LIZTON -- The future looks bright for the North Putnam Cougars.
Freshman hurler Taylor Judy dominated a pitchers' duel with Cascade Wednesday night to push the Cougars one step closer to a sectional title shot.
Judy began the game by striking out the first five batters she faced en route to an eight-strikeout performance. She also had one walk to go along with three hits.
North Putnam's defense also came through in a big way, making quick stops in the infield and solid catches in the outfield. North Putnam head coach Jim Brothers said after the game that both were definite factors in the game's outcome.
Cascade threatened in the top of the fourth as they loaded the bases, but Judy dug in her heels and collected two consecutive strikeouts to close the inning.
The Cougars put their run on the board in the bottom of the fourth when Ashley Doyle smacked a single and stole second to put North Putnam in position to score. She moved to third on a wild pitch by Cascade's Taylor Hueston and was brought home when Elsiana Crosby reached on an error. That would be all the Cougars would need to advance.
"We had a tough jam with the bases loaded and one out and we got out of the jam -- that was pretty big for us. Tonight one run was enough. Taylor was that good," Brother commented.
The Cougars only collected two hits on the night. Logan Doyle drove a hard double to right-center field in the top of the third inning. Brothers commented the Cougars made solid contact at the plate but would have liked to see better results from those contacts.
"We hit the ball hard at times. If we could have got a big hit it could have given us some breathing room but we didn't so one run had to do it and it did. We get to play another night; that's what this week is all about," he said.
It will be a North and South semifinal as the Cougars face the Eagles for a trip to the sectional finals on the line at 7:15 tonight.
Tri-West #46 Sectional Softball
Cascade 000 000 0 -- 0 4 2
North Putnam 000 100 x -- 1 2 1
WP -- Judy
LP -- Hueston
2B -- L. Doyle (NP)
Next game -- It will be a North and South semifinal as the Cougars face the Eagles for a trip to the sectional finals on the line at 7:15 tonight.