Times Sports Editor
More often than not in high school softball, when two good teams square off, it's usually the small mistakes that lead one team past another. On Friday night that was especially prevalent as Northview capitalized on several physical and mental errors by Edgewood to post a surprisingly lopsided 9-2 Western Indiana Conference victory.
The Mustangs came into the game with a 14-4 overall record and, like Northview, were unbeaten in conference play. Early on, the game looked as if it was going to be a pitchers' duel between the Knights' Taylor Carter and the Mustangs' Ashley Miller.
Carter kept Edgewood hitless over the first three innings and Miller held the Knights scoreless over the same period.
Edgewood was able to push across the game's first run as Laura Luther led off the fourth inning with a single, was bunted to second by Rachel Delay and moved to third on a base hit by Amanda Gilliland. Miller then drove home the game's first run with a sacrifice fly.
The Knights were able to take advantage of the contest's first mistake in their half of the fourth inning to take the lead.
Carter drove a single to rightfield and when Jessica LaTourette hit a grounder, the throw went to second trying to force out Carter. However, the ball skipped off the mitt for an error and Carter ended up on third base and no outs were recorded.
Northview loaded the bases with one out and Miller uncorked a wild pitch that brought home Carter with the tying run. Kylie McKee stepped up and chopped the ball just in front of the plate and reached safely to re-load the bases. Miller got Lauren Webster on a strikeout, but with Kindra Cox at the plate, Miller's second wild pitch brought pinch-runner Nicole Nelson home for a 2-1 lead.
"When we can perform like we did tonight and put the pressure on them, then (Edgewood) is the one making the errors and we can execute, score the runs off their mistakes," Northview coach Bethany Jones said. "When you have two good teams playing each other, it usually comes down to those little, fundamental things. Those first two wild pitches got us going and I think it gave us some confidence and we built on it."
The offensive fed off the fourth inning spark and it quickly became a blazing rally over the next two innings.
In the fifth inning, a bunt single by Ashley Hughes brought up Carter, who hit a laser to the wall for a double with one out. LaTourette followed with a sharp grounder that took a nasty hop over Delay's mitt at first base. The single scored two runs and gave the Knights some breathing room at 4-1.
The rally ended Miller's evening in the circle and Edgewood brought in Paige Ernst to face Hope Torbert, who promptly singled to centerfield. Phillips followed with a grounder to shortstop that was bobbled for an error that scored Nelson for a 5-1 lead.
Carter cruised along pitching for the Knights, allowing just two hits over the first six innings, striking out six.
The Knights did their final damage in the sixth inning as base hits by Hughes and Carter brought up LaTourette again. Her grounder to Luther at shortstop resulted in an out at second, but the Mustangs' senior missed a chance at an inning ending double play by looking back the runner at third base.
Torbert came to the plate and made the mistake count as she drove home Hughes with her second hit of the game. Phillips drove home Carter a double into the gap and McKee followed with a two-run single for a 9-1 lead.
Edgewood got a home run off the leftfield foul marker in the seventh inning, but Carter finished off her 10th pitching win by getting the final two outs.
"I think (Friday's win) will be a big confidence booster for us," Jones said. "Edgewood is usually the team we're battling for the conference and they got us last year, so it was nice to turn around and get the win this year."
Northview improves to 12-1 overall and 3-0 in the WIC heading into Saturday's Big Four games at West Vigo beginning at noon.
"We've got two big games (today) against Terre Haute North and South and I think this will give us the confidence we need," Jones said.
2B -- Nv (Phillips, Carter), EW (none). HR -- BN (Miller). SB -- Nv (Nelson).
|Carter (W, 10-1)||7.0||2||3||0||6|
|Miller (L, 8-4)||4.1||4||6||1||2|