Greencastle crowned county champions
In another classic North Putnam-Greencastle rivalry match up, the Tiger Cubs came away victorious on the baseball diamond to win the Putnam County Baseball Tournament 3-0 on Saturday. Hunter Mitchell threw seven innings of two-hit ball to pick up the win for the hosts.
The tournament began at GHS with the hosts dispatching Cloverdale 10-0 in the opening game. Nine of the 10 Tiger Cub runs came with two outs, eight of which came in the first inning.
Brian Dale threw three innings for the Clovers, giving up nine hits and all ten runs, only seven being earned.
Ryan Battin pitched Greencastle's five defensive innings, allowing a single hit to Clover catcher Austin Mannan in the top of the fourth while scattering three strikeouts and a walk.
In the second game, it was another 10-0 contest, this time coming from Norm Fish's Cougars over the South Putnam Eagles. It took North Putnam six innings to mercy-rule their adversary, as Coy Flynn picked up the victory with six strikeouts and giving up two hits.
Seth Hammond, Aaron Parker and Wyatt Nees all split duty for South Putnam, striking out nine but walking a combined 12 batters, six coming in the top of the fifth inning with Parker on the hill.
The stage was thus set for Greencastle and North Putnam, the latter of which would win the coin toss and select the "home" frame despite being at GHS.
As the game began, it became clear the spectators were in for a spectacular pitchers duel. Austin Day began the game for North Putnam sitting down three of the first four batters he faced on 11 pitches, and of those four were to walk Dylan Linton.
The Cougars came to bat ready to face Hunter Mitchell, a Tiger Cub in the midst of a sort of renaissance on the mound. The righty played a role in each of the three outs in the first, striking out two and picking off Beau Green following an error by Nick Gilliam at shortstop.
After the game, Mitchell refused any of the credit for the team's performance.
"I was really pleased with the way I pitched," he said smiling, "but I really have to give it up to my defense. They were behind me all night, making plays every time the ball was hit.
"I was struggling, but I went to a (pitching coach) and he tweaked a few things. I've been in a zone the last couple of games."
Unfortunately for North Putnam, the scoreless tie would be broken early in the game. Nick Hutcheson came to the plate with one out in the second inning and belted a one-strike pitch over the left-center field fence, the eventual game-winning run.
After quickly dispatching the next two batters, Day came up to the plate for the Cougars, smacking a base hit before stealing second with ease. But the hurler would be stranded 180 feet away from the plate.
Greencastle had their best scoring opportunity in the next half inning, putting runners on each base following an error, hit batter and walk. Both groups of fans slide to the edges of their seats, waiting to see if first baseman Landon Miller could break the game open for the Tiger Cubs.
His effort fell short in the form of a beautiful 6-4-3 double play turned by North Putnam to avoid any more damage.
"Other than the two home runs, (Austin) Day really had us on our toes," Greencastle head coach Troy Remsburg of the North Putnam pitcher.
The game remained 1-0 in favor of Greencastle until the top of the seventh. With Day still on the mound, Dylan Harbaugh smacked a base hit, bringing up the top of the order in Battin who was 0-3 for the game. Eerily similar to Hutcheson's dinger, Battin took a one-strike pitch over the right field wall, adding two insurance runs to the small Tiger Cub lead.
Day was pulled for the lefty Green who was able to record three consecutive outs, bringing the Cougars to their final set of outs.
Coy Flynn led things off in the bottom of the seventh inning with a single, North Putnam's first hit since Day's second-inning frozen rope. Kaleb Belcher approached and rifled a line drive to Ryan Pettit at second base, but his shot was caught and whipped to first to double up Flynn on a close play.
Day drew a walk with two outs to keep the Cougar's dreams alive, but he was forced out at second base by Jordan Nauert's hard ground ball for the final out of the game.
"We came out flat," Norm Fish, North Putnam's skipper said of his team's lack of offensive power. "Mitchell pitched a great game though, we have to give him all the credit in the world for that."
Day finished the game giving up all three earned runs, walking four and striking out two, as well as giving up four total hits including the two home runs. Mitchell went the distance for Greencastle, striking out five of the 24 batters he faced, walking two and giving up two hits.
"Mitchell had his best performance of his career on Tuesday (against South Putnam)," Coach Remsburg added, "and I think this game topped that one.
"We still have Cloverdale again early in the week, we're going to have to be extra ready for that one."
Greencastle 010 000 2 -- 3
North Putnam 000 000 0 -- 0
WP -- H. Mitchell
LP -- A. Day
HR -- Hutchenson, Battin; None
SB -- None; Day