Due to weather related issues, in some areas there may be delayed deliveries of your Monday issue of the NewsTribune.
If road conditions are severe enough, your delivery person may not be able to deliver your NewsTribune at all on Monday.
In this case, your Monday edition will be delivered with your Tuesday newspaper.
We ask you to be understanding for the safety of our carriers.
Putnam County sophomore Annie Miller dives safely into home plate as Princeville catcher Brianna Heinz attempts to apply the tag Wednesday during the Lady Panthers’ 3-0 victory in a Class 1A Midland Sectional semifinal. NewsTribune photo/Genna Ord
VARNA — Carly Gonet knew she and her Putnam County softball teammates just had to be patient.
“We usually have our inning,” Gonet said. “We just have to wait for it to come.” The Lady Panthers waited awhile Wednesday.
Putnam County engaged in a scoreless battle with Princeville for five innings in a Class 1A Midland Sectional semifinal before scoring three runs in the sixth inning en route to a 3-0 victory and a return trip to the Sweet 16.
“I think once we started getting hits and once Annie (Miller) scored, it gave us the momentum we needed,” Gonet said.
After managing just three hits through five innings, the Lady Panthers got their bats going in the sixth against Princeville pitcher Jordan Kraft.
Miller led off the inning with a bloop single that landed just in front of second base.
Cleanup hitter Stephanie Wilson, who has been taking hitting lessons after struggling to transition from golf to softball, then stepped to the plate.
She ripped a line drive into the right-centerfield gap, allowing Miller to race all the way home from first, diving in just before the throw.
“We were supposed to attack the first pitch,” Wilson said. “I went up there and after all my hitting lessons, I just went for it and I got a good hit.”
Following a sacrifice bunt by Venessa Voss, Gonet smacked a ground ball up the middle to score Wilson.
PC tacked on one more run when lead-off hitter Lauren Colby was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
“We have a list of truisms we use,” PC coach Chris Walker said. “They’re true whether you’re at school, at home with mom and dad or here. One of them is, all you can ask for is an opportunity. What matters is what you do with it. We took advantage of our opportunities.”
Three runs were plenty for Putnam County pitcher Shelby Yepsen and the Lady Panther defense.
Yepsen preserved the shutout by escaping a bases-loaded situation in the sixth inning with a strikeout and retiring three consecutive batters after the lead-off batter reached on an error in the seventh.
The junior ace allowed four hits while striking out 11 batters, walking two and hitting one.
“We mixed it up a lot,” said Gonet, who is PC’s catcher. “Once we get through (the order), we always know what we’re going to do the next time around.”
Yepsen also had help from her defense.
Second baseman Tayor Pettit made a back-handed stop of a ground ball in the second inning and snagged a line drive and fired to first base for a double play in the fourth.
Miller also grabbed a hard line drive with two runners on base to end the fourth.
“We had a catch and a double play at first,” Walker said. “Taylor makes a back-handed stop early in the game. Annie with two on got a line drive out to her and she makes a great catch. It could be little things like that that lift everybody up. That lift could be in your bat when it’s your turn to get up in the box. You can do it in a lot of different ways. It’s just a matter of staying hard-nosed and staying in the game.”
The Lady Panthers (20-6) advance to face Newark at 11 a.m. Saturday in the title game.
PC beat Newark 6-3 on April 4.
Newark reached the title game by beating West Prairie 5-4 on Tuesday on a two-run, walk-off homer by Kelsea Zitt.
“We know exactly what Newark has,” Walker said. “Brian Holman does an awesome job with that program. We faced them earlier in the year. Nikki (Mertel) threw. We were down 3-2 in the sixth. We brought Shelby in for the last inning and she went 1-2-3. We knew they had very good hitters. The (Kristine) Zitt girl throws a little harder than (Shelby) Hoddy. We’ve got everything from that game (against Newark). As long as we just play fundamental ball, put the ball in play and Shelby is Shelby, then we’re fine, but we’ll see.”
Kevin Chlum can be reached at 220-6939, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsEditor.
Login to your account:
If you'd like to comment on this article, please log in or click here to subscribe.