LIZTON -- With two outs in the top of the seventh, North Putnam High School girls' softball coach George Pearson strolled out to the mound to try to calm his team down.
The Cougars were one out away from their first softball sectional title on Friday, but Tri-West's Ashley Sankey and Mackenzie Stirling had just hit back-to-back singles off NPHS starter Brook Miller.
When Pearson got to the mound, everybody seemed fine. Miller had stepped up in the most crucial moment.
"I told him not to worry because I'm going to strike her out," Miller said she said to Pearson.
The junior pitcher was referring to Tri-West's Amanda Miller.
And she did just that.
With runners on first and second as the Bruins were attempting a rally, Miller managed to the Tri-West batter swinging to lead the Cougars to a 1-0 win and sectional title.
After striking out the first two hitters of the seventh, Miller gave up the singles to Sankey and Stirling. She said she was over-pitching in the beginning of the inning, but calmed down after giving up the two hits.
"I was nervous," she said. "I was shaking. But we got everything together."
"This is a great credit to these kids," Pearson said following the game. "These kids are playing good softball right now."
Miller matched Tri-West's starter Lacie Woodall pound for pound throughout the final game.
"We all knew she was good. We knew it was going to be tough," Miller said of the Tri-West sophomore, who limited the Cougars to just one hit in the game.
But the hit game at a crucial moment.
Chelsea Greene led off the bottom of the fourth with North Putnam's only hit, a single.
After Mackenzie Pearson bunted Greene to second, Laura Blaydes stepped up to the plate. The senior struck out, but a passed ball allowed her to advance to first base and Greene to third.
With one out, Miller stepped up and hit a foul ball over the head of Stirling at first base. Stirling caught the ball, but Greene managed to score for the game's only run.
"I was going to send her no matter what," Pearson said of Greene. "We kind of caught them sleeping."
The Bruins had opportunities to score throughout the game, leaving six runners on base. But Miller kept Tri-West's bats at bay, fanning nine hitters while only giving up four hits and walking two.
Woodall limited North Putnam to one hit and two walks while striking out six.
But Pearson said his squad has not been an offensive force this year.
"We haven't been a team all year that's got a lot of hits," he said. "We've had to manufacture runs.
"I told them, it's only going to take one to win this one."
For Miller, winning a sectional title was icing on the cake for a 14-10 season.
"I'm thrilled," she said. "No one thought we could do it."
The Cougars will compete in Forest Park Regional on June 3.
Tri-West 000 000 0 -- 0 4 1
North Putnam 000 100 x -- 1 1 1
Woodall and Shaw; Miller and Pearson
WP -- Miller
LP -- Woodall
Next Game -- The Cougars (14-10) take part in the Forest Park Regional on June 3.