Watson makes it a clean four-year sweep|Washington star is WDN Softball Pitcher of the Year

Published 4:34 am Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sports Editor

Charity Watson not only left her mark with the Washington High School softball program, but the sensational pitcher also solidified herself as one of the best ever in North Carolina.
The flame-throwing Watson, who also tosses a dizzying change-up, etched her name into several categories of the N.C. High School Athletic Association softball record book.
Watson’s career stats border on the ridiculous. She compiled 68 wins, recorded 1,245 strikeouts, posted 53 shutouts, including five perfect games and 18 no-hitters, and an unbelievable 0.29 career ERA.
“I wasn't trying to put up any certain numbers,” Watson said about her four-year numbers. “I was just doing the best I could to help the team.”
She certainly played a huge role in her team’s success all four years.
And, for the fourth straight year, Watson was chosen as the 2009 WDN Softball Pitcher of the Year.
“It's a fantastic honor, especially knowing there are a lot of great pitchers in the area,” Watson said.
In her senior season, Watson went 16-7 with a 0.33 ERA. She fanned 359 batters in 167 innings. She recorded 14 shutouts, threw one perfect game, two no-hitters and 11 one-hitters.
“Having Charity as a pitcher makes any coach look good,” Washington coach Doug Whitehead said. “She’s been a workhorse for Washington High School for four years.
“Off the field, she’s a very good girl, very sociable and very popular. She’s been a great leader.”
Watson said her last year of high school softball was made all the more special thanks to a solid, dedicated catcher and a familiar face at first base.
“Hayley Stowe showed lots of support by coming to my house every week over the summer and practiced catching for me,” Watson said. “She knew she would be my catcher this year and spent her free time working with me. She was an awesome catcher and friend.
“There was only one senior returning this year that I played all four years with (Kayla Spain). We had been through it all together. She and I were each other's support system. She was our great first baseman and my first cousin, Kayla.”
Never one to worry about personal statistics, Watson only wanted to see her team win. She guided the Lady Pam Pack into the third-round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A state playoffs in each of the last two years.
Facing tough competition night in and night out in the always-grueling Coastal Conference, Watson said she’s proudest of where her team finished in the conference standings each year.
“We came in first in our conference my freshman year, second my sophomore year, third my junior year and second this year,” Watson said. “Playing in the 3A/4A conference was tough.”
Despite facing the likes of D.H. Conley, South Central, New Bern and J.H. Rose, Watson put up some gaudy numbers.
She is ranked in the top 10 on the NCHSAA softball career-charts in several categories. Watson’s strikeout total (1,245) is third best, her ERA (0.29) is tied for third best, the 17 career no-hitters ranks fourth highest, her 604 2/3 innings pitched is fifth highest, the shutout total (53) ranks fifth, the five perfect games is tied for fifth and her victory total (68) ranks in the top 10 of all-time.
Also, Watson fanned 39 batters in a 1-0, 17-inning win over New Bern, which ranks as the second highest total in an extra-inning contest.
Meanwhile, the 384 strikeouts she recorded as a freshman ranks 10th best.
Through every pitch, Watson’s parents, David and Debra Watson, were there for support and guidance.
“It was really special to me to have my dad as the assistant coach my last year,” Watson said. “My mom and dad are my biggest supporters. They come to all the games and, of course, they give me all kinds of advice.
“I know they have sacrificed a lot of time and money helping me over the years. I just want them to know that I really love them and appreciate all they have done. They are my heroes.”
Watson, who will pitch at Pitt Community College next year, credits her coaches and teammates for her success.
“I have met and grown to love a lot of people over the four years,” she said. “Coaches (Emily) Pake, (Jessica) Furlough, (Peggy) Rogerson, (David) Daniel and (Doug) Whitehead have always gave me instruction and support.
“There have been so many great girls I have played with, I can't name them all. But without each and every one of them, I couldn't have done what I did. It was team support all the way around.”
While Watson is known for her pitching prowess, averaging 2.06 strikeouts per inning over her career, she can also swing a mean bat. She led the Lady Pack with a .383 batting average this year.
She’ll look to continue her success at the college level next year.
“I am going to miss high school, but I am looking forward to playing at PCC,” Watson said. “That is what I have been working for since I started playing softball. That was my goal.”
Watson will become a member of the Bulldogs next year, but she’ll always be a Lady Pam Pack at heart.
“Playing as part of the Pam Pack, wearing the uniform and playing with all the girls I've played with was an exciting four years,” Watson said. “It will always be a special place and time for me. No matter where I go, what I do, I'll always remember the memories made.”