Grading Out: Star power keeping Lady Pack, Panthers alive

Published 4:23 pm Monday, May 15, 2017

Northside baseball and Washington softball are both hitting their strides at the perfect time. The Panthers’ pitching staff has reached peak performance as Zach Woolard and Zack Griffin both threw complete games for their two postseason wins last week.

The Lady Pack has continued to get consistent work from freshman pitcher Abbigail Tucker, who is able to settle in with the way the entire lineup it hitting. Senior catcher Jordan Pierce has helped provide confidence via not just offensive support, but also the reassurance of a reliable backstop.

As the postseason chugs along, here are Beaufort County’s standouts from the first week of the playoffs.



Jordan Pierce has been a key cog for Washington as it knocked off its first two playoff opponents. She went 3-for-4 at the plate with a run and an RBI in a 10-4 over Midway in the first round. She also went the yard in an 8-3 win at West Bladen, accounting for three of the team’s runs.

Pierce’s role as catcher has been as important as her offensive performance. The senior has been tasked with backstopping freshman pitcher Abbigail Tucker. Tucker has been brilliant all season. Having Pierce on the other end of a pitch has helped her through her first two career playoff games.



Zach Woolard walked a Pender batter in the first inning. That Patriot came around to score an unearned run that tied the game at 1-1 after the first frame. That marked the only run Pender would get as Woolard rolled through the next six innings en route to a no-hitter.

The Panther pitcher needed just 83 pitches from start to finish. He struck out 10 of the 22 batters he faced. Woolard’s complete game should keep Northside’s bullpen well rested heading into Tuesday’s third-round meeting with Rosewood.



Before Woolard, Zack Griffin was the first Northside pitcher of the week to throw a complete game. He needed one fewer pitch (82) to dispose of North Duplin in the first round. He allowed five hits and a walk while striking out nine in the complete-game shutout.

Griffin kept his composure as the Panthers and Rebels dueled through three scoreless innings. His offense scored twice in the fourth and tagged North Duplin for three more runs in the fifth, giving him plenty of breathing room to seal the win. Simply put, he and Woolard are rolling.



Consistency is key, especially in the postseason. Washington coach Doug Whitehead always says that hitting is contagious. Senior Sarah Lynch has done well to spread the fever.

Lynch went 5-of-7 at the dish in Washington’s two playoff wins last week. She scored once and batted in a pair of runs between the two games. Her consistency has carried over to her defensive performance, too.



Washington’s season ended quicker than ace pitcher Tripp Barfield or anyone else would have liked. The Pam Pack ran into a top-ranked Edenton club, which ousted it in a no-hitter.

Before that, though, Tripp Barfield led the Pam Pack to its first postseason win since 2009. He scattered six hits and a walk over his seven innings of shutout work. He also scored once and batted in another run in the 4-0 win at Eastern Randolph.