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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Youthful Knights looking for consistency

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

(Photo)
Ashlee Ball is one of six juniors returning for the Knights' softball team.
BY CLAY CUNNINGHAM

Times Staff Reporter

A young Northview softball team heads into an uncertain 2010 season hoping its talent will outweigh its inexperience.

The Knights return to the field tonight, following an inconsistent 2009 campaign in which they finished 10-12. Things weren't all bad, however, as Northview was able to earn itself an outright WIC championship.

The Knights enter the year with some big holes to fill. Gone via graduation are last year's ace pitcher Shelby Colson, and center fielder Kristen Kimball. The Knights also have to replace last season's starting left fielder Kaylee Clark, who left the team to play tennis this spring.

While they were dealt a blow through both graduation and defection, the most damage done to the Knights may have come during basketball season when Emily Phillips, who was expected to be the teams' No. 1 pitcher and leadoff hitter, sustained a torn ACL. Knights coach Bethany Jones said the injury impacted her plans for the season greatly, but stated it was crucial for her players to step up instead of using the injury as an excuse to have a lackluster season.

"It was a total shock to me," Jones said of the injury. "But luckily, we've had time to prepare to work around (the injury), and we can't let it effect the rest of our season."

Despite the severity of her injury, Jones said Phillips has made great progress in her rehabilitation, and she hasn't ruled out getting her back by season's end.

With Phillips out, Northview has only two seniors, Carlee Bell and Brailyn Whitson, on its active roster. Despite a great deal of inexperience, Jones said she firmly believes Northview could get by on sheer talent.

"I've been telling the girls all throughout practice, inexperience doesn't matter if the talent is there," Jones said. "If we can come out and give it our all, we are going to be competitive."

The young Knights are returning a great deal of power to their lineup, Back are Sophomore Alyssa Conrad, who is coming off a very impressive freshman campaign in which she hit .391. Also returning to the lineup is junior Raven Enders, who hit .339 with 23 runs scored in 2009.

Northview will also see the return of catcher/third basemen Jessica LaTourette, who missed all of last season with a shoulder injury.

The Knights are in firm need of their young players to step up on the mound.

With Phillips out, Conrad and fellow sophomore Sarah Phillips are expected to compete for a spot in the starting rotation.

Jones says she is also anticipating major early contributions from freshman Taylor Carter, who the coach believes can make an immediate impact. Jones said all of her pitchers have shown great improvement as practices have progressed, saying they are all "moving the ball very well."

As for her predictions for the upcoming season, Jones didn't get particularly descriptive outside of a few vague hopes of once again winning the W.I.C. and "going far" into the sectional. Instead, the coach focused more on the team's upcoming season opener, a home game against Martinsville this evening, saying she was simply eager to get beyond the practice environment to see what her team was capable of in a game situation.

"We're all ready (to play)," Jones said. "I'm very eager to see how this team is going to play in a game."

The Martinsville contest begins at 5 p.m.

2010 Northview softball schedule

April 6vs. Martinsville5 p.m.
April 8at Linton-Stockton5 p.m.
April 12at Bloomington South6 p.m.
April 13at Clay City4:30 p.m.
April 15vs. Shakamak5 p.m.
April 19at Plainfield5:30 p.m.
April 20vs. Sullivan5 p.m.
April 22vs. T.H. South5 p.m.
April 27at Brown County6 p.m.
April 29vs. Mooresville5 p.m.
April 30at Jasper TourneyTBA
May 1at Jasper TourneyTBA
May 4vs. West Vigo5 p.m.
May 6vs. Bloomington North5 p.m.
May 7at Edgewood5 p.m.
May 8at Big Four Tourney10 a.m.
At T.H. South
May 10vs. Riverton Parke5 p.m.
May 11at S.Vermillion5 p.m.
May 12at North Central5 p.m.
May 14vs. Owen Valley5 p.m.
May 15at Turkey Run11 a.m.
May 18vs. T.H. North5 p.m.
May 22at Castle Tourney10 a.m.
May 24-27at Plainfield SectionalTBA