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Pack softball falls to Falcons

Washington seniors Morgan Bryant (left) and Sydney Gurkin (right) pose for a picture with coach Doug Whitehead before their Senior Night battle with South Central on Tuesday at Washington High School. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

The Washington softball team’s Senior Night didn’t exactly play out how the Pam Pack would have liked as it fell 4-1 to South Central in Coastal Conference action on Tuesday.
Down 1-0 after the top of the first, Washington answered in the home half of the inning when Morgan Bryant tripled and was driven home by a Haley Hutchins fielder’s choice grounder to tie the game.
South Central would rally for a run in the fifth to take a 2-1 lead and tacked on two runs in the seventh on a two-run home run.
For Washington (16-5, 8-4) the loss jeopardizes its playoff positioning and coach Doug Whitehead said it is imperative his team elevates its play in the final two games of the regular season.
“We wanted a win tonight and now we have put ourselves in a position were we kind of have to win out now,” Whitehead said. “We could finish anywhere from second to fifth (in the conference).”
The top four in the Coastal Conference standings are guaranteed a spot in the playoffs, while the fifth place time has to hope for a wild card birth.
The Pam Pack was led at the plate by Bryant who went 2-4 with a triple and scored a run, while Justice McKissick went 2-3 and Sydney Gurkin and Kat Staton each went 1-3.
Rebekah Langston pitched all seven innings and struck out 10 while walking six and allowing eight hits in a losing effort.
For seniors Bryant and Gurkin Tuesday night’s game was their finale one at Washington High School and Whitehead said the two have been a pleasure to coach.
“They have been absolutely wonderful,” Whitehead said. “Morgan’s been a four-year starter for us and has been a wonderful outfielder and a wonderful player and teammate.”
“Sydney has been on varsity for three years and has played anywhere we ask her. She’s caught, played third, caught again and has done wonders for us and is a great leader. … I hate to see both of them go.”
With the Pam Pack fielding a young team this season, Whitehead said the presence of Bryant and Gurkin has been extremely valuable.
“They have both been vocal leaders on this team and are willing to do anything we ask of them,” Whitehead said. “I told them this year this is your team and they have taken control of it.”
Over the past four seasons Bryant has racked up several great memories and moments and said that what made her time with the Pack so special are the people she has met.
“It’s been great because of all the friends that I have made,” Bryant said. “It’s been nice to have a coach like Doug Whitehead who is always there for you when you need it. He is the type of coach that will never put you down, he was always there to pick you up.”
For Gurkin, the final home game brought about mixed emotions, and like Bryant, said that her fondest memories come from the friends she has made.
“It’s sad, but then again it’s kind of exciting to be able to get on to different things,” Gurkin said. “(My best memories) are just how we became so close as a team. It’s like a family. We just all get along this year.”