Lady Pack hot to start postseason

Published 10:29 pm Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Last year saw Washington go further than it ever had. The Lady Pack made it all the way to the 2-A eastern-regional championship series, but was eliminated from the best-of-three series after two close games.

This year, with a cast of nine seniors that were there a year ago, the common consensus is that there’s unfinished business. Washington got off on the right foot Tuesday with a 10-4 win over Midway in the opening round of the 2-A state softball playoffs.

“We were a game or two away from being in the state championship,” coach Doug Whitehead said. “I said, ‘Hey, this is your last chance. We’ve got to go for it and do it.’”

The visitors from Dunn opened the scoring right away. A few hits coupled with a Lady Pack error produced a 2-0 Lady Raiders lead.

Washington responded immediately. Seniors Hailey Harris, Meghan Moore and Jordan Pierce led off the bottom of the inning with three-consecutive doubles. Moore plated Harris, and Pierce scored Moore to knot the game. The onslaught continued as the Lady Pack batted through the lineup to take a 7-2 lead.

Abbigail Tucker and Sarah Lynch followed with back-to-back RBI singles. Lynch came home after Chaleigh Baynor walked to load the bases and Meghan Horton hit to shortstop was mishandled. Baynor scored on a passed ball, and Horton wrapped up the seven-run explosion thanks to another error at shortstop.

“We gave up two in the first, and I was a little disappointed by that, but we answered right back,” Whitehead said. “They’re a tough ball club. We came back and hit the ball when we needed to. Great defense. Overall a good win.

“When we get three-straight doubles, I think ‘We can hit this girl.’ I’ve repeated myself a thousand times — hitting is contagious in softball.”

Freshman pitcher Abbigail Tucker delivers a pitch during Tuesday’s playoff win. Tucker was impressive in her first postseason outing.

Midway pulled within three on a two-run home run by Hannah Lucas. The Lady Raiders struggled to manufacture anything after that, though. Tucker kept their offense largely at bay. She struck out nine and retired the side in order in four of seven innings.

Washington peppered in runs in the third, fifth and sixth innings to get some insurance. Harris belted the first pitch she saw in the third through the right side to bring in Haley Witham. In the fifth, Horton scored when Pierce’s drive to third base was too hot to handle. Witham notched the Lady Pack’s 10th run in the sixth thanks to Horton’s base hit through the right side.