COUNTY SOFTBALL: Couch pitches red-hot Cloverdale to third straight crown
The Cloverdale Clover softball team won their third straight Putnam County championship on Saturday with a 5-0 defeat of the Greencastle Tiger Cubs. Macie Couch threw a five-hit shutout as the Clovers used a four-run third inning to garner the championship and the Putnam County “paddle”.
“I thought we (Clovers players) all did a good job. We’ve won 11 of our last 12 games and feel really good right now,” Clover head coach Jim Spencer said.
The Clovers were able to break open a scoreless tie in the bottom of the third. Hannah Long led off the inning with a double to right and Autumn Lewellen reached on a bunt single. The first two Clover runs came as Couch reached on an error, then scored on a Morgan Goss single. She came around with the final score of the inning as Kiley Shedron reached on the second Tiger Cub error in the inning to give the Clovers a 4-0 lead.
“I thought we did a really good job of putting pressure on them, especially in the inning (third) where we got four runs. This was a game you were just trying to scratch one run across,” Spencer said.
Couch continued to stay in control from the mound as the Cubs just couldn’t put anything together at the plate. Greencastle only had more than one baserunner in any inning as the Clover defense was solid behind the sophomore as they took away multiple hits with stellar defense.
“I told the girls you have to win in the type of game it is, whether it’s 15-10 or 1-0. We made some good pitches, we made good plays and just did what we needed to,” Spencer said.
The Clovers didn’t commit an error as their outfield ran down what seemed to be every well-hit ball. Greencastle couldn’t put any pressure on the Clovers and their struggles at the plate was the key according to head coach Tabitha Briones. “I don’t know what it was, whether is was mental or their pitching or just not being ready, but you can’t win a game with just four or five hits.”
Couch had four strikeouts on the game, but certainly impressed her coach.
“I thought she did a good job of focusing and throwing with a tired body. When the sun went away she even heated up and got better,” Spencer said.
Cloverdale was able to get an insurance run in the sixth inning. Tori Combs led off with a double, stole third and then scored on an error.
“We wanted to get an insurance run because Julia (Mundy) was really pitching well. We knew she might just shut us out the rest of the way,” Spencer said.
Mundy pitched all six innings in picking up the loss, but she allowed only seven hits as all five runs were unearned.
“She really kept us in the game today. She pitched really well,” Briones said.
Greencastle fell to 6-13 and will try and pick up a win in the crossover game next Tuesday against Owen Valley.
The Clovers picked up their third straight county championship, as they head into their WIC crossover game with North Putnam today and put their 11-5 record on the line.
Greencastle 000 000 0 — 0
Cloverdale 004 001 x — 5
WP - Couch, LP - Mundy
2B - Long (CHS), Combs (CHS)
• Semifinal games — There was a commercial a few years ago for Major League Baseball that said “Chicks dig the long ball”. The semifinal games of the Putnam County Softball tournament could change that to “Chicks hit the long ball!”
The four teams combined for 12 home runs as Cloverdale and Greencastle defeated North Putnam and South Putnam early in the day to advance to the championship game.
The Tiger Cubs jumped on the Cougars early in the first game, hitting three of the dingers and posting six first-inning runs. Greencastle continued to put up numbers as they pounded Cougar pitching for 14 runs and limited the Cougars to just three runs.
“We have a good hitting team, when we are mentally ready. We really hit the ball well one through nine in this game,” Greencastle head coach Tabitha Briones said.
Mundy held the Cougars to just five hits and helped her own cause with one of the five Tiger Cub homers. Mckenzie Horton, Anna Chavez, Macy Clark and Brittany Rickets all went deep for Greencastle. Chloe LaPierre added one for the Cougars who fell to 6-9 on the season.
“We didn’t really play well in any phase of the game. That is on me, I need to get them ready. Greencastle hit the ball really well,” North Putnam head coach Jarrod Duff said.
The Cougars committed nine errors on the day as the will prepare for their Western Indiana Conference crossover game next Tuesday against Cloverdale.
Cloverdale and South Putnam continued the trend of hitting the ball out of the park in the second game of the day. Skylynne Lowe and Kiley Shedron went deep in the first inning to stake the Clovers to a 3-0 lead.
The Clovers continued their assault on the Eagles as they posted multiple runs in six of the seven innings of the game. Cloverdale held an 11-1 lead after four and half innings before the Eagles rallied. South was able to cut the lead to 11-6 after five innings, but could get no closer as the Clovers continued to pile up the runs.
“We really played well today. We haven’t been hitting the ball, but were able to today. We knew we had to score runs because they (South Putnam) are capable of putting up big innings. We were able to hold them to one big inning,” Cloverdale head coach Jim Spencer said.
In addition to Lowe and Shedron, Holly Garretson and Macie Couch homered for the Clovers. Couch was also the winning pitcher as she was able to limit the Eagles in the first four innings, then close it out late.
“Give them credit today. They have six or seven starters back from a team that won 19 games last season. They are a good team, but we are as well. We just have to continue to improve to be ready to go when the sectional starts,” South Putnam head coach Jamie Steffy said.
The Eagles’ Drew Bratcher continued her assault on the Eagle record book as she hit two home runs in the game to give her nine on the season. She now holds the South single-season record.
The Eagles fell to 10-9 as they travel to Indian Creek today for the fifth/sixth place game in the Western Indiana Conference.
Greencastle 603 100 4 — 14
North Putnam 020 100 0 — 3
WP — Mundy, LP — LaPierre
2B — Woodall (GHS), Chavez (G), Storm (NP). HR — Mundy (G), Horton (G), Chavez (G), Clark (G), Ricketts (G), LaPierre (NP)
Cloverdale 322 313 2 — 16
South Putnam 001 051 1 — 8
WP — Couch, LP — A. Steffy
2B — Shedron (C), Combs (C), Lewellen (C). HR — Couch (C), Ki. Shedron (C), Lowe (C), Garretson (C), Bratcher 2 (SP).