For the Brazil Times
The Northview Knights got solid pitching and hard hitting Saturday in their only game in the Northview Invitational Baseball Tournament.
The Knights, ranked 11th in the latest Class 4A poll, beat Indianapolis Pike 8-6 in the opening game of the tournament. Bellmont topped Gibson Southern 9-4 in game two and Gibson Southern beat Pike 7-3 in the consolation game.
But rain set in Saturday evening before the championship game could be played, leaving the Knights at 12-1 going into this week's schedule. Northview travels to Brown County on Tuesday and will host Mooresville on Wednesday.
For six innings Saturday, Northview led Pike's Red Devils, building an 8-1 lead, then used up most of it up before winning by two. Northview scored three runs in the third inning, four in the fourth and one in the third.
"We kind of lost our focus when we got up 8-1, so a little bit of a concentration letdown. We hit a lot of balls hard right at them today, so offensively I'm extremely pleased," Northview coach Scott McDonald said.
Pike's only lead of the game, 1-0 in the first, was the result of a two-out error. Northview made two clear fielding errors in the contest.
Zac Niehaus led Northview's 10-hit attack, going 2-4 at the plate with a triple and three RBI. Joey Thomas was 2-3 with a double and Jordan Allen was 2-3. Caleb Mason was 1-2, but that one hit was a two-run homer.
Northview took a 3-1 lead in the first inning. Singles by Niehaus and Seth Lunsford and a ground out to the right side of the infield by Zach Hull, drove in three Knights.
The Knights showed their power in the second inning. With Andrew Butts on first with a single and Kodie Girton on base by a fielder's choice (negating Jordan Allen's single), Niehaus hit a high triple to the center-field fence to drive in three runs.
Niehaus didn't have time to catch his breath at third base before Mason followed with his third home run of the season, a two-run shot out to left field.
Sophomore righthander T.J. Decker (2-0) took the mound in the third with a 7-1 lead. "That (triple and home run) was great. I couldn't ask for anything better," Decker said.
Mixing a breaking pitch with an up-and-down fastball, Decker held Pike to two runs and four hits through six innings. He struck out only four, but did not walk a batter.
Decker retired nine straight batters from the end of the fourth inning into the seventh. He threw just four pitches in the fifth to retire the side.
"My curveball worked pretty well, but our defense helped us out a lot. And I'm glad our sticks came alive today," Decker said.
But in the seventh, the breaking pitch started hanging and Pike tagged Decker for six hits and four runs.
"My breaking ball wasn't working that well. I was keeping it up and they were hitting it where we weren't (playing)," Decker said.
With a six-run lead, Northview's McDonald wanted to give Decker every opportunity to finish the game, without losing it.
"[Indianapolis Pike] is a good hitting team. They beat Carmel this year. They're a very good offensive club. T.J. [Decker] just did a good job. They got a couple of hits there toward the end. There were a couple of miscues that we had, [but] overall a pretty dominating performance [by Decker]," McDonald said.
The Red Devils had runners on first and second and the winning run at the plate when Decker got an infield fly ball to end the contest.
"My arm was fine (in the seventh), just trust in my defense and hope for the best," Decker said.
E -- Breen, Niehaus, Thomas. DP - Pike. LOB -- P 6, N 4. HR -- Mason. 3B -- Niehaus. 2B -- A.Snyder, Thomas. SAC -- Stevenson. SB -- Channy, G.Snyder, Niehaus, Mason, Lunsford. CS - Butts.
|Decker (W, 2-0)||7.0||10||8||5||0||4|
WP -- Aguirre, Decker. PB - Lunsford. HBP - None.
Next game: Northview (12-1, 1-0 in WIC) travels to
Brown County on Tuesday.