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Visiting Knights hand Clay City first loss

Apr. 13—If it hasn't been already, the annual high school softball game between Northview and Clay City should be added to the list of great Wabash Valley sports rivalries.

Intensity among the players from both teams was visible literally from the first pitch Saturday at Clay City — a pitch that Northview's Maggie Krause drove almost 250 feet over the center-field fence and a pitch that influenced Clay City's defensive strategy the rest of the way in a 4-3 win for the Knights, who handed Class A's top-ranked Eels their first loss of the season.

Krause didn't see another pitch the rest of the game as the Eels elected to walk her intentionally in her next three trips to the plate. But she scored two more runs, including the game-winning one in the top of the seventh.

"I think [the Eels walked me intentionally] one or two times last year," the Knights sophomore pitcher said after the game. "I don't think they were expecting how well the rest of our lineup would do."

Krause wasn't the only aggressive hitter for the Knights, who got three hits from their next five batters after the Krause homer.

"I think I made [the Knights] mad on the bus," said coach Kathy Vossmer of Northview. "I gave them the opportunity to hit today before we left, but only one girl showed up."

Krause, if you were wondering.

The Eels never led in the game but, as coach Jason Sinders said afterward, "We came back three times."

Clay City tied the score in the bottom of the first inning when Krause's first pitch hit the Eels' pitcher, Lizzie Sinders, and a stolen base, a surprise two-strike bunt from slugger Hannah Harris and a two-out Northview error enabled the home team to tie the score. Lizzie Sinders then survived hits by Kaela Beckley and Pepper Rice to open the second inning, the first free pass to Krause loading the bases with two out, and the game settled into a pitchers' duel.

With one out in the top of the fifth, Krause got her second no-pitch at-bat. And with two out, senior third baseman Mia Thompson — whose day had started shakily by her standards — came to the plate.

"I wasn't mad [about the earlier problems], I was confident," Mia Thompson said after the game. "The team brought me up." And she smacked a double that rolled to the left-field fence, Krause scoring from first base. Jenna Thompson followed with an RBI single for a 3-1 lead which, the way Krause was pitching, looked pretty big.

But, as coach Sinders pointed out, the Eels kept coming back. In the bottom of the fifth Ellie Stoelting led off with a bunt single — Mia Thompson eating considerable dirt while trying for a spectacular catch — and Caroline Rexrode followed with a bunt of her own. Thompson charged in to make the play, but Stoelting didn't stop at second and an overthrow at third enabled her to score all the way from first. And in the sixth, Harris led off with a double to the center-field fence and scored on a pair of grounders to tie the score.

Krause came up with one out in the top of the seventh, however, and got her third trip to first base. This time it was Jaelyn Thompson who doubled and another intentional walk, to Mia Thompson, loaded the bases. Jenna Thompson got her second RBI on a ball hit to right field even though she was thrown out at first on an alert play by Rexroad, and Krause got her 11th and 12th strikeouts as she pitched around an error that put the tying run in scoring position in the bottom of the seventh.

"A huge win," Vossmer said.

"Northview doesn't want to lose to us anymore than we want to lose to them," coach Sinders said. "Their pitcher pitched really good. We didn't make adjustments, we weren't sharp and we got beat."

The Eels have more home games coming up on Monday, a SouthWestern Indiana Athletic Conference game against White River Valley, and on Tuesday, a non-conference showdown against third-ranked Riverton Parke.

"The effort was there," coach Sinders said. "But when you've got a pitcher that good [as Northview does] and you put the ball in play, you can win a lot of games."

NORTHVIEW (AB-R-H-RBI) — Krause p 1-3-1-1, Ja.Thompson ss 4-0-1-0, M.Thompson 3b 3-1-2-1, Je.Thompson c 4-0-2-2, Modglin cf 4-0-0-0, Beckley rf 3-0-1-0, Rice dp 3-0-1-0, Hayes 1b 0-0-0-0, Bowman lf 3-0-0-0, Maurer 2b 3-0-0-0. Totals 28-4-8-4.

CLAY CITY (AB-R-H-RBI) — Sinders p 3-1-0-0, L.Thompson ss 3-0-0-0, Harris c 2-1-2-0, Mitchell 1b 3-0-1-0, Shearer 2b 3-0-0-0, Smith 3b 2-0-0-0, Rhodes dp 3-0-0-0, Crabb cf 0-0-0-0, Stoelting lf 3-1-1-0, Rexrode rf 2-0-0-0. Totals 24-3-4-1.

Northview 100 020 1 — 4

Clay City 100 011 0 — 3

E — M.Thompson, Hayes, Maurer. DP — CC 1. LOB — Northview 7, CC 4. 2B — M.Thompson, Harris, Ja.Thompson. HR — Krause. SB — Sinders. SH — Harris, Smith, Rexrode.

Northview IP H R ER BB SO

Krause (W) 7 4 3 1 0 12

Clay City IP H R ER BB SO

Sinders (L) 7 8 4 4 4 6

HBP — by Krause (Sinders). WP — Sinders. T — 1:33.

Next — Northview (3-3) plays Monday at Plainfield. Clay City (6-1) hosts White River Valley on Monday and Riverton Parke on Tuesday.