ROACHDALE -- Having split their last five games, North Putnam continued a win-loss trend Friday night, beating visiting Crawfordsville 6-0.
Taylor Judy pitched a complete game shutout for the Cougars, surrendering four hits over seven innings while striking out twelve.
The offense, which had only put up one run over the last three games after the 14-0 hammering of North Montgomery, got started early when leadoff hitter Katie Welch was hit by a pitch. After stealing second, catcher Morgan Robinson hit a sac fly to center to give the Cougars a quick 1-0 lead.
North Putnam added a run in the third after Welch doubled and Robinson singled in the shortstop to give the Cougars a 2-0 lead. They added a third in the fifth when Lauren Green singled, stole second and was driven in via a Judy double.
The Cougars were given insurance runs in a woeful sixth inning for the Athenians. A single by Green was misplayed by the centerfielder, allowing Green to advance to third. Tari Straziscar laid down a bunt, only for the pitcher to throw over first base, allowing Green to score and Straziscar to move to third.
Alyssa Roberts grounded to third, scoring Straziscar before Ashlyn Clark singled and Bailey Ault reached base off an error. Clark would score when a wild pitch and two errant throws sent the Crawfordsville defense everywhere, though Welch could not move Ault in after flying out to end the inning.
That would matter little as Judy, who did allow three hits in the final two innings, struck out the last two batters of the game on called strike threes.
North Putnam coach Chase Hiland, while pleased with the win, was still looking for more from his squad.
"Offensively, we still need to get our timing down. We have a lot of games coming up that are going to help us with that and get us ready for the last week of May," Hiland said.
"We did see some signs of life today, late in the game. We were moving people over, putting pressure on the defense and made them do the work."
"The top half of the order is providing for us. The bottom of the order needs to help in manufacturing runs," Hiland noted.
Defensively, the squad was far more secure than Wednesday against South Putnam, an encouraging sign for Hiland.
"Our third baseman has been ill, so we tried someone new there and Cayla [Kientz] didn't play bad in her first game there ever," Hiland mentioned.
"I tell the team, whenever Taylor throws, Taylor will be Taylor. She's going to throw around the zone, she's going to make good pitches consistently, she's going to work people. Our defense wasn't too busy, but we made the play we had to make."
"As a defense, that's all you can ask. When you have a pitcher like Taylor and you have action, you need to make the routine play. That' a focus, controlling what we can control. Defensively, I thought we did well," Hiland said.
The Cougars travel to Turkey Run Saturday for a doubleheader, though, as Hiland put it, the opponent is not just the Warriors.
"If the wins come, great. We just want to play a more complete, well-rounded game. If we do, I have a strong feeling the wins will be there," Hiland said.
"Taylor and Lauren are going to throw Saturday. Lauren throws strikes and hit's the zone low, so she's a solid number two pitcher."
"It's almost like we're playing ourselves. We're seeing how well we can do every game. Can we improve? Can we build off what we did previously? That's our goal."
At North Putnam
Crawfordsville 000 000 0 -- 0 4 5
North Putnam 101 013 X -- 6 7 0
WP -- Judy (5-3)
LP -- Barton
2B -- Judy, Welch (NP)
Next game -- North Putnam (6-4) travels to Turkey Run Saturday for a Varsity doubleheader starting at 10 a.m.