CLAYTON -- The South Putnam High School baseball team used a seven-run fourth-inning to blast Cloverdale on Thursday, 13-5, to advance to the finals of the Class 2A Cascade Sectional.
The Eagles (12-12) will face North Putnam in the finals today at 7 p.m. Cloverdale finished the season at 15-14.
The Clovers had a 5-3 lead heading into the bottom of the fourth when the Eagles came to life.
Noah Boswell led off the frame by being hit by a pitch and Adam Hammond followed with a walk.
Cloverdale Coach Tim Savini pulled starter Chase Haltom in favor of reliever Kyle McCammon, who proceeded to get two straight outs.
However, with two outs, the Clovers elected to intentionally walk South Putnam's Matt Hicks before committing three straight errors, allowing the Eagles to take the lead for good.
"We didn't want to let Hicks beat us," Savini said following the game. "(The fourth inning) was one of those innings. You take that inning out and we played fairly solid defense."
Derek Cash, Josh Hopper and Jon Davidson all reached base via error in the inning. Adam Nees also had a single and Boswell added one of his two doubles.
"Offensively, we haven't been as explosive as we have been in year's past," South Putnam Coach Matt Griswold said. "But we have the best pitching we've ever had."
With the bases loaded in the fourth, and two outs, Cash stepped up to the plate and hit the ball toward shortstop. Haltom was unable to field the ball cleanly, allowing pinch-runner Brad Eickhoff to score to start the onslaught.
"You have to try it to know how hard an at-bat like that is," Griswold said of Cash's turn at the plate.
South Putnam starter Greg Chestnut pitched six innings of five-hit ball. He allowed five unearned runs and one walk while striking out four. Of his 93 pitches, 74 were for strikes.
"Greg displayed a lot of composure," Griswold said.
"(Chestnut) does a good job of mixing up his speed on his pitches," Savini added.
South Putnam got on the board first after Cash doubled in Hicks in the bottom of the first, but the Clovers responded with three runs in the second. Two straight errors allowed Cody Nees and Brandon Mescall to reach base to begin the inning. On a double-steal attempt, South Putnam tried to throw out Mescall at second, but the ball was dropped, allowing Nees to score.
Mescall also scored on a looper to center field by Craig Blair and Jason Wilson was allowed to cross home plate on the hit after runner interference was called against South Putnam.
Cloverdale had a 4-2 lead heading into the bottom of the third inning. But Hicks tripled to lead off the frame and stole home after talking Griswold into letting him attempt the play.
But the Clovers struck back in the fourth after McCammon doubled, driving in Kyle Schroer, giving CHS its 5-3 lead.
South Putnam also tacked on three insurance runs in the bottom of the fifth.
Haltom registered the loss for the Clovers. In three innings, he allowed five runs, two of which were earned, off four hits and four walks.
Offensively, Boswell, Cash and Hicks all had two hits to pace the Eagles. Nees was 2-for-3 to lead Cloverdale.
The Clovers graduate six players from their roster this year.
"I thought all-around that this class, in general, has done a lot for Cloverdale," Savini said. "They've won a lot of games (in all sports)."
The Eagles have lost all three games to North Putnam this season, but only by a combined six runs.
"They are exceptional," Griswold said of the Cougars.
Cloverdale 031 100 0 -- 5 5 4
South Putnam 111 730 x -- 13 8 5
Haltom, McCammon (4), Nees (4), Ja. Flory (6) and Ct. Blair; Chestnut, McKinney (7) and Boswell
WP -- Chestnut
LP -- Haltom
2B -- Boswell 2, Cash (SP); McCammon (CHS)
3B -- Hicks (SP)
Next Game -- The Eagles (12-12) face North Putnam today in the sectional finals at 7 p.m. Cloverdale finished the season with a record of 15-14.