Times Sports Editor
TERRE HAUTE -- Members of the Northview softball team were likely out after their curfews on a school night on Monday, but it was well worth it as they brought home a walk-off sectional victory over Plainfield, 2-1, in a rain-delayed contest.
Passing thunderstorms delayed the night's opening game between Terre Haute South and Martinsville nearly two hours, which pushed back the start time of game two between the Knights and Quakers.
So it was nearing 11:30 p.m. when sophomore Ashlee Hughes' slap single was deep enough to score Nicole Nelson with the game's winning run and send Northview fans home late, but happy nonetheless.
The late inning heroics were familiar against the Quakers as Northview rallied from a deficit in the final inning to win during the regular season.
"We knew Plainfield would be tough. We were down in the regular season game and came back to win in eight (innings). We knew they would be after us," coach Bethany Jones said. "I'm proud of our girls for not giving up there. I'd like to see a little more patience in the box. I felt like we swung at a lot of junk we shouldn't have swung at."
Northview got started quickly as Alyssa Conrad opened the game with an infield single and scored on a laser of a double by Taylor Carter that went to the wall. The Knights tried to play add on as Jessica LaTourette was hit-by-pitch with just one out, but Plainfield pitcher Courtney Collins wriggled off the hook by striking out Hope Torbert and Sarah Phillips to end the threat.
That lone run looked like it might stand up the remainder of the way as Carter held the Quakers hitless through four innings before a bloop single in the fifth inning broke up the no-hitter. Meanwhile, Collins had settled in and allowed just one more single, also by Carter, over the next four innings.
Carter kept the game tied as she struckout Jessie Ping and Maggie Stahl to end the inning.
The Knights looked ready to strike back in their half of the sixth as Carter led off with her third hit of the game and her pinch-runner, Kindra Cox, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jessica LaTourette. Collins was again able to escape damage as she struckout Torbert and coaxed a popout by pinch hitter, Haven Eder.
Plainfield's half of the seventh inning started innocently enough as Carter got Amanda Storms to pop out. However, Katie Gilbert drew her second walk and a grounder to third base resulted in a throwing error to second base as everyone reached safely.
With the potential go-ahead run on third base with just one out, Collins hit a flyball to rightfield, Gilbert tagged up at third, but Ashlee Ball's throw into the infield was perfect and saved the potential go-ahead run.
"That's exactly what you want to do in that situation," Jones said of Ball's relay. "They hit it to rightfield and Ashlee did a great job of getting it in and we were able to hold that girl up. That was a great play."
Carter then retired Hallie Johanningsmeier, the player that had hit a go-ahead home run against her in the regular season contest, by way of a pop up to Conrad at shortstop.
After averting danger, the Knights came in fired up, but Collins quickly retired Kylie McKee and Lauren Webster via groundouts to third. Nelson then stepped up to the plate and hit a slow grounder back to the pitcher, who hesitated and threw late to first base.
Nelson wasted little time at first as she stole second on the first pitch to Conrad. The Knights junior would smack an infield single that moved Nelson to third with one out. Hughes then stepped to the plate and slapped a grounder past the pitcher into the third base hole allowing Nelson to cross the plate with the winning run.
"There in the seventh inning we were able to put the pressure on them, (Plainfield) made some mishaps and our girls executed," Jones said. "We've been really working with Ashley Hughes on that slap, she got it done and was able to get that last RBI for us."
Jones was happy to go home with the victory especially considering the late hour.
"It's great to get a win, because it's way past my bedtime," Jones joked.
In the opening game of the evening, Terre Haute South downed Martinsville in six innings by an 11-0 score.
The Knights (19-6 overall) will face the Braves for the third time this season Tuesday night at 6 p.m.
Terre Haute North Sectional
2B -- THS (Reinig). 3B -- THS (Hall). HR -- (Reinig).
2B -- Nv (Carter). HR -- PL (McGary). SB -- Nv (Nelson).