Times Sports Editor
PLAINFIELD -- The sweet taste of a sectional baseball title had eluded the Northview Knights for seven years. That is until Monday night when the squad was able to rally past Terre Haute South for a 4-3 victory that gave Northview its first title since 2005.
"It's real special. Especially when you look at our seniors and everything they've gone through to get to this point," Northview coach Scott McDonald said. "They've worked extremely hard to finally get that monkey off our back. It's been awhile, but we got one and it feels great."
Trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Knights strung together the pivotal rally after being held scoreless for three frames by Braves' starter Daniel Marlow.
Zach Hull got his second base hit of the game to start off the inning and Connor Pierce lined a single up the middle to set the table for the come back. TJ Decker laid down a bunt, but the throw to third was in time to force out Hull for the first out. Marlow was able to coax a fly ball for the second out and it looked as if the Braves might escape the jam. Bryant Pestoff drew a walk to load the bases before giving way to Devin Clark as a pinch runner.
Sophomore third baseman Connor Ganly was on cue for the late theatrics as he sliced a ball right on to the left field line that cleared the bases and left him on second base and the Knights with a 4-2 lead.
"Probably the biggest hit of his life. It was probably the biggest hit of mine too," McDonald joked. "For him it was a great thing. For a kid that wasn't starting varsity at the beginning of the year, he worked his way into the lineup and then we couldn't get him out of it. I'm very excited for him and for his family."
Ganly was actually responsible for driving in all four Knights' runs as he got the team on the board in the second inning with a sacrifice fly that brought home TJ Decker to narrow the Braves' lead to 2-1.
A wild pitch by Girton moved both runners into scoring position as the frying pan got hotter, but he struck out Brandon Joyner and got Rollings on a fly out to second baseman Craig Peters. A wild pitch brought a run home as the lead narrowed to 4-3 and Girton walked Jacob Johnson to put the go-ahead run on base.
However, Girton got Marlow to hit a slow roller to second for the final out and a Knights' championship.
"It got real ugly, real fast," McDonald joked. "But our kids battled through it and did everything they could to scratch out a win and got it done."
Girton got the victory with seven innings of work, allowing just one hit and two runs.
"(Kodie Girton) had great movement I thought. Early in the game I think he was just real excited about things and never really got his timing going. He finally slowed the game down and we talked about, in a big moment, being calm and not making it bigger than it is."
Offensively, the Knights got two hits apiece from Tyler Wilson and Hull, with Decker scoring twice as Northview had nine hits off Marlow in the victory.
The Knights (21-8 overall) advance to Saturday's Avon Regional to face Indianapolis Roncalli, a 7-6 winner over Warren Central in the Pendleton Heights Sectional.
Class 4A Plainfield Sectional
2B -- Nv (Ganly), THS (None). 3B -- Nv (None), THS (Rollings). Sac -- Nv (Peters, Ganly), THS (Marlow, Whitlock, Joyner).
|Girton (W, 4-0)||7.0||2||1||4||3|