The Cougars have continually been tested, and despite the plus-13 scoring margin in five postseason games, four of the five games have been nail biters, with the exception of the regional championship win over Tecumseh when North Daviess put up seven runs on seven hits in the first inning. You could make a case that North Daviess has been the underdog for its last four games, but that didn’t phase Berry.
“We have a little speech before every game and said, ‘everybody has swung and missed, everybody has struck out — it’s going to happen,’” Berry said. “They laugh at me when I say it, but softball is a simple sport. They hit the ball, we field it and we throw it — if we do that, we’re going to be fine. They pitch the ball, we make the contact and put it in play, good things are going to happen. Just believing no matter who you are, it comes down to whoever executes better on that given day.”
For Berry, the combination of Graber in the circle and the excellent defense behind her has been the key to the postseason success. Graber has allowed three runs (two earned) in 35 innings pitched, but there have been only three errors committed in those 35 innings and none in the first 30 innings.
“Tailon is one dandy little pitcher, there is no doubt about it — she’s our little Pit Bull,” Berry said. “She’s not striking everybody out, but she’s not giving up that big hit and our defense is making those routine plays on the ground balls and the pop flies. We can’t let the routine plays sneak up on us.”
North Daviess will face another stiff challenge on Saturday against North Miami. The Cougars will have to contend with junior Josie Wood, who excels in the circle and at the plate. Wood has a 21-1 record with a 0.28 ERA to go with 261 strikeouts in 123 inning and 34 hits allowed. At the plate, Wood has a .629 batting average with seven doubles, 11 triples, 14 home runs and 47 RBIs.