Cash, who got the start after missing the better part of last week with the flu, threw four innings, allowing eight runs on five hits and four walks. However, it was the mistakes the Eagles made on defense coach Harold Campbell cited for the loss.
"Cash did his job on the mound. We had a defense that didn't want to make plays," Campbell said.
"He's been pretty much out of it for the past week. To see him come out and even be able to pitch was great, but what he did at the plate was a big positive," he added.
The coach's problem was not with offense, though. He knew poor fielding was the culprit for the loss to previously-winless North Vermillion.
"Our team is going to have to learn to play defense or we're not going to win games. If you can't catch the ball or throw the ball, you're not going to win," he added.
While the Eagles did not make that many errors (three) in the contest, their timing was poor. When North Vermillion already had a runner on base in the first, a fielding error allowed a second runner on. The next batter, the Falcons' Billy Jackman, drove in both runs. After Aaron Riggen's sacrifice RBI, the Falcons were up 3-0 after one.
In the second, a home run from the Falcons' Jacob Rankin made it 5-0.
But the Eagles' had some long balls of their own to come. In the second, Noah Boswell singled before a John Davidson two-run shot. Cash followed with his first home run, and the Eagles were only down two.
In the midst of this flurry, North Vermillion starter Rob Lawlyes was pulled with apparent shoulder soreness. He lasted only into the second inning, having allowed two runs on two hits. Jackman took over on the mound.
South came back with a bigger third. Davidson's double drove in his third run of the game, and Cash followed immediately with his second home run, a three-run shot. South had taken the lead, 7-5.
Unfortunately, that was all the scoring the Eagles would do.
In fthe fourth, three walks and two errors would cost South Putnam its lead. Cash walked the first two batters, but got the next two out. It looked like he might escape. A Jacob Rankin single loaded the bases. Then the defense failed again. Two straight errors allowed two straight runs to score. A third scored on a passed ball, and the Falcons had the lead back. They would keep it.
Jackman shut the Eagles down over his last four innings, allowing three singles, but never seeing a serious threat from South Putnam.
South Putnam reliever Bryce Steinbaker pitched some quality innings of his own. The freshman hurled three innings of one-hit ball, collecting three strikeouts.
But South could not overcome its earlier defensive blunders.
"(North Vermillion) played a heck of a game. They wanted it more than us," Campbell said.
The Eagles return to WCC play with games against Greencastle today and Tuesday. The Eagles host the Tiger Cubs today at 4:30 p.m. and travel to Greencastle at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Asked what he wants from his team going into the county matchup, the coach kept his goal simple.
"I'd like to see a game where we can play defense. That would be excellent," Campbell said.
At South Putnam
North Vermillion 320 300 0 -- 8 6 0
South Putnam 034 000 0 -- 7 8 3
Lawlyes, Jackman (2) and Tolbert (NV). Cash, Steinbaker (5) and Dean (SP).
W -- Jackman
L -- Cash
2B -- Jackman (NV), Davidson (SP)
HR -- Rankin (NV), Cash 2 (SP), Davidson
Next game -- South Putnam hosts Greencastle today at 4:30 p.m.