Times Sports Editor
The Northview baseball team has been snake bitten when its come to facing rival West Vigo on the diamond. However, on Monday night, the Knights scored five runs over the first two innings and got strong pitching and defense to close out a 7-3 win over the Vikings. The win finished off a perfect 3-0 mark for Northview in the Big Four Tourney and clinched a share of the WIC title.
The Knights had plenty of reason to wait until Brock Wheeler retired Cogan Stewart for the final out of the game to celebrate after the Vikings rallied for a 5-3 win with a walk-off three-run home run.
This time around however, it was the Knights who got 5 2/3 innings from starter Craig Peters, allowing just one earned run as his defense turned a pair of double plays behind him. Brock Wheeler came in with two outs in the sixth inning and two Vikings on base. He struck out leadoff hitter Cade Lindsay for the final out and then stranded a runner in the seventh inning to claim his sixth save of the night to break his coach's season-record of five.
"Our pitching was really good. I thought we hit the ball extremely well tonight. Our defense was pretty good. The big thing was that we were able to close them out finally," McDonald said.
Northview jumped out to a first inning lead as Peters drilled a one-out double to the leftfield wall and came home on a looping double by Conner Pierce that landed on the leftfield line.
The Vikings took advantage of a dropped third strike, an error on a throw and an RBI single by Davie Inman. Viking No. 9 hitter Brandon Calleja dropped a double down the rightfield line for a 2-1 West Vigo lead.
The Knights responded with a four-run second inning off Calleja to regain the lead.
TJ Decker smacked a double to leftfield, Tanner Glenn was hit-by-pitch and Devin Clark laid down a perfect push bunt past Callejo for a single to load the bases. Sophomore third baseman Conner Ganly drove in a run with a ground out and Kodie Girton ripped a two-run double to right-centerfield. Peters added his second double of the game to drive in Girton for a 5-2 lead.
West Vigo had a runner on in the third, but Peters coaxed Thornton to ground into an inning ending double play. In the fourth inning, Peters stranded another runner by striking out Braiden Cardinal to end the threat.
Finally in the fifth inning, West Vigo loaded the bases on a pair of walks and a single by Kaleb Blair. Thornton sent an RBI single to leftfield for a run, but the Knights got another double play to limit the damage to a single run.
McDonald was very happy with how Peters battled despite not being as sharp as other outings this season.
Northiew got the run back in the bottom of the sixth inning as Zach Hull walked to start the inning and moved to second on a passed ball. With two outs, Decker drilled his second double for an RBI to complete a 3-for-3 night at the plate. Tyler Wilson pinch hit and pushed the lead to 7-3 with an RBI base hit.
West Vigo had designs on another come back in the sixth inning as Inman singled before Lucas Fagg hit into a fielder's choice. Fagg stole second and Calleja drew a two-out walk that ended Peters' night on the mound.
Wheeler came out of the pen and struck Lindsay out to help cement McDonald's first win over the Vikings as head coach and the team's first win since 2006 versus West Vigo.
"If we have the lead after five innings, we feel that we're going to win with Brock bringing up the end of the rotation for us," McDonald said. "I think it's great. Lord knows that as I get older, I get better as I tell the story. The fact that he was able to do it at home against our toughest conference rival and preserve at least a share of a conference title, meant a lot to us and I know it means a lot to him and his parents."
The Knights are now 14-3 overall and 4-0 in the WIC with a road trip to conference foe South Vermillion tonight at 6 p.m.
At Northview High School
Northview 7, West Vigo 3
|Girton cf||4||1||2||2||Lindsay lf||3||0||0||0|
|Peters p||4||1||3||1||Blair 1b||4||0||1||0|
|Hull 1b||3||1||0||0||K.Stewart rf||3||0||1||0|
|Pierce rf||3||0||1||1||Thornton cf||4||1||2||1|
|Reberger dh||3||0||0||0||C.Stewart c||4||0||0||0|
|Decker ss||3||2||3||1||Inman 2b||3||1||3||1|
|Glenn c||1||1||0||0||Fagg ss||3||0||0||0|
|Wilson ph||1||0||1||1||Cardinal 3b||3||0||0||0|
|Clark lf||3||1||1||0||Calleja p||1||1||1||1|
2B -- Nv (Peters 2, Decker 2, Girton, Pierce), WV (Calleja). SB -- Nv (Decker, Wilson), WV (Fagg). Sac -- Wv (Lindsay). LOB -- Nv 5, WV 8.
|Peters (W, 2-1)||5.2||3||7||3||4|
|Wheeler (Sv, 6)||1.1||0||1||0||2|
|Calleja (L, 6-2)||6.0||7||11||1||1|