Times Sports Editor
The Northview baseball team had to be feeling a sickening feeling of deja-vu following Tuesday's Big Four diamond opener.
Much like the 2009 version of its opening tussle with the West Vigo Vikings, the Knights didn't help themselves much in a loss that counted towards the Western Indiana Conference standings as well as in the Big Four tourney. Last year the Knights walked 12 Vikings while falling in a 12-7 decision. In the 2010 edition, the Knights gave away nine free passes and dropped an 8-2 contest at home.
"It was the same thing we did last year," a disappointed Northview coach Scott McDonald said afterwards. "We walked a lot of guys, (West Vigo) got hits when they needed them and we didn't. Our offense wasn't very good today."
The Vikings scored in each of the first three innings of Northview starter Kodie Girton.
Scott West walked with one out in the first inning and Tyler Wampler followed with a single preceding another free pass by Brodey McCalister. After Girton struck out Cody Thornton for the second out, Zack Kent made the walks sting with a two-run single.
The Knights answered back with some two-out magic of their own off Kent, the West Vigo starting hurler.
Zac Niehaus and Caleb Mason had back-to-back doubles to narrow the Vikings' lead to 2-1 after the opening frame.
West Vigo added single runs in each of the next two innings as a two-out walk by speedy Drew Aff paid off for the Vikings when he stole second and scored on a single by West. In the third, the Vikings got an RBI single by Kent for a 4-1 lead.
Northview attempted a rally via the base on balls in the bottom of the third inning as Andrew Butts and Girton led off the inning with walks off Kent. However, the Vikings brought their No. 1 pitcher in in West, who got Niehaus to lineout and Mason to hit into a fielder's choice. West loaded the bases after walking Zach Hull, but then got Seth Lunsford to hit a grounder to third and he was narrowly thrown out at first for the final out.
The fifth inning might have proved to be the backbreaker for Northview as Craig Bell worked his second inning on the mound. He got the first out on a strikeout before Kent reached on a grounder to third that would have been a tough out to begin with, however, the throw was wide to first base and Kent scampered into scoring position. Bell walked the next two batters to load the bases and an infield single by Conor Tilford that scored West.
Northview's Caleb Mason came in to relieve Bell having worked just a 1 2/3 innings this season and the rust showed a bit as he walked in Aff before coaxing an RBI flyout from West, but the next two batters drew walks as well, the second scoring Tilford for an 8-1 Vikings' lead.
Meanwhile, West was mostly in control on the mound, allowing just one hit, a bomb of a home run by pinch-hitter, Roy Brown in the sixth inning. That production wasn't enough to get the Knights back into a game that literally, walked away.
"(Zac) Niehaus hit the ball hard three times today, I think (Kodie) Girton hit it hard a couple of times. Other than (Roy) Brown's big home run, our offensive was non-existent today.
"(West Vigo) is going to make the plays, we had a couple of errors, but nothing tragic, but we've just got to do a better job of throwing strikes and give our defense a chance," McDonald added.
The Knights (13-3 overall, 2-1 WIC) is at Edgewood on Friday night for a 5 p.m. game.
2B -- Nv (Niehaus, Mason). HR -- Nv Brown (1).