Putnam County softball put up a fight but fell short in Monday’s game.
The Lady Eagles fell shy of victory in a high-scoring game, falling to Johnson County by a score of 15-11. Putnam’s first inning was full of excitement as it raced out to a 10-3 lead but, unfortunately for the Lady Eagles, Johnson was able to creep back into the game.
“One thing we have fought for here is a competitive spirit and never saying ‘die,’” Putnam softball coach Peyton Roth said. “In those last few innings, we weren’t able to get those last few runs but, overall, the girls fought. We have four freshmen in the lineup, so we have four girls who have never been in a situation like that.”
After giving up three early runs at the top of the inning, Jashanti Simmons got the first hit for the Eagles and subsequently stole second base. Rachel Hawkins was hit by a pitch to move her on base as well.
After Simmons stole home for the first Putnam run of the night, Hannah Barnard picked up an RBI to bring Hawkins in for a second run to get the Lady Eagles rolling in the bottom of the first. However, Simmons had a much greater highlight shortly after.
After going up 4-3, Simmons nailed a grand slam over center field to bring home Kayleigh Lyles, Emily Jenkins and Tesa Shelton. The impressive grand slam was the first home run in her high school career.
“It felt good to hit my first grand slam,” Simmons said. “I almost hit one last year against Banks but it dropped dead in the middle of center field.”
Roth said that Simmons was a hard worker and called her one of the strongest female athletes in the school, calling her “very coachable” and saying it couldn’t have happened to a better player.
Barnard was able to record two more RBIs before the end of the first inning to put the Lady Eagles out front with a 10-3 lead.
Despite the hot start and Simmons’ four-run hit, however, she came home in the third inning to give Putnam its last run of the game as Johnson began to make its way back into the contest.
The Lady Trojans had big third and fourth innings, scoring three more runs in the third before getting their bats hot in the fourth to bring in a staggering seven more runs.
Putnam pitcher Amanda Ridley had another solid performance on the mound with several strikeouts but, unfortunately for Putnam, the Johnson County batters were determined to stay in the game.
The Lady Eagles were able to get the ball rolling in the final inning but were unable to finish the game as successfully as they began it.
After starting the season with a commanding 15-0 mercy-rule victory over Baldwin High School, Monday’s loss brings the Lady Eagles down to a 1-4 record. It’s worth noting, however, that the Lady Eagles have begun the season against challenging teams, allowing them to be battle tested by the time region games start rolling around.
“Yes, I wish it would have gone our way,” Roth said. “But, I’m pleased we fought hard, and it was a good learning experience. … It was a loss as far as our win/loss column goes, but it was still a win for us to compete against a tough opponent like that to prepare us for region.”
Putnam County faced Central High School in Macon the very next day before beginning region play with a long road trip to Rabun County on Thursday.
With a slew of tough games out of the way, the Lady Eagles will have a chance to get off on the right foot with the games that really matter.