ROACHDALE -- It was cold, it was windy and it was the start of WCC play between the baseball squads from North Putnam and Greencastle Tuesday. Despite the difficult conditions, North Putnam powered to an early lead and held on to win 12-2 in five innings.
"I am pleased," North Putnam head coach Norm Fish said. "I thought we came out ready to play. We had a disappointing loss on Saturday, we kind of basically gave it to Lebanon and the kids realized it. We had a lot of mistakes; we had 24 mistakes Saturday and that was our focal point the past couple days."
The Cougars benefited greatly from the crash course. Clinging to a 6-2 advantage, the North Putnam Cougars put together a five-run fourth to put the game out of reach.
Senior Scott Hunt connected on grounder that found its way past GHS short stop Logan Grzesiek. Fellow seniors Mitchell Crum and Griffen Dahlstrom reached base on walks, with Tyler Watson bringing the trio home. Watson and Shawn Diebold scored to round out the fourth inning barrage.
In the fourth and fifth innings, Greencastle sent six batters to the plate, resulting in six outs and giving North Putnam the only shot they would need to close out the game.
With two outs, Dahlstrom strode to the plate and smacked a shot that found the left line and sent him rounding first. Instead of holding up at second, Dahlstrom lowered his helmet and made a break for third. The senior found refuge at third and was brought home by Watson to close the game.
The Tiger Cubs went three up and three down to start the game, the Cougars warmed things up in the first inning. Hunt was walked, followed by a double by Crum. With one out, Dahlstrom loaded the bases after being hit by a pitch.
Two batters later, North Putnam got on the board.
North Putnam junior Brock Jones stepped into the batter's box, took aim and sent a towering shot into right-center field to bring home four runs.
Finding themselves on the ropes, the Tiger Cubs responded in the third with two runs as Graham Shuee and Kyle Nobles crossed the plate.
It was also Shuee who provided one of the Greencastle highlights in the bottom of the inning.
North Putnam looked to be hitting its stride after bringing two runs in, but it was Shuee who sent the Cougars to their dugout. North Putnam senior Kyle Alcorn connected on a scorcher down the third base line, then Shuee zeroed in, snagged it barehanded and sent a laser shot to first to record the final out.
Following the game, Fish was proud of his team's ability to rebound from the tough loss Saturday and put in a strong performance in less than perfect conditions. The Cougars might have picked up the win, but Fish knows the season is more than a single win.
"I'm really proud of them," Fish commented. "We had a tough game Saturday and it's cold and windy out here, but the kids didn't say anything about it. They were ready to play. They came out fired up in their first conference game and you can't ask for much more than a repeat tomorrow. We just have to make sure we aren't satisfied."
Greencastle head coach Troy Remsburg was unavailable for comment after the game.
The Tiger Cubs (0-1, 0-1 WCC) and Cougars (1-1, 1-0 WCC) will tangle again tonight at Greencastle beginning at 5 p.m.
At North Putnam
Greencastle 020 00 -- 2 3 2
North Putnam 402 51 -- 12 8 0
Crum/Buchanan (NP), Ford, Grzesiek/Johnson (GHS)
WP -- Crum
LP -- Ford
HR -- Jones (NP)
3B -- Dahlstrom (NP)
2B -- Crum (NP)
Next game -- The Tiger Cubs and Cougars will tangle again tonight at Greencastle beginning at 5 p.m.