BAINBRIDGE -- North Putnam's softball team hit a speedbump on its march to sectional Thursday night as it fell to Southmont, 5-0, at home.
Despite one inning, the Cougars played solid ball but the second inning proved to be too much for North Putnam to overcome.
"When you play 23 games, a team is going to have an inning they (Southmont) had," North coach George Pearson said. "They're a good ballclub, a really good ballclub with good pitching."
The Cougars shut the Mounties down the first inning but the Southmont exploded in the second inning for five runs to seize the lead. Southmont's Alexandra Myers hit a shot to deep right field for a triple, bringing in three runs.
Trying to dig out of hole for the rest of the game, the Cougars only managed four hits after the second inning as Carlye McGaughey smacked a single in the third, Dakota Malayer and Logan Doyle hit singles in the fourth and Brook Miller reached on a shot to the short stop in the sixth.
North's defense was solid, as McGaughey turned a double-play in the fourth inning, after catching a liner and rocketing the ball to first for the second out. For the first time this season, the Cougar defense committed no errors. Pearson noted that was crucial heading into sectional play.
"We got sectional coming up and somewhere along the line, we have to beat someone one-to-nothing," Pearson said. "But when you're giving away two-to-three runs a night on errors, you're not going to win one-to-nothing, you can't."
For the Cougars, Miller pitched a compete game, going for seven strikeouts and six hits. With the regular season winding down, Pearson will look to rest Miller, readying her for the post-season. And not a moment too soon, as Miller threw three games in the past week, but Pearson still likes what he sees.
"I thought she pitched well," Pearson said. "This is her third game this week. Maybe she didn't have quite as much in the tank as what she did on Monday but that's who we are."
With sectional play starting Monday against Tri-West, Pearson looks at the bracket as being wide-open. The Cougars faced Tri-West earlier in the season, but neither team threw their ace, so both teams don't know quite what to expect from each other.
"I think there's probably four, maybe even five teams that's got a shot to win sectional," Pearson commented.
Pearson's gameplan is to remain aggressive, which he believes is his team's best chance of competing well.
"I like our chances. I like running. We'll still attack," Pearson said. "We'll run, we'll bunt, we'll do what we have to do to get runs across."
North will face Tri-West in the first game of the sectional Monday.
At North Putnam
Southmont 050 000 0 -- 5 6 2
North Putnam 000 000 0 -- 0 4 0
Addler and Bullerdick (S); Miller and Malayer (NP)
WP -- Jami Addler
LP -- Miller
3B -- Myers
Next game -- North will face Tri-West in the first game of the sectional Monday.