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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Cougars struggle against Chargers

Thursday, May 13, 2010

(Photo)
North Putnam slugger Tyler Watson and the rest of the Cougar offense struggled Wednesday against North Montgomery, falling 7-0. [Order this photo]
ROACHDALE -- The early morning Wednesday showers wouldn't damper plans for the North Putnam boys' baseball team from playing against North Montgomery later that evening. By 6:30 p.m., the field conditions were ideal for a night baseball game.

However, only the visiting Chargers brought the lumber to the ballpark, as the Cougars were unable to mount any offense in a 7-0 loss. Cougar batters were only able to muster six hits scattered over the seven-inning affair.

Northmont started off quickly by nabbing two runs in the first. Leadoff hitter Joey Clifton opened the proceedings with a single off North Putnam starter Kyler Badten. Clifton stole second and advanced to third on a fielder's choice. Cody Nickle was hit by a pitch and stole second a couple of pitches later.

A wild pitch allowed Clifton to score, with Nickle moving to third. Drew Young then hit a single to drive in the Northmont first baseman and would advance to third base after a sac bunt and single by Robert Hinds. Hinds, however, was caught stealing second, but not before the ire of the Charger coaching staff was raised.

The Cougars managed to hit back-to-back singles in the opposite half of the inning but neither Tyler Watson nor Brock Jones would advance past second.

Both sides went the next two innings without sending more than four batters up to the plate.

Hinds was hit in the top of the fourth twice, once at the plate and once beating a throw back to second base. He would later score on a wild pitch, making the score 3-0.

Still a tight contest, Aaron Williamson was hit by a pitch from new Cougars pitcher Brody Perrine. The next pitch of the contest met the bat of Nickles who drove it to straightaway center for a two-run home run that gave the Chargers some breathing space. With Williamson scoring, all three Charger batters who were hit scored.

In the sixth, with the Cougars still struggling to make solid contact off of Chargers starter Shawn Verhey, Taylor Jones doubled and advanced to third on a dropped strike three. The third Cougars pitcher, Jacob Haste, was then called for a balk, allowing Jones to score to make it 6-0 for the visitors.

Northmont would add one more in the seventh on a Hinds single. The Cougars' final at bat saw some of the best swings of the bat in the contest, but the home side could still not get anyone past second, allowing Verhey to complete the game with a shutout.

While not the best of score lines, North Putnam head coach Norm Fish wasn't down about the contest.

"You know, Badten pitched a good 3-4 innings tonight and he, along with Bordy Perrine, who are both freshmen, pitched well tonight," Fish said. "We just didn't hit the ball tonight. We were playing where we'd get 12-14 hits but then have seven or eight errors and lose the games. Now, were cutting the errors, but not getting the hits. We'll have a lot of batting practice in the next couple of days."

"We're playing good defense right now. We just need to focus on being sharper at the plate, shorten the swings and make contact. The fundamentals," Fish added. "We've got a couple of days to get it corrected."

"Blake Knowling, our right fielder, has been doing the job with hits and a couple of other guys are getting hits, so we're not completely dead. We just need to chain five together. The guys' hustle has been good in these games, so we feel pretty good about that."

"We had a chance in the third inning when we had a man on second. Badten hit it to the shortstop and was out at first, but Diebold went and was thrown out at third after that. We had Watson coming up and thought we had a chance of getting back in it, but they made two good throws."

Even though the Cougars would face the Chargers again Thursday, Fish would look a little into the future to the upcoming County Tourney on Saturday.

"We've got three or four kids that can pitch against Cloverdale. We just need to get the bats rolling Saturday. We've been playing better ball and getting better each game. There's a lot of excitement about playing this weekend."

At North Putnam

N. Montgomery 200 121 1 -- 7 9 1

North Putnam 000 000 0 -- 0 6 1