Times Staff Reporter
Northview's Shelby Colson and Kirstin Kimball each hit two-run bombs to ignite the Knights varsity softball team to a 5-0 victory over Linton-Stockton Thursday night.
After a slow start on the mound, in which Colson walked the lead-off batter and threw a pair of wild pitches, she settled in to blank the Miners in the Knights' home opener.
"It really shows her she has matured and improved the consistency of her pitches this year," Northview Coach Bethany Jones said. "She has learned to buckle down in tight situations and believe in the defense playing behind her."
Aside from a couple of off-target pitches, the game was a pitcher's duel.
The Knights were able to break the scoreless tie in the bottom of the third when Emily Phillips took a lead-off walk, advanced to second on a Raven Enders sacrifice bunt and driven in by an Alyssa Conrad double to the left-center field gap.
Conrad was a flawless 3-for-3, with two doubles, showing little signs of being a freshman.
"You expect some nerves to come out with freshman players," Jones said. "But Alyssa has been relaxed and has done a great job."
Following Conrad's double, Colson took a 2-1 pitch from Linton-Stockton's Izzy Carpenter out of the park to straightaway center.
"Izzy pitched a great game, but made a couple of mistakes," Miners' Coach Jill Flater said. "We really beat ourselves tonight."
After a 1-2-3 fourth inning from both sides, it was Kimball's time to shine.
After Taneal Church stretched a single into a double, thanks in part to a fielding error by Enders, to get the Miners going in the top of the fifth. Church advanced to third on a Katie West ground out, and attempted to score on a medium-range flyout off the bat of Darien Huffman. However, Kimball's throw to catcher Lauren Webster was spot on and in plenty of time to nab Church at the plate to end the threat.
Conrad led off the bottom of the sixth with her second double of the game and after a ground out and a flyout, Kimball stepped up and parked a 2-2 pitch from Carpenter to nearly the same spot Colson hit hers.
"When Linton threatened to score in the fifth, you could see the team was starting to tense up a little bit," Jones said. "Kirstin's perfect throw really helped calm the team down and set a tone for the rest of the game."
The Miners mounted another threat in the top of the sixth with a pair of singles from Hali Murray and Sam Butt, but were unable to capitalize, which was the story for Linton-Stockton all night.
After the two singles and a flyout, Linton-Stockton's Savannah Mason hit a grounder to Phillips for what looked to be a double play, but she bobbled the ball leaving the Knights in what appeared to be a one-out, bases loaded jam. However, the umpire called Murray out for interference, and Colson was able to get Carpenter to flyout to left field to end the inning.
"Hali did bump into the shortstop and interference was the right call," Flater said. "We missed so many opportunities with bad baserunning and swinging at pitches above our hands. We just weren't mentally prepared."
In the seventh, Colson gave up a single and coaxed three flyouts to finish her complete game shutout. On the game, she had six strikeouts against the lone lead-off walk and went 2-for-3 from the plate.
Kylie McKee pitched in the last of the Knights seven hits in the sixth inning immediately after Jenica Ringo came in to relieve Carpenter.
Church had two of the four Miners hits, while Murray and Butt accounted for the others.
With the win, the Knights improved to 2-0 on the young season, while the Miners fell to 0-2.
The Knights will remain at home for their next game against Bloomington South, at 6 p.m., Monday April 13.
2B -- LS (Church), Nv (Conrad 2), HR -- Nv (Colson, Kimball), SB -- LS (Mason)
WP -- Nv (Colson 2)
Next Game: Northview Vs. Bloomington South, 6 p.m., Monday, April 13, at Northview.