The Washington Times-Herald

Local Sports

June 7, 2014

Cougars ride wave of momentum to semistate

ELNORA -- Momentum is a funny thing. It can be hard to grasp, but once you have it, you don't want to let it go.

North Daviess (16-11) has rode a wave of momentum to an improbable run to the program's second ever regional title and first appearance in the Class A semistate since 2005. At the core of the Cougars' sectional and regional titles over the past two weeks has been a group of girls, who finally figured how good they could be when they played up to their potential.

The entire season wasn't a stress free journey for North Daviess. The Cougars lost their first six games a season after winning 20 games in the regular season. North Daviess saw its 2013 season end with an upset loss at home in the Sectional 63 semifinals to rival Barr-Reeve. Losing seven of eight games to start the 2014 season was not what Jodi Berry, who has coached the Cougars for 20 years had in mind.

A common theme in those first few weeks was the inability to field the ball cleanly consistently — a problem that would continue for most of the regular season. North Daviess got it together by going 12-4 to finish the regular season and enter the sectional at 13-11. Once the postseason started, the Cougars have looked like the team many expected to see back in April. They have fielded the ball cleanly, pitched well and produced timely hits in big spots.

"These girls just won't die," Berry said after her team defeated Tecumseh for the regional title.

The most valuable Cougar has been Tailon Graber, who graduated last month. Graber had been a very good pitcher in her high school career, but in the postseason she's taken her talent to a new level. She threw complete game shutouts against Barr-Reeve and Bloomfield to clinch the sectional title and allowed two runs in a complete game victory Tuesday night to defeat Tecumseh 7-2 for the regional title. Before allowing a run in fifth inning, Graber had thrown 18 2-3 scoreless innings.

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