BRAZIL, Ind. —
There is no 2012 Big Four Classic champion for high school softball.
At least not yet.
Northview threw a monkey wrench into Terre Haute South’s plans to repeat as champion when it routed the Braves 11-0 in five innings Saturday afternoon on one of the Knights’ fields.
That improbable score — in the eyes of neutral observers — came after Northview had lost to Terre Haute North 4-0 and South had knocked off West Vigo 6-1 in the late morning.
Because South edged North 7-6 in Big Four action Wednesday, the Braves appeared to be in the driver’s seat heading into their clash with Northview.
But Taylor Carter pitched a four-hit shutout and went 3 for 4 with three runs scored, Hope Torbert went 2 for 3 with three runs batted in and Whitney Hatfill went 2 for 4 with a double to lead the resilient Knights.
“We played [Friday] night at Edgewood and got beat 4-1,” Northview coach Bethany Jones told the Tribune-Star. “Coming in against a tough North team … we didn’t play our game. But to turn around that quick against a good South team, that really showed character in our girls today.”
Big Four softball uses a round-robin format with tiebreakers to determine the champion in case two or more teams finish with the same record.
Rest assured, they will be needed in 2012.
South’s loss to Northview dropped its Big Four mark to 2-1. North, which posted a 7-1 victory over West Vigo on Saturday morning, improved to 2-1 in Big Four play.
But Northview (1-1 in Big Four) and West Vigo have not faced each other yet. They were supposed to Tuesday evening, but rain forced their matchup to be rescheduled for May 14 at Northview.
A Northview triumph over West Vigo would create a three-way tie at 2-1. In that case, the relevant tiebreaker would be runs allowed in the tournament.
In that scenario, South would be out of the picture because it gave up 18 runs. North permitted eight, while Northview has allowed only four with one game left.
So a Northview win that includes West Vigo scoring three or fewer runs would give the Knights their first Big Four title since 2007.
But a West Vigo victory over Northview would leave a two-way tie between South and North at the top of the Big Four standings, meaning South would receive the title because of its head-to-head advantage over the Patriots.
So does North still have a chance to win the Big Four?
Well, yes, if Northview defeats West Vigo and creates a three-way tie but allows five or more runs to the Vikings. If Northview wins and West Vigo scores exactly four runs, then the 35th tiebreaker (slight exaggeration) would be used: “The winner will be the team that scores the most number of runs offensively in all three games.”
In that scenario, North put up a total of 17 runs and Northview has tallied 11 so far. So if Northview permits four runs against West Vigo, the Knights would need to score seven or more to avoid another tiebreaker and claim the Big Four crown.
If all this mumbo jumbo fails to break the tie — sigh — the next two tiebreakers are “the winner will be the team that allows the fewest number of runs per inning on defense” and “the winner will be the team that scores the most number of runs per inning on offense.”
Clear as mud?
All North coach Jack Kirchner knows is that his team wouldn’t be in this confusing position if it had beat South on Wednesday.
“We like to win,” he said of his hopes for a fourth Big Four title in the last five years. “We want to win the Big Four. But we lost a big game to South on Wednesday and we have to keep tournaments like this in our own hands.”
On a positive note, Kirchner praised the Patriots for how they performed in a 10-5 loss at state-ranked Carmel on Friday night and their two victories Saturday.
“These last three ballgames were probably the best we’ve played all year,” he emphasized, mentioning impressive defensive plays by shortstop Marlee Yeager and center fielder Jazmine Allen. “We’re playing together. We’re playing smarter with a lot more heart.”
Allen, a sophomore hitting .576 for the season, homered in the third inning in each of North’s wins Saturday — a two-run shot off Northview’s Carter and a three-run blast off West Vigo pitcher Hannah Harden that broke a 1-1 tie. Yeager contributed a triple against Northview.
While Allen was trotting around the bases against West Vigo, Northview was in the middle of a seven-run explosion in the top of the second frame that broke a 0-0 tie against South.
Torbert (single), Kylie McKee (walk) and Madison Nevins (single) got the outburst started by loading the bases against South starter Cheyenne Reinig, who then hit Kindra Cox with a pitch to bring in Torbert for the first run.
A walk to Melissa Lummis, the Knights’ No. 9 hitter, brought home McKee. Then Hatfill delivered a two-run single inside the third-base bag to increase Northview’s lead to 4-0. After a fielder’s choice, Carter dumped an RBI single to center and Alyssa Conrad followed with a walk to load the bases again.
South coach Steve Woerner summoned freshman Hanna Gossman to relieve on the mound. But Torbert greeted her with a single — her second hit of the inning — that plated Ashley Hughes and McKee followed with a sacrifice fly to center to send Carter racing home with the seventh run.
