Eagles shut out Cloverdale
Cloverdale -- Playing a game the very first day back from spring break can be tough for any team. But this was the task of the South Putnam and Cloverdale softball teams as they met on the Clovers' home field Monday evening. The Eagles were the team able to come out much sharper, claiming a 6-0 victory.
Freshman pitcher Samantha Tomasino played extremely well in her first high school appearance, striking out five and shutting out the Clovers on seven hits in seven innings. For the Clovers, junior Jennifer Wiley also went the distance, allowing 14 hits and striking out 1 on her way to the loss. She fell to 0-1.
"Our freshman pitcher (Tomasino) came out in her first game and did a super job," said Eagle coach Yvonne Canary. Similar to her pitcher, rookie coach Canary picked up her first career win Monday.
"It feels good to get my first win," she said.
For their part, the Clovers had a rough time coming back from last week's break. Coach Greg Crum said most of his girls were gone on vacation last week, so they had not been on the field in more than a week. Even those who were in attendance last week only had enough to take batting practice. The Clovers' fielding, which Crum cited as a key to success before the season, suffered from the lack of field time.
"I thought we were hesitant, and that's not characteristic of us," said Crum.
One bright spot for the Clover defense came from catcher Hannah Monnett, who kept the game close by catching three Eagle runners stealing second base. Her efforts kept runners out of scoring position and and prevented what could have been a much more lopsided loss.
On the offensive side, Eagle leadoff hitter Megan Robinson did her job well, going 4-for-4 and scoring twice. Second batter Hannah Ames twice advanced Robinson with sacrifice bunts. On both occasions, number three hitter Meghan Canary drove Robinson home with RBI singles. This textbook small ball was responsible for the Eagles' first two runs.
"Getting your leadoff runner on really plays a big role. Then the other girls were able to do their jobs," said Coach Canary.
Although the Clovers were unable to score any runs on the evening, they mounted serious threats in both the third and sixth. In each inning, they made the final out being thrown out at home. Martika Byrd and Stephanie Tutterow led the Clovers with two hits apiece.
In the end, the difference in the game was simply execution. The coaches echoed this sentiment, with one praising her team's execution and the other asking for something more.
"I'm very pleased with the way the girls played. They played well and came out hitting the ball," said Canary.
"Considering we didn't practice last week, and for our first game of the year, we did OK," said Crum. "I'm not unhappy, and I'm not happy.
"It's hard to come back and play real well after more than a week layoff."
The teams meet again this evening, and both coaches had this fact in mind even before they walked off the field.
"I would like to see us play a little hard and communicate a little better," said Crum. "If we come out and play harder and don't make mistakes defensively, I'll be happy."
Canary expected this improvement from the Clovers and said the rematch would not be easy for her squad.
"Everyone did a good job, and they're going to have to do it again. Cloverdale is a good team, and you always have to come out ready for a fight against them," said Canary.
The Eagles host the Clovers today at 4:30 p.m.
South Putnam 102 111 0 -- 6 14 1
Cloverdale 000 000 0 -- 0 7 4
WP -- Tomasino
LP -- Wiley
2B -- Robinson, Wokh (SP)
Next game -- The two teams will face each other again this evening at 4:30 p.m. at South Putnam.