Lincolnview pitcher Eli Farmer gave a solid performance Thursday evening, but Crestview edged Lincolnview 4-1 in the Northwest Conference opener. (Times Bulletin/Tina Eley)
Lincolnview pitcher Eli Farmer gave a solid performance Thursday evening, but Crestview edged Lincolnview 4-1 in the Northwest Conference opener. (Times Bulletin/Tina Eley)

MIDDLE POINT - Maybe it was to be expected in an early season game with limited prior outdoor work due to bad weather. On the other hand, it may simply have been a case of outstanding pitching by both teams as Crestview edged Lincolnview 4-1 Thursday in the Northwest Conference opener. The Knights are now 3-0, the Lancers 0-4.

In Lincolnview’s case it was Eli Farmer turning in a solid performance against one of the top hitting teams in the region. The senior right-hander went the distance, yielding four runs, all earned, on seven hits while striking out three and walking none. He threw 90 pitches, of which 58 were strikes.

“Eli has been just as consistent from the beginning of last year until now,” said Lincolnview coach Kevin Longstreth. “He throws strikes. When he pitches, our defense makes good plays for him. He got in trouble there in the third, got a couple of balls up, and they hit him hard, pushed a couple of runs across. Those are the only mistakes he made.”

Crestview, in contrast, divided the mound duties among three pitchers, Isaiah Simerman, Adrian Camp, and Damian Helm. Simerman pitched the first three innings, giving up one run, unearned, on three hits, striking out one and walking three. Of his 54 pitches, 28 were strikes. Camp pitched an efficient two shutout innings, giving up a single hit while striking out one and walking none. He threw only 18 pitches, 10 being strikes. Lefty Helm struck out six batters in his two innings, allowing one baserunner via an error. Twenty of his 29 pitches were strikes.

“Sims (Simerman) had a good start for us, got us deep into the game,” said Knight coach Jim Wharton. “Then Adrian came in and pitched very, very well. Then Damian came in to close it. We’re just trying to be safe with our pitch counts, spread the wealth here early. A lot of these kids haven’t thrown for a long time, being basketball kids. We have to be very intelligent in how we’re developing them. If that means we’ve gotta count on other people on our staff, we’ll depend on other people on our staff.”

After Farmer breezed through a 1-2-3 top of the first, the Lancers scored quickly in the bottom half. Shortstop Austin Leath reached on a bobble and was bunted to second by left fielder Dalton Schmersal. Center fielder Kyle Williams then drilled an opposite-field line single to right, scoring Leeth. Lincolnview posed modest threats in the second and third — two runners on in each case — but failed to dent the plate again. The Lancers didn’t get a runner beyond first base after the third inning.

Crestview tied it at 1-1 in the bottom of the second. With two out, catcher Nate Owens ripped a single to center, then scored all the way from first when right fielder Jordan Roop crushed an opposite-field double down the left-field line.

The Knights took a 3-1 lead in the third. Second baseman Brock Rolsten led off with a double to the gap in right center, then advanced to third on a ground-out and home on another ground out. Helm followed with a line single up the middle and scored on Simerman’s triple to the fence in left center.

Farmer shut the visitors down completely in the fourth, fifth, and sixth, but Crestview got another tally in the seventh. Roop led off with a ground single up the middle, was bunted to second by Camp, and came in on a single through the third/short gap by center fielder Cam Etzler.

Roop led all hitters, going 2-for-3, including a double and one RBI. Other Knights with major contributions were Etzler (1-for-4, one RBI), Helm (1-for-3, one run), Simerman (1-for-3, a triple, one RBI), Owens (1 for 3, one run), and Rolsten (1 for 3, a double, one run). Williams went 1-for-3 with an RBI for Lincolnview.

“I’m more concerned with our offense than anything,” added Longstreth. “The last two games we faced some pretty tough lefties. We didn’t do too well against them; we let a lot of fast balls get by us, but we had better at-bats tonight than in our last few games. Still, it’s only four hits. These guys need to stick with what works, not miss the good pitches. They’ve been fouling off a lot of good pitches, need to be more aggressive on the good pitches.”

Wharton wasn’t thrilled with the Knights’ hitting either, but he credited Farmer with most of that. “Eli pitched very, very well,” said Wharton. “He made a couple of mistakes and got the ball up, and fortunately we were able to make him pay on those. That’s one of the better games I’ve seen Eli pitch, and I’ve seen Eli throw some good games. He certainly pitched well enough today for him to win.”

Score by innings: R H E
Crestview 012 000 1 - 4 7 2
Lincolnview 100 000 0 - 1 4 1
Crestview (ab-r-h-rbi)
Etzler cf 4-0-1-1, Rickard lf 4-0-0-1, Helm 1b/p 3-1-1-0, Simerman p/3b 3-0-1-1, Richardson ss 3-0-0-0, Owens c 3-1-1-0, Roop rf/1b 3-0-2-1, Miller pr 0-1-0-0, Overmyer dh 2-0-0-0, Rolsten 2b 3-1-1-0, Camp 3b/p/rf 0-0-0-0. Totals 28-4-7-4.
Lincolnview (ab-r-h-rbi)
Leeth ss 4-1-0-0, Schmersal lf 2-0-1-0, Williams cf 3-0-1-1, Friesner dh 2-0-1-0, McCleery 1b 3-0-1-0, Youtsey 3b 3-0-0-0, Roberts rf 2-0-0-0, Richey c 2-0-0-0, Patterson 2b 3-0-0-0, Farmer p 0-0-0-0. Totals 24-1-4-1.
Doubles: Roop (CV), Rolsten (CV).
Triple: Simerman (CV).
LOB: Crestview 4, Lincolnview 6.
WP: Simerman. LP: Farmer.