By TIM TUTTLE
For the Banner Graphic
ROACHDALE -- Brock Jones pitched a complete-game four hitter and Tyler Watson delivered a game-winning two-run home run in the sixth inning to lift North Putnam to a 3-2 victory in an extremely well played West Central Conference baseball game Tuesday on the Cougars' field.
Jones retired 18 of the final 20 hitters after giving up two runs and three hits in the first inning. He hit Dalin Gray with a pitch in the second inning and Andrew Rhyner had a single in the in the sixth. Neither Monrovia (11-9, 5-5 WCC) runner advanced past first base.
The senior right-hander struck out four and walked one. North Putnam played solid defense behind Jones. It was the first game this season the Cougars haven't made an error.
Jones relied primarily on his knuckleball and mixed in a couple of other pitches including a fastball.
"You couldn't ask for much more from him," North Putnam coach Norm Fish said. "Brock had good command of all his pitches. He pitched ahead (on strikes). I'm very pleased. He threw a nice game against Cascade last week, but this was his best this season."
It was a pitcher's duel. Monrovia starter Jeremy Gray retired 15 of the first 16 batters, including eight strikeouts, through five innings. Blake Knowling had been the Cougars' lone base runner, singling in the third and stealing second with two outs.
Knowling, a sophomore, got the Cougars (4-15, 3-10 WCC) started in the sixth with a hard-hit single past third baseman Luke Judson with one out in the sixth.
Gray induced Shawn Diebold to pop out before freshman shortstop Kyler Badten doubled off the left field fence to drive in Knowling. Watson ripped a high fastball over the left-center field fence to put North Putnam on top, 3-2.
"Badten came through for us and Tyler did what Tyler does," Fish said.
"Hopefully, that was a sign of things to come. We didn't have any errors, first time this season. That was a good baseball game. (Gray) did a great job, kept us off balance. We're going to have to deal with him in the conference for the next several years.
"I knew we had this kind of game in us. I have no doubt we can win two games and win the (Putnam) county tournament this weekend."
Monrovia 200 000 0--2 4 0
N Putnam 000 003 x--3 4 0
Jeremy Gray and Davis Noel; Brock Jones and Austin Day.
WP: Jones. LP: Gray.
HR: NP--Watson. 2B: NP--Badten. 1B: M--Marley, Benefiel, Fite, Rhyner; NP--Knowling 2.
RBI: M--Fite 2; NP--Watson 2, Badten.
Bulldogs take Monday matchup 6-1
MONROVIA -- Tyler Watson's four innings of solid relief pitching couldn't prevent North Putnam from a 6-1 loss to Monrovia in a West Central Conference game Monday, but it did provide the Cougars hope for a stronger finish in the regular season and a better chance for success in the sectional.
"That was Tyler's best outing of the year," North Putnam coach Norm Fish said. "I was pleased. We need him. I was glad to see him pitch like that. Tyler's had elbow pain and we've limited his performances this year. That was encouraging."
Watson, a hard-throwing junior right-hander, allowed one run and three hits. He struck out two and walked none.
North Putnam (3-15, 2-10 WCC) had only three hits and struck out 12 times against Monrovia (11-8, 5-4) left-hander Andrew Rhyner.
"We just didn't hit the ball," Fish said. "He (Rhyner) was pretty good and we weren't that sharp. He did a good job and we weren't quite focused. Shawn Diebold hit well and Tyler had a hit, but that's it."
Diebold had solid singles in the third and seventh innings. Watson's single was in the sixth.
North Putnam starting pitcher Mychael Buchanan allowed five runs, four earned, on four hits in three-plus innings. He struck out three and walked three.
"Mychael pitched well for three innings," Fish said. "That's one of the fewest runs we've allowed in a game for a while."
Buchanan was replaced by Watson with runners on first and third with no outs in the fourth. They had reached base on a walk and an error. Watson wild pitched one run in and the second scored on an infield ground out to give Monrovia a 5-1 lead.
North Putnam scored its run in the third. Brody Perrine, one of four freshmen in the starting lineup, walked and went to third on Diebold's single to center. Perrine scored on a well-executed double steal.
N Putnam 010 000 0--1 3 1
Monrovia 102 210 x--6 7 1
Buchanan, Watson (4) and Day; Rhyner and Noel.
WP: Rhyner. LP: Buchanan.
2B: M--Rhyner, Reeves. 1B: M--J. Gray 2, Marley, Reeves, Noel; NP--Diebold 2, Watson.