After it looked as if it would be a fight to the finish early, following the second inning, it was all Eagles. South Putnam earned its spot in the final following its win against Cascade in its first game.
"We played well all day and we had to play well all day. We played two really good teams and we made the plays down the stretch."
Speedway sped out of the gates, scoring two runs in the top of the first inning to gain a 2-0 lead, but South Putnam had something to prove and it did just than in the bottom of the inning.
After Cameron Chestnut reached on a walk, he stole second and was brought home by a shot to left field by Grant Zimmerman. Zimmerman would score two batters later as Nathan Welty smacked a shot to left field. South Putnam added another run in the inning when Brayden Freeman crossed the plate.
Both squads added a run in the second inning and that would be the end of Speedway's scoring for the night.
South Putnam found itself in some tight situations Monday, but the Eagle defense was able to turn two double plays to close out the third and fourth innings.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, South Putnam took the lead for good after Aaron Parker reached on a single and was brought home by Chestnut's ground rule double to center field. Drew Cash also scored following a passed ball at the plate.
Senior John Spencer got the call on the mound for the Eagles and he didn't disappoint. After a few tight situations, Spencer struck out four-of-five-batters in the fifth and sixth innings. For the game, Spencer tossed a complete game with two hits and seven strikeouts.
"Going into it, we were like 'John, if you can get us three or four innings, we'll be OK' and he went the whole game and got strong along the way. He pitched a heck of a game," he said. "Same way with Grant battling back in the first game. But John, I couldn't ask for any more.
"He was getting ground balls, he was getting strikeouts, hitting his spots -- he pitched fantastic today for us and that was one of the main reasons we did what we did. The defense played well all night," Gilman said.
Two strikeouts in the seventh inning had the Eagles just one out away from repeating their feat from a year ago. Speedway's Jared Nelis powered a shot between short stop and second, but Chestnut made a spectacular diving catch to close the game.
South Putnam was the defending sectional champ and Gilman said it was a matter of players learning their roles on the team.
"We knew we had a target on our back going into it and it helps only losing two guys (from last year). This was the goal we set out in the beginning of the year and our seniors filled in nicely and the rest of the team followed behind them," Gilman said
In the opening game, the Eagles found themselves behind 8-6 after four innings, but the fifth was when they hit paydirt.
Following Zimmerman's two-run blast that sent the Cadets right fielder up and over the fence, the Eagles put together a five-run fifth inning to take the lead for good.
In the inning, the Eagles had four big hits, including a two-RBI triple from Chestnut. Zimmerman recorded 11 strikeouts and seven hits against the Cadets.
South Putnam will face the winner of the South Spencer Sectional at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Linton-Stockton Regional.
At North Putnam
Class 2A No. 46 Sectional
Speedway 210 000 0 -- 3 2 0
South Putnam 310 202 X -- 8 12 2
WP -- Spencer
LP -- West
3B -- Spencer (SP)
2B -- Chestnut (SP)
Cascade 104 300 0 -- 8 7 0
South Putnam 130 250 0 -- 11 9 2
WP -- Zimmerman
LP -- Baldwin
HR -- Zimmerman (SP); Yeager (CAS), Arthur (CAS)
3B -- Chestnut (SP)
2B -- Zimmerman (SP); Smith (CAS)
Next game -- South Putnam will face the winner of the South Spencer Sectional at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Linton-Stockton Regional.