For The Brazil Times
MARTINSVILLE -- The Northview Knights battled from behind throughout the girls' high school softball season. They put it all together at tournament time for victories over Terre Haute South and Plainfield to reach the sectional championship game.
But Saturday evening, the Knights didn't have an answer for Martinsville's Jessica Gidney, as the Class 4A Sectional host Artesians became the sectional champions by a 4-0 score.
Northview finished with a 13-13 record.
"That was one thing we talked about at the beginning of the year. It doesn't matter what our record is as long as come tournament time, we find our defense, find the right offense for us and we can be consistent. And that's what we did,"? Northview coach Bethany Jones said.
The same Knights that pounded out 17 hits against Terre Haute South and 13 in the semifinals against Plainfield, managed only three singles in the title game.
Base hits by Lindsay Thomas (plus two stolen bases), Jessica LaTourette and Shelby Colson accounted for Northview's offense.
Martinsville's Gidney kept the ball outside, sometimes beyond reach of the bat.
"We tried to do that with our pitcher, as well. That's something we've been good at all year, hitting that outside pitch. Tonight just wasn't our night,"? Jones said.
Gidney struck out 10 and walked three en route to the complete-game shutout.
"(Gidney's) got good speed and her ball jumps and moves. We were just taking strikes and swinging at her rise ball. We told our girls to make the adjustment, get up (in front of) the plate since her ball did move so much. She did a good job. I just wish our girls could have been more selective,"? Jones said.
Being selective was difficult because the strike zone changed from inning to inning. Media standing behind home plate could clearly see the change.
"At the beginning (the strike zone) was tight and our girls made the adjustment and let the outside pitch go for a while. Then (the umpire) widened (the strike zone) out a bit and we had to make another adjustment,"? Northview's Jones said.
Martinsville took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on singles by Emily Sullivan and Alaina Zloty and double by Lauren Hatfield. But that didn't bother a team that scored 13 runs in one inning against Terre Haute South.
"(Martinsville) did score those two runs in the first inning, but I had no lack of confidence in these girls. How many times have we in the sixth or seventh inning came back and scored four or five runs. I never did lack confidence in these girls in coming from behind from the get-go,"? Jones said.
Thomas, who reached base all three times at bat (two walks, one single) led off the Knights' half of the first with a walk and stole second, but was left there. She had a two-out single and stole second in the third, but was stranded again. The Artesian were ready when Thomas walked in the sixth, as she was thrown out trying to steal second for the third time.
The score remained 2-0 until the fifth when the Artesians added another run, and then scored again in the sixth.
"We had a whole different defense and offense compared to when we played (Martinsville in April) our very first game. These girls have worked hard, they've been determined, they've persevered and I'm very proud of this group because of what they did throughout the season," Jones said.
LOB - M 3, Nv 5. 2B - Hatfield.
HBP - by Smith (Hatfield).
Next game - Martinsville plays in the Class 4A Regional at Castle on Saturday. Northview finished with a 13-13 record.