Cougars drop heartbreaker to Covenant Christian

Friday, May 30, 2008

CLAYTON -- The best word to use in describing North Putnam's loss to Covenant Christian in Thursday's sectional matchup would be heartbreaking. The Cougars lost 13-10 to the Warriors, ending their quest to repeat as sectional champions after seizing an early lead.

Cougar seniors Kyle Rooker (left) and J.T. Francies share a laugh during a break in the action. The duo was part of a senior class that won four WCC titles.

The day started well for the Cougars, as they outscored the Warriors 10-4 in the first three innings of play. Then the Cougar bats essentially fell silent. Pitching and defense also proved to be a problem for North Putnam in the game.

"All the things I thought might be a problem showed up today," Cougar head coach Norm Fish said. "The first pitcher didn't last as long as we liked to, then we were running around, getting in spots were not used to playing."

The Cougars looked well on their way to securing a spot in the sectional final, but multiple fielding errors began to mount. The Cougars committed five errors and allowed eight unearned runs in the game.

North Putnam had a productive night at the plate, with their big bats accounting for eight of their 10 hits. Senior Kyle Rooker led the way, going 4-for-4 with one RBI and three runs scored, while fellow senior J.T. Francies added a double. Griffen Dahlstrom also came up big for the Cougars, collecting three hits, including a double and four RBIs. Darrick Wiatt added a double of his own.

Fish was quick to acknowledge the play of his big three bats and felt there was little more they could have done to help their cause.

"The seniors, J.T (Francies) and (Kyle) Rooker, I can't say enough about them. They played their hearts out. Griffen Dahlstrom gave us all he had. Those three guys kept us alive but after that, I'll be honest with you, they didn't have much support. I felt bad for them; they did all they could do," he said.

Although happy about the play of Francies, Rooker and Dahlstrom, Fish found it hard to hide his frustration after the contest. He felt the team gave too much away with simple plays, which ultimately let the game slip away.

"I told the kids, I didn't sugarcoat it, if you can't catch a baseball and can't throw one 10 feet, you can't win a ballgame," Fish commented. "If we throw it and catch it, we win the ballgame. I'm not talking about any great plays; I'm talking about taking a baseball, throwing it 15 feet and the other guy catching it. Basically pitch and catch and we couldn't do that today.

"They're grown up enough to know that if you play that bad you don't win," he added.

After commenting on his frustrations, Fish showed that being a good coach is much more than winning and losing, it's about the faith you have in your kids and how they will grow from their experiences.

"The kids are great; I love 'em. We just have to learn from this," Fish concluded.

The Cougars end the season with a 21-7 record.

At Cascade

No. 46 Baseball Sectional

North Putnam 343 000 0 -- 10 9 5

Covenant Christian 121 423 x -- 13 10 4

WP -- Gaddis.

LP -- Rooker.

2B -- Francies, Dahlstrom, Wiatt (NP).

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