Wins over Parkrose and Milwaukie leave the Kingsmen tied for first place in the NWOC

by: JON HOUSE - Her teammates look on, as Putnam sophomore infielder Brooke Snyder gets an out at first base in last Fridays 13-3 win over Parkrose. Putnam finished last week tied for first place in the Northwest Oregon Conference softball standings.Rex Putnam’s softball team last week continued in the thick of things in the Northwest Oregon Conference title chase, winning two of three games.

Putnam (11-5, 4-1) entered play this week tied with top-ranked Sandy (13-4, 4-1) and 14th-ranked St. Helens (9-6, 4-1) in first place in the NWOC standings.

Ranked eighth in the state in Class 5A, the Kingsmen had a big week on tap this week, playing St. Helens on the road on Tuesday (April 29), playing Sherwood on the road this afternoon, and beginning the second half of the league season on Friday, as hosts to Sandy.

Putnam defeated Sandy 2-1 in an April 15 game at Sandy. The Kingsmen are the only Class 5A team to have beaten the Pioneers this season.

The Kingsmen will have to sharpen up their game a bit if they want to give the Pioneers a run for their money again on Friday. They committed three errors and their pitchers walked nine batters in a 9-7 loss to Liberty last Wednesday (April 23), and the Kingsmen committed three errors last Friday, when they scored 10 runs in the bottom of the fifth and final inning to pull out a 13-3 win over Parkrose.

They played better early last week, when they pounded out 10 hits and played error-free ball in a 10-0 five-inning win over cross-town rival Milwaukie. Freshman Sarah Abramson pitched in that game, striking out 11 and walking two in a one-hitter.

Junior Kate Betschart led the hit parade in the Milwaukie game, pounding out three hits in four at bats and driving in three runs. Junior Maggie Waymire (2-for-3, 2 runs, 2 RBI), sophomore Brooke Snyder (2-for-3) and senior Ashley Culp (2 runs scored) hit doubles in the runaway win.

The Kingsmen battled in last week’s 9-7 loss to Liberty, but the nine walks and three errors proved just too much to overcome. Liberty scored what would prove the game-winners in the top of the fifth, when the Falcons followed up two walks with a two-run single.

There was no quit in the Kingsmen in the losing effort. Trailing 9-1, they battled back with a five-run rally in the bottom of the fifth and a single tally in the bottom of the seventh. Putnam had the tying run at the plate when the game ended.

And the Kingsmen hit the ball in the loss. They had 10 hits, led by Culp (two-run home run), and sophomores Sydney Nichols (3-for-4, 2 doubles) and Elysia Webb (2-for-4, double, 4 RBI).

Friday’s 13-3 win came very close to being an incomplete game.

“It was raining hard that last inning and I was hoping the umpire wouldn’t call the game,” said Putnam coach Tiffany Strnad.

Putnam players held up better in the rain than their counterparts from Parkrose.

Abramson pitched for Putnam in the five-inning game, which was called after five innings because of the 10-run rule. And Abramson’s poise during the final inning was pivotal. While Abramson and her teammates made it three-up and three-down for Parkrose in the top of the fifth, the Kingsmen took advantage of seven walks to score 10 runs in the bottom of the fifth and earn the win.

Snyder (2-for-4, 3 RBI), Nichols and junior Hayley Dolfay all had run-scoring doubles in the big inning. Webb drew a walk to force in Putnam’s 13th and game-ending run.

Betschart (2-for-3, double, 2 runs scored) also had a good day at the plate, as the Kingsmen outhit the Broncos 9-4.

Abramson recorded eight strikeouts and walked three batters in five full innings of work.

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