Bulldogs headed to first World Series|Watson, Frey shine for Bulldogs

Published 2:41 pm Tuesday, May 4, 2010

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
WINTERVILLE — With the tying run standing in the batter’s box in the Region X championship game, Charity Watson struck out the next two batters to secure Pitt Community College’s 3-0 win over Spartanburg Methodist.
Watson, a former star at Washington High School, came up big time and time again to help the Bulldogs (39-11) win their first Region X title, and earn their first trip to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) World Series. The World Series will be played May 20-22 in St. George, Utah.
“This is fantastic,” Watson said. “We have a great team. We have a great bunch of girls.
“This was everybody’s goal from the get-go. This is the first time we’ve made it (to the World Series).”
Watson, who is now 31-5 on the year, dominated for much of the tournament, held at the Sara Law Complex in Winterville. The Bulldog ace pitched 41 of her team’s 42 innings, going 4-1 and striking out 49 batters.
Watson was named to the all-tournament team for her efforts.
The fireball-throwing Watson struck out seven and held the Spartanburg Pioneers to three hits in Sunday’s championship game.
The Pioneers had forced a “deciding” game after picking up a 4-2 win earlier Sunday.
Watson was the winning pitcher in the team’s 6-1 nod over S.C.-Salkehatchie on Saturday, striking out eight in six innings. She then earned the victory in Pitt’s 3-2 win in eight innings over Spartanburg, fanning 12 batters along the way.
Watson went 13 innings and struck out 22 in a 1-0 victory over Stanly Community College in the tournament opener.
Though used to compiling impressive numbers, Watson still chooses not to pay much attention to them.
“I don’t really look at the numbers or think about them,” Watson said. “I just come out here and try to do my best.”
Pitt coach Junior Bailey said he’s been thrilled with how Watson has performed in her first year with the Bulldogs.
“She’s been a joy,” Bailey said. “She really has. A lot of people said she couldn’t cut it at this level and I kind of challenged her with that early in the year.
“She’s really stepped up to the challenge. It’s been a great surprise.”
Watson, a four-time WDN Pitcher-of-the-Year, has been spectacular all season long. She was named the Region X Pitcher-of-the-Year and was named to the First Team.
“She deserved it,” Bailey said. “When you have a 0.40 ERA, it’s hard to say she’s not the Pitcher-of-the-Year.”
Watson said she felt blessed to earn the award.
“It’s an honor,” Watson said. “It goes a long way with the team that I have. With the defense and the team hitting, they helped me win this.”
Watson enjoyed all kinds of success in high school, earning WDN and state honors. Not satisfied with how she was coming out of high school, Watson has worked hard at improving her game.
“I’m a totally different ballplayer,” Watson said. “Coach Bailey and Amy (Godley) have helped me out tremendously.”
Besides adjusting to a higher level of softball, Watson has also had to get accustomed to college life and college classes.
“Things are a lot harder and a lot different when you don’t have your mom and dad to continuously back you up,” Watson said. “But being with these girls and this team, it’s been easier than what I expected.”
Watson plans to stay at Pitt next year, and then play at a Division I college as a junior.
But before that, Watson wants to do well at the College World Series, especially for fallen teammate Melissa Avent, who broke her leg after running into a fence while chasing a fly ball early in the tournament.
“We really want to do well, especially for (Avent),” Watson said. “This is for her.”
Frey enjoying special season
By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
WINTERVILLE — Tiffany Frey swung a mean bat in high school. As a senior with the Jamesville Bullets, Frey was tabbed the WDN Hitter-of-the-Year.
She had to make an adjustment to the college level. The sophomore also had to overcome a broken ankle, suffered while sliding into a base.
Frey has matured, on the field and off, and has helped lead the Pitt Community Bulldogs to their first National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) World Series, which will be played May 20-22 in St. George, Utah.
“That’s very special,” Frey said. “We have players come out here who give it their all. Taking it to Utah is just outrageous.”
It’s been a long, but successful season for Frey.
“It’s been going pretty good,” Frey said. “It’s been stressful, but I’ve tried to stay steady.”
Bulldog coach Junior Bailey said the speedy Frey has been a big part of the team.
“She’s grown a lot as a player,” Bailey said. “Last year if you said anything to her, she’d just kind of tuck her tail and kind of gave up. Now she’s learned to make the adjustments and does a good job.
“The kid is hilarious. She keeps things light.”
Frey said the transition from high school to college was a big one.
“The mental part about the game is completely different,” Frey said. “It’s exhausting mentally and physically. You really have to think in college.”
She made the transition and is now a valuable contributor to the Bulldogs.
“Tiffany is up and down at the plate, but you always go with potential at the plate,” Bailey said. “She’s fast and we like to have a fast lineup.”
Frey has worked diligently to improve her game. She is becoming comfortable at the plate at just the right time.
“I feel like I’ve found my hitting groove,” said Frey, who is hitting .250 with 12 RBIs, 20 runs scored and eight stolen bases. “I found out where I need to be when I’m hitting.”
The Bulldogs advanced to the World Series after taking a 3-0 win over Spartanburg Methodist in Sunday’s championship game.
Frey helped lead Pitt (39-11) to a 1-0 win in 13 innings over Stanly Community College in the tournament opener. In the bottom of the 13th, Danielle Cassidy and Amy Godley hit singles to get two aboard.
Frey dropped down a bunt. Stanly third baseman Courtney Moore fielded the ball and threw to first, but the ball got past Lyndsey Yow, who was covering first base. Cassidy easily scored on the overthrow.
Frey had a hit and scored in her team’s 6-1 win over S.C. Salkehatchie on Saturday. She even moved over from her third base position to second base to help shore up the defense.
“We didn’t miss a beat,” Bailey said. “Tiffany did a nice job there.”
Frey then helped Pitt pick up a 3-2 win in eighth innings over Spartanburg Methodist.
After a 4-2 loss to Spartanburg earlier Sunday, the Bulldogs won the championship with a 3-0 nod over the Pioneers in the deciding game.
The tournament title came on the heels of winning the regular-season championship. Pitt went 16-2 during the regular season.
“It feels great because we worked hard all season,” Frey said. “To finish on top is a good feeling.”
Frey’s playing days will end at the conclusion of the season.
Going to the World Series is a perfect way to finish up the career of this former Jamesville Bullet.