Hutchins fans 15, Pack picks up first conference win
Published 10:06 pm Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Ace Haley Hutchins fanned a season-high 15 batters Wednesday night, carrying the Pam Pack to a 7-0 win over undefeated Southwest Edgecombe in the Eastern Plains Conference opener.
“She was ahead of the batters and, as they say, nearly perfect, so just a great night for her,” said head coach Doug Whitehead.
Boasting the deepest arsenal of pitches in the county — a plus fastball, dive ball, rise ball and knee-buckling changeup being just a sample of a more than seven-pitch repertoire — Hutchins held a Cougars team, which entered averaging more than 14 runs per game, to just one base runner in seven innings, a strong start for what’s sure to be a competitive conference slate. And the Pam Pack senior showcased a little bit of everything Wednesday night, keeping hitters guessing by mixing pitches and varying locations.
“We were strong defensively last year and the way she threw tonight, they just didn’t have to do a whole lot,” Whitehead said. “I feel very comfortable in all the positions we’ve got. This game was in slow motion tonight because we hadn’t played in a week. I’m glad to be back on the field.”
At the plate, rust was evident through the first two innings for the Pam Pack, as Southwest Edgecombe starter Kaylan Page retired six of the first seven batters she faced. But what appeared to be a pitcher’s duel early would not last.
With two outs in the third inning, Washington pieced together three-straight hits — a triple by Catie Dority, a single by Hutchins and a booming double to left-center from Haley Wright — pushing across two runs.
“We’ve been trying to bounce some people around to get them more comfortable in the lineup,” Whitehead said. “Catie has been a great leadoff hitter because she can do a lot with the bat and keeps runners honest.”
In the fourth inning, Washington manufactured another run, despite two strikeouts in the frame. Jada Lodge reached second on a throwing error by the shortstop, stole third base and, during a lengthy at bat from Jessica Evans, went on to score via a wild pitch from Page, putting Washington up 3-0.
And the Pam Pack only expanded on its lead in the fifth inning. Sophomore Meghan Moore led off with a bloop single and Dority followed with an infield single of her own. After two fly outs, Chrissy McKissick launched a double off the bottom of the wall in left field, scoring both Dority and Moore. McKissick later came around to score on a passed ball. Catcher Allison Brantley followed with a walk and later came around to score on a Jada Lodge single.
With the win, Washington improves to 4-1 (1-0 EPC) and will host neighboring Riverside at home tomorrow.