05/26/09 — C.B. Aycock set to battle Washington

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C.B. Aycock set to battle Washington

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 26, 2009 1:47 PM

PIKEVILLE -- Long-term memory is a good thing.

Charles B. Aycock softball coach Brad Matthews certainly hasn't forgotten the disappointment of last year's second-round loss to perennial power Washington in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 3-A playoffs.

Matthews hopes his team retained that memory, too.

Right-hander Charity Watson logged a career-best 24 strikeouts as the Pam Pack escaped with a 3-0, 14-inning victory.

"I think we remember what happened last year," said Matthews. "I think my girls are determined to have a different result this year. We had our chances last year, but didn't put the ball in play when we needed to so hopefully we can do that this time."

The No. 5-ranked Golden Falcons (23-2 overall) and Pam Pack square off today at 7 p.m. on the Aycock diamond. The winner advances to the eastern semifinals against either top-ranked D.H. Conley or Wilson Hunt.

A two-time all-state selection, Watson certainly presents a huge challenge to the Aycock hitters. She has thrown two shutouts in the playoffs, including a perfect game in the opening round against Jacksonville White Oak.

Watson recorded 12 strikeouts in a second-round triumph over NEW 6 champion Northern Nash.

"It's going to be tough for us," said Matthews. "We have better contact hitters than we had last year and that's going to be the key to the game. We've faced some good pitchers during a tough, regular-season schedule so I'm hoping that will help us in the playoffs."

Aycock has outscored the opposition 14-1 in the postseason. Senior catcher Anna Sullivan clubbed two home runs and collected a career-best six RBI against South Central four days ago.

The Golden Falcon defense has yielded just one run in 14 playoff innings. Right-handers Cynthia Burroughs and Autumn Pittman have each made appearances in both games, and kept opposing hitters guessing in the box.

Neither hurler is overpowering and each relies on locating their respective pitches.

"We just need to throw strikes and keep them off base," said Matthews. "We have a good defense. The main thing is location and don't give them anything. With the kind of pitcher they've got, we have to keep them from scoring."

Watson has four career playoff shutouts.