Times Sports Editor
CLAY CITY -- Northview wasted little time in jumping on Clay City in the annual county baseball match-up and the Knights powered their way to a 16-0 victory over the Eels. The victory was Northview's third straight in the series.
The Knights rang up seven runs in the first inning, got hits from 10 different players as part of a 13-hit attack and got three-hit pitching from junior TJ Decker in improving to 3-0 this season.
While Northview's offense was making an early statement, Decker gave up hits to Ben Denker in the first inning, Wyatt Gard in the third frame and Brylan Jones in the fourth, but none got as far as third base. Decker struck our 11 Eels over his five inning stint on the mound and didn't walk anyone.
"He was around the plate all night. His curveball was a little shaky early, but I think the length of that first inning, sitting around, he kind of stiffened up a little," Northview coach Scott McDonald said of Decker. "That's what we've had in the first three games so far, we've thrown a lot of strikes and, even though we had a lot of strikeouts today, our defense is going to have to make some plays down the road."
Clay City starting pitcher, Jake Tiefel, got leadoff batter, Kodie Girton, but Joey Thomas started the extended rally with a single to right centerfield and stole second base. Zac Niehaus ripped a double that hugged the leftfield line to bring home Thomas with the game's first run.
However, the Knights were far from done.
Butts was thrown out at first base and Lunsford was caught in a rundown between first and second, but was able to dive safely back as Hull scampered home for a 3-0 lead.
Decker reached on an error, one of four in the game by the Eels.
Tiefel was able to get Conner Pierce on a strikeout, but the ball slipped past catcher Zach Boggs and Pierce reached as Lunsford scored. Curtis Grove followed with an RBI double and Girton returned to the plate and sent a liner to centerfield. Grove would come home on a second wildpitch before Clay City was able to get the final out.
"(Northview) hit the ball well today," Clay City coach Vance Edmondson said. "Coach McDonald has a good team, it might be one of the best teams I've seen them have. It's a tough way to open up, but we threw strikes today and when you throw strikes to a good team they are going to put the ball into play. We're going to keep working."
In the second inning, two more errors and a two-run double by Decker pushed the gap to 10-0.
Clay City's second pitcher, Brylan Jones, didn't have much more luck as control problems led to walks to Girton and Thomas to lead off the inning before Niehaus sent a single through shortstop to score a run. Hull followed with a ringing double to bring home Thomas and Lunsford hit an RBI groundout. Butts drove in another run with a two-base hit and a looping single by Pierce brought home pinch runner, Caleb Mershon for a 15-0 advantage that sealed the deal.
Decker finished out the game by striking out the side in the final two innings.
"We've hit the ball well," McDonald said. "We spent a lot of time in the preseason getting ready for this. Thursday (against Homestead at Indiana State) is a big test, not only playing at ISU, but playing against a quality opponent. If we swing the bat like we did today, we'll be fine."
Clay City (0-1 overall) hosts Sullivan at 10 a.m. on Saturday while the Knights travel to ISU to face Homestead at 8 p.m. on Thursday.
At Clay City
2B -- Nv (Niehaus, Hull, Butts, Decker, Grove), CC (None). SB -- Nv (Thomas, Niehaus).
|J.Tiefel (L, 0-1)||2.0||10||7||1||1|
|Decker (W, 1-0)||5.0||0||3||0||11|