South Putnam edges Cloverdale, 1-0
Fans expecting a high-flying, high scoring Putnam County softball tournament they came away very disappointed. For those looking for a set of games that kept everyone in suspense, you got your money's worth.
In the end, South Putnam scored late in the championship contest against Cloverdale to be crowned the 2012 Putnam County champions with a 1-0 victory.
"We were put in situation we haven't been put in a lot this season," South Putnam head coach Chris Jones said. "It was a good test for us to be put in those situations. We had a lot of opportunities with runners on base and didn't get them in and that can get frustrating. We have to learn to keep our heads up and keep trucking through.
Then finally when you get a chance, an opportunity, get a hit and take care of a misplay and score the run."
Unlike the action at the baseball diamonds, the first two games went the distance. In game one, South Putnam came away with a 2-0 win over North Putnam, while Cloverdale slid past Greencastle in game two 5-3.
Both South Putnam and Cloverdale have been notorious for putting up big numbers this season, but with the Eagles' Brooke Boejter and Cloverdale's Paige Gutierrez throwing, scoring was in short supply.
Through five innings it was all about pitching and defense. Neither team was able to get into a flow offensively. Each had their share of chances though. Cloverdale left a runner stranded on third in the opening inning after Gutierrez blasted a double to left-centerfield.
In turn, South Putnam left runners stranded on third multiple times to help shape what looked to be a frantic finish.
In the top of the sixth inning, Jenny Thompson reached on a walk with two outs. The next batter, Kelsey Whitaker, took a Gutierrez offering and sent it flying to the outfield. Thompson rounded second, rounded third, halted and made her way back to the bag.
But with Cloverdale unable to get a handle on the ball, Thompson made a break for home and crossed the plate to give South Putnam the only run it would need.
Cloverdale had two more chances to change things, but with a run on the board, Boetjer and company weren't going to let it slip away. The Eagles sat down the next six batters to celebrate a county title.
Boetjer collected 11 strikeouts in the championship, while allowing just three hits. She also had eight strikeouts in the first game against North Putnam.
Gutierrez struck out eight in the final, running her total to 15 strikeouts for the tournament.
Jenna Jones led the Eagles by going 2-for-3 with a double. In addition to her pitching, Gutierrez was 2-for-3 with a double, while teammate Beka Jordan was 1-for-2 with a double.
Jones said a key to the game was being able to keep the Clovers from getting into a rhythm.
"The thing is Brooke pitched great. Our defense played really well behind her and so anytime they got opportunities to get on base, we did a nice job of ending any rally they had," Jones said.
Jones also gave credit to Cloverdale and North Putnam for some tough games and noted things should be interesting as the sectional tournament nears.
"You have to give them credit -- they're good," Jones said. "They're a good team and they put the ball in play, fundamentally sound and their coaches do a great job. Paige pitched one heck of a ballgame. They've got nothing to hang their heads about.
"It should be interesting come sectional time. Again that was a great test for us and we needed something like that. We had two great tests with Cloverdale in the championship and North Putnam gave us a great game. It was probably one of the best games I've seen them play all year," he said.
In the tournament's opening game, South Putnam scored a 3-0 win over North Putnam, grabbing runs in the third, fifth and sixth innings on the contest.
Boejter kept the Cougars off balance throughout the contest. However, the Cougars were able to keep the Eagles within striking distance with solid defense and good pitching by freshman Sabrina Surber.
South Putnam got RBI hits from Emily Dabkowski and Boetjer in the contest.
In the second game, Greencastle scored first to go up 1-0 in the second inning, but Cloverdale responded to take the lead 2-1 in the third. They added a run in the fifth and two in the sixth to go up 5-1.
However, Greencastle found its second wind and was able to mount a small charge in the sixth inning to cut the lead to 5-3, but that would be as close as they could get.
Kara Knapp was 3-for-4 with two doubles and two RBI for the Clovers, with Brianna Hoff adding a double. Greencastle's Alex Basile had two RBI to lead the Tiger Cubs.
South Putnam 000 001 0 -- 1 7 0
Cloverdale 000 000 0 -- 0 3 1
WP -- Boetjer
LP -- Gutierrez