Bottom of the seventh, runners on first and second, two outs, a 3-1 lead, and two strikes on the batter. Yet despite the ramifications of the next pitch, South Putnam Senior Brooke Boetjer was the most calm athlete at Ben Davis High School in the Class 2A State championship game against Adams Central.
"Me and Jenny always joke about how we would always end the final game on a strikeout," said Boetjer with a smile. "So we were going for that."
Boetjer threw a curve to the outside and before you could even say State champions she was mobbed by her teammates on the diamond, having clinched South Putnam's second straight Class 2A title, ending this season with an undefeated 31-0 record.
"To do it without losing a single game and going perfect throughout the entire regular season or post-season, is just an amazing accomplishment for these girls," said South Putnam Head Coach Chris Jones. "I am so proud of what they did. You have to focus so hard and to be so in tune, just to pull each other together and be a family. They have done it all year long, and they deserve everything in which they have done today."
The undefeated season is just the fourth in IHSAA softball history, helping South Putnam increase their win streak to 56 games dating back to 2011. Perhaps even more impressive, the graduating seniors for the Eagles finished with an overall 102-4 record. Saturday's victory against Adams Central (20-13) had to have been one of the more difficult.
Early in the first the Eagles jumped to a 1-0 thanks to the bat of Boetjer, who knocked an RBI double off the fence in left-center to take the first lead of the game.
In the third inning Adams Central would tie the game up as Senior Jenae Blackburn tied the game up with a bloop-hit to left field, but Boetjer (22-0) would virtually be unhittable for the Eagles on the mound from there on out. Boetjer struck out nine batters, allowing just five hits on 90 pitches.
South Putnam would answer back in the bottom of the third when Junior Kelsey Whitaker hit a line-drive into left, putting the Eagles on top 2-1.
"I was up there and when the ball was coming I just had so much going through my head," said Whitaker. "I always have this thing where I tell myself if I don't get a hit I'm going to do ten push-ups, just to push myself even more, and it really worked that time. I got it, and I was just so excited."
South Putnam would add an insurance run in the sixth inning off the bat of Trisler Makenzie, ultimately making the score 3-1 for the final.
For the Eagles Coach Jones though, it was a sweet sorrow watching the final outs take place as his South Putnam squad clinched the title one more time.
"I am so happy that I got to coach this group," said Jones.
"It is a sad day that it is over, but it is a happy day for what all they have accomplished. To me to be able to have the luxury to coach a team like this, they are not only talented individuals in softball but they are great women. They are excellent characters with extreme class, and I am just so proud to be able to say I coached these four seniors."