Conference races in focus after Pam Pack victories

Published 4:44 pm Thursday, April 27, 2023

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The Washington High School baseball and softball teams took big steps toward improving their post-season position with home victories against SouthWest Edgecombe Wednesday.

The softball Pack needs a win Tuesday at home against second place Ayden-Grifton to lock up their sixth straight conference title, while the baseball team will finish third and make the playoffs with a victory over the Chargers.

Both Washington teams won in Pinetops Tuesday to complete a season sweep.

Senior Ava Mizell led the softball offense with a pair of hits, three runs scored, a run batted in and three stolen baes in the 10-0 rout of the Cougars, while sophomore Emma Orr allowed one hit with 11 strikeouts in five innings to earn the pitching win. Mizell homered the night before at SWE.

The Cougars were 14-1 entering the series and making a strong bid to unseat the defending East champs, but the Washington bats responded at the right time with 10 hits.

“We have struggled to hit the ball consistently this year, but the girls have done much better in the last two weeks or so,” coach Brad Horton said. “Our team loves to play at home, so they were ready to go tonight and Emma hit her spots consistently. These two wins puts us in a good spot for Ayden-Grifton Tuesday. Washington is 10-0 in the Eastern Plains Conference and 14-5 overall with all five losses to 3A or 4A schools. Ayden-Grifton is 8-2 in the league and needs to win both games next week to claim a share of the title.

Sophomore Emma Harris was 2-2, scored twice and drove in two runs as the Pack pounded out 10 hits.

The baseball team took an early 5-0 lead, then saw SWE come back to 6-5 before they went on to win an 11-7 contest.

The Pack (9-6, 5-5) managed five hits, but took full advantage of eight walks and six hit batters to string together big innings.

“This win was huge for our playoff seeding,” WHS coach Will Tyson said. We could be as high as 17 if we do well (against Ayden-Grifton) next week and nail down third place. We made adjustments at the right time and held them off at the end.”

Sophomore Bryce Williams went 2-3, scored twice and drove in a run and pitched in relief of starter Evan Waters. The two combined for 13 strikeouts and walked two batters.