The Eagles had been cruising along, playing a steady game and making their way to a 3-0 lead on the homestanding Cougars. Then came the bottom of the fifth. Dakota Malayer's three-run double and Ashley Doyle's run-scoring single had given North Putnam the lead and the apparent momentum.
And then Oceaia Boetjer took the team on her back. Replacing starting pitcher Samantha Tomasino, Boetjer quickly struck out Leah Crosby to end the fifth. She was then the first to the plate in the fifth.
When Cougar pitcher Brook Miller left one over the plate, Boetjer drove it high in the air and let North Putnam's signature wind carry it over the left center fence. The game was still tied, but the Eagles had their confidence back.
Boetjer continued to pitch well, allowing only one hit in the remaining two innings. She finished with four strikeouts, one hit and no walks in two and one-third innings.
In the seventh, the Eagles did what they had done to build the lead in the first place -- they manufactured the winning run. After Katelyn Sibbitt reached base on an error, her teammates advanced her on consecutive sacrifice bunts. Hannah Ames then drove her in with a single. The run would win the game and move the Eagles to 8-0 on the year. North Putnam fell to 6-3.
"They came out and stayed tough with the bat and tough defensively," South Putnam coach Evonne Canary said. "Oceaia's home run and Hannah's game winner were big."
"The girls did that. They came back and battled," she said.
Canary gave her team the credit because she felt a call she made in the fifth had nearly cost them the game.
With two runners in scoring position, Canary chose to walk Brook Miller, loading the base. Dakota Malayer quickly made the Eagles pay with a base-clearing double. Ashley Doyle came up next and added the fourth run. That was when Boetjer moved from shortstop to pitcher, and then took over.
"They won in spite of the coach on that one," Canary said.
Asked if she would walk Miller in that situation again, Canary replied, "I'd probably reconsider." But then she added, "Miller's definitely a big threat."
Question that one call as she might, Canary had certainly come into the game with a good game plan for her team. With Miller pitching, South was not going to outslug the Cougars. Instead, they did what they had to do, stringing together singles and sacrifices while taking advantage of a couple of North Putnam errors. The Eagles scored once in each of the first three innings, with two runs batted in coming from Morgan Wiggs and one from Krystal Welch.'
It was the errors that were on the mind of North Putnam coach George Pearson after the game.
"They (South Putnam) got five runs, and we gave them all five of them. That's enough to get you beat," Pearson said.
While the Cougars had only three scored errors, Pearson even attributed Boetjer's home run to a pitching mistake. Up two strikes in the count, Miller made the mistake of leaving her pitch over the plate. Boetjer turned on it.
The hitters were also on Pearson's mind.
"We made enough mistakes at the plate to keep us from getting a bunch of runs," Pearson said. "You just cannot make mistakes."
Miller finished the night with five strikeouts while giving up seven hits, one walk and five runs.
Far from taking credit from the Eagles, Pearson saw something in them he wanted more of from his squad.
"They just wanted it worse than we did. They deserved it more than we did because they just played better," he said.
Pearson said he gave his team a challenge after the game. He said it was similar to the one he gave them after two losses to Speedway earlier in the year.
"If you want to be as good as we think you can be, you have to want it," Pearson said.
The coach sees a lot of promise in the Cougars. He now wants to see the promise maximized.
"This is as goo a bunch, talent-wise, as I've ever had, and they just will not step up and do it," Pearson said.
Canary also sees the potential in the Cougars and knows they could turn it on her team in tonight's rematch.
"It'll be a new ball game and just as exciting (Tuesday). They are a good team, and we expected a good game," she said.
"The county teams have a good rivalry going."
The Cougars travel to South Putnam for a 4:30 p.m. game today.
At North Putnam
At North Putnam
|South Putnam||111 001 1 -- 5 7 1|
|North Putnam||000 040 0 -- 4 8 3|
W -- Boetjer
L -- Miller
2B -- Malayer (NP)
HR -- Boetjer (SP)
Next game -- North Putnam travels to South Putnam at 4:30 p.m. today for a rematch.
Cloverdale falls in pitchers' duel
CLOVERDALE -- Although the Cloverdale softball team found itself in a low-scoring game, there hardluck continued as they came out on the short end of a 1-0 decision.
Cloverdale pitcher Jennifer Wiley tossed a complete game, allowing five hits and five walks while striking out one.
"The Clovers played a sound ballgame but came up a run short," coach Greg Crum said.
"We are getting to be a better team each game," he said.
Hannah Monnett led the Clovers with two hits, while teammates Chelsie Haltom, Stephanie Tutterow and Whitney Bond each had one hit.
Cloverdale is back in action tonight when it travels to Cascade at 4:30 p.m.
|Cascade||000 001 0 -- 1 5 0|
|Cloverdale||000 000 0 -- 0 5 2|
W -- Bridges
L -- Wiley
Next game -- Cloverdale travels to Cascade at 4:30 p.m. today.