PUTNAMVILLE -- After surrendering an early home run, a lot of teenage pitchers might have hung their heads. After all, on Monday night South Putnam senior Derek Cash had seen his Eagles surrender two seventh-inning home runs to Monrovia. The long balls turned a 9-6 lead into an 11-9 loss.
Cash and his teammates could have thought, "Here we go again," after Caleb Spears' home run sailed over the left field fence with one out in the second.
Instead, Cash went on to allow only one more hit, a sixth-inning single. As for the rest of the Eagles, they continued to make plays defensively and then turned one bit inning -- a three-hit, three-run sixth -- into a 3-1 victory over the Bulldogs.
South Putnam coach Harold Campbell said his team came out Tuesday with a much better mindset than they had Monday.
"They came out much more focused. Defense really hurt us Monday," Campbell said. "Tonight they focused from the beginning."
As for the pitcher, he wound up tossing a complete-game two-hitter. Cash finished with eight strikeouts, four walks and only one run.
"Cash pitched a heck of a ballgame. He threw strikes and got ahead," Campbell said.
"He allowed that home run, but didn't hang his head."
After the home run, Cash came back by only allowing two more base runners (on walks) until the sixth innings.
Across the diamond, Monrovia starter Logan Steward began strong, striking out six through four innings. In the fifth, though, the armor began to show its cracks as the top of the Eagle order hit Steward hard. No runs crossed, but the sixth was a different story.
Noah Boswell opened the inning with a single, and Campbell sent in pinch runner Travis Giannechini. Cash followed with a single, and J.T. Chadd reached on a bunt. With the bases loaded, Brice Steinbraker's sacrifice fly brought in Giannechini to tie the game.
A dropped fly to left in the next at bat brought home Cash and put Nathan Welty on base. Two batters later, Welty came home on a passed ball.
All told, the inning was big trouble for the Bulldogs -- three hits, two errors and three runs.
With the lead in hand, the Eagles came out confident in the seventh.
"It was good to be able to close it out. A couple of games we've had a lead and then almost played tentatively. Tonight we stayed sharp and closed it out," Campbell said.
Given that he has a young team, Campbell has had to put some young players in key spots and see how they reacted. Tonight it worked well on both sides of the ball.
"We had two freshmen (Steinbraker and Welty) start in the infield. They played very well," said Campbell.
These two were also part of the bottom of the Eagles' order, which Campbell cited as being much more productive tonight. Indeed, the Eagles 5-through-9 hitters scored all three runs of the night.
"It was nice to see us get a little bit of balance there at the end," he said.
Balance was the word offensively for South, as their eight hits came from eight different players.
Overall, Tuesday featured just the kind of performance a coach looks for after a tough defeat.
"We focused real hard on putting that game behind us," Campbell said.
"We were relaxed. We were loose. I think we had all the confidence in the world we would come out and play the way we know we can."
The Eagles will host Danville at 5 p.m. Friday.
At South Putnam
|Monrovia||010 000 0 -- 1 2 4|
|South Putnam||000 003 X -- 3 8 2|
WP -- Cash
LP -- Steward
2B -- Davidson, Eickhoff, Nees (SP)
HR -- Spears (Mon)
Next game -- South Putnam hosts Danvile Friday at 5 p.m.
COUNTY BASEBALL ROUNDUP
Cougars defeat Clovers again
BAINBRIDGE -- North Putnam's baseball team continued its winning ways by defeating Cloverdale, 8-1, Tuesday night at home.
Brayden Dahlstrom got the start, throwing a strong game for the Cougars. He threw for 12 strikeouts, one hit, two walks.
"Brayden pitched a great game for us," coach Norm Fish said.
Kyle Rooker moved into the DH spot and came up big for the Cougars, going 2-3 at the plate.
"It's a new roll for him," Fish said. "He had some good hits, very hard hits."
The Cougars also continued its speeding ways, stealing a total of 11 bases on the night.
For the Clovers, starter Josh Flory went 5 1/3 innings, allowing seven runs on seven hits and 3 walks. He struck out two Cougars. Flory also had the lone hit for the Clovers, a third- inning single.
North Putnam will travel to Bethesda for a doubleheader Saturday at 11 a.m. Cloverdale returns to action 11 a.m. Saturday when they host Southmont for a doubleheader.
At North Putnam
|Cloverdale||010 000 0 -- 1 1 1|
|North Putnam||130 211 X -- 8 10 0|
WP -- Dahlstrom
LP -- Flory
Next game -- Cloverdale hosts Southmont in a doubleheader at 11 a.m. Saturday. North Putnam travels to Bethesday for an 11 a.m. doubleheader.