Times Sports Editor
MARTINSVILLE -- The Northview Knights got the offensive opportunities that they needed in Monday's sectional baseball semifinal against Terre Haute South, but weren't able to get the key hits.
The Braves meanwhile got all the runs they would need in the second inning to edge Northview in a 5-3 decision that sends them into the title game.
Tyler Goldman allowed three runs in the second inning and gave up nine hits to the Knights, but perhaps most importantly, didn't give up a single walk and struck out seven in earning the win.
"The kid (Goldman) had good movement on his fastball and pitched a good game," Northview coach Scott Mcdonald said of the South hurler. "I thought all three of our pitchers threw the ball well, but the one inning did us in."
Kodie Girton came to the plate and laid down a perfect bunt and beat the throw to first after the Braves' fielder delayed the throw after checking the runner heading to third.
Matt Nodley had a bases loaded opportunity and drove home the first run with an RBI groundout to second to score Pestoff. Caleb Mershon then drove home a second run after fighting off a 1-2 count with an RBI single to bring home Hull.
Leading 2-0, the Knights looked to do further damage as Drake Stevenson sacrificed the runners into scoring position, but Goldman got out of the inning by getting Andrew Butts to lineout.
The Braves got down to business quickly in their own half of the second inning as Richard Wheatfill lead off the inning with a double to centerfield and Josh Dove followed with a single to right. Goldman then hit a sharp grounder to shortstop that was bobbled just enough for him to reach and Wheatfill scored the Braves' first run.
Caleb Mershon got the inning's first out as Josh Freeman laid down a bunt and was throw out, but A.J. Buck blooped a two-run single down the rightfield line to bring home both Dove and Goldman for a 3-2 South lead.
Jacob Hayes brought home the eventual winning runs when he lifted a two-run homerun to rightfield that gave South a 5-2 advantage.
Northview added a single run in the third inning as Kodie Girton smacked a solo home run to right centerfield to push the Knights within 5-3.
Matt Nodley continued the inning, reaching on an error and moved to second on a balk and to third on a flyout by Craig Bell, who came in to relieve Mershon. Goldman, however, got out of the inning by striking out Stevenson.
The Knights threatened again in the fifth inning as Caleb Mason doubled and stole third. Pestoff singled to third, but both runners were stranded as Goldman struck out Hull to end the threat.
Bell performed admirably in relief of Mershon, throwing three and a third scoreless innings while striking out three to give his teammates a chance at a comeback. But Goldman kept the Knights at bay the rest of the way.
Nodley singled with one out in the sixth, but Goldman got a double play to get out the inning. In the seventh, the Knights got two-out singles from Mason and Zac Niehaus, but a sharp liner by Pestoff was snagged by Goldman to end the game.
"This was just a good high school baseball game," McDonald admitted afterwards. "(South) made a couple of errors and we got guys on, but just couldn't get them in."
Northview finishes 16-13 this season and McDonald feels the program made strides in his first year as varsity head coach.
"In my first year I wanted to change the face of the program and to be more aggressive. I think we played 11 or 12 ranked teams and the kids really bought into what we are trying to do and I think we're only going to grow. We were playing our best baseball at the end."
The Knights bid goodbye to three seniors this season as Brock Lawson, Kyle Pestoff and Nodley each graduated.
Class 4A Martinsville Sectional
T.H. South 5, Northview 3
2B -- Nv (Mason), THS (Reed, Goldman, Freeman). HR -- Nv (K.Girton), THS (Hayes). SB -- Nv (Mason, Nodley), THS (Wheatfill).