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Knights prepare to face Class A No. 4 Lakers

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

(Photo)
Ryan Nees helped Northview power past South Putnam in a doubleheader sweep on Saturday.

Just once season removed from a berth in the Class A state championship game at Victory Field in Indianapolis, the Shakamak Lakers visit Northview for a JV/Varsity doubleheader this evening beginning at 5 p.m.

The Lakers, currently ranked fourth in Class A, bring a 3-2 record into tonight's contest after falling to Bloomington South 7-4 on Saturday afternoon.

The Knights will be looking for a measure of revenge against coach Chip Sweet's squad who defeated them 11-10 in a wild affair in Jasonville last Spring.

After falling behind 9-1 through four innings, the Knights roared back to take a 10-9 lead following a go-ahead grandslam by Brady Shoemaker. Shawn Hughes quieted the powerful Laker offense for 2 1/3 innings of relief work.

But the resilient Lakers came back in the bottom half of the seventh inning to tie the score on a Josh Netherlain double. Jared Utterback then singled home the winning run.

Shoemaker had a six RBI night with two homeruns and Hughes reached base three times and scored twice with Jesse Johnson driving home a run as well.

The loss halted a two-game winning streak for the Knights versus the Lakers and moving the series record to 6-5 overall.

This year's version of the Lakers will look little like last year's state finalist, but Shakamak is always a tough opponent with veteran coach Sweet occupying the third base box.

Shakamak graduated eight starters from last year's squad, including four of five pitching regulars.

Gone from last year's squad is 204 of the Lakers 264 RBIs and back are just 68 of the Lakers 292 hits.

Jared Rehmel and Jared Utterback are returning regulars and will be counted on for big production this season.

Rehmel hit .427 last year and got five starts on the mound, going 6-0 with a 3.20 ERA in 35 innings and Utterback hit .319.

The Knights will have the luxury of having the senior dominated lineup this year, boasting eight senior regulars in the lineup.

Northview brings a 5-0 mark into tonight's game and are the Class 4A No. 9 team according to this week's Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association Poll.

The Knights are coming off a 21 run outburst in a doubleheader sweep of South Putnam on Saturday and are averaging more than 10 runs per game this season.

Powering the Knights is a lethal lineup of hitters that has few weak spots.

In Saturday's sweep the Knights got a total of 29 hits, including five hits from Hughes hitting in the lower half of the lineup. Graig Bass had two hits, including a homerun and two RBIs and Johnson had two RBIs in the second game as well.

The top half of the lineup is a well known commodity with T.J. King and Ryan Nees both hitting nearly .500 this season and Shoemaker having already blasted a pair of homeruns. Shane Cooper also is a dangerous hitter and Wade Thacker providing some clutch hits this year already. Craig Trout, while providing solid defense at catcher, provides some punch in the No. 5 slot in the lineup.

The Knights have valuable experience on the mound with returning starters Nick Wells, leftie Michael Stuckey, King and Hughes all capable on the mound along with sophomore Jordan Meyers and Shoemaker getting time as well.

Roster depth is a strength the Knights have already displayed this year and will give them a lot of lineup versatility.

These veteran Knights will take the field versus the Lakers following a junior varsity contest that begins at 5 p.m.



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