Pam Pack softball primed for big year
Published 6:15 pm Wednesday, March 9, 2022
Most of the players return from last year’s Washington High School softball squad that earned a share of the Eastern Plains Conference championship and went 12-4 during the COVID-19 shortened season.
However, Savannah Craft, their main starting pitcher graduated, leaving a question mark at the most important position.
Rising junior Erin Everette didn’t allow an earned run in six relief appearances that covered 12.2 innings and recorded 17 strikeouts, which gave coach Brad Horton some level of security heading into this season.
Everette pitched well in the opener at Edenton Holmes, then freshman Emma Orr fanned 14 in her varsity debut in a 10-0 shutout over West Carteret.
Everett recorded another win over Holmes and Orr followed with a 15 strikeout performance in a 9-1 victory against Northside Tuesday night before a big crowd at home, leaving the Pack 4-0.
“I think our pitching is going to be okay with those two,” Horton said. “The Northside game was a playoff-like atmosphere and Emma handled it very well. She throws hard and has command of her curve and change-up in addition to her fastball. She has an older demeanor in the circle and with her height (5’10) and speed, can be very intimidating. Erin has helped her with some things in practice and they could be a very effective combo for us.”
The Pam Pack has balance throughout the lineup as the first seven batters are well over .300 for the young season.
Senior Laci Campbell started the season with a lead-off home run in Edenton that Horton hopes sets the tone for the rest of the year.
“We have several girls who have hit one out and a few more who can,” he said. “Our bats are hot to start the season and we’ve done a good job of making adjustments at the plate depending on the pitching. Coach (Dallas) Tucker and I teach them to have a plan when they step in the box and work the count to get a good pitch to hit. It’s worked so far.”
Seniors Olivia Paszt (RF) and Morgan Eisenzimmer (CF) collected five hits against the Panthers, scored five and drove in three.
Juniors Ava Shea Mizell, Katherine Pollock and Everett are all batting .400 or above in the early going, while Campbell is above .500 from her lead-off spot.
The senior group of Campbell, Paszt, Eisenzimmer and Abby Gardner haven’t played a full season since their freshman year because of COVID-19 and Horton singled out Eisenzimmer for her quiet leadership.
“She doesn’t say much but shows the rest of them how to take care of business,” he said. “She’s the hardest worker outside of practice and does whatever the team needs to win. She’s always positive and encouraging.”
The tough non-conference schedule continues as traditional power D.H. Conley pays a visit Friday.
“They will be the best team we face all year and we’ll see where we are,” Horton said. “They always make a deep playoff run and there will be a big crowd here, so it should be exciting. Our team this year reminds me of the 2016 group that played in the East finals. It would be fun to make it back.”