The Big Four Tourney certainly didn't get off to the kind of beginning that Northview's baseball team would have envisioned after pulling off an 8-2 win over West Vigo in a WIC matchup on Tuesday night.
When the Knights faced the Vikings in the home half of the conference doubleheader on Friday night, the contest also counted as the first game of the Big Four Tourney. Northview would lose a heartbreaker in the game, dropping a 4-3, eight inning game versus the Vikings.
So when they walked into Saturday's play at Terre Haute South High School, Northview was already in an 0-1 hole in the tourney which is played in round robin format.
Playing in an early afternoon game against Terre Haute North, the Knights seemed to still be in a funk from the night before as the Patriots rolled past Northview 11-0 in five innings.
North got to pitcher Sean Brackney early, dropping six runs against the Knights in the opening inning and Patriot pitcher, Brian Fisher, shut the Knights down on just a lone Chase Yocom single. The Knights certainly didn't help out Brackney much by committing five errors behind him, but Nick Ciolli went 4-for-4 in the game with two runs scored, John Rosselli added two hits and two RBIs which was plenty to back Fisher's victory on the mound.
But Northview could have rolled up and quit after the disappointing loss, but they still had an afternoon game to play against Terre Haute South.
In that game, Northview's J.J. Smerdel and South's Bobby Woods put together a pitching duel over the first half of the game.
South tallied a couple of unearned runs in the third inning after getting a two-run double by Cole Vicars, but the Knights rallied back when Cody Crooks ripped his a double and then advanced on a two out error and came home on an RBI base hit by John Reberger to knot the score at 2-apiece.
Outside of those runs, Smerdel and Woods handled their opponents before each gave way to relief help in the seventh inning.
The Knights would draw first blood as Jesse Johnson led off the frame with a walk, but was erased by South catcher Koby Kraemer in a steal attempt. Northview would keep the pressure on however, putting another runner on base with an infield hit then drew a walk before Chase Yocom broke the tie with an RBI hit to put his squad ahead 3-2.
The Braves would come back with a run of their own, aided by a couple of Northview errors. Shane Russell singled and on two sacrifice bunt attempts, the Knights threw the ball away, putting themselves in a precarious position with a tie score, and both runners sitting in scoring position with no outs. The Knights walked Anthony Tanoos intentionally to load the bases to set up a force play at any base.
Brackney made sure that the Braves weren't going to steal this game away when he snared Kraemer's smash down the third-base line and turned over a double play to take a little pressure off. John Rebeger came on in relief to get the final out of the inning to send the game to an extra frame.
In the eighth, Brackney again did much of the work himself when he led off with a single and then advanced on a wild pitch, beat out a throw to third on a bunt attempt and another wild pitch scored him from third to put Northview ahead 4-3.
The Braves again put heat on the Knights as Reberger hit the leadoff batter and Woods hit a one out single. But first baseman Graig Bass turned in a couple of solid defensive gems to turn out the lights on the Braves and ending the Big Four on a positive note for the Knights.
Offensively, Yocom had two hits and an RBI in the game, Robertson had two hits, Bass, Brackney and Austin Bryan each had singles with Crooks adding a double.
Terre Haute North would go on to finish a perfect 3-0 in the tourney, capping the championship with a 4-0 victory over West Vigo on Saturday afternoon.
Northview (14-3 overall) will travel to North Central on Tuesday night beginning at 5 p.m.
Big Four Tourney
T.H. North 11, Northview 0
At T.H. South
Fisher (W, 5-1) and Phegley; Brackney (L, 3-2) and Robertson
Northview 4, T.H. South 3
Smerdel, Reberger (7) (W, 2-0) and Robertson; Woods, Duncan (7) (L, 3-2) and Kraemer.