Times Sports Editor
TERRE HAUTE -- Northview's baseball team is glad to put the Big Four Tourney behind them after Saturday's play left them a combined 0-3 after losing a heartbreaking 5-3 decision to West Vigo earlier in the week despite starting pitcher Kodie Girton pitching 6 2/3 inning of no-hit baseball.
On Saturday, the Knights, West Vigo and both Terre Haute North and South got down to business with a three-game slate of games that opened with the unbeaten Vikings topping the Braves by an 8-3 score.
The Knights were next up against the Braves and after the game was tied through three innings, things went sideways for Northview in a hurry.
A pair of three-run home runs broke open a tight game as both Jimmy Maxwell and Ricky Wheatfill went yard for the Braves in a 10-3 victory by the Braves.
Despite having the same number of hits (eight) as South, the Knights couldn't capitalize on their opportunities against Braves' starter, Daniel Marlow.
Craig Peters took the loss for Northview with the Braves adding the final few runs against Carson Kleiber in the sixth inning.
"I'll tell you, we didn't play well at all today. Our hitters were good at times and others, we weren't very good at all. We couldn't throw curveball for a strike enough to offset it," Northview coach Scott McDonald said. "These teams can all hit fast balls, we just weren't able to make adjustments and get those strikes we needed, in turn, we paid the price for it."
Joey Thomas was 2-for-3 with a double for the Knights and both Connor Pierce and Kodie Girton each had a double.
Northview took the lead with a run in the second inning as an infield single by Seth Lunsford started the frame. Thomas sacrificed him over to second and Pierce smacked a double off the wall to put the Knights on top 1-0.
The Patriots responded quickly against Northview starter Caleb Mershon, who struck out the lead off hitter, but hit Garrett Peabody after getting ahead 0-2 in the count. Bryan Nacke made the mistake hurt by hitting a rocket down the rightfield line and out of the park to give North a 2-1 advantage. The Patriots weren't done either as Cam Grim singled, Dalton Hathaway drew a walk and Cody Gardner hit a two-out, RBI single. A wildpitch then scored Hathaway and the Patriots led 4-1.
Northview added a fourth inning run on a bases loaded walk by Girton following singles by Lunsford, Thomas and Grove. However, the Knights weren't able to do any further damage and trailed 4-2.
The Knights left 10 runners on base in the game and was an issue all afternoon. The Patriots didn't have the same problems with two-out hits causing scoreboard damage.
North added two more runs in the bottom of the inning as an error extended the inning and allowed the second run to cross the plate.
Shaky defense allowed Northview to claw back to within 6-5 during a marathon inning that saw North commit a startling, five errors in the frame. Thomas had an RBI single to drive in Zac Niehaus and two runs scored on a ball hit by Curtis Grove that was booted.
Despite getting within a run heading into the bottom of the fifth, Northview allowed the Patriots to play add-on, scoring three runs, aided by control problems by Brock Wheeler, who walked three in the inning.
"The biggest thing was, we gave up way too many walks," McDonald said. "Our control has been pretty good all year, but we walked so many people. You can't defend a walk. We've got to be able to throw strikes to compete and get ready for the sectional."
The Patriots finished off the game by scoring two more in the sixth inning that included a home run by Hathaway.
Thomas was 2-for-3, Niehaus was 2-for-4 and Lunsford was 1-for-3 with three runs scored. Pierce added a double for the Knights.
The final game of the evening between the host Vikings and the Patriots was postponed as storms set in with North leading 2-0.
Northview drops to 11-5 overall and travels to Plainfield on Monday in the third attempt to face the Quakers.
Big Four Tourney
At West Vigo
Marlow (W, 2-0) and Maxwell; Peters (L, 3-1), Kleiber (6) and Lunsford.
HR -- THS (Wheatfill, Maxwell).
Mershon (L, 2-2), Wheeler (5), Craig (6) and Lunsford; Kimmel (W, 1-1), Watson (5) and Finzel.