When two good high school baseball teams get together, each using one of its better pitchers, the margin for error figures to be slim, and some defensive plays that weren’t made were the difference Friday evening as Terre Haute South beat Northview 7-1.
The game was the opener of the two-day Northview Invitational, with Class 4A’s third-ranked Hobart and a powerful Crown Point team meeting in Friday’s late game. Four more contests in the four-team round robin start at 10 a.m. today.
“Two more than good opponents [to be faced today] on our short pitching staff,” Northview coach Craig Trout lamented after Friday’s game.
The Knights got a stellar mound effort from Damon Bass on Thursday in a win at Shakamak, the state’s top-ranked Class A team, and used sophomore standout Nate Thomas against the Braves on Friday. It’s probably safe to say that Bass got better defensive support — and, their coach said, that the Knights might still have been enjoying that win.
“After a game like last night, I could see a letdown,” Trout said after Friday’s game. “We had a couple fielding mistakes, and maybe a mistake on my part. Nate did a great job, we’ve just got to back him a little bit better.”
The defensive problems started in the top of the first, when Jacob Johnson got a double on a deep fly lost in the sun and continued to third when the ball was fumbled. Justin Jenkins drove him in with a single.
South added two more runs in the fourth when Timmy Herrin got an infield hit when a good effort by Connor Ganly pulled the Northview shortstop off-balance. Herrin was running on a full-count single by Mitchell Clinkenbeard, who found the hole as the Knights’ second baseman left to cover the bag, and Herrin came in to score when the ball was booted in the outfield. A balk followed by a sacrifice fly by Ryen Millsap made it 3-0.
The way Herrin was throwing on the mound — one hit and one walk in the first four innings, with a double play wiping out one of the baserunners — that seemed to be plenty, and South tacked on three more runs in the fifth on an RBI single by Austin Slover, a sacrifice fly by Herrin and a run-scoring error.
Hits by Austin Butts, Joe Ball and Connor Pierce plus a walk allowed Northview to get a run in the bottom of the fifth, however, although the Knights left the bases loaded. Northview also threatened in the sixth — after Jenkins had a second RBI single in the top of the inning — only to be thwarted by South’s second double play.
“We had a lot of good hitting and executed when we needed to,” Herrin said afterward. “My defense held me up; I just threw strikes.”
Although his last three innings weren’t as impressive as his first four, the big left-hander said that was to be expected.
“They’re a good team,” Herrin said of the Knights. “It was just a matter of time; I knew they were going to hit the ball sooner or later.”
“He wanted to finish, so we left him out there,” coach Kyle Kraemer of the Braves said. “We’ve got to put the ball in play and put pressure on the defense.”
That was what the Braves did, said Johnson after a 3-for-4 night.
“I just went out and saw it and hit it,” the senior shortstop said. “Nothing too complicated … baseball is a complicated game if you let it [become one].”
“Terre Haute South is the most fundamentally sound team we’ve played yet,” Trout said. “Timmy did a great job. Hopefully we can come back [today] with our game right.”
“Another challenge, each and every day,” added Kraemer, whose team improved to 8-0. “We face two excellent teams [today]. We’re glad Northview asked us to play in this tournament; it’s good to see opponents from different parts of the state.”
“We need to keep it up for [today],” Johnson said. “If we continue to play well in all three facets, we’ll be fine.”
TERRE HAUTE SOUTH (AB-R-H-RBI) — Wolfe lf 4-1-1-0, Johnson ss 4-2-3-0, Jenkins cf 4-0-2-2, Slover dh 4-0-1-1, McCue c-pr 0-1-0-0, Herrin p 3-1-2-1, Clinkenbeard 1b 3-1-1-0, Streeter pr 0-1-0-0, Donnelly 3b 4-0-1-0, Shipley 2b 2-0-0-0, Millsap rf 2-0-0-1. Totals 30-7-11-5.
NORTHVIEW (AB-R-H-RBI) — Pierce lf 3-0-1-0, Ganly ss 3-0-0-0, Harden 1b 3-0-1-0, Slack pr 0-0-0-0, B.Stewart c 3-0-1-0, Butts dh 2-0-1-0, Girton 0-1-0-0, Thomas p-2b 0-0-0-0, Shaw rf 1-0-0-0, Hetrick ph-rf 2-0-0-0, Moore 2b-p 2-0-0-0, Ball cf 3-0-1-1, T.Stewart 3b 1-0-0-0, Jones ph 1-0-0-0. Totals 24-1-5-1.
Terre Haute South 100 231 0 — 7
Northview 000 010 0 — 1
E — Shaw 2, Ganly 2, Moore. DP — THS 2. LOB — THS 6, Northview 5. 2B — Johnson, Donnelly. SB — Johnson, McCue, Jenkins, Reed (courtesy runner for South pitcher). SFS — Millsap, Herrin.
Terre Haute South IP H R ER BB SO
Herrin (W, 3-0) 7 5 1 1 3 4
Northview IP H R ER BB SO
Thomas (L, 2-1) 4 2/3 8 6 4 2 1
Moore 2 1/3 3 1 0 0 2
WP — Thomas 2. PB — McCue. Bk — Thomas. T — 2:10.
Next — Northview (5-2) plays Hobart at 10 a.m. today, followed by Terre Haute South (8-0) vs. Hobart, Terre Haute South vs. Crown Point and Northview vs. Crown Point. Hobart and Crown Point played the late game Friday.