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Putnam County softball coach Chris Walker is very appreciative of what St. Bede did for his Lady Panthers.
“I actually have to thank them because that game (April 22) actually started us hitting,” Walker said. “We are hitting the ball hard now frequently. We’ve been averaging about 11 hits per game the last four games. That’s a good thing.”
Despite managing just three hits and striking out 23 times, facing St. Bede ace Lainie Schweickert sparked PC.
“Lainie is definitely a good pitcher. I think after we saw her we realized what we could do,” PC sophomore Annie Miller said.
Turns out, the Lady Panthers can do a lot.
Putnam County pounded out 16 hits — and eight of nine PC batters recorded at least one — in a 13-1, six-inning rout of Hall in a Tri-County Conference game in Spring Valley.
“I think we all played really well,” said Miller, who finished 3-for-4 with two doubles and a pair of RBIs. “I felt like we all contributed in some way.”
Miller’s RBI double in the third was PC’s only run through the first four innings.
However, the Lady Panthers exploded the final two innings as they scored six runs in the fifth and tacked on another six in the sixth.
PC sent nine batters to the plate in the fifth and 12 to the plate in the sixth.
“We were being a little bit more disciplined in the box,” Walker said. “In the first three innings we talked about laying off certain pitches, and we weren’t disciplined enough. Finally, we got one on. We disciplined ourselves a little bit, narrowed the zone a little, started hitting her and things started to happen.”
Shelby Yepsen earned the win in the circle.
After allowing the first three Hall batters of the game to get a hit, Yepsen struck out the next three and only allowed two more hits the rest of the game.
She finished with 13 strikeouts and one walk.
The bright spot for Hall (3-9) came in the sixth when Becca Herrmann blasted a home run to left-center field.
The victory improves the Lady Panthers to 14-5 overall and 5-0 in the conference with TCC games left against Peoria Christian and Marquette.
“I just want to get the conference taken care of,” Walker said. “I’m confident in these girls. Nothing against any other team, but I’m confident in these girls to get the job done, but we’re going to take it one game at a time.”
PC has had little trouble with conference opponents.
The Lady Panthers have won their five Tri-County games by an average of 7.8 runs and have not won by less than five runs in conference play.
“I think we all know when we need to be on top of our game and we always pull through,” Miller said about the key to the team’s strong play in conference. “Even if we have a few slow innings, we always bring it back.
“We’re feeling pretty good about (being 5-0 in the TCC). Hopefully, we can continue with the wins. I think it’d be a huge thing for us to win (the TCC title).”
Kevin Chlum can be reached at 220-6939, or at email@example.com Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsEditor.
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