Times Sports Editor
Defensive miscues and a strong effort in the pitching circle by Northview's Taylor Carter spelled doom for Clay City in Tuesday's county match-up.
The Knights scored five runs in the first inning and finished the Eels off in the fifth inning by taking advantage of two Clay City errors to plate three runs and win 10-0 in five innings.
Meanwhile, Carter allowed just one hit and struckout 11 Clay City hitters as Northview improved to 3-0 overall and the Eels dropped to 1-4 this season.
"This is always a big rival," Northview coach Bethany Jones said. "Clay City had come off a win and we knew they would be up after that. I thought our girls came out, and one thing we are trying to do this year is come out in the first inning instead of waiting three, four or five innings into the game. I felt like we did that."
Carter set the tone in the top half of the first inning, striking out all three Clay City hitters in order.
Then the Knights' offense got rolling in the bottom half of the frame as Ashley Hughes and Carter smacked one-out singles and Jessica LaTourette loaded the bases with a walk. Senior Lauren Webster followed by lacing a triple to the rightfield corner to empty the bases and put Northview up 3-0 quickly. The Knights weren't done however, Hope Torbert followed with an RBI double to rightfield to bring home Webster and she moved to third on a wild pitch. Kylie McKee hit an RBI groundout as Northview took a 5-0 lead.
The Knights would add to that lead in the second inning as Nicole Nelson smacked a hard single off Clay City third baseman, Karen Treadway's mitt. The Eels limited that threat however as Madison Booe threw out Nelson trying to steal. Alyssa Conrad followed with a single as part of a 3-for-4 game and Hughes sacrificed her to second. Carter reached on an error and Conrad came around to score on the throw back to the infield.
Clay City freshman pitcher Whitney Jeffers settled down a bit after that, keeping the Knights from adding to their score the next two innings before her defense misfired again in the final inning.
Ashlee Ball reached on a one-out error and Nelson also reached base on an error on Treadway, who hesitated on her throw to first after fielding the ground ball. With two runners on base, Conrad drilled her third hit of the game to load the sacks and set the plate for an RBI single by Hughes. Carter then put the cap on the game with a two-run single to invoke the 10-run rule.
Carter's only real threat came in the fourth inning as Clay City's Reed drew a leadoff walk and Jeffers smacked a single to rightfield. Carter fell behind in the count, 3-0 to Treadway, but rebounded to get the strikeout. The Knights' sophomore then struck out Allie Miller to end the threat.
"Taylor (Carter) has been pitching really strong and being consistent," Jones said. "There in the fourth inning, two outs, she got down 3-2 in the count to two players in a row and was able to get out of them. I think that shows how much she's improved mentally this year to get out of a situation like that."
Carter was 2-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored and Webster was 2-for-3 with three RBI. Hughes also added a pair of hits in a 2-for-3 game and Torbert was 1-for-2 with two RBI.
The Knights (3-0 overall) travel to Shakamak on Thursday at 5 p.m. and the Eels (1-4 overall) host Sullivan on Thursday at 4:30 p.m.
2B -- Nv (Torbert, Conrad). 3B -- Nv (Webster). SB -- CC (Treadway). CS -- Nv (Nelson).
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