Inaugural Pam Pack softball team honored before season opener

Published 7:36 pm Thursday, March 2, 2023

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Fleetwood Mac’s blockbuster album, Rumors, and the accompanying singles dominated the airwaves in 1977 along with the Bee Gees and their little brother Andy.

Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader and Han Solo were about to become household names through the hit movie Star Wars.

Meanwhile, Washington High School physical education teacher Myra Pertiller was preparing to coach the very first Pam Pack softball team.

Pertiller also coached the girls basketball team, so she was a natural choice to lead the spring sport.

“Nobody else volunteered, so I said I would do it,” Pertiller said. “They were all looking at me since I was the girls gym teacher. There weren’t a lot of opportunities for girls to play sports then and we didn’t have much in the way of equipment, but we did the best we could and had a lot of fun.”

The first team went 7-6, including victories over Edenton, Bath, D.H. Conley and J.H. Rose.

Current head coach Brad Horton and assistant Dallis Tucker decided to recognize the trailblazing squad before the season-opener Wednesday night against Edenton. Former players Teri Andrews, Margie Kelder and Carol Griffin joined Pertiller on the field for a pre-game ceremony. Andrews was the ’77 squad’s most valuable player and joined Griffin on the All-Conference team.

“We told last year’s team that they were the first Washington team in 45 years to make it to the state championship,” Horton said. “That sparked the idea of recognizing members of the first team so our girls could see who started what they have now.”

What they have now includes much more than what was available in 1977.

“This field is fantastic,” Pertiller said. “Ours was mostly rocks on the infield and we had to use my car to pull the drag so we could smooth it out a little. That’s the biggest change to me.”

Kelder lives in Raleigh now, Griffin recently returned to the area from Apex, while Pertiller and Andrews stayed local.

Memories get foggy with time, but a few stood out.

“We played slow-pitch in shorts on a rock-covered field and I still have some scars to prove it,” Griffin, the former catcher, said.

“We had a lot of fun and were competitive that first year,” Andrews, the shortstop, said. “The best part about tonight was getting to see Ms. Pertiller and my teammates again. It’s great that the current team invited us out.”

Appropriately, Kelder, the former pitcher, threw out the ceremonial first pitch, then her coach addressed the standing room only crowd.

“I think I’m more nervous now that when we threw the first pitch 46 years ago,” Pertiller said. “We’re so pleased to see how far the program has come and are grateful to the coaches for inviting us out. We’re proud to have helped start all of this and we’re happy to see such outstanding community support.”