Pack ready to begin playoffs

Published 4:35 pm Thursday, May 10, 2012

Washington outfielder Morgan Bryant throws the ball during a game earlier this season. Today, the Pam Pack will begin the playoffs on the road against Southern Nash. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

By winning its last three games of the regular season to clinch the No. 3 seed in the Coastal Conference the Washington softball team heads into today’s NCHSAA 3-A first round road playoff matchup against Southern Nash with momentum on its side.
“After back-to-back losses to D.H Conley and South Central we bounced back with three wins over White Oak, West Carteret and West Craven.  That allowed us to crawl back into third place after being tied for first,” Washington coach Doug Whitehead said. “Confidence is very high with the Lady Pack now. We’re looking forward to a good run and want seniors Morgan Bryant and Sydney Gurkin to have a long, productive end to their careers at Washington High School.”
Throughout the course of the regular season the Pam Pack (18-5) have shown that on any given night it can compete with any team around thanks to a good mix of talented veterans and underclassmen.
Along with seniors Gurkin and Bryant, Washington has received stellar play from junior first baseman Justyce McKissick, the 2011 WDN Position Player of the Year, along with junior ace Rebekah Langston and junior outfielder Kat Staton.
Washington has also benefited from the play of an extremely talented group of young players that include freshmen Adrian Tyson, Haley Wright, Haley Hutchins and Catie Dority, as well as sophomore Kaylee Jackson.
Offensively, the Pam Pack lineup has a good mix of speed and power with plenty of contact hitters sprinkled in between. Whitehead said in order to top Southern Nash (17-4), the No. 2 seed from the Big East, it must attack early.
“We want good production from our top of the lineup early in the game,” Whitehead said. “We’ve been waiting till the fourth or fifth to produce. The more we score early, it allows the defense and pitchers to focus on their jobs.”
An early lead would no doubt be a big boost to the Pack, but the biggest factor in the game will likely be which team plays the best defense. The general rule in postseason softball is that the club who wins the “E” column usually wins the “R” column as well.
“Our defense needs to play smart and not give up extra outs in the inning and has to know what to do if they do have an error,” Whitehead said.
If the Pam Pack can do that it will advance to the second round of the playoffs where it will hit the road to face the winner of the No. 1 D.H. Conley-No. 4 Triton matchup.