Times Sports Editor
The Northview Knights couldn't have planned a better opening act to the 2009 season than Saturday's double-dip victories over South Knox and Cloverdale.
The Knights scored early and often against both squads tallying 14 runs in the first inning against Cloverdale and six versus the Spartans enabling Northview to cruise to a pair of wins.
Northview held Cloverdale to just one hit in the first game while drilling the visitors 22-1 and followed that with a comfortable 17-5 victory against South Knox.
First-year head coach Scott McDonald agreed that opening day couldn't have gone much better.
"We came out and throw up a 14-spot and a six-spot in the first innings, we even talked in the dugout that you can't script it any better," McDonald said.
Andrew Butts and Matt Nodley drew walks to open the first inning and Zac Niehaus laced a double to left centerfield to bring both runners home. Niehaus advanced to third base on an error and came in to score on a wild pitch for a 3-0 lead.
Caleb Mason then came to the place and reached on an error and moved to second on another error. Logan Kile then looped a single to short leftfield.
McDonald, who emphasized that his team would use its speed to manufacture runs when possible, held true to his word as both Mason and Kile moved into scoring position on a double steal.
"Our goal was to be aggressive and look to take extra bases," McDonald said. "I bet we took eight to 10 bases. I thought our base running was phenomenal."
South Knox hurler, Sam Maxwell was able to strike out Roy Brown, but he reached first base on a passed ball that brought Mason home. After Zach Hull grounded out for the first out, Caleb Mershon singled to score Kile. Brown would wrap up the inning's scoring when he came home via another passed ball for a 6-0 Northview lead.
On the Northview mound, Mason got the start and allowed just two base runners over 3 1/3 innings, one via walk and another by error in the second inning. He struckout five South Knox batters in his opening start.
The Knights would add another three runs in the second inning as Niehaus and Mason each singled to start the inning. Niehaus was eliminated in a rundown on a stolen base attempt, but Mason stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on Brown's at-bat as he reached via error.
Hull followed by blasting a triple to the rightfield wall and scored when the throw to third was wild.
Northview put the game completely out of reach in the third inning by bringing home eight more runs off two Spartans' pitchers.
Nodley tripled in the inning, Kile singled and Brown brought home two runs with a double. Hull singled and scored as Mershon hit an two-run single to centerfield that ended Maxwell's evening on the mound.
Jordan Snider relieved him on the mound to only slightly better results.
Drake Stevenson greeted Snider with a single and Butts came through with a two-run cue shot into center to put the Knights ahead 17-0.
"We had a real good week of practice and we got a lot of two-out RBI, which is a sign of clutch-hitting and a reflection of our hitting sessions," McDonald said.
In the opening contest, Northview scored 14 runs in the first inning and pounded out 19 hits against the Clovers.
On the mound, Brock Lawson threw four scoreless innings while striking out 10 batters and allowing only a single run. T.J. Decker came in to finish the contest with a scoreless frame.
"Brock and Caleb did what I expected them to do, which is dominate," McDonald said of his starting pitchers.
Niehaus had three hits in the first game, driving home three runs and Mason doubled two times and also drove in three runners. Craig Bell added two hits with a double and an RBI and Kile added a two-run double. Stevenson also doubled twice for the Knights and brought home a run and Kodie Girton had a run scoring double.
Butts singled twice in the victory, Lawson had two hits with a double, Seth Lunsford had an RBI single and Broc Potter added an RBI double as well.
Northview (2-0 overall) travels to play Clay City on Tuesday evening at 5 p.m.
NV: Lawson, Decker (5) and Lunsford.
2B -- Nv (Stevenson 2, Mason 2, Bell, Kile, Mershon, Lawson, Potter, K.Girton).
Mason, K.Girton (4) and Brown, Lunsford (4); Maxwell, Snider (3) and Harvey.
2B -- Nv (Niehaus, Brown, K.Girton). 3B -- Nv (Nodley, Hull).