06/03/09 — Pittman, Burroughs throwing well for CBA

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Pittman, Burroughs throwing well for CBA

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on June 3, 2009 2:04 PM

New-Argus Sports Writer

PIKEVILLE -- In softball, pitching is often the key to success.

No team knows that better than Charles B. Aycock.

Cynthia Burroughs and Autumn Pittman have kept opposing hitters off balance and asserted their dominance in the pitcher's circle during the team's run to the eastern regional finals. The Golden Falcons duo has allowed just three runs during that stretch.

"We certainly feel like pitching is one of our strongest points," said second-year head coach Brad Matthews. "With Cynthia and Autumn, we have two quality arms ready for each game."

Part of the pair's routine includes warming up side by side during pregame without knowing who is going to get the ball in the first inning.

"They are both very good, and they both take every game seriously no matter what role they are given," said Matthews. "Cynthia is more of a true starter because she takes a while to get warmed up. She needs that hour before the game to get herself ready.

"Autumn is always ready to go, five or six pitches for her is plenty."

Burroughs has shouldered the load for a majority of the Golden Falcons' innings in the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A playoffs. She became accustomed to that role while leading Wayne Christian to back-to-back state titles on the independent school ranks in 2007 and 2008.

"I like starting because I feel like I get into the flow of the game easier," said Burroughs. "I am ready to pitch either way, but I think starting helps me as a hitter, too."

Burroughs has tallied a 13-2 record on the season.

Pittman is unbeaten in 11 outings.

"Its a good position to be in," said Matthews. "To have two pitchers that would be the number one on any other team is a luxury for me as a coach. I don't worry about either of them when they take the ball."

Having an experienced catcher also keeps the duo on their toes. Anna Sullivan has evolved into a strong defensive backstop, an accurate signal caller and one of the team's emotional leaders.

"Anna is a competitor, there's no doubt about that," said Matthews. "She is a team captain and she is always one of the players that the other girls look to during big moments."

At the beginning of the season, Sullivan called the pitches behind the dish. Matthews has called the pitch selections during the conference tournament and playoffs.

"Coach Matthews has really done a good job calling the game from the dugout," said Sullivan. "If there is something that I don't think is right I can still shake him off, but most of the time the pitch he calls is the pitch we throw."

Waiting in the wings is Brooke Bell. Despite limited time in the circle, Bell has shown the ability to put opposing hitters on ice.

"Brooke doesn't have a lot of innings, but she has good stuff," said Mathews. "She has a bright future as a pitcher, and if we do need a third arm at this point in the year she will be the one."