Times Sports Editor
With a pivotal conference game waiting for them this evening and contests against rival Terre Haute North and South in Big Four Tourney play this weekend, it might have been easy to overlook Thursday's game against Bloomington North.
Don't tell Northview's softball team as only the Cougars two-our delayed arrival slowed the Knights' 10-3 victory over the visitors.
Coach Bethany Jones was a little concerned that her team might get off to a sluggish start after the start time was delayed.
"After the two and a half hour wait, I was afraid the girls might come out dead, but they came out and waited on that pitcher and we got some hits from several different people," Jones said.
Northview put some balls into play solidly over the opening two innings against Cougar starting pitcher Olivia Druckemiller, but it wasn't until the third inning that the Knights crossed the plate.
Ashley Hughes reached after she slapped a single and stole second to set the table for first baseman Taylor Carter who threatened to punch a hole in the scoreboard with a rocket that sailed over the fence for a two-run home run. The shot was her sixth round tripper of the season. Alyssa Conrad followed with a ringing double to right field and Hope Torbert brought her home with another double for a 3-0 lead.
North answered back with some base hits of their own in the top of the fourth inning as Kelley Wisely and Kasey Huntley-Bouvier singled before Leah Salmon doubled home a run off the Knights' Whitney Halfhill. A wild pitch scored a second run and an RBI single by Audrey Mullis tied the game at three-apiece.
Halfhill kept the Cougars off the scoreboard the rest of the way despite spreading out 10 hits by the Cougars. The freshman helped her cause by only walking one runner in the game.
Jones credited her team for playing well behind Halfhill to get her a sixth pitching win against no losses this season.
"With Whitney, she's not going to strike a lot of people out," Jones said of the freshman pitcher. "She's going to make them hit the ball and the defense did a great job behind her and making great plays."
The Knights added some insurance runs in the sixth inning as Halfhill smacked her second double of the game and came in to score on an RBI single by Carter. Conrad reached on an error by the Cougars' second baseman and Torbert drove home a run with an infield single. Madison Nevins then drove home two runs after fouling several pitches off and driving a single into the outfield for a 10-3 lead.
In the top of the seventh inning, the Cougars had a threat cooking as Ashley Chitwood and Emily ridge singled with one out. Halfhill coaxed a grounder to third for a force out before Bouvier drew a walk to load the bases.
The situation brought Jones to the circle to talk the situation over with Halfhill, but the Knights' coach had confidence in the freshman despite the threat. Halfhill rewarded that faith by getting Salmon to ground into a fielder's choice to end the game.
"Whitney is a pressure girl. She likes those pressure situations so when you get into her and look her in the eye, she's going to do what she needs to do," Jones said. "That's what she did to get that last out."
Northview improves to 15-3 overall with a trip to WIC foe Edgewood tonight at 5 p.m.
"Having a week off has been nice to get that break, but I think it has hurt us a little bit too," Jones said of the layoff. "We've got three tough games against Edgewood, Terre Haute North and South. (Today) we have to get focused and come out ready to play our game."
Northview 10, Bloomington North 3
|Chitwood 2b||4||0||2||0||Halfhill p||4||2||2||1|
|Ridge lf||4||0||2||0||Hughes c||3||2||2||0|
|Wisely cf||4||1||2||0||Carter 1b||4||2||2||3|
|Bouvier c||3||1||2||0||Conrad ss||4||2||2||2|
|Salmon ss||4||1||1||1||Torbert cf||4||1||2||2|
|Mullis rf||3||0||2||1||McKee 3b||4||0||1||0|
|Druckemiller p||3||0||0||0||Nevins dp||4||0||2||2|
|Frasier 1b||3||0||0||0||Cox lf||4||1||1||0|
|Mosier 3b||3||0||0||0||Tilley 2b||3||0||0||0|
2B -- Nv (Halfhill 2, Conrad 2, Torbert), BN (Wisely, Salmon). HR -- Nv Carter (6). SB -- Nv (Hughes).
|Halfhill (W, 5-0)||7.0||3||10||1||3|