"We were two evenly matched teams and we didn't get timely hits at critical times," North Putnam coach Norm Fish said. "Speedway made the plays when it had to. Kyler Badten hit the heck out of the ball, but did it with nobody on. Jake Haste hit well. We weren't able to get base runners on in front of them."
Haste had an RBI single in the Cougars' two-run first inning, but two more singles were without runners on base. Badten had a booming double to centerfield with two outs in the fourth and was left stranded and a single with two outs in the sixth.
The Cougars had seven hits. Blake Knowling and Kaleb Belcher had singles.
North Putnam added a run in the second on an error that put Badten on first, a passed ball and an error on a ground ball by Michael Herrmann, to take a 3-0 lead.
The Sparkplugs scored two in the fourth to cut North Putnam's lead to 3-2.
The Cougars responded with a run in the fifth. Haste singled to right and went to second on a wild pitch. Knowling delivered a RBI single to center.
Speedway (10-17) cut its deficit to 4-3 with a run in the fifth.
The Cougars (14-13) led 4-3 entering the bottom of the sixth with starter Tyler Watson on the mound.
Lead-off hitter Jonny Hession walked and went to third on a sacrifice bunt and an error. Conor McGraw's RBI single to left tied the game. Quentin Billington walked.
Badten relieved Watson.
Bryce Pennington hit the sophomore right-hander's first pitch for a double to center to drive in McGraw with the go-ahead run. Nicholas McCormick followed with a two-run single to right.
"I felt it was time to make a switch and bring in a fresh arm," Fish said. "Tyler had been through their lineup three times and I wanted to give them a different look. Obviously, it didn't work out real well. Speedway was able to put the bats on the base
ball and we made a couple of errors."
North Putnam had runners on second with two outs in the seventh and the dangerous Austin Day at the plate. Facing hard-throwing right-hander Andrew Brown, who went the distance, Day struck out, the seventh for Brown.
"Our kids didn't give up," Fish said. "We had the tying run at the plate in the seventh."
It was the final game for Watson, the team's only senior, at North Putnam.
"Tyler had a great four-career," Fish said.
Watson had 114 RBIs, breaking Kyle Rooker's school record, and slugged 27 home runs. He had 11 this year. The 6-foot-3, 235-pounder also was an outstanding pitcher and first baseman. Watson is headed for Franklin College, where he'll play football and baseball.
"I feel badly for Tyler that we didn't get him a sectional championship," Fish said. "I would have liked to have won a couple more games with him."
North Putnam should have a bright future with eight starters returning.
"We made improvements this season and that was the main thing," Fish said. "I'm proud of all the kids. We expect a lot out of our players, on the field and in the dugout. They're hard workers and it's going to pay off."
North Putnam 210 010 0 -- 4 7 2
Speedway 000 214 x -- 7 8 5
Watson, Badten and Day; Brown and Pennington.
WP -- Brown. LP -- Watson.
3B: S--McGraw. 2B: NP--Badten; S--M. McCormick, Pennington. 1B: NP--Haste 3, Badten, Belcher, Knowling; S--N. McCormick, McGraw, Billington. RBI: NP--Watson, Haste, Knowling; S--McGraw 3, N. McCormick 2, Rosner, Pennington.