The first Pam Pack softball team is honored before the season opener
Posted at 19:36, Thursday, March 2, 2023
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Fleetwood Mac’s blockbuster album Rumors and accompanying singles dominated the airwaves in 1977 alongside the Bee Gees and their younger brother Andy.
Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader and Han Solo were all about to become household names through the hit Star Wars movie.
Meanwhile, Washington High School PE teacher Myra Pertiller was getting ready to coach Pam Pack’s first softball team.
Pertiller also coached the women’s basketball team, so she was a natural choice to lead the spring sport.
“No one else volunteered, so I said I’d do it,” Pertiller said. “They all looked at me because I was a physical education teacher. The girls didn’t have a lot of opportunities for sports back then and we didn’t have a lot of equipment, but we did the best we could and had a lot of fun.”
The first team went 7-6, including wins over Edenton, Bath, D.H. Conley and J.J. H. Rosem.
Current head coach Brad Horton and assistant Dallis Tucker decided to recognize the groundbreaking team before Wednesday night’s season opener against Edenton. Former players Terry Andrews, Margie Kelder and Carol Griffin joined Pertiller on the field for a pregame ceremony. Andrews was the ’77 team’s most valuable player and joined Griffin on the all-conference team.
“We told last year’s team that they were the first Washington team in 45 years to make it to the state championship,” Horton said. “That sparked the idea of recognizing the members of the first team so our girls could see who started what they have now.”
What they have now includes much more than what was available in 1977.
“This field is fantastic,” Pertiller said. “We mostly had rocks in the infield and we had to use my car to pull the drag so we could smooth it out a bit. This is the biggest change for me.”
Kelder now lives in Raleigh, Griffin recently moved back to the area from Apex, and Pertiller and Andrews remain local.
Memories blur with time, but some of them stood out.
“We played slow-pitch in shorts on a field covered in rocks, and I still have some of the scars to prove it,” said Griffin, a former catcher.
“That first year we had a lot of fun and it was competitive,” shortstop Andrews said. “The best part of tonight is getting to see Ms. Pertiller and my teammates again. It’s very good that the current team invited us.”
Accordingly, Kelder, a former pitcher, threw out the ceremonial first pitch, then her coach addressed the standing-room-only crowd.
“I think I’m more nervous now than when we threw the first pitch 46 years ago,” Pertiller said. “We are very excited to see how far the program has come and are grateful to the coaches for inviting us. We’re proud to have helped get this all started, and we’re excited to see such great community support.”