05/16/08 — One infield bobble gives Pam Pack late break

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One infield bobble gives Pam Pack late break

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 16, 2008 3:47 PM

PIKEVILLE -- One unfortunate error.

A 14th-inning infield bobble proved costly as Washington upended Charles B. Aycock 3-0 in the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A softball playoffs Thursday evening.

Locked in a scoreless stalemate, pitcher Charity Watson started the Pam Pack 14th with a slow-rolling single up the middle. Stacey Mayer followed with a fielder's choice grounder to Aycock pitcher Emily Jordan, who turned and threw to second base.

The ball popped out of shortstop Cara Frederick's glove.

"My heart kind of dropped," said Jordan.

Washington (17-4 overall) eventually manufactured three unearned runs off three hits, two errors and a walk. Brittany Moss and Kristi Wood supplied RBI singles during the decisive uprising.

Jordan had thrown 18 scoreless innings in the postseason until Moss' run-scoring hit.

"I was hoping we could get out of it without a run scoring, but we didn't," said Jordan. "It was going to come down to who made the first error and we did. That's how it goes."

Aycock put the game-winning run on base in the seventh, ninth, 10th and 13th innings. Each time Watson kept her composure in the pitcher's circle and enticed the Golden Falcons to constantly bite at a first-pitch rise ball.

Once Watson got ahead in the count, Aycock batters either popped up or grounded out. Watson yielded three hits and logged a career-high 24 strikeouts. In two postseason shutouts, the junior right-hander has put 42 Ks in the book -- an average of two per inning.

Anna Sullivan's seventh-inning infield single broke up Watson's no-hit bid. However, the Golden Falcons stranded 11 runners, including seven in scoring position.

"I think our swings were probably a little too big," said Jordan. "She had some speed. We were swinging at bad pitches, but taking good ones. All we had to do was put the ball in play, but it didn't quite happen when we had people on base."

Aycock coach Brad Matthews lamented his team's missed scoring chances.

"If we had come up with the big hit, it would have been over," said Matthews, whose all-time playoff record is 4-3. "We made a mistake and they punished us for it. I knew it would come down to whoever made the first mistake and whoever got the big hit.

"It was them first."

Jordan retired 19 of 21 batters during six-plus innings and finished with a seven-hit, 11-strikeout performance in her final prep outing. The Methodist University signee allowed two base runners in each of the 11th, 12th and 13th innings, but wiggled out of trouble each time.

She couldn't escape the 14th.

"Aycock had a couple of unfortunate errors and any time you're playing this level of ball, errors are going to hurt you," said Washington coach David Daniels. "I give credit to both teams because they both battled. It just came down to who hit the ball at the right time."

Washington moves on to play the Bertie-D.H. Conley winner next Tuesday. C.B. Aycock (20-5) lost a second-round, home playoff contest for the second consecutive season.

"It was a great game," said Matthews. "We competed out there and that's the kind of games I like to see. Win or lose, it was a good ball game and the people certainly got their money's worth tonight."