Times Sports Editor
TERRE HAUTE -- Northview's softball team had vivid memories of losing three times to Terre Haute South last season, including a 5-4 loss to the Braves that knocked the Knights from the sectional.
The Braves already owned a pair of regular season wins over the Knights this season, but on Tuesday night, Northview won when it counted the most, knocking off South, 2-1 to advance to the sectional championship game.
Taylor Carter didn't allow the Braves a hit until the sixth inning and the Knights' defense made some big plays on the way to a confidence-boosting win against a perennial Northview nemesis.
"I'm really proud of the girls, they never gave up and Taylor (Carter) pitched a tremendous game, our defense made some tremendous plays and our bats came together consistently tonight."
Northview took a third inning lead with some two-out magic as Alyssa Conrad drilled a double to the wall in centerfield. Hughes, the hero of the opening sectional game, slapped a single that scooted through the infield and drove home the first run of the contest.
"We were kind of able to take a deep breath after (taking a one-run lead)," Jones said. "I think it helped Taylor a little bit to get a run on the board and let her relax a little too."
The fourth inning nearly provided some insurance when Jessica LaTourette singled to leftfield before giving way to Samantha Montague to pinch run. Hope Torbert attempted a bunt, but came up empty and Montague was thrown out at third as Braves' pitcher Marissa Stout escaped any more damage.
With two outs, Kaitlyn Pluto hit a sharp grounder off Kylie McKee's glove at third base and reached safely as South mounted its first threat.
Carter responded by getting Kaylee Criss to ground out to Alyssa Conrad for the final out of the inning.
In the Knights' half of the inning, Mckee led off with a single off the mitt of the Braves' third baseman and Lauren Webster followed with a sharp single through the shortstop hole. Nicole Nelson bunted both runners into scoring position and Conrad hit a sacrifice fly for a 2-0 Knights' lead.
The second run proved key as South rallied in the top of the sixth as Ciara Hall hit a two-out bloop single to center and Shelbie Scamihorn hit a rocket off the top of the fence for an RBI double.
Stout, who came to the plate with a chance to even the score hit a single to leftfield and pinch runner, Alexis Shipley tried to score. Nelson threw a strike to the plate and LaTourette perfect blocked the plate and applied the tag for the out to maintain the Knights' lead.
Heading to the seventh inning, the Braves led off the inning with an infield single by McGregor. However, Carter was able to get Reinig to ground into a fielder's choice and get Pluto via strikeout. With a runner at second base, Carter coaxed a flyball from Cross that Conrad while tumbling backwards into leftfield for the victory.
"These girls have worked really hard and I think last night gave everybody a little confidence," Jones said. "Tonight is definitely going to give us (more) confidence. If we stay mentally tough like we have and our bats keep going, I'm looking forward to it."
Carter allowed four hits over seven innings while striking out five and added a pair of hits. Both Conrad and Hughes contributed RBI's for the Knights.
Northview advances to the championship game on Thursday beginning at 7 p.m.
T.H. North Sectional
2B -- Nv (Conrad, Carter), THS (Scamihorn). SB -- THS (Stout).