By STEVE FIELDS
For the Brazil Times
Michael Stuckey was the calm in the middle of the storm Friday night for the Northview Knights' high school baseball team.
In a game that started with raw emotion and erupted into two ejections, Stuckey overcame seven errors by his defense and nine West Vigo hits to lead Northview to a 12-8 Western Indiana Conference victory.
Stuckey (5-1) struck out 12, did not walk a batter, hit two batters, allowed nine hits and no earned runs and went the distance on the mound.
"The way (Stuckey) pitches, he's going to give up some hits, but you also saw what he can do. He can really make guys look bad. That's a pretty decent-hitting team, to win as many games (13) as they have and Stucky had them baffled part of the time," Northview Coach Gary Witham said.
Northview's seven fielding errors made all eight of West Vigo's unearned.
"(West Vigo) got to him sometimes, but our defense was too shakey behind him. He looks a lot better if we play better defense."
The evening started with an emotional moment as the Northview Knights honored the memory of their late teammate Andrew Griffith, who died in an auto accident before the season started.
Northview took advantage of West Vigo's pitching troubles. Five West Vigo pitchers combined to give up 13 base on balls and hit two batters. After the Vikings took a 3-0 lead in the first on triples by Lenny Leclercq and Mickey Dunning, the Knights received six straight walks.
Craig Trout and Shane Cooper led the Knights' eight-hit attack with two each. Trout drove in five runs with two singles and a bases-loaded walk. Cooper was 2-for-5 at the plate with a double, single and two runs scored.
Trout and West Vigo's Billy Nevill were ejected in the fifth inning for shoving each other after a close play at homeplate. IHSAA rules mean both will sit out their team?s first game on Saturday morning when the Big 4 Tournament resumes at Northview High School.
Trailing 6-5 after 41/2 innings, Northview erupted for seven runs in an emotion-filled fifth inning.
Jesse Johnson led off Northview's big inning with a single, T.J. King received a walk and Shane Cooper followed with a run-scoring double. Brady Shoemaker was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Ryan Nee was hit by a pitch to bring in King with the go-ahead run. One out later, Trout singled to bring in Cooper and Shoemaker.
A wild pitch moved Trout and Nees to second and third bases and Graig Bass got a walk to load the bases. After West Vigo brought Nevill on to pitch, Jason Johnson greeted him with a single that scored both Nees and Trout.
It was on that collision at homeplate that tempers flared and Trout and West Vigo?s Nevill and Kevin Gibson had to be separated.
Jesse Johnson?s ground ball to the right side of the infield brought home Bass with the seventh run, giving Northview a 12-6 lead.
Northview plays Terre Haute North at 9 a.m. Saturday when the Big 4 Tourney resumes at Northview High School.
Archer, Leclercq (1), Archer (3), Nevill (5), Rogers (5), Eller (6) and Gibson, Fowler (5); Stuckey and Trout, Edrington (6). LOB ? WV 9, Nv 11. 3B -- Leclercq, Dunning. 2B -- Gibson, Cooper. Ejected -- Nevill, Trout.
Next game: Northview (12-5, 7-3 in WIC) plays host to Terre Haute North on Saturday morning and Terre Haute South on Saturday afternoon.