GREENCASTLE -- In a baseball game between two high scoring teams where no lead seemed safe, South Putnam freshman Aaron Parker's seventh-inning relief pitching closed the door on Monrovia to lift the Eagles to a 10-9 West Central Conference victory Monday on their home field.
The left-handed Parker entered the game with one out. With the Eagles leading 10-8 and Monrovia's Andy Rhyner on third base. Zach Fite's off-the-fists blooper fell in for a hit in front of second base, scoring Rhyner. Dalin Gray pinch ran for Fite, but the potential tying run never moved past first base.
Parker struck out Davis Noel and Robby Marley to end the game.
"He (Parker) can throw hard and he did a good job shutting the door," South Putnam coach Ryan Gilman said. "He also did a good job holding the runner at first."
The Eagles (5-3, 4-1 WCC) had three home runs, solo shots by Cameron Chestnut leading off in the first inning and John Spencer leading off the fourth, and a two-run shot by Nathan Welty that put them back in the lead, 8-7, in the fifth.
Spencer went 3-for-3, adding singles in the three-run second and the three-run fifth.
"We have the ability to hit the ball all through the lineup, one through nine, which is nice," Gilman said.
Grant Zinmerman was South Putnam's starting pitcher. He allowed nine runs, eight earned, and eight hits in six and a third innings. Zimmerman struck out eight and walked three.
"It wasn't his best stuff," Gilman said.
Chestnut's home run staked the Eagles to a 1-0 lead.
Dean Reeves' two-run home run in the second put Monrovia on top, 2-1.
South Putnam scored three in the bottom of the inning on a walk to Derek Dean, a single by Spencer, an RBI single by Parker, plus an error, three wild pitches and a passed ball.
Monrovia's Jeremy Gray led off the third inning with solo home run to cut the Eagles' lead to 4-3.
The Bulldogs (3-5, 2-3 WCC) scored four in the fifth. Reeves led off with a double and Zach Klampe followed with a bunt single. Gray's ground ball went for an error, scoring Reeves. Grant Benfiel walked to load the bases.
Rhyner belted a shot to dead center and Drew Cash made an outstanding catch against the fence. Klampe tagged up and scored. Gray also tagged and headed for third. Cash's long throw got past third baseman Spencer and Gray scored. Buttler's double into right-centerfield put Monrovia ahead, 7-6.
"Monrovia did a good job of putting the ball in play in the fifth and they hit the ball hard," Gilman said.
South Putnam scored three in the bottom of the fifth.
With one out, catcher Brayden Freeman walked and Welty's home run to left put the Eagles back in the lead. Dean followed with a walk, went to third on Spencer's single and a ground out and scored on wild pitch to give South Putnam a 9-7 advantage.
The Eagles scored an unearned run in the sixth on a walk to Cash. He went to second on a ground out and scored on a Monrovia throwing error. It gave South Putnam a three-run lead going into the seventh, just enough to hold onto the victory.
Monrovia 021 040 2--9 10 2
South Putnam 130 231 x--10 7 2
Rhyner, Reeves (5) and Noel; Zimmerman, Parker (7) and Freeman.
HR: M--Reeves, J. Gray; SP--Chestnut, Spencer, Welty.
DBL: M--Reeves, Buttler.
1B: M--Klampe 2, Fite 2, Benefiel 1, Rhyner 1; SP--Spencer 2, Zimmerman 1, Parker 1.
RBI: M--Reeves 2, J. Gray 1, Rhyner 1, Buttler 1, Fite 1; SP--Welty 2, Chestnut 1, Spencer 1, Parker 1.