For the Brazil Times
Sometimes how a team wins is as important as winning. Sometimes a team needs a blowout victory and in other cases, coming through in the clutch bolsters confidence. The Northview Knights needed and got both Saturday.
Riding a three-game losing streak going into Saturday's high school baseball round-robin, Northview pounded Marysville 11-0 in the first game, then got a game-winning walk-off home run from senior Keaton Robertson to beat Plainfield 7-4.
"Hopefully this will be a turnaround for us because we've had an awful start. It wasn't that we played terribly, we just couldn't play well enough to win,"? Northview coach Gary Witham said.
The two wins improved the Knights' record to 3-4 going into Tuesday's Western Indiana Conference opener with the Sullivan Golden Arrows.
The come from behind victory over Plainfield was especially important to the Knights after losing close games against Shakamak, Bloomington North and Jennings County.
"This is a big win for us. We've been down several times and managed to mount comebacks, but never quite get over the hump to win the game," said Witham. "But today is a different thing. We got the big hit when we needed it at the right time and our pitching kept us in the game. Our defense was a little shaky at times, but we came through in the clutch and that's something we haven't had a lot of [this season],"? Witham said.
Plainfield, now 4-3, led 4-2 going into the bottom of the seventh inning. Northview had just four hits off Plainfield's Nathan Ellis.
"It seemed like (Ellis) started pitching a lot better as the game progressed, then we got on him the last couple of innings,"? Robertson said.
Like several of Northview's big innings in the two games, the game-winning rally started with a base on ball. Dylan Kruse led off with a walk and Matt Nodley followed with a base hit. Ryne Barr singled, to load the bases.
With two out, Robertson connected with an outside fastball for his first home run of the season and the first-game winning hit of his career over the right-center field fence.
"I was just trying to put it into play a little bit. It was my pitch to hit, though,"? Robertson said.
Robertson was 3-5 at the plate with two doubles and a home run, five RBI and scored five runs in the two games.
The 11-0 win over Marysville, Mich., a school of about 800 students, was just what Northview needed. The Knights got contributions from everyone.
Ryne Barr hurled a three-hit shutout while being supported by an error-free Northview defense. Barr struck out five and walked two in the five-inning win.
"(Barr) kept the ball around the plate, didn't walk many, made them put the ball in play and our defense played well behind him. Our defense didn't play as well [against Plainfield],"? Witham said.
Barr led the Knights' 10-hit attack, going 2-2 in the leadoff position with two doubles, three runs scored and one RBI. Kyle Pestoff also went 2-2, with a double, one RBI and one run scored.
Northview scored all the runs it would need in the first inning. Barr led off with a double, moved to third on a throwing error and scored Robertson's infield ground out.
Cody Crooks received a two-out walk, moved to second on a passed ball and scored Pestoff with a base hit.
Northview broke the contest open with a two-out, six-run rally in the second inning.
Curtis Peters, who had a double in the third inning, started the Knights' second inning merry-go-round with a lead-off walk. Peters scored Barr's second double of the game. Barr scored on a single by Nick Lancaster three batters and two runs scored.
Robertson followed with a double to plate Lancaster and Cody Crooks cleared the bases with a two-run home run. Pestoff singled, moved to second on an error and scored on a throwing error to put the Knights up 8-0.
Now the Knights start conference play and host their annual invitational on Saturday.
Shunck, Teichow (4) and Weingartz; Barr and Robertson. LOB - M 4, N 6. HR - Crooks. 2B - Barr (2), Robertson, Pestoff, Peters.
PB - Weingartz. HBP - by Barr (Weingartz).
Ellis and Yoho; Lawson, Lancaster (6) and Robertson; WP - Lancaster.
LOB - P 8, N 3. HR - Robertson. 2B - Robertson.
WP - Ellis (2). PB Yoho, Robertson. HBP - by Lawson (Ellis).
Next game: Northview (3-4, 0-0 in WIC) plays Sullivan on Tuesday.