LOOGOOTEE — A heart-to-heart talk in the Barr-Reeve dugout may have made the difference in the Class A baseball semifinal between Barr-Reeve and North Daviess Monday.
Stan Kemp drove home the ninth-inning game-winner for the Vikings in a 3-2 decision against North Daviess in the opening game of the sectional semifinal round Monday.
But it was a discussion between Barr-Reeve coach Nathan Lester and Viking starter Brandon Wagler after the fifth inning that set the stage for the final.
The Cougars had tied the game in the bottom of the fifth at two, and Wagler appeared to be a bit on the ropes after blanking the Cougars in the first three innings.
Wagler issued four walks in two innings to go with four Cougar hits as North Daviess tied the game at two.
Lester was thinking about pulling his ace before the two spoke in the first-base dugout as the game headed into the sixth.
“I was actually thinking of pulling him after that inning,” Lester said. “Not because I was wanting to save him for the second game, but because I was thinking he was losing his stuff. He had command problems in the fourth and fifth. After talking to him I decided to leave him in.”
Wagler found his stuff again and the Vikings were able to defeat North Daviess in a classic semifinal round opener.
Kemp drove in the game-winning run with a single in the top of the ninth inning to break the two- all tie that had remained in place since the fifth.
“We had to have Stan in the lineup as the designated hitter,” Lester said. “He’s hitting over .350 for the season. It was nice to have him step up when we really needed him.”
As Barr-Reeve advanced to the sectional final, North Daviess turned in possibly its best performance of the season.