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Pam Pack softball celebrates seniors with big win

Washington finished conference play with a perfect record and honored its seniors in front of a home crowd Thursday night with an 18-0 five-inning victory over West Craven.

It was Senior Night for the Pam Pack (18-1, 12-0) and Thursday’s game was preceded by an emotional ceremony celebrating the team’s graduating players, Mary B. Dixon, Mariah Gurkin, Grace Lassiter and Haylee Simpkins. It was difficult to find a dry eye during the festivities. But when it came time to finally play ball, Washington, and its seniors, didn’t disappoint against West Craven (5-17, 4-8), scoring nine runs through the game’s first two innings.

“My seniors were able to play all night long, which was my intention; [I] didn’t have to make any changes,” Pam Pack coach Doug Whitehead said. “And they were all productive tonight. They had a very good game hitting the ball.”

Among the seniors, Simpkins did the most damage at the plate. The first baseman went 2-for-4 on the night, with three RBI. Dixon, Gurkin and Lassiter all chipped in with a base hit each. Dixon also drew two walks, scored three runs and knocked in another.

SENIOR NIGHT: Pam Pack senior Mariah Gurkin tosses the ball back to the pitcher during Washington’s 18-0 victory over West Craven on Thursday. Gurkin was one of four players honored during the Senior Night ceremony held before the game. (Sean Finnerty | Daily News)

But it wasn’t just the seniors who played well in the Eastern Carolina 2A Conference matchup. Washington had 14 hits and 13 RBI as a team in the game. Showing the future of the softball program is in good hands, sophomores Kaylee Elks and Emme Davis, along with junior Summer Campbell, had very productive nights at the plate. Campbell had a game-high three hits, along with two RBI, while Davis and Elks both contributed three RBI to the cause.

Whitehead was pleased with how his team played on such an emotional night.

“We got a chance to honor those girls. We hit the ball pretty well. There wasn’t a ton of errors; we were actually making some plays,” he said. “Great night, great way to end the season.

While the Pam Pack was dialed in at the plate, Washington’s Abbi Tucker was lights out in the pitcher’s circle. The sophomore picked up the win, putting in four innings of work as a pitcher. Tucker allowed only one hit and struck out nine Eagles, including the first five batters she faced. Savanna Craft came in to pitch the final inning, allowing no hits and issuing one strikeout.

Washington finished the regular season with a perfect conference record, something Whitehead said he was proud of. But after winning the conference title, Washington’s coach said their focus turns to the playoffs.

The Pam Pack will open postseason play with a home game on Wednesday. Washington will learn who its opponent is on Monday.