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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Eagles win second straight sectional title

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

South Putnam won its second consecutive sectional title following its 7-1 win over Cascade Monday. Members of the Eagles are (front, left) MaKenzie Trisler, Brooke Boetjer, Jenny Thompson, Megan Barnes, Brenly Bratcher, Jenna Jones, Brooke Cundiff, Nikki York, (back) head coach Chris Jones, Emily Dabkowski, Kelsey Whitaker, Janet Crafton, Kailin Yon, Abbi Speedy, Destiny Tomasino, Mattie Varvel, assistant coach Lindsay Blackman and assistant coach Ashley Nelson. [Order this photo]
LIZTON -- The South Putnam softball team made some noise before ever stepping on the field Monday. A caravan of vehicles accompanying the team bus entered Tri-West's parking lot for Class 2A No.46 sectional honking their horns to signal its arrival and the team itself continued to make noise once the sectional championship got underway.

South Putnam rolled through Cascade, who had played a game just prior to the championship, winning 7-1 to win its second straight sectional title over the Cadets.

"That's another great pitching performance by Brooke," head coach Chris Jones said. "And then defensively, we made some mistakes and we were able to bounce back for the most part from them and continue and only allow them to get one run. When Jenna hit that ball to left-center and those two girls made a great effort after it, with the speed and the way she runs the base, to score from that and get two up on them early was a nice thing."

While it wasn't a 10-run victory as their previous two sectional games this year were, it was clear early on who was in control of the field. Starting pitcher Boetjer stalked the pitching circle, firing blistering pitch to catcher Jenny Thompson and striking out 11 batters on the day.

If you're going to score, you might as well do it with style and that's precisely how the Eagles got their first two runs on the board. Boetjer earned a walk on her first trip to the plate in the second inning and Jenna Jones brought her home in thrilling fashion.

With a 2-2 count, Jones laced a shot to left-center field where two Cascade outfielders dove for the ball and missed, allowing the ball to reach the fence. Boetjer scored with ease and the speedy Jones was heading for third as the throw came in. The throw was bad and Jones made a break for home, crossing the plate standing and putting the Eagles in front 2-0.

The scrappy Cadets scored a run in the top of the third inning when Courtney Stephenson hit a triple over the head of right fielder MaKenzie Trisler as gusty winds made making routines plays in the outfield anything but routine. The freshman right fielder was rattled, but settled down and ended up making a nice play in the outfield and scoring a run at the plate.

With the score cut to 2-1, South Putnam extended its lead to 3-1 when Boetjer knocked in Jenny Thompson in the bottom of the third. The Eagles are known for their ability to put runs on the board in a hurry and they demonstrated that once again when their next at bat rolled around.

Looking to put some breathing room between themselves and the Cadets, South Putnam came out swinging in the bottom of the fourth and put up four runs to give itself a 7-1 advantage.

With two outs against them, South Putnam connected on four straight hits, three of which were doubles. Emily Dabkowski, Thompson and Boetjer accounted for the doubles.

From there the Eagles were on cruise control, with Boetjer striking out six of the final 12 Cadet batters.

The Eagles won't have much time to rest, as they will play for the regional title today on their home diamond. While some teams would dwell on the lack of turnaround time, Jones and the Eagles are embracing it.

"I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing in the sense that we get to keep playing softball," Jones said. "We played a game and it's not to be a disadvantage in the fact that they're playing today too. Our regional opponent is playing today, so we're both playing and I think in that aspect it's going to be completely fair.

"What a great opportunity to host a regional game. I tell you what, I need to say it now, I want to thank our community for coming out today. Great, tremendous supports. That was great to see. Our parents have been great with that all year and I don't expect anything less come tomorrow evening," he added.

South Putnam might not know who they're facing for the regional championship, but Jones said if they stay true to what got them where they are.

"I don't even know who we play," Jones commented. "It's not decided yet and we just need to worry about ourselves. If we can come out with the focus, energy and effort that we've come with the last three nights, then I like our chances. But that's the biggest thing we need to do. The other thing we need to do is hydrate ourselves.

"It got hot for the first time in a while, so we're going to play in back to back heat days, so we have to make sure we're hydrated and physically and mentally prepared for tomorrow night because we've faced great teams so far in the tournament -- three really good teams and we're going to face another one on Tuesday. I don't know who it is, but I can tell you they're going to be good to win a sectional," he said.

The Eagles learned late Monday they will host South Knox at 6:30 p.m.


At Tri-West

Class 2A No. 46 Sectional

Cascade 001 00 0 -- 1 4 0

S. Putnam 021 100 x -- 711 2

WP -- Boetjer

LP -- Stephenson