Times Sports Editor
As the adage goes, 'revenge is a dish best served cold.'
On Monday night the Northview Knights served up a late dinner to Terre Haute North in claiming a 5-4 sectional softball victory to advance to this evening's 5:30 p.m. semifinal.
One year after the Patriots hit three consecutive home runs in the sixth inning of the sectional championship game to edge the Knights 4-3, Northview got a pair of home runs from junior Taylor Carter, including a go-ahead two-run shot in the seventh inning, for some retribution.
"Our seniors wanted it so bad," Carter said. "I really wanted to do it for them. I was just trying for a base hit. That's all I was looking for."
The Patriots used three consecutive Northview errors in the third inning to plate all four of their unearned runs, which erased a 2-0 Knights' lead. Carter had given her team the lead in the top of the frame when she drove in Ashley Hughes with her first two-run shot of the game.
Northview had retired Alisha Ludwig to start the third inning, but Marlee Yeager bunted for a single and Hailee Travioli looped a single over Alyssa Conrad at shortstop to put the Patriots in scoring position with North's clean-up hitter, Jazmine Allen coming to the plate.
The Knights appeared to be out of the inning when Alexandrea McKinney lined the ball to right field, but the ball was dropped as two runs scored and the game was tied. Paige Collins hit a routine grounder to second that was misplayed for another run and Katelynn Herrick sliced a fly ball to right field that was dropped for the Patriots fourth run of the inning, all unearned.
"Those first four runs shouldn't have scored in that inning," Northview coach Bethany Jones said of the third inning rally by the Patriots. "We talked about it and had to look past it and get ready for the next inning. The girls showed a lot of heart and a lot of character."
Carter agreed with her coach that she felt that her team was going to make another run at the Patriots.
"I had confidence in my team that we could get some runs back," Carter said. "We had nothing else to lose because they had already beaten us twice."
The Knights got one of those runs back in the fifth inning as Madison Nevins doubled, but was caught trying to advance on a fielder's choice by Kindra Cox. The Patriots got the second out on a grounder by Whitney Halfhill, but Hughes drew a walk to put two runners on base.
Terre Haute North coach Jack Kirchner elected to intentionally walk Carter to load the bases, but senior Alyssa Conrad followed with an RBI base hit to leftfield. The Knights nearly tied the game as Hope Torbert nearly beat out a sharp grounder to shortstop that resulted in the third out.
Carter pitched around the third single of the game by Yeager in the sixth inning to set up her team's dramatic rally.
Hughes beat out an infield single with one out for her third hit of the game to bring Carter to the plate. The junior got the pitch she was looking for about belt high from North's Hillary Rittenberg and sent it over the right-centerfield wall to put the Knights in front to stay.
Carter had to shut the Patriots' offense down in the bottom half of the inning and she did just that, striking out Herrick to end the game.
"It feels awesome," Hughes said of the win. "We've been so excited all day long. We actually had a group conversation last night on our phones about being pumped for the game. I was so excited. I couldn't get to sleep until like 2:30 a.m.
"We wanted this one so bad," Hughes continued. "People kept saying that this could be the sectional championship, but to come out and beat (Terre Haute North) 5-4 is pretty awesome."
The Patriots end their season at 21-8 overall, while Northview improves to 23-6 and plays round two at 5:30 p.m.
Class 4A Northview Sectional
Northview 5, T.H. North 4
|Halfhill 1b||4||1||0||0||Yeager ss||4||1||3||0|
|Hughes c||3||2||3||0||Travioli 2b||4||1||2||0|
|Carter p||3||2||2||4||Robinson pr||0||0||0||0|
|Conrad ss||4||0||1||1||Allen cf||4||0||1||0|
|Torbert cf||4||0||0||0||McKinney dp||4||0||0||0|
|McKee 3b||3||0||1||0||Collins 1b||4||0||0||0|
|Swaim dp||3||0||1||0||Herrick 3b||4||0||1||0|
|Nevins rf||3||0||2||0||LaTourette lf||2||0||0||0|
|Cox lf||3||0||0||0||McBride c||3||0||0||0|
2B -- Nv (Nevins, McKee), THN (Allen). HR -- Nv Carter 2 (9).
|Rittenberg (L, 7-3)||7.0||5||10||2||4|
|Carter (W, 16-5)||7.0||4||7||1||9|