Cody Crooks drilled a single and added a homerun as Northview swept past Owen Valley in the second game of a home-and-home series with the Patriots.
Northview senior slugger Graig Bass's first at-bat in Wednesday's contest at Owen Valley ended in anticlimax-- a soaring pop-up that fell harmlessly into the glove of a Patriots infielder. Ditto for his second trip to the plate.
But Bass and his teammates would eventually catch up with Owen Valley's pitching. The results-- from the Patriots' standpoint-- were devastating.
Owen Valley pitchers surrendered four home runs to three Northview hitters as the Knights (2-0) cruised to a 13-4 victory. Bass accounted for two of those long balls, the first of which sailed over the head of Patriots left fielder Tyler Stutsman to give Northview a 7-4 advantage in the fourth. Keaton Robertson and Cody Crooks each added a round-tripper of their own.
Knights Coach Gary Witham admitted he was taken aback by his team's power surge.
"I'm a little surprised," he said. "Not totally surprised, but pleased."
Offensive fireworks aside, Witham was quick to shift the focus to Northview starting pitcher Jesse Johnson, who kept Owen Valley's offense largely in check while Bass and company warmed up their engines.
Johnson, like J.J. Smerdel and John Reberger, who pitched three near-perfect innings to close out Wednesday's game, is a converted position player. His start at Owen Valley marked his first-ever varsity pitching appearance.
"We're having to create some pitchers here," he said. "We're putting them on the spot."
Johnson looked solid but not invincible in his three innings on the mound: He struck out four, threw a pair of wild pitches and allowed the Patriots to creep out to a 4-1 lead by the end of the third inning.
But a slumbering Northview offense awoke in the top of the fourth. Reberger led off with a line single to right, then crossed the plate after Robertson sailed a Nick Mosier pitch over the left field fence.
The Knights would take the lead later in the inning. Smerdel and Yocom both reached on one-out singles before Johnson ushered them home with a sharp ground-ball up the middle for a 5-4 Northview advantage.
Bass followed Yocom's two run single with a couple of RBIs of his own, smacking his first home run of the season to extend the Knights lead to 7-4.
While Reberger stymied the Owen Valley line-up in relief, Northview's offense continued to roll. The Knights racked up five more in the seventh inning to pad their lead, then set down the last three Patriots hitters in order to secure the win.
Northview (2-0 overall, 2-0 WIC) travels to South Putnam on Saturday for a 10 a.m. start.
Northview 13, Owen Valley 4
At Owen Valley
2B-- NV (Bryan, Robertson). HR-- NV (Bass 2, Robertson, Crooks). SB-- NV (Yocom 2, Johnson, Bryan).