Times Sports Editor
PLAINFIELD -- The Northview Knights persevered on Wednesday evening, rallying from a 3-1 deficit in the fourth inning to claim a 6-4 sectional victory against Mooresville.
The Knights advance to Monday's sectional semifinal at 10 a.m. against Terre Haute North, a winner over Plainfield in the opening game on Wednesday.
TJ Decker threw a complete game over seven innings, allowing four runs, though two errors backed two of those runs. Decker struck out 11 while allowing just five hits by the Pioneers.
"I'll tell ya, TJ (Decker) was lights out," Northview coach Scott McDonald said of his senior. "He controlled the strike zone really from the first pitch. For us, we got what we expected."
Zach Hull provided the blast to spark the Northview rally in the top of the fifth inning, drilling a three-run home run over the right field wall to put the Knights ahead 4-3 and regain momentum.
The Knights were able to scratch out a run in the top of the third inning as Decker singled before Craig Peters hit a sharp grounder that caromed off the infield umpire for base hit. Hull stepped up and drilled an RBI double that got Northview on the board.
Northview struggled to solve the off speed repertoire of Mooresville starter Brandon Topie early on as the junior struck out seven over the first four innings.
Finding themselves trailing, the Knights began to solve the Topie, which resulted in a rally.
Decker reached on an infield single and Peters reached via walk to set up Hull's smash to put Northview on top.
"We were making adjustments almost between innings to figure out how we were going to solve this guy," McDonald said of Topie. "I think he struck out like seven in a row. We made the adjustments we needed to Zach Hull was huge. He got that first RBI and then he got that 3-run home run. I mean that was tremendous for us. It gave our kids the confidence that we could hit that guy."
The Knights nearly broke open the game as Conner Pierce smacked a base hit and Tyler Wilson doubled to end Topie's evening on the mound. Freshman Justin Martin came in and Bryant Pestoff reached safely on a grounder to load the bases with no outs.
However, Martin came up big as he struck out the next three batters to limit the damage.
Mooresville continued their momentum and tied the game on a looping single by Brinkley and a base hit by Zane O'Dell. Both runners moved up on a wild pitch and a second one scored Brinkley, but Decker got out of the inning with a strikeout.
From that point, the Knights controlled the game.
Northview took the lead in the sixth inning as Decker was hit-by-pitch, Peters moved him over on a sacrifice bunt and Pierce drove in a run with an RBI single. After Tyler Wilson reached on a walk, Pestoff chopped a ball to shortstop that was misplayed to add an insurance run for the Knights.
With a 6-4 lead, Decker went into shut down mode with a seven-pitch inning in the bottom of the sixth. He came out for the seventh and struck out the first two Pioneer batters before fielding the final grounder and throwing to Hull for the final out.
The Knights improved to 19-8 overall.
Class 4A Plainfield Sectional
2B -- Nv (Hull, Wilson, Clark), Mv (None). HR -- Nv (Hull). SB -- Nv (None), Mv (Brinkley).
|Decker (W, 5-1)||7.0||4||5||0||11|