Pam Pack runs out of steam|Softball team loses marathon thriller

Published 10:54 am Thursday, April 15, 2010

Sports Editor

There was no quit in the Washington Pam Pack softball team. Unfortunately, the Pack ran out of steam, eventually falling 10-7 in 11 innings to West Carteret in a four-hour marathon Coastal Conference game Tuesday evening.
The game was delayed briefly in the sixth inning because of rain.
Washington (2-8, 1-4) held a 5-0 lead after five innings, but the Patriots tied things up with three runs in the sixth and another in the seventh.
West Carteret took a 7-5 lead after scoring twice in the top of the ninth. However, the Pack answered with two runs of its own in the bottom half to force even more softball.
The Patriots finally broke free with three runs in the 11th.
“We didn’t quit and that was a great thing,” Washington coach Doug Whitehead said. “It’s just one of those things. It was a great game.”
Kristi Wood (3-6) led the Pack’s nine-hit attack with three hits. The leadoff batter also scored three times.
“Kristi has been batting .500 for us,” Whitehead said. “I would put our top of the lineup (including Hayley Stowe batting second and Morgan Bryant third) against anybody.”
Bryant (1-4) also had a big day by driving in four runs.
“Morgan has been very consistent in the number three spot (in the batting order),” Whitehead said.
Justyce McKissick (2-4, run) added two hits. Also getting hits for Washington were Caroline Smith (1-4, RBI), Stowe (1-5, 2B, 2 runs) and Sydney Gurkin (1-5).
Washington jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first. Wood started the early uprising with a leadoff single. After Stowe reached on a fielder’s choice, Bryant brought in both runners with a sharp single. Bryant later scored on an error.
Stacey Wainwright’s RBI single in the fourth got the Patriots on the scoreboard.
The Pack made it 5-1 in the fifth. McKissick singled and Wood reached on a fielder’s choice. Stowe moved the runners over with a sacrifice. Bryant’s sac fly scored one run and Smith’s single brought in another.
Olivia Bryson’s two-run double and Wainwright’s groundout plated three runs for the Patriots in the sixth, making it 5-4.
Kristina Spencer’s infield single, one of her three hits, in the seventh tied the game at 5-5 for West Carteret.
The Patriots took a 7-5 lead in the ninth, but not without some controversy. Tia Caldwell, who finished with four hits, hit a leadoff double and Kristen Piner singled with nobody out. It appeared Washington pitcher Brandi Hardison got out of the jam when Smith, the Pack’s shortstop, fielded Wainwright’s grounder and threw her out at first.
However, the home plate umpire ruled that first baseman Katelyn Singleton’s foot had come off the bag, allowing Caldwell to score. Piner later scored on an error for the 7-5 lead.
The Pack rallied with two runs in the bottom half. Wood singled and Stowe belted a double. Bryant’s groundout scored Wood. Stowe also scored on the play to tie the game.
Both Bryant and Stowe were shaken up on the play, but both were able to return to the game.
Megan Dunton had an RBI double and Caldwell an RBI single during West Carteret’s three-run 11th, putting the Patriots up 10-7.
Washington wasn’t able to respond this time.
Hardison had a gutsy performance on the mound for Washington. She and Bryant have split pitching duties for the Pack.
“It’s been a good mix of both,” Whitehead said. “We’ve had Morgan in left field, and she is an exceptional outfielder. I would love to have two of her, one pitching and one playing the outfield.
“Brandi has been very consistent. She keeps the hitters off balance and has done a great job for us.”
The Pack travels to Jacksonville on Friday.
Whitehead is hoping his team can get on a roll leading into the second half of the season.
“For the most part, we’ve played solid defense,” Whitehead said. “We just have to get our hitting in order. The bottom of the lineup has to help us produce a little bit.
“I think we’re capable of competing with every team in the conference. We’re playing for a playoff spot.”
The junior varsity Pam Pack (7-2) notched a 16-6 win thanks to nine runs in the first inning. Washington added six more runs in the second.
Baseball falls
The Washington Pam Pack fell 9-5 to West Carteret in Tuesday’s Coastal Conference baseball action.
The Pack (5-9, 1-6) got behind 7-1 early after one rough inning. Washington rallied, but couldn’t complete the comeback.
Gator Moore smashed a home run and knocked in another run with a single for the Pam Pack.