Graig Bass drills a double, one of three hits in Monday's sectional win. Bass also scored three times.
PLAINFIELD -- The opening game of the Plainfield baseball sectional might have taken place on Memorial day, but the Northview Knights celebrated with some Fourth of July caliber fireworks.
The Knights pounded out 14 hits and scored 13 runs in taking a 13-1, five-inning victory over Martinsville to advance to the semifinals on Wednesday night at 5 p.m.
"I was very pleased with how we played," commented Northview head coach Gary Witham. "The bottom half of our lineup really got us started. This has been an awfully good bunch of kids, I sure hate to see them go," Witham said about his group of eight seniors.
Junior hurler Nick Wells had a bit of a rough beginning to the contest as he deciphered the strikezone in the opening frame.
Wells struggled with his control a bit in the early going, hitting Trevor Zike to lead off the game. Zike moved to second on a wildpitch and after a groundout and a strikeout, Zike scored on a passed ball to get the Artesians on the board first.
The Knights didn't waste any time erasing that deficit in the top of the second inning.
Graig Bass hammered a double to get off to a perfect 3-for-3 day for the junior designated hitter. Jesse Johnson then walked before Martinsville pitcher Mark Reeder balked the runners into scoring position. Senior catcher Craig Trout drove home the tying run with a single.
Reeder would get Wade Thacker to groudout and then struckout Chase Yocom on a breaking ball in the dirt. However, the ball got past the catcher and Yocom reached safely as Johnson scored from third as Northview took control.
T.J. King followed with a ringing double that brought home Trout and Yocom for a 4-1 lead which ended Reeder's outing on the mound.
Jason Boren would relieve, but the results weren't much different.
His first pitch went to the backstop to move King to third and Shane Cooper scored him with a single.
Cooper would then use some heads up baserunning to advance to third when he stole second and flew to third on another wildpitch. A Brady Shoemaker sacrifice fly then brought home the Knights' sixth run of the inning before the Artesians got out of the inning.
"When they get a cheap (run) like that, it's important to jump right back in and the bottom of the lineup got us started," said Witham.
Northview tallied a single run in the third inning as Bass and Johnson singled before Wade Thacker brought Bass home with a single to make the score 7-1.
Meanwhile, Wells had settled into a strong performance, striking out six batters through the first three innings and not allowing a hit.
In the fourth inning, Northview made sure that the game would end quickly when they put another six-spot on the board.
The Knights got started on a one-out bunt single by Cooper, a double by Shoemaker and a run scoring single by Ryan Nees. Bass then followed with his third hit, an RBI single to bring home Shoemaker. Jesse Johnson then would lay down a bunt, but would reach safely as the throw to first was in the dirt as Nees scored.
Boren's troubles continued as his next pitch got past the catcher to bring home Bass to make the score 11-1. RBI singles from Trout and Thacker would make the score 13-1 and the Knights were headed to the semifinals.
Wells meanwhile, rebounded to finish out a five-inning one-hitter while striking out seven Artesians.
"Our pitchers tend to pitch a lot better when they get a big leader," said a smiling Witham. "But we were able to end the game early and save a couple of innings on Wells arm."
That could be a big factor as Northview will likely send Michael Stuckey to the mound in Wednesday's semifinal and Wells might be available in relief and should certainly be fully ready for Friday's possible championship game.
Class 4A Plainfield Baseball Sectional
2B -- Nv (King, Shoemaker, Bass). SB -- Nv (Cooper).