BAINBRIDGE -- After two difficult one-run losses to WCC foe Greencastle last week, North Putnam found itself in an early-season "must win" situation against the Sparkplugs of Speedway Monday night.
The Cougars responded to the challenge with a nearly flawless 4-0 shutout, highlighted by Taylor Judy's 12 strikeout performance on the mound.
Things were scoreless until the bottom of the second inning when Leah Crosby singled with one down. Elsiana Crosby then laid down a sacrifice that Speedway misplayed twice, enabling Leah to score. Ashley Curry then followed with an RBI single, giving North a 2-0 advantage.
Speedway threatened mightily in the top of the fourth when the Sparkplugs 1-2 hitters, Brandy Roth and Brooke Cooper, opened the frame with back-to-back singles. They advanced to second and third on an unassisted putout by Kayla Green at first, but Judy was able to strike out Speedway's four and five hitters to end the threat.
North Putnam was able to add to its lead in the fifth when Logan Doyle led off with a deep shot that nearly cleared North's short porch in leftfield. Doyle wound up on second and scored when Carlye McGaughey added a two-bagger of her own. McGaughey then took advantage of two more Sparkplug miscues and motored home.
Speedway was able to garner two hits in the bottom of the seventh, but didn't seriously threaten, as their lead runner was caught in a run down between second and third to end the ballgame.
Coach Jim Brothers was pleased with his team's performance: "I thought we did a good job of putting the ball in play tonight...it's nice to get a win against good competition, I think this one gives us some confidence."
North evens its record to 2-2 (1-2 WCC) on the season with the win.
At North Putnam
Speedway 000 000 0 0 6 6
North Putnam 020 020 x 4 7 0
WP -- Judy (2-2)
LP -- Tharp
2B -- Ashley Doyle, Logan Doyle, Carlye McGaughey (NP)
Next game -- North Putnam travels to Speedway at 5 p.m. today for the second half of this WCC series.