Times Sports Editor
The top half of Riverton Parke's softball lineup proved to be the death of Northview on Monday night.
The Knights couldn't find out a way to get the No. 2-3-4 batters out for the Panthers. Together, Whitney Mathas, Ashley Kinne and Megan Vincent went a collective 8-for-10 and drove home all five runs in a 5-3 Riverton Parke victory.
The eventual winning blow came from the bat of Vincent in the fifth inning after the Knights had built a 3-1 advantage.
Sara Julian reached to lead off the inning when she grounded to short stop, but the throw to first sailed wide of the bag.
Northview pitcher Shelby Colson got Chelsea Myers to strikeout, but Mathas lined a sharp single off third baseman, Emily Phillips' glove to reach safely. Kinne drew a walk to load the bases for Vincent, who already had two hits and an RBI.
Colson's first pitch to Vincent was sent skyward to left centerfield and over the wall for a grandslam that completed changed the complexion of the game.
"An error and a walk. It's the little things like that that make a difference," said Northview coach Bethany Jones. "We've got to realize that those are the things you can't do. Teams like these are just chomping to get on and hit a grandslam against you."
The Knights fell behind 1-0 after the Panther's half of the first inning when a single by Kinne and a double by Vincent brought home the first run of the game.
Northview came back to score runs in three of the first four innings to grab the lead.
Lindsay Thomas opened the game with a sailing flyball over rightfielder Cortney Edington that turned into a triple. Kyler Clark followed with an RBI single, but the rally ended there when a grounder by Colson turned into a double play.
In the second inning, Jessica LaTourette reached when she was hit-by-pitch and her pinch-runner, Kirstin Kimball, scored on push bunt by Clark. Both runners reached safely and the Knights' looked ready to break open the game.
Erica Matson sacrificed both runners into scoring position.
Emily Phillips sharply grounded out to score Kimball, but Kinne got Lindsay Thomas on a grounder to minimize the damage.
The lead grew to 3-1 for the Knights in the fourth inning on a single by LaTourette, a stolen base by Kimball and another single by Jonna Raderstorf, who moved to second on the throw to the plate.
But again, the damage against Kinne was limited when the freshman got three consecutive groundouts.
"We started out great," said Jones. We could never get that last push."
Kinne had plenty to do with keeping the game close to that point, fielding her position extremely well by stabbing several hard shots back up the middle.
Colson held Riverton Parke to just the first inning run despite giving up six hits over the first four innings.
The fifth inning explosion proved to be just enough for the Panthers.
Over the final three frames, Kinne gave up several hard shots, but her infield proved to be up to the test, allowing just a seventh inning single to Phillips.
"We need to play with a little more passion," said Jones.
The Knights fall to 9-8 overall and travel to South Vermillion for a WIC match-up against the Wildcats.
2B -- RP (Vincent). 3B -- Nv (Thomas). HR -- (Vincent).