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GREENCASTLE -- North Putnam captured the county baseball championship and earned possession of the Bucket with a 13-2 victory over South Putnam in five innings Saturday at Greencastle.
The Cougars' Griffin Dahlstrom pitched four strong innings before being relieved by Tyler Watson in the fifth. North Putnam (17-4) pounded out 13 hits, including a three-run home run by Kyle Rooker.
Dahlstrom, a junior right-hander, allowed two earned runs and four hits. He struck out four and walked two.
"I thought Griffin had his best all-around outing of the season," North Putnam coach Norm Fish said. "He's been struggling with arm trouble, stiffness, and he was looser today. He had a little pop on his fastball and breaking ball."
The Cougars scored four runs in the second inning and two in the third off South Putnam starter Noah Boswell to take a 6-0 lead.
"He (Boswell) kind of got the best of us all day the last time we played," Fish said. "We scored two in the seventh to win. We came out, competed and jumped on him early."
Dahlstrom led off the second with a single and took second on a wild pitch. He was bunted to third by Kyle Alcorn. Watson drove in Dahlstrom with a single.
After Boswell got the first out, David Church was hit by a pitch. Darr Boruff drove in Watson with a double into the gap in right-center field. JT Francies singled into the hole at shortstop to score Church and Jordan Berry had an infield single to score Boruff.
In the third, Rooker struck out, but reached first on a passed ball. Dahlstrom doubled to left, scoring Rooker. Dahlstrom stole third and scored on a wild pitch.
Boswell didn't allow another hit, getting out of the inning with two strikeouts and a pop out, but it was his final inning. South Putnam coach Harold Campbell had decided to save his ace right-hander for either Monday's West Central Conference game against Speedway at home or the away contest on Tuesday at Speedway.
"Once we were behind 6-0, we decided to limit Noah's pitch count and have him ready for one of our conference games Monday and Tuesday," Campbell said. "Noah was a little off and we could't do what we needed to do offensively. We thought we'd throw some different pichers, see what they could do."
Josh Sanders, pitching for the first time this season, relieved Boswell in the fourth.
With one out, Francies singled and Berry was hit by a pitch. Rooker blasted a three-run home run to centerfield that carried at least 380 feet.
Rooker's home run was his 11th this season and 28 of his career at North Putnam, extending his school record.
Sanders completed the fourth, but gave up three straight hits to start the fifth. With two runs in and nobody out, sophomore John Spencer went to the mound for South Putnam and gave up doubles to Boruff and Francies as the Cougars scored four.
South Putnam (13-7) got on the board in the bottom of the fifth. Spencer led off with a single and Drew Cash walked. Watson relieved Dahlstrom.
Adam Hammond was hit by a pitch to load the bases. After Watson got the first out of the inning, Boswell delivered a two-run single. Watson retired the next two Eagles to close it out.
"The county tournament is a big thing for the kids," Fish said. "It's an exciting atmosphere and we like playing in that situation. I'm really happy for our seniors. Kyle Rooker, Jordan Berry, JT Francies and David Church have put in a lot of work and been dedicated to our baseball program and it's good to see them get to enjoy winning this tournament."
North Putnam plays a nonconference game at Danville on Monday.
In the first round games Saturday, Berry hit two home runs and pitched a complete game to lead North Putnam past Greencastle 6-4 and freshman Grant Zimmerman pitched a one-hitter as South Putnam clobbered Cloverdale 17-2.
Berry surrendered seven hits. The senior right-hander struck out nine, walked five and hit a batter.
"Jordan was just himeself," Fish said. "It was a common, ordinary game for him. He really helped himself by hitting those two homers."
Graham Shuee staked the Tiger Cubs to a 2-0 lead in the first inning with a two-run double.
Berry's two-run home run in the third tied the game. After Rooker and Dahlstrom walked, Alcorn had a run-scoring single and Watson an RBI sacrifice fly.
The Cougars added two in the seventh on Berry's solo home run, a double by Rooker and Watson's run-scoring single.
The Tiger Cubs' Kendall Faust drove in two with a bases-loaded single in the bottom of the seventh and they had the tying runs on base with two outs. Berry got Shuee to ground out for the final out.
Berry's two home runs rasied his total to six this season.
Trey Ford went the distance on the mound for Greencastle. The junior right-hander allowed nine hits, sruck out one, walked three and hit a batter.
South Putnam scored nine runs in the opening three innings to give Zimmerman plenty of support against the Clovers.
Zak Osburn had the only hit for Cloverdale, a run-scoring single in the third.
Zimmerman struck out seven and walked six and allowed one earned run in seven strong innings.
For the Eagles, Spencer Smith had two hits and four RBIs, Cameron Chestnut two hits, three RBIs and three runs scored, Drew Cash two hits and two runs scored and John Spencer two hits and three runs scored. Chestnut and Smith each had doubles.
|North Putnam||042 34--13 13 0|
|South Putnam||000 02--2 5 0|
Dahlstrom, Watson (5) and Berry; Boswell, Sanders (4), Spencer (5) and Dean.
HR: NP--Rooker 3-run in fourth inning.
Doubles: NP--Boruff 2, Dahlstrom, Francies.
Singles: NP--Francies 2, Watson 2, Berry, Dahlstrom, Jones, Lofton; SP--Freeman 2, Boswell, Welty, Spencer.
RBI: NP--Francies 3, Rooker 3, Lofton 2, Berry, Dahlstrom, Watson, Boruff; SP--Boswell 2.
|North Putnam||004 000 2--6 9 0|
|Greencastle||200 000 2--4 7 2|
Berry and Dahlstrom; Ford and Faust.
HR: NP--Berry 2-run in third inning; Berry solo in seventh.
|South Putnam||432 000 8--17 13 2|
|Cloverdale||002 000 0--2 1 6|
Zimmerman and Dean, Freeman (3); Flory, Dale (7) and Rossett.