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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Eagles claim softball regional championship

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The South Putnam softball team won the Class 2A Softball Regional over Indianapolis Scecina Tuesday 1-0. Members of the Eagles are (front, left) Emily Dabkowski, MaKenzie Trisler, Brooke Boetjer, Jenny Thompson, Jenna Jones, Kaylin Yon, Ashlee Gibson, (back) head coach Chris Jones, Makayla Hettich, Katie McHugh, Mattie Varvel, Brooke Cundiff, Janet Crafton, Kelsey Whitaker, Nikki York, assistant coach Ashley Nelson and assistant coach Lindsey Blackman. [Order this photo]
INDIANAPOLIS -- Class 2A No. 1 South Putnam met a familiar foe in their IHSAA regional match-up Tuesday night.

Traveling to Brookside Park, the Eagles faced No. 5 Indianapolis Scecina, the squad they had defeated in last year's semi-state final 3-1.

The visitors could only muster one run across home plate, but it was enough as the defending state champions advanced to the Forest Park semi-state 1-0.

Senior Emily Dabkowski (21) and Jenny Thompson give head coach Chris Jones a refreshing post-game shower to celebrate their regional win. [Order this photo]
South Putnam had its first opportunity to score in the second inning after Jenna Jones hit a double down the left field line. A strikeout and a bang-bang play at first prevented the junior from scoring.

The Eagles would get their run in the third inning. Emily Dabkowski reached first on an error and was moved over on a Jenny Thompson single.

Kelsey Whitaker hit a blooper that landed between three Crusader players, scoring Dabkowski to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.

Scecina's first chance to score came in the bottom half of the same inning after catcher Megan Kehl ripped a single to start the inning. Allison Hick came into pinch run and moved to third base after a sacrifice bunt and a groundout.

Hearts jumped into mouths later when pitcher Brooke Boetjer collapsed after a pitch, grabbing at her ankle. The IU-bound senior walked it off and promptly struck out the batter she was facing to end the inning.

The Eagles had chances to score in the fifth and sixth innings, leaving runners stranded at third each time as the hosts gave themselves a chance to stay in the game.

But as the game moved on, the Crusader batters became more and more desperate to find a way to score.

Boetjer needed less than 20 pitches to complete the final two innings, though the final pitch nearly gave the home side new life.

Freshman Justice Carmichael smashed a shot to deep left field, but did not have enough juice on the ball to clear the fence as Whitaker reeled in the final out to send the Eagles on the semi-state.

South Putnam head coach Chris Jones said afterward the offense did well to manufacture the only score of the game.

"It was great to have Emily back. All through the line-up, we put the ball in play. That's half the battle, putting pressure on teams to make plays," Jones said.

"Defenses of this caliber are going to make plays. We executed well to get a run in. That was a beautiful thing to see, because it's difficult to do at this level.

"Scecina's got a great team. They're very quick pretty much all the way around. We'd like it if we reduce our strikeouts and keep putting the ball in play."

Jones also commended the defense for standing strong against a solid Scecina offense.

"Brooke did a great job mentally of getting around an illegal pitch call and dealing with her ankle after she rolled it," Jones said.

"There were people out there who were worried, but she's tough. She fought through it and it's going to take more than that to keep her down.

"We had Kaylin Yon ready if we needed her. We were prepared if something had happened, but she kept fighting through and she got it done, which was great to see," Jones added.

"The defense played great. We made plays when we had to. After we rushed a throw early on due to their team speed, I told them, with the arms they have, to field the ball first and then throw them out."

South Putnam will face No. 13 Union County upon their return to Ferdinand, Indiana Saturday. Jones said that the squad needs to keep doing what it does.

"If we play our type of softball, people are going to like the outcome. We play the first game like we did last year on Saturday morning," Jones said.

"We're the home team when we face Union County. We've got to come in focused like we did today. If we can get that game, we'll focus on the other one.

"The biggest thing is to play our type of softball. If we play mentally focused and are ready to play, I like what we can do."

At Brookside Park, Indianapolis

IHSAA Class 2A Regional No. 22

South Putnam 001 000 0 -- 1 6 1

Indpls. Scecina 000 000 0 -- 0 2 2

WP -- Boetjer

2B -- Jones

Next game -- South Putnam will face Union County in the first game of the IHSAA Class 2A Forest Park semi-state at 11 a.m. Saturday.