Times Sports Editor
MARTINSVILLE -- Consider the Knights' first step towards a potential softball sectional title this year a resoundingly positive one.
Northview took control early against Terre Haute South in the Class 4A Martinsville Sectional, scoring four runs in the first two innings before dropping a 13 spot on the Braves to end the game via the 10-run rule, 17-0.
"Mentally we were focused on not looking past South," said coach Bethany Jones of her team's pre-game preparation. "South was hungry," she said regarding a Braves' squad looking to avenge two earlier season losses to the Knights.
Terre Haute South never got much of a chance in the sectional opener.
Northview senior centerfielder Lindsay Thomas made sure her team got going early, doubling to lead off the game and then came around to score on an RBI single by Traci Sanders.
The two did plenty of damage in the game, combining for six hits and six RBI for the Knights, a fact not overlooked by Jones.
"Lindsay is a great player and she's always positive. Our offensive didn't try to swing for the fences. We just had a lot of good solid hits," said Jones.
The second inning provided even more offensive pop for the Northview bats.
Freshman catcher Jessica LaTourette started the barrage with a ringing double and Shelby Colson reached on an error by the Braves leftfielder, who dropped the Colson's flyball. Raven Enders laid down a bunt to score pinch-runner Erica Matson. Thomas added her second double of the game with two outs, smashing a shot off the centerfield fence. The recently awarded Academic All-Stater then sailed home as fellow four-year scholar athlete award winner, Kyler Clark, shot a looping single into right field to score the fourth run of the game.
While her teammates were giving her plenty of cushion, Katie Smith was cruising along in the circle for the Knights.
Smith didn't allow a hit until the fourth inning when South's Ciara Hall walked and Macy Toon moved her to third base with a single.
Northview's defense kept the shutout alive on the next play as Toon stole second and the Knights' catcher, LaTourette, threw to second as Hall tried to score from third base. The throw back to the plate by Raven Enders nailed Hall at the plate.
Kayla Price then lined a shot up the middle that Enders snagged and then doubled off Toon, who had strayed too far from the bag to end the inning.
The fifth inning was the coup de grace for the Knights who had 12 hits in the inning that led to 13 runs for Northview who sent 17 batters to the plate.
Thoams again led off with a smash, this one to centerfield that Hall got her glove on, but lost it as Thomas reached second base.
Clark then singled off Toon's glove at shortstop before Conrad scored Thomas with a short single off Toon's mitt into left centerfield.
Both runners moved up on a passed ball before Sanders drove both home with a two-run line drive to center.
Leading 7-0, Northview wasn't done yet.
Chelsea Orndorf came in to pitch for the Braves but fared no better, allowing a walk to Smith, an RBI single by Colson and a slap single by Enders that loaded the bases.
Ashley Ames came in in a tough situation with still just one out in the inning and the bases packed with Knights.
She got a flyout from Emily Phillips for the second out of the frame, but the thorn in the Braves' side came to the plate and delivered once more.
Thomas, who was named the Northview Athlete of the Year following the game, drove a two-run single to score pinch-runner Kirstin Kimball and Colson. Clark doubled to drive home two more runs and Conrad followed with another RBI double.
The inning concluded with Price back on the mound following an RBI single from Sanders and one by Smith. Price came in and allowed three more hits as Northview concluded an eye opening barrage.
"We just did it so smooth tonight,' said Jones of her team's execution. "We came out and played with heart and didn't play timid."
Smith allowed a single to lead off the fifth inning by Kaitlyn Pluta, but finished the game on a double play liner to Conrad at first base and struck out Erica Sell for the shutout.
"A game like this gives us some confidence," admitted Jones. "We had a bad weekend (at the Castle Tourney) so this shows us that we can play well all around."
Thomas, Clark and Sanders each had three hits in the game with Conrad, Smith, Enders, LaTourette and Colson all picking up two hits in the victory that improves the Knights to 12-12 overall.
Smith allowed just two hits in the victory for the Knights.
Northview advances to play tonight against the winner between Plainfield and Terre Haute North at 6 p.m.
Class 4A Softball Sectional
2B -- Nv (Thomas 2, Clark, Conrad, Sanders, LaTourette).
|Smith (W, 5-6)||5.0||0||2||1||3|