Times Sports Editor
The West Vigo Vikings came calling for the Big Four softball opener on Tuesday night with the Northview Knights.
The Vikings capitalized on some early control problems from Alyssa Conrad to plate a pair of first inning runs and thanks to starting pitcher Gina Furrey., that's all the team would need.
Furrey allowed just four hits and one run while striking out 12 Knights as West Vigo picked up a 4-1 WIC victory.
While Northview coach Bethany Jones gave Furrey plenty of the credit for keeping the North-view bats quiet, she also noted some tough plate calls by the officiating crew as well.
"Gina's a great pitcher. She's been strong every year we've played her. I give her a lot of credit for what she did tonight," Jones said. "With the inconsistent strike zone we saw tonight, our girls had to adjust and it threw us off a little bit and I'm not going to make excuses for what we did, but we were looking at a lot of called third strikes."
West Vigo scored twice in the first inning, getting a lead off single by Alicyn Woodward, who stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch. Sam Richey drew a walk and Woodward came in to score on a wild pitch for the game's opening tally. Leslee Walters stepped to the plate and smacked a base hit to move Richey to third base. Furrey then lofted a flyball to leftfield that was caught by the Knights' Nicole Nelson. Her relay throw to the plate was in time for a close play on Richey, but the ball was dropped as the lead grew to 2-0.
Furrey meanwhile kept Northview on their heels into the fourth inning when Taylor Carter had a base hit that was lost in the sun by the Vikings' Jacy McClain. Jessica LaTourette then drew a walk. Hope Torbert came up next and laid down a bunt and reached safely as the throw was late to third base. With the bases loaded and no outs, the Knights appeared set to do some damage.
Furrey made sure that wouldn't happen as three straight Northview hitters came to the plate and each went back to the dugout via strikeout.
"Leaving three runners on with no outs and can't score a run. . .we've got to execute," Jones said.
Northview scored its lone run in the sixth inning as Sarah Phillips hit a double that caromed off the Vikings leftfielder's mitt. She would come around to score following a fielder's choice by Lauren Webster and an RBI groundout by Kylie McKee.
The Vikings were able to add single runs off of Carter, who relieved Conrad with none out in the second inning. She performed admirably, allowing the two runs while striking out six and allowing just three hits, but Jones believed that the first inning went a long way in deciding the contest.
"Defensively, in that first inning if we would have come out to play to win and not to lose than it would have been a closer game," Jones said.
The Knights (8-5 overall, 1-2 WIC) host Bloomington North on Thursday night at 5 p.m.
2B -- Nv (Phillips).