Things started rough for the Clovers, as they allowed five runs in the first inning. Errors and walks were a cause for concern for Cloverdale coach Tim Savini.
"I think whether you're a young or experienced team, we're making errors and walking people right now," Savini said. "That's a formula for disaster."
The Cougars were able to go through their batting order and added five stolen bases. North compiled seven stolen bases on the night.
The Clovers were unlucky at the plate, going three up and three down in the first four innings of play. In the final inning, Cloverdale was able to draw two walks and Chad Cummings smacked a single into right field. But North was too much to overcome.
"I told them you're going through a growing experience right now, but in a couple of weeks, you're going to have to make the plays regardless if you're a freshman or not," Savini commented.
Jake Mullis, the Cougars starting pitcher, threw for 11 strikeouts, two walks and no runs. Mullis also helped his own cause when he belted a Cody Nees pitch over the left field wall in the fourth inning to drive in three runs.
The Clovers did seem to calm down as the game went on and made some nice plays. Cummings was brought in to relieve Nees in the fourth inning. Nees struggled on the mound, throwing for five strikeouts, nine hits and nine runs.
Cloverdale didn't lose its bite though as evident in the final inning. With Brayden Dahlstrom coming in from third, Cummings met him at the plate and the two collided, sending both players to the ground. Cummings held on to record the out. Another collision at home occurred between Cummings and J.T. Francies but Francies was able to score the run.
After a successful night like North had, you might think a coach would be content with the play of his team, but coach Norm Fish pointed out areas of improvement.
"We need to have an inning when we get five or six guys driving the ball," he said. "We haven't had that yet this year."
Savini had an optimistic eye on todays rematch with North and a good reason to.
"We're just putting this one behind us, it's only one game," Savini replied. "Last week with Monrovia, they drilled us on Monday and we came back to beat them on Tuesday. So we just have to keep that mind set."
Fish also believed he had the recipe for a win and that was to use the same approach as his squad always does.
"We're gonna come right at it and work real hard to start strong. Our goal is to score every inning," Fish commented. "We feel if we can score every inning, we'll win a lot of ball games. So that's our focus."
Cloverdale and North Putnam will battle again at North Putnam today at 4:30.
North Putnam 500 42 -- 11 12 x
Clovedale 000 00 -- 0 1 x
Mullis and Berry (NPHS); Nees, Cummings (4) and Mescall.
WP -- Mullis (NP)
LP -- Nees (C)
3B -- Francies (NP)
HR -- Mullis (NP)
Next game -- Cloverdale and North Putnam will battle again at North Putnam today at 4:30.