South Putnam starting pitcher Brooke Boetjer flexed some muscle to get the Eagle offense going. With Emily Dabkowski sitting on base, Boetjer sent a high shot over the left field fence to give the Eagles the lead at 2-0
Although the Eagles were able to take a quick 2-0 lead in the first, the rustiness of their layoff reared its ugly head in the early in the game.
South Putnam committed three errors in the first two innings, allowing the Bruins to knot the game at 2-all. South Putnam was able to bear down and go error-free for the remainder.
South Putnam head coach Chris Jones acknowledged the layoff as being a factor early and noted that the only thing that matters is advancing in the tournament.
"We hadn't played in 10 days. I'm not saying that was anything to do with it, but I think getting us going, it took a little bit," Jones said. "Two unearned runs. Brooke pitched a great game. After our two unearned runs, our defense played a good game, but it felt like it took us a while to get accustomed, get some nerves out of us.
"We got the win and that's the big thing -- win and advance, win and advance. We got it done, so we're playing tomorrow," he added.
It took the Eagles until the sixth inning to get their offense firing on all cylinders. In the inning, senior Krystal Welch reached on a throwing error that scored Jenna Jones, who reached with a double and Janet Crafton, who had walked.
Megan Barnes could have been the third run scored, but as she clearly slid under the tag of the Bruins' catcher Jessie O'Neal, the home plate umpire wound up and delivered the out signal. Jones hopped down the third base line to question, but the call stood and woke the South Putnam bats.
With a newfound fire in its belly, South Putnam took out its frustration from the previous inning, pummeling the Bruins in the seventh for seven runs on six hits. Tri-West was clearly on its heels, committing three errors the inning.
Having already hit a home run, Boetjer hit a triple, Dabkowski connected on a double and the Eagles were cruising into the semifinal to face familiar foe North Putnam.
"I'm excited for them," Jones said. "I couldn't name the number of people that got big hits. Krystal put the go ahead run, a big senior stepping up in her final state tournament, which is huge. Then Brooke -- holy cow -- what a shot. What a shot. She's got that capability and she took it.
Boetjer was 3-for-5 with a home run, a triple and four RBIs, while Dabkowski was 3-for-5 with a triple, a double and two RBIs. Jenna Jones recorded two doubles and Welch was 2-for-5 with two RBIs.
In addition to her offensive output, Boetjer had seven strikeouts and just one hit on the evening.
Next up will be North Putnam, an opponent the Eagles have faced three times this season, picking up wins in each of the contests. For Jones, the match-up isn't going to reveal anything new to either team, but it's going to make for one heck of a sectional semifinal.
"Get to face North again," Jones said with a big grin. "I don't know that any team has any secrets for each other with as many times as we've played each other. It's going to be a good game -- a great atmosphere. It's what the state tournament is about. I want the girls to enjoy the win tonight, and I'm going to try to enjoy it a little bit and then we'll focus on North come tomorrow. It's going to be a battle.
"That's what we're here for, to get tested and I think we will be tomorrow," he concluded.
South Putnam will face North Putnam today in the second game of the Tri-West Sectional Semifinal at approximately 7 p.m.
Class 2A No. 46 Sectional
South Putnam 200 002 7 -- 11 13 3
Tri-West 110 000 0 -- 2 1 5
WP -- Boetjer
LP -- Warren
HR -- Boetjer (SP)
3B -- Boetjer (SP), Dabkowski (SP)
2B -- Dabkowski (SP), Jones 2 (SP)
Next game -- South Putnam will face North Putnam today in the second game of the Tri-West Sectional Semi-final at approximately 7 p.m.