05/20/10 — Autumn Pittman signing

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Autumn Pittman signing

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 20, 2010 1:46 PM

PIKEVILLE -- Don't let Autumn Pittman's soft-spoken demeanor fool you.

A competitor with a burning passion for softball, the Charles B. Aycock right-hander becomes a silent assassin when she steps inside the pitcher's circle.

Pittman is carrying that intensity and fire down I-795 next season just across the Wayne County line into Wilson. She signed a national letter-of-intent to continue her career at Barton College.

"They have a really good nursing program and that's what I want to do," said Pittman, who hasn't decided on a particular field. "I like the fact that Barton is close to home. I didn't want to go too far. They need pitching and I feel like I can help them out a lot."

Pittman will join former Golden Falcon teammate Cynthia Burroughs, who just finished her freshman season with the Bulldogs. Barton finished 15-28 overall and just missed qualifying for the Division II Conference Carolinas tournament by one spot this spring.

"They've got a great ballplayer," said third-year Aycock head coach Brad Matthews. "Autumn is one of the best control pitchers I've ever coached. When you call for a spot, she's going to hit that spot ... guaranteed.

"She's been a fire to this team all year long and has had some big hits."

Pittman is 6-3 inside the circle this season and threw her fifth complete game, a 12-2 decision over South Brunswick, in the opening round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 3-A playoffs on Tuesday. She threw 109 pitches, including 78 strikes, against the Cougars.

Offensively, she aided her cause with two hits and two RBI in four at-bats in the game. Pittman leads the area and county with 28 RBI, and has 10 extra-base knocks in 23 outings this season.

Pittman, who plays for the Blue Breeze travel ball squad, contends that hitting is her biggest asset and she's always confident inside the batter's box. She calls upon an array of pitches -- drop ball, riseball, fastball and change-up -- to keep opposing hitters guessing when she toes the rubber.

"My most effective (pitch) is the riseball because it comes in looking like a strike and rises up at the last minute," said Pittman. "My change-up is the weakest. When I'm watching college softball on TV, everyone keeps saying you need a good change-up to be a good pitcher.

"Mine is not very effective right now."

Pittman said travel ball has helped prepare her for the college level.

The different pitching styles and varying scenarios each game help you elevate your play, and improve at the same time. That's one reason she helped lead Aycock to the NCHSAA final four at Walnut Creek and a third-place finish overall in 2009.

Pittman, an honor graduate, was named the Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference co-player of the year last spring. She also earned a spot on the News-Argus All-Area first team as a utility player.