By Dennis Glade Times Herald
The Washington Times-Herald
---- — MONTGOMERY — It’s a simplistic approach, but baseball isn’t rocket science. Hit the ball, catch the ball and throw the ball.
Wednesday night that approach proved successful for Class A No. 11 Barr-Reeve (7-2) in the Vikings’ 11-0 five inning win over North Knox, aided by three home runs and eight RBIs from Adam Graber and Seth Swartzentruber.
Graber opened the game with a solo home run off North Knox (5-6) starting pitcher Shanson Lamb to set the tone for a big offensive day from the Vikings. Graber, however, wasn’t done. The sophomore outfielder sent the fans home with a walk off three-run blast over the left field wall off North Knox reliever Christopher Graman to finish off the 10-run victory in the bottom of the fifth.
“He (Graber) did that last game with a home run to set the tone for us,” said Barr-Reeve coach Nathan Lester. “He’s swinging the bat well and seeing the ball well — that’s pretty obvious. He’s a nice talent and it’s nice to start the game off like that. I thought overall everyone swung the ball really well.”
In the bottom of the second, Swartzentruber connected on a two-run homer to push the lead to 3-0 before an out was recorded in the inning. Swartzentruber added an RBI single in the third and a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning to give the junior outfielder four RBIs, matching Graber. For Swartzentruber, it has been a tough road back to being healthy and getting back in the lineup for the Vikings.
“Seth (Swartzentruber) actually got hurt at the end of basketball season and I hated it, because he was going to be on the state team and he wasn’t able to do that because his knee was hurt. He had surgery and he had to sit out the first week of the (baseball) season and then once he got in the lineup, he’s made an offensive impact from the beginning. I’m real proud of him for the way he’s come out and swung the bat.”
North Knox could get nothing going offensively for all five innings thanks to Barr-Reeve starter Lucas Graber. He allowed two hits while walking one and striking out seven. The Warriors were held hitless for game’s first 10 batters before Jordan Meurer’s single in the third. The Vikings committed three errors, but Graber was able to work around the mistakes in the field.
Lester said Graber’s efficient and quick demeanor on the mound makes the entire team better and has proved effective this season, as the junior entered Wednesday night with a 0.54 ERA.
“Lucas (Graber) goes out there and does what he does,” Lester said. “He works fast, he keeps the ball down and he mixes it up. Right now we have three guys that work really fast and for me as a defensive player, I would prefer that they work fast. I don’t want to be standing out there falling asleep, so he works fast and for the most part he’s pretty efficient. We got a great performance and I can’t complain.”
The Vikings have won two games in a row and seven of nine on the season, but with a game at home Friday against Class A state runner-up No. 5 Vincennes Rivet, Lester knows his team needs to keep moving forward and try to improve on wins over Northeast Dubois and North Knox this week.
“We just have to keep pitching, but we have to learn to make all plays,” Lester said. “I want them to make the routine plays and if we can make some of the great plays that’s fine. We need to continue to put the ball in play and put pressure on the defense and that’s really all you can do. Baseball isn’t rocket science. Catch it, hit it and throw it — that’s what you do. It’s about being consistent, every day you come to the park be consistent and make the plays you can make. We can’t really do anything more that what we’re doing right now.”
NK 000 00 — 0 2 5
B-R 124 13 — 11 12 3
HR: Graber (B-R) 2, Swartzentruber (B-R)
2B: A. Wagler (B-R), C. Swartzentruber (B-R)