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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Knights prepare for regional play

Tuesday, June 7, 2005

The Northview baseball team couldn't really have scripted a more dramatic victory to claim their first sectional championship since the 2001 season.

Twice overcoming deficits, the second one a four run (8-4) Patriot lead with just six outs remaining in what for most of the starters could have been the last game of their high school careers. But as they've proven often this year, you can never count this team out of any game.

The Knights have pulled off dramatic comebacks against Owen Valley (8 runs with two outs in the 7th inning for an 11-6 win), Shakamak (four runs in the sixth inning for a 6-5 win), South Putnam (rallied from behind 6-1 through four innings for a 10-8 win) and then on Friday night came the icing on the proverbial cake to this point of the season.

Brady Shoemaker blasted his 12th homerun of the season, none bigger than the 3-run shot that tied the Patriots at 8-all and then fellow senior Craig Trout served a single into rightfield that scored pinchrunning freshman, Nick Lancaster for the winning run.

Nick Wells, who had to be pitching merely on sheer guts in the seventh inning of a 160 pitch performance, made the pitches he had to to hold off a potential Patriots rally. North had runners on second and third base with just one out in the bottom of the final inning, but Wells dug deep to strikeout Nick Ciolli and got a flyball out that provided a group of eight seniors with a moment to cherish for a lifetime.

For head coach Gary Witham, the sectional championship is his 11th overall in his 28th year of coaching and Northview's 25-3 mark matches the most victories in a season during his tenure.

The moment was a special one for all of those involved as many of the players thoughts were with their teammate Andrew Griffin who was killed in a car accident two years ago. For several players, Griffin was a close friend and the sectional championship was a special way to honor his memory.

The victory propels the Knights into a 7 p.m. game at Shelbyville versus the Golden Bears (18-8).

Shelbyville earned their regional berth by defeating Bloomington North 4-3 in 10 innings so both teams are comfortable with pressure packed situations. The Bears graduated six players from last years 16-11 team that earned a sectional title and was defeated by Mooresville in the regional.

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