Times Staff Reporter
Opening day, and the weather, did not fare well for the Northview girls' softball team Tuesday night as they fell 9-3 to Martinsville.
A throwing error by Northview Shortstop Traci Sanders, followed by an RBI single by Martinsville's Alaina Zloty gave the Artesians an early lead of 2-0 after the first inning.
"They set the tone tonight," Northview Coach Bethany Jones said. "We got down early on our field and weren't aggressive enough to come back."
The Knights answered with a run in the bottom half of the inning when Lindsay Thomas was walked, advanced to second on a passed ball and was driven in by a single from Sanders.
Neither team was able to plate a runner during the next three innings, highlighted by a great defensive play by the Knights in the third.
With a runner on second, Artesians' first baseman Jessica Gidney hit a liner into Knights' rightfielder Kyler Clark who fired the ball home to keep the runner from scoring. Catcher Jessica LaTourette got the ball quickly to second to get Gidney, who was advancing on the throw home, then Emily Phillips threw the ball back to LaTourette to nail the runner at the plate for a 9-2-4-2 double play to end the inning.
"Clark made a few good plays in the field, but overall, we didn't play with much focus," Jones said."
Northview starting pitcher Shelby Colson began to struggle as the wind picked up and the temperature dropped in the fifth, giving up four hits and throwing a wild pitch, as Martinsville extended their lead to 4-1.
The sixth would be the final inning for Colson.
After retiring two of the first three batters, she gave up two walks then two singles before being pulled for Phillips, who didn't fare much better.
Phillips gave up two hits and walked one in the sixth before getting Martinsville pinch hitter Alissa Grant to ground out to end the inning. In all, the Knights gave up five runs in the inning and now trailed 9-1.
The Knights were able to stifle the Artesians in the seventh and scored a couple in their half of the inning with RBI from Phillips and Erica Conrad. Off of Conrad's single Phillips got caught in a rundown between third and home and recorded the final out to end the game.
"We played not to win and were very timid," Jones said. "The cold did get to the players a bit, but I don't like to use that as an excuse. We practiced in the cold because we had to prepare for it."
Conrad led the Knights with two his in four at-bats, with a sacrifice fly, as Northview only managed six hits, compared to 12 for Martinsville.
Each team hit a batter and had two errors as the Knights fell to 0-1 on the season and will next travel to Linton Thursday, with the first pitch scheduled for 5 p.m.
"This wasn't the team I know," Jones said. "It was our first game of the season and it showed us what we need to work on, especially getting ahead of the count and being patient at the plate."
2B -- M (Sullivan, Hatfield), Nv (Thomas)
HBP -- M (Enders by Sullivan), Nv (Cullison by Phillips)
WP -- Nv (Colson, Phillips)
PB -- M (Hatfield)