Singles by Cox, Lummis and Hatfill loaded the bases with no outs again in the Knights’ third. One out later, Carter singled off the glove of South shortstop Kelsey Marlow to plate Cox. After a force at home registered the second out, Torbert walked to bring in Hughes and McKee singled in Carter to pad the host school’s cushion to 10-0.
“[South] beat North earlier in the week, so we knew we had to step up our game,” Carter said. “I was surprised [by the seven-run second inning], but I had confidence in my team that we could do that … I was really proud of everyone.”
From the South perspective, Woerner wasn’t sure how to explain his team’s collapse against Northview.
“We had our chance in the first inning to get the job done,” he said, referring to a dropped-third-strike throwout at first that evolved into an inning-ending double play when first baseman Hatfill gunned down Marlow at home. “You gotta put the ball in play. You got a chance to score there. You gotta take advantage of it.”
The Braves had lost at state-ranked Center Grove 7-0 Friday, but they seemed to regain their momentum with the Saturday win over West Vigo.
“It’s not been a good weekend,” Woerner admitted.
Meanwhile, West Vigo coach Cherish Easton looks forward to her team’s opportunity to play the spoiler role against Northview.
“We always like playing Northview,” she pointed out. “We obviously want to upset them… I know our seniors will want it bad, as well as the rest of our team.”
“We gotta be ready for them,” Jones warned about the Vikings. “It’ll be a [Western Indiana] conference game as well as for the Big Four … Nothing’s in the bag yet.”
Big Four softball scores
Tuesday (at Northview) — West Vigo vs. Northview, ppd. rain.
Wednesday (at South) — Terre Haute South 7, Terre Haute North 6.
Saturday (all at Northview) — Terre Haute North 4, Northview 0; Terre Haute South 6, West Vigo 1; Northview 11, Terre Haute South 0 (5 innings); Terre Haute North 7, West Vigo 1.
May 14 (at Northview) — West Vigo vs. Northview, 5 p.m.
Records (so far) — North 2-1, South 2-1, Northview 1-1, West Vigo 0-2.
Terre Haute North 003 100 0 — 4 8 3
Northview 000 000 0 — 0 5 2
Rittenberg (W, 6-1) and McBride; Carter (L, 10-5) and Hughes. HR — THN: Allen (3).
Highlights — For North, Jazmine Allen hit a 2-run homer in the 3rd inning and finished 2 for 4, Hillary Rittenberg pitched a 5-hit shutout, Marlee Yeager went 2 for 4 with a triple and 2 runs scored and Hailee Travioli went 2 for 4 with 2 RBIs. For Northview, Alyssa Conrad went 2 for 3 and Taylor Carter went 2 for 4.
Terre Haute South 102 000 3 — 6 9 2
West Vigo 100 000 0 — 1 6 1
Swain (W, 5-2) and Whitesell; Akers, Harden (3) and Shepard. L — Akers.
Highlights — For South, Marissa Stout, Cheyenne Reinig, Mackenzie McGregor and Ashley Watkins each went 2 for 4. Stout tripled and knocked in 3 runs, while Reinig doubled and knocked in 3 runs. For West Vigo, Ciara McClain and Taylor Otte each went 2 for 3 and Kenzie Little contributed a double and its only run scored.
Northview 073 01 — 11 12 0
Terre Haute South 000 00 — 0 4 2
Reinig, Gossman (2) and Scamihorn; Carter (W, 11-5) and Hughes. L — Reinig, 6-2.
Highlights — For Northview, Carter pitched a 4-hit shutout and went 3 for 4 with 3 runs scored and 2 RBIs; Hope Torbert went 2 for 3 with 3 RBIs, Whitney Hatfill went 2 for 4 with a double; Kylie McKee knocked in 2 runs; and Ashley Hughes and Kindra Cox each scored 2 runs. For South, Kelsey Marlow went 2 for 2 with a double.
Next — Northview (16-5) will be at home Monday to battle Riverton Parke. South (16-7) will play Monday at Clay City.
West Vigo 100 000 0 — 1 4 4
Terre Haute North 103 210 x — 7 11 1
Harden and Shepard; Young, Ludwig (5) and McKinney. W — Young, 5-1. HR — THN: Allen (4).
Highlights — For North, Allen hit a 3-run homer in the 3rd and finished 2 for 3 with 2 runs, Yeager went 3 for 4 with 3 runs, Allie McKinney went 2 for 3 and Travioli went 2 for 4. For West Vigo, Little went 2 for 3 with a double and its only run scored.
Next — North (16-5) will visit Bloomington South on Wednesday. West Vigo (9-12) will be at home Thursday to take on Edgewood.
BRAZIL, Ind. —
There is no 2012 Big Four Classic champion for high school softball.
- High School
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- More High School Headlines
- Goatee, Bertoli ran away with Spring Athlete of the Year