Asked how it felt to be the 2011 regional softball champions, head coach Chris Jones said the win was great and the environment in which they won was equally as nice.
"It's awesome," Jones said. "Every time you win it's nice and it feels good. To be able to win at home in front of this crowd that we had tonight -- a phenomenal crowd. Unbelievable supports from the South Putnam community and the area. There's a lot of people out tonight.
"The girls, for how hard they've worked, to have that kind of support at home tonight was awesome and the way they responded was awesome," he added.
South Putnam was able to get out to a quick first inning lead and score its first run in only its second appearance at the plate. Jenny Thompson knocked in Emily Dabkowski, who hit a single, to give South Putnam the 1-0 lead.
Jones said getting that early advantage was big for his Eagles.
"To put that first run up on the board is huge," Jones commented. "You always like to jump on teams early and I felt like if we could get an early start and kind of get our confidence rolling, defensively we're pretty good. If we can get a run, I feel good with a run, let along eight."
The Eagles struck again in the third inning when Brooke Boetjer hit a single and was brought home by a long triple from Jenna Jones. But their biggest output was still to come.
South Putnam benefited from solid play across the board, including a 3-for-3 performance from Janet Crafton. Crafton hit a double and a two RBI smack in the fifth inning. And it was that fifth inning where the Eagles put the game away for good.
"Coach (Lindsey) Blackman actually made a comment and said 'I think Janet was saving all her hits for regional', which that's fine and hopefully she has some more left for the semi-state as well," Jones said with a smile.
In addition to Crafton's two RBIs, MaKenzie Trisler also drove in two runs as did Thompson. In all, South Putnan collected six runs on four hits in the fifth to go up 8-0 and leave little doubt who would be packing their bags and heading south to the Forest Park semistate.
As impressive as its offense can be, South Putnam's strength just might be its solid defense and they gave one more example of that to end the contest.
After Andrea Scott hit a single to right field, Boetjer recorded her ninth strikeout of the day to put the Eagles just two outs away from advancing. The next batter hit a shot to Boetjer who turned and fired to Dabkowski at second, who threw to Mattie Varvel at first to turn the 1-6-3 double play to end the game.
On the night, South Putnam recorded four extra base hits and limited the Spartans to only four hits. Given only a night to prepare for regional, South Putnam was up to the challenge -- the team and the school as well.
With added bleachers surrounding the field, a literal wave of blue and red surrounded the diamond and Jones acknowledged the support following the win.
"I just want to thank the parents and the community for all they support they've gave us and hopefully we're going to have a huge crowd down at Forest Park at 11 a.m. Saturday morning. Because we love that type of backing again," Jones said.
With another great peformance from Boetjer and timely hitting from Crafton, Jones and Thompson, Jones was quick to point out it was a team effort that got South Putnam to where they were Tuesday night.
"All these girls, all 15, have stepped up at a different time and a different game and its just great to see," he said. "I'm excited for them, I'm excited for the community and they deserve it. As hard as they've worked, they deserve this and I'm glad they have the opportunity and I'm just glad I get to be a part of it."
The Eagles now have four days before playing in the Forest Park semistate, and unlike its sectional championship, the Eagles are going to take some time and savor the feeling of being a regional champion.
"We're going to enjoy this and we actually get a couple of days to enjoy this one which is going to be nice and then we're going to get ready for semi-state and hopefully keep playing our type of softball," Jones said.
South Putnam will face the winner of Frankton and Union County at Forest Park at 11 a.m.
At South Putnam
Class 2A Softball Regional
South Knox 000 000 0 -- 0 4 2
S. Putnam 101 060 x -- 8 10 1
WP -- Boetjer
LP -- Keller
3B -- Jones (SP)
2B -- Crafton (SP), Thompson (SP), Trisler (SP)
Next game -- South Putnam will face the winner of Frankton and Union County at Forest Park at 11 a.m.