Times Sports Editor
After a two-game hiatus, Northview's softball team finally found its rhythm and Brown County served as the unwilling recipient as the Knights scored nine runs over the final two innings of an 11-0 Western Indiana Conference victory on Tuesday.
While winning its first seven games of the season, the Knights had averaged more than 10 runs per game, but had tallied just five while splitting games against potential sectional foes, Plainfield and Terre Haute South.
Against the Eagles however, sophomore pitcher Taylor Carter got the Knights going early with a two-run home run in the first inning and then added a pair of two-run hits that put the lid on the 10-run rule win with no outs in the sixth inning.
While Northview rang up 11 hits in the game, Northview coach Bethany Jones was still a bit unhappy with the team's game.
"(I'm happy) for the most part," Jones said. "We had a lot of mental errors tonight. At the plate, we weren't being aggressive, not swinging the bat hard, everything's mental right now. The girls are in slumps right now and they are thinking negative, so we've got to work on that, but they started strong and finished strong. It's a good, WIC win for us."
Not only did Carter drill the Eagles for six RBI's as part of a 3-for-4 night at the plate, she didn't allow Brown County to get much going at the plate either. Carter kept the Eagles off balance, giving up just two hits while striking out 11 and walking just one.
"That was nice to see from Taylor (Carter). She's been down a couple of games with her bat, but she played a great all-around game tonight," Jones said of the sophomore.
Carter gave the Knights a lead they wouldn't relinquish in the first inning as she brought Alyssa Conrad home with a blast to leftfield and a 2-0 lead.
Brown County starting pitcher, Courtney Johnson, a sophomore in her own right, kept the Knights off the board over the next several innings and kept the Eagles within striking distance into the fifth inning.
Northview got untracked in the pivotal fifth as Kylie McKee led off by being hit-by-pitch and Sarah Phillips drew a walk. Nicole Nelson laid down a perfect bunt that died several feet in front of the plate. The throw went to third base in an attempt to force out the lead runner, but the throw sailed into leftfield allowing McKee to score. Conrad then stepped to the plate and brought both Nelson and Phillips home with a ringing double to centerfield.
"Alyssa Conrad is doing great for us up there in the No. 1 spot (in the lineup)," Jones said. "She's setting the plate for the team right now, that's why we've got her up there."
Conrad was 2-for-3 with a walk, a stolen base, two RBI and scored twice to set the plate for the Knights.
She wasn't alone in her late game offensive fireworks however.
Leading 6-0, the Knights got a slap single by Ashley Hughes that settled just past the pitcher. The base hit came following a pair of strikeouts and Jones pointed out the adjustment that her sophomore second baseman made at the plate.
"After that second strikeout, I pulled her off to the side and told her, 'You are your own worst enemy right now, you're in your head big time,'" Jones said. "We talked about having her slap and she came out and did it perfectly. It was good to see her make that change in the middle of a game."
Carter followed Hughes to the plate and ripped a two-run single to leftfield that brought home Conrad and Hughes. Carter moved to second on the throw home.
The six-run outburst in the fifth inning was the end of Johnson's night in the circle, but Northview senior Lauren Webster greeted the Eagles' Taylor McDonald with an RBI double down the leftfield line for an 8-0 lead.
Northview would finish the game the following inning as Nelson doubled to lead off the inning, Conrad singled to center and Hughes hit an RBI single. A wildpitch moved both runners up and, fittingly, Carter smashed her third hit of the game, a two-run double to invoke the 10-run rule.
The victory improves the Knights to 9-1 overall and 2-0 in the WIC.
2B -- Nv (Conrad, Carter, Webster, McKee, Nelson). HR -- Nv (Carter). SB -- Nv (Conrad).
|Carter (W, 8-1)||6.0||0||2||1||11|
Next game: Northview (9-1 overall, 2-0 WIC) travels to Mooresville on Thursday at 5 p.m.