley (23-1), a 6-2 winner over Hunt, in the fourth round.
First-year Washington coach Doug Whitehead, who was missing shortstop Lilly Ann Arnold because of an illness, said he was proud of his team’s effort this season.
“It’s a great bunch,” Whitehead said. “I’m very proud of them. The girls struggled at the beginning of the year, but they became hitters. My gosh, we hit the ball all over the park tonight, but they were for a bunch of outs.”
Washington did have a couple of chances at scoring. Hayley Stowe was hit by a pitch and Watson drew a walk in the first inning. However, a pair of runner interference plays wiped out any scoring threats.
The Lady Pack threatened again in the top of the sixth. Brittany Bryant and Watson drew consecutive two-out walks, but they were left stranded on the bases.
Whitehead will have to replace four key seniors off this year’s team, including Watson, third baseman Brittany Bryant, first baseman Kayla Spain and outfielder Sarah Mayo, who overcame back surgery to be on the squad this year.
“I’m losing three of my top six hitters,” Whitehead said. “Charity was batting around .400, Brittany Bryant was batting close to .300 and Kayla was hitting the ball well of late. Sarah, coming back from a back injury, was great inspiration. I’m going to miss them all.”
Whitehead will lose Watson and her 68 career wins, including five perfect games, 18 no-hitters and 53 shutouts, on the hill next year.
Watson will continue her pitching with the Lady Bulldogs next year.
“It’s not with the same girls, not with the same uniform, not with the same team, not with the same meaning,” Watson said. “It’s going to be different.”
Whitehead said Arnold and Morgan Bryant will likely see time on the mound next year, along with the possibility of three players off this year’s junior varsity squad.
Arnold and Morgan Bryant have shown that they can crush the ball. Meanwhile, leadoff batter Kristi Wood and Stowe — the team’s outstanding catcher who hits second, both return.
“We’ve got some big hitters coming back,” Whitehead said. “I’m very confident in what we have coming back.”