Times Staff Reporter
LINTON -- A young Northview softball team continued their search for an identity in a 5-0 road loss to last year's state runner-up Linton Thursday night.
The Knights (0-2) struggled to establish any offense against Linton ace Steph Fougerousse, who pitched a shut-out, allowing just four hits, while walking none and striking out five.
While they were mostly contained, Northview did have many opportunities to score runs. Kylee McKee blasted a two-out double in the second inning, then advanced to third on a pass ball before being stranded. Alyssa Conrad also reached on a double with one out in the fourth, but ran into a fielder's choice on the next play.
The more experienced Linton (2-0) squad didn't have the same struggles, scoring four of their five runs with two outs.
After Northview starter Conrad got two-thirds of the way out of a bases loaded, no outs jam, Miners No. 9 hitter Joie Gadberry blasted a single up the middle to give her team a 2-0 lead.
With a 3-0 lead in the fifth, Fougerousse, who also went 3-3 at the plate, helped her own cause with an RBI single. Two batters later, Hali Murry's single put an exclamation point on Linton's victory.
Knight's coach Bethany Jones said the ability to deliver under pressure is what separated her young team from their experienced opponent.
"We weren't ready to respond when we needed to tonight," Jones said. "I think we let up a bit."
Miners coach Jill Flater said aside from a few players who needed to work off some early season rust, she felt her 2010 team was more than capable of reaching the same heights of last year's team.
"This team is very comparable from our team last year," Flater said. "I don't think they quite know just how good they can be, but we have very high expectations for them."
Northview continued its attempts to gain experience for their inexperienced pitching staff Thursday with mixed results.
Conrad went three-and-a-third innings, allowing three runs on six hits, while walking two and striking out one.
Sarah Phillips, who saw her first varsity action, came in with one out in the third and got out of a runner on second, one out jam. Phillips went two more innings, allowing the aforementioned two runs in the fifth along with three hits, while walking two.
"Our pitchers just need to get their confidence going," Jones said. "We see them in practice and know what they are capable of, we just need to see it in games."
Though the start of the season has been a bit rocky, Jones said she still anticipates good things from her team, saying they just needed to work out their early season kinks before playing at the level she feels they are capable of.
"We're close (to where we need to be)," Jones said. "We've got to dig deeper and play with more heart, but this is still just game number two. We've still got the whole season."
|Northview||000 000 0 -- 0 4 1|
|Linton||021 020 x - 5 9 0|
2B--NV (Conrad, McKee)