Fans at Northview's softball season opener certainly got their money's worth on Tuesday night though most were disappointed by the end result.
The Knight's got off to a strong start, leading 4-0 after two innings, but the third inning proved to be a nightmare as Owen Valley rang up 13 runs on the way to a 17-11 marathon victory.
The contest was far from pretty as both team's looked rusty on defense despite swinging potent bats.
"We just had one bad inning," commented Northview coach Jason Wise. "The girls know we have to keep being aggressive and we'll be fine."
The Knights opened the contest strong with a three run first inning after freshman hurler Stephanie Jonson set the visiting Patriots down in order in the first inning.
For the Knights Kayla Glassburn led off the inning by reaching second base on a throwing error. Jennifer Gregg followed with what looked like an infield single to shortstop but was called out after it was ruled Glassburn interfered with the shortstop's play on Gregg's hit.
Glassburn however moved to third on a passed ball and scored when Natalie Shoemaker singled and came home herself as cleanup hitter Chandra Burns rifled a double to the centerfield wall. Brittnee Yocom finished the scoring with a bunt single that scored Burns on a throwing error.
The Knights added another run in the second inning as Glassburn doubled and scored on an error after a Gregg single.
On the mound, Jonson finished the first two innings strong for the Knights, allowing just a single from the Patriots, but the third proved more difficult.
Jonson had some control problems as Owen Valley left their bats on their shoulders early in the inning. She would walk the leadoff batter before striking out Beth Kendall for the first out.
The Patriots followed with a single, a pair of walks and another single before two more walks forced in the fourth run of the inning.
"(Jonson) is way ahead of the game right now," said Wise afterwards. "This is the first competitive game she's pitched. I felt she started off strong. She walked some people, but when you add some errors on top of that and a bunch of hits finding holes, they ended up with a big inning."
All told, the Patriots scored 13 runs in the frame on eight hits, though three errors contributed to the amount of damage done in the frame by Owen Valley.
"I have confidence in (Jonson)," said Wise. "I think she's about a year ahead of schedule. We need to play defense and limit our mistakes."
Despite falling behind 13-4, the Knights kept crawling back into the fray with single runs in the third and fourth innings and a pair of runs in the fifth to narrow the gap to 13-8.
Sophomore pitcher Cayla Shrader had shut the door on the Patriots in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, giving Northview the chance to narrow the lead.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Shoemaker reached base for the fourth straight time, this one on a walk, to leadoff the frame and Burns reached on a flyball that dropped in short centerfield. Harlan would also reach on an error and Yocom picked up her second hit, a bunt single, and Shoemaker beat the throw to home plate. Burns moved to third on the play and made the score 13-10, scoring on a passed ball by Owen Valley catcher Tabitha Truax. Harlan would also score and the Knights were behind just 13-11.
In the seventh however, the Patriots finally got to Shrader who gave up a leadoff single to Truax before getting the first out. Jordan Hammond then singled before a walk to Jessie White and an error and another single pushed the lead to the final advantage of 17-11.
In the bottom half of the final frame, Shoemaker reached base for the fifth straight time, but was stranded on a game-ending groundout.
"I can't complain about our bats tonight," said Wise. "I'm not happy that we lost, but we saw what we need to work on this evening and I thought Cayla (Shrader) coming in to pitch three innings. . .She did a good job for us."
Northview will get a chance to rebound quickly with a road game against the Patriots beginning at 5 p.m.
Owen Valley 17, Northview 11
Northview -- Jonson, Shrader (4), Jonson (7). Sterrett.
2B -- Northview 2 (Glassburn, Burns), OV (Truax).
Northview (0-1 overall, 0-1 WIC).