Times Sports Editor
Friday was quite a special evening for five Northview senior student/athletes and they got to celebrate something that they hadn't accomplished in their four years of high school.
The Knights pounded out a 12-2 victory over visiting Owen Valley, which, coupled with West Vigo's loss to Edgewood on Wednesday, gave Northview a share of the conference title.
The co-WIC title was the first since the 2006 season for the Knights and enabled Jordan Allen, Caleb Mason, JT Jeffries, Drake Stevenson, Roy Brown and manager Kelsey Searing to enjoy a championship that was long overdue.
About the only thing that could dampen coach Scott McDonald's spirits following the victory was the impromptu shower he received as his players emptied the Gatorade bucket on the second-year head coach in celebration.
"They are pretty excited right now," McDonald said of his team. "I always let the seniors make the lineup on senior night. They said a lot of things changed after that West Vigo loss (to Edgewood). (The seniors) were excited coming into the game. It was a great night for the seniors and a great night for Northview baseball."
Senior ace, Caleb Mason got the start on the mound, his first of the season after a sore elbow kept him sidelined from starting duties early in the year. If he is as effective as he was on Friday, the postseason competition is in trouble.
Mason allowed only an infield single, chopped off of home plate, over the first three innings before the Patriots' Cody Vest lined a fourth inning double. Mason worked 4 1/3 innings before giving way to fellow senior, JT Jeffries, with one out in the fifth inning. Mason allowed three hits and one run while striking out five.
Afterwards, McDonald was pretty happy with his senior's starting debut.
Offensively, well, the Knights didn't have much trouble there either.
In the first inning, Andrew Butts got things started with an infield single and stole second. Kodie Girton rocketed a double to leftfield to move Butts to third. Butts would then score on a wild pitch. Girton didn't slow down as he came to third base and as the throw from the Patriots' catcher to home plate sailed wide, Girton scampered home for a two-run lead.
The damage wasn't done yet as Zac Niehaus was hit by a pitch and Mason then blasted a triple to the wall in left-centerfield for an RBI. Zach Hull hit an RBI groundout to complete the four-run outburst.
"A week ago, this wasn't really that important of a game," McDonald said. "Then, one night turned this into a huge game. I'll tell ya, we came out and we dominated them from the very first pitch."
The Knights added to their lead in the second inning as Jeffries and Butts walked with one out and Girton blooped in a single to load the sacks for Niehaus. The junior centerfielder produced once again for the Knights as he smacked a two-run single. Hull would later add his second RBI of the game on a flyball out.
In the third inning, Northview put the finishing touches on the offensive barrage as Allen opened the frame with a double, moved to third on a passed ball and scored on a wild pitch. Stevenson followed with a walk and stolen base, which ended Vest's night on the mound.
Owen Valley brought in Gryfen Brinson, who was rudely greeted by an RBI double by Butts that bumped the lead to 9-0. Brinson would have trouble finding the strikezone, walking four batters, two of which forced in runs, in two-thirds of an inning. Hull would drive in his third run of the game in as his single drove in Niehaus. Mason would come in to score on a walk by Allen for a 12-0 lead.
In the top of the fifth inning, Mason allowed an infield single to Dylen Hutcherson before a fielder's choice erased him at second. The out capped Mason's evening as McDonald subbed in Jeffries, who got the second out on another fielder's choice.
That was the lone batter Jeffries would face before McDonald subbed out his seniors to be recognized. Brock Wheeler finished on the mound, giving up a walk, a base hit to Dylan Christenberry that brought in the Patriots' only runs. Wheeler then struck out Mike Turley to end the game.
The Knights improve to 17-4 overall and finish the conference slate at 5-1 overall. Northview plays a doubleheader at Danville today beginning at 11 a.m.
2B -- Nv (Butts, Girton, Allen), OV (Vest). 3B -- Nv (Mason). SB -- Nv (Butts, Stevenson).
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