Sparkplug junior Lorian Tharp took a perfect game into the sixth inning before allowing a hit and a walk on the way to a 2-0 win Monday evening. She also struck out nine.
Judy was the hard luck loser, as she pitched a gem herself. The junior struck out 13 Sparkplugs while yielding just two runs on four hits and a walk.
Coach Jim Brothers said his Cougars (3-1, 2-1 WCC) were hitting the ball, particularly as the game wore on. They were just hitting them at fielders.
"We put the ball in play, we just didn't make solid contact tonight. That's something we've been doing, but it was a good pitcher's matchup," Brothers said.
"As the game went on, we did a much better job at the plate. We were just a little keyed up to begin the game and maybe we were over-swinging a little bit," he added.
For Speedway, the damage was done in the sixth. After giving up a single and a walk in the top of the first, Judy had retired 14 straight batters.
Unfortunately, the Sparkplugs broke through with singles from JoJo Daghe and Jessica James. After a fielding error loaded the bases, Tharp drove in two runs with a hard grounder up the middle.
The junior had given herself all the cushion she needed. Dakota Parent broke up the perfect game with a single in the bottom of the sixth. Bridget Johnston also reached on a two-out walk, but Tharp retired the final four batters of the game to complete the shutout.
Brothers remains hopeful for tonight's rematch at Speedway.
"I think we can come in with confidence," he said. "We've seen her (Tharp) now. Hopefully we learn some things. She did a good job of keeping it on the outside half of the plate, and we didn't make much contact with it."
The teams face off at 6 p.m. in what figures to be a rematch of the two aces.
"One game's not going to make or break us. We've got to come out tomorrow night and go up there and get our bats going," Brothers said.
At North Putnam
Speedway 000 002 0 -- 2 4 0
North Putnam 000 000 0 -- 0 1 1
Tharp and Anglea; Judy and Malayer
WP -- Tharp
LP -- Judy
2B -- Tharp (Spd)
Next game: The Cougars (3-1, 2-1 WCC) and Sparkplugs battle again tonight at 5 p.m. at Speedway.