Times Staff Reporter
Inconsistent hitting and late-inning defensive struggles cost the Northview softball team the chance to take a very winnable season opener, dropping a 4-2 decision to Martinsville.
With the game tied at two headed into the seventh, the Artesians reeled off five consecutive hits.
Kim Williams blasted in the game-winning run with an RBI single. Jodie Williams followed that with another RBI single, which proved to be the difference.
The seventh inning struggles marred what was an otherwise very impressive debut performance by Knights' freshman pitcher Taylor Carter. With projected No. 1 starter Emily Phillips out indefinitely with a knee injury, Carter secured her slot in the Northview rotation, striking out six and walking none over seven innings.
After allowing runs in the first and second, Carter allowed just one hit in innings 3-6. Northview coach Bethany Jones was very quick to sing the praises of the neophyte pitcher.
"I'm completely impressed with what (Carter) did tonight," Jones said. "She had very good command of what she was doing all night. A performance like this should help give her a lot of confidence."
The Knights' offense struggled to establish consistency. Carter helped her own cause with a two-out single in the first to tie the game at one. The Knights then loaded the bases, but were unable to add to their run total.
After a hitless second and third, the Knights tied the game again in the fourth when another freshman, Hope Torbert drove Kylie McKee home with a double. Torbert was the only Northview player who put forth a mult-hit performance, blasting two doubles.
Torbert tried to kick-start a Northview rally in the bottom of the seventh with a one out double. Unfortunately, the rally ended quickly when Raven Enders lined into a double play, officially ending the game.
Jones said Northview's struggles with inconsistency at the plate came from a lack of aggression.
"We have to be more aggressive at the plate," Jones said of her team, who suffered 10 strikeouts at the hands of Martinsville pitcher Abby Wood. "We can't stand and watch strikes go by, because then we just end up swinging at junk."
Despite the loss, Jones said she was happy with what she saw from her young team, and believed they would be able to quickly improve in their areas of struggle from their first game.
"I really think we can adjust quickly," Jones said. "We just need to be aggressive in all aspect of the game before we can be successful. But I like what I saw tonight and all we can do is improve."
The Knights return to he diamond Thursday when they travel to Linton.
2B-- M (Newman). NV (Torbert, 2).