Times Staff Reporter
Northview baseball opened its season with a home win against North Vermillion, 6-0, on Saturday afternoon.
The scoring started early for the Knights after a single then a steal put the second hitter, TJ Decker, into scoring positing. Zach Hull didn't waste his opportunity at the plate and singled on a line drive up the center that scored Decker. The hitting stalled in the remainder of the inning, but Decker was back on the mound intent on continuing his shut out. After a one strikeout first inning, Decker struck out three in the top of the second.
In the bottom of the second inning, despite a double and then a steal from Tanner Glenn, the Knights offense couldn't produce any runs.
In the third inning, after an error at third base put North Vermillion's Tyler Scott on first, Decker rebounded with two strikeouts and a groundout to end the inning.
Decker led off in the third and doubled when a hit to the short stop was overthrown at first.
After a steal from Decker, he was able to score on a fly out to center by Northview's Connor Pierce, giving the Knights a 2-0 lead going into the fourth inning.
Decker continued his solid work on the mound in the fourth, registering a strike out, a fly out to right field and a ground out to end the inning on a nice stop and throw to first from Knights' shortstop Craig Peters.
Northview brought in relief pitcher Brock Smith in the fifth inning and he was able force North Vermillion to hit into double play for the first two outs of the inning.
After a walk, Smith struck out North Vermillion's Wade Harrison to end the inning.
In the bottom of the fifth, it seemed Northview's offense began to click.
Northview started the inning with a single and steal from Kodie Girton.
After Girton's steal, Decker hit a line drive up the middle for a single and got a steal of his own on the next at bat.
Hull, the next batter, was able to fly out to center and tally an RBI as Girton scored.
Pierce was up next, with Decker on third, and hit a deep fly ball to left field for the RBI.
Northview's pitching dominance continued into the sixth inning as Smith retired three North Vermillion batters in a row, on a ground out to first, a fly out to left and a strikeout to end the inning.
In the sixth inning, the Knights' offense picked up where it left off.
To start the inning, Northview's Jacob Harden got on base with a walk, which allowed pinch runner Joe Ball to enter the game.
Peters was up next, and laid down a bunt down the third base line, which advanced Ball to second, and almost beat out the throw to first after North Vermillion's pitcher fumbled the slow rolling bunt.
Glenn followed with a double on a hard hit ball to center that scored Ball.
Northview's Bo Stewart came in to pinch run for Glenn, and scored off a double from Devin Clark who hit a shot to shallow right.
North Vermillion's pitcher, Kody Zumwalt, was able to get the Knights' next two batters to fly out to end the inning, but Northview took a 6-0 lead into the final inning.
Smith finished strong, sitting the Falcon's hitters down in order once again, with a ground out and two decisive strikeouts to end the game.
After the game, Head Coach Scott McDonald said he liked what he saw on the mound, noting the pitching duo of Decker and Smith kept their walks to a minimum.
He also thought his offense played well, but noted there was certainly room for improvement.
"I thought offensively we swung the bats pretty well," McDonald said. "We had a few too many pop ups, but for the first game it wasn't too bad.
"We never did get that big inning, we hit a lot of balls the other way, which is a good sign for our hitters, but we just have to do a better job of keeping the ball out of the air."
McDonald said he came away from this game knowing where his team needs to get better.
"I think our defense needs to be cleaned up just a little bit, (but) it wasn't too bad," McDonald said. "The biggest thing is just trying to hit more line drives (and) we had a few guys with a (some) mechanical issues, but nothing that can't be fixed."
1B -- Nv (Decker 2, Hull, Reberger, Girton), NVM (West, Scott T., Scott A.,), 2B -- (Decker, Glenn 2, Clark), NVM (None). SB -- Nv (Decker 3, Clark 2, Glenn 1, Girton 1).