By CAREY FOX
SPENCER -- Time was running out for the Northview Knights. Down two runs in the final inning with two outs.
Piece of cake.
The Knights exploded for an eight run outburst with those two outs to take an 11-6 decision over host Owen Valley on Wednesday night.
With Brady Shoemaker on first base and two outs in the contest, trailing 5-3, senior second baseman Wade Thacker drew a walk to put runners on first and second. The Patriots brought in Joe Frye in relief of starter Ryan Hobbs.
Shawn Hughes followed with a run scoring single to narrow the gap to 5-4. But with two outs still on the board, junior Graig Bass stepped to the plate and worked the count full before lacing a single that tied the game for the Knights. "I was a little anxious up there," admitted Bass after the game. "Everybody really did their part tonight. We probably should have hit a little earlier, but I felt pretty good up there and got through it."
With a little bit of the pressure off, the Knights opened the floodgates at the plate.
Jesse Johnson stepped to the plate and smacked an RBI single to rightfield that brought in the go-ahead run for the Knights. "I didn't have much pressure on me," commented Johnson. "I felt pretty confident up there and relaxed. I thought their first pitcher (Hobbs) did a good job. They wanted to beat us pretty bad."
Holding a 6-5 lead, the Knights kept applying the pressure as T.J. King singled to score pinch-runner Travis Nodley. Shane Cooper drew a walk to load the bases and Shoemaker applied the big blow, drilling a towering grandslam to left to cap the eight-run outburst and giving Northview an 11-5 lead.
The Patriots added one more run in the bottom half of the inning as King finished 3 2/3 innings of relief to get the victory after Michael Stuckey got the start.
After such a dramatic comeback, coming on the heels of an 11-5 dismantling of the Patriots in the first game, Northview head coach Gary Witham admitted his team was a little unfocused. "We didn't play very well and Owen Valley played really hard. I think we were a bit complacent and their lefthander (Hobbs) did a goo job on us."
Hobbs looked like he might not last very long against the Knights when the Knights put their first four batters on base safely.
King walked to open the game, Shane Cooper singled on a hit-and-run to move King to third. Shoemaker picked up his first RBI of the game with a single before Ryan Nees walked to load the bases. Craig Trout grounded into a fielder's choice for the first out. Thacker earned an RBI with a flyout that brought Shoemaker home, but Hobbs got out of the threat with a strikeout.
The Knights added another run in the second inning as Bass singled to leadoff and Johnson reached on an error with no outs and Trout moved the runners into scoring position with a flyout. Another error scored Bass for a 3-0 Northview lead but Hobbs again escaped with a strikeout and a popout.
The Patriots would get going with a pair of third inning runs as Joe Goldman walked and Nick Taylor singled. Frye doubled home Goldman before Bryan Jones brought home another run with a groundout.
Trailing 3-2, Owen Valley added two more runs off Stuckey to take a 4-3 advantage and added their fifth run in the sixth inning on three hits.
But the Knights would rally on the strength of the bottom half of their lineup as their sixth-through-nine hitters combined for six of the Knights' 10 hits in the game and drove home four runs.
"We need the bottom of the lineup to step up and they did tonight," said Witham. "All the guys have worked hard in the cage."
The dramatic comeback for Northview brings their record to 3-0 overall, 2-0 in the WIC with a weekend doubleheader at home versus South Putnam beginning at 11 a.m.
Northview 11, Owen Valley 6
2B -- Nv (None), OV (Frye). HR -- Nv (Shoemaker). SB -- Nv (King), OV (Amador-May).
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