Times Sports Editor
Northview got the offense on Monday night that it was lacking over the weekend in a doubleheader split with Danville.
The Knights pounded out eight hits, including a two-run home run from Zac Niehaus in scoring a 9-2 win over Brown County.
The win however was tempered a bit by an injury to Caleb Mason, who was hit in the back of the neck by a relay throw as he was sliding into third base. Mason was taken to the hospital for precautionary measures after reporting some tingling in his fingers.
On the field, Northview's T.J. Decker earned his first varsity win on the mound, hurling six innings while allowing two runs on four hits while striking out 10 batters.
At the plate, the Knights scored a pair of runs in the first inning as Brown County's defense helped the cause with a pair of errors.
The defensive miscues were an omen of things to come for the Eagles who would commit six errors in the game to help the Knights' offensive surge.
In the first frame, Andrew Butts led off the game with a bad hop single past the shortstop and shortly afterwards, motored to second with a stolen base. Zac Niehaus then reached on an error when Brown County first baseman, Will Anderson's foot came off the bag on a throw to first. Butts came around to score on the play for a 1-0 lead.
Niehaus raced to second to get himself into scoring position and moved to third when the Eagles' Pete Stuart was called for a balk. Kyle Pestoff then drove the second run home with an RBI flyout.
The Eagles narrowed the gap in the second inning when Mike Leggins drew a lead off walk and Caleb Wedan singled to centerfield. Decker nearly pitched himself out of the jam by striking out the next two batters. However, Joe Watson came through with a single into left field.
The third inning brought in an insurance run for the Knights as Pestoff singled and Zach Hull followed with a base hit. Drake Stevenson laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move the runners into scoring position and Kodie Girton plated Pestoff with an RBI groundout for a 3-1 lead.
"I talked to the kids before the game and I've been putting too much pressure on them and that's my fault," McDonald said. "Tonight we got back to a more relaxed atmosphere."
Mason opened a successful fourth inning for the Knights with a single and then stole second to set the table for Niehaus' third home run of the year, a blast to leftfield.
With a 5-1 lead to work with, Decker rolled through the third through fifth innings without allowing a hit and struckout four Eagles before giving way to Mason in the sixth inning.
Butts added an RBI single in the fifth inning, driving in Matt Nodley, who had reached on a Brown County error.
Mason took the mound in the sixth and got into a bit of trouble, which could be attributed to some rust after not pitching for more than a week. The junior righthander struck out the first batter, but walked the next two before striking out Wedan. Mason then walked Chris Riehl to load the bases, but was able to get out of the situation with his third strike out of the inning.
The bottom half of the inning began with Mason being hit by a pitch, however, he stole second before Niehaus sent a flyball to centerfield. Mason tagged at second and as he slid into third, the relay throw skipped and hit him just below the helmet.
The game was stopped while Mason was attended to and the ambulance arrived to take the Knight to be checked out at the hospital.
When the game resumed, the Knights added to their lead as pinch-runner, Joey Thomas, scored on a grounder by Craig Bell that was mishandled. Brock Lawson followed with a single and stolen base before Girton's grounder to second took a hop past Riehl for another error. This one scored two runs and pushed the lead to 9-1.
Decker, re-entered the game to close out the victory, allowing a run after he hit Scalf and Chas Harper doubled him home.
Decker got out of the inning without further damage to claim his first varsity victory.
The win moves the Knights to 12-11 overall and 4-2 in the WIC with a road trip to Vincennes Lincoln this evening at 6 p.m.
Northview 9, Brown County 2
2B -- Nv (Pestoff), BC (Anderson, Harper). HR -- Nv (Niehaus). SB -- Nv (Butts, Mason, Niehaus, Lawson).
|Decker (W, 1-0)||6.0||2||4||2||10|