By Lou Kavanaugh Times Herald
The Washington Times-Herald
---- — MONTGOMERY — The Barr-Reeve baseball team is coming off its best season in recent years, but Vikings fans will have a to wait a few more days for the first pitch.
Barr-Reeve was scheduled to open their 2014 baseball season on Monday, but with the success of the Viking basketball team, the opening games were pushed back until Saturday. A large part of the everyday lineup was included in the core that led Barr-Reeve to the basketball state title game this past Saturday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Nathan Lester returns for his fifth year as baseball coach at Barr-Reeve and last year the Vikings finished with a 18-7 record after a season that saw them eight straight wins at one point, but lost to eventual state runner-up, Vincennes Rivet.
The Vikings graduated four seniors from last year’s team and all were major contributors to the teams success. Lost from last year’s team were two solid pitchers in Heath Graber, who was 8-2 on the mound and the late Brandon Wagler who was 7-4 on the season.
Two other players lost from last year’s squad were catcher/pitcher Stan Kemp and shortstop/pitcher Myron Stoll. Lester will return seniors’ Cain Miller, Clay Cummings, Jon McMullen and Tristan Wagler. Seth Swartzentruber, Matt Stoll, Lucas Graber, Connor Swartzentruber, Addison Wagler and Chris Wittmer make up a strong junior class and Adam Graber, Trevor Yoder, Logan James, Shane Miller, Chris Howell, Daylon Knepp, Max Craney, Jalon Graber and Eric Graber will provide depth as sophomores. Freshmen for the Vikings this season will be Caleb Stoll, Michael Duvall, Cameron Kavanaugh, Mitchell Wagler, Will Scott, Levi Murdach, Justin Wagler, Trent Graber, Kolten Graber, Daniel Nicholson and Austin Lee.
“I am very optimistic about this season,” Lester said. “We lost some very good pitching from last year but I feel we have some good pitching that is returning in Lucas Graber, Logan James, Trevor Yoder and Connor Swartzentruber and there are a few others that might help us out on the mound as well. This is the first year that I have players that I can move from one position to another when and where I need them.
“I have a lot of players that are good athletes and we have a lot of versatility on this team. At this point I have an idea where I will put some of the players but over all I have a lot of players that I will need to get playing time. That is a good problem to have but it is tough for me to do so.”
The Blue Chip Conference along with Sectional 63 is hotly contested in all sports throughout the year and baseball will be no different this spring.
“I think we are going to have a good team but the bad news is there is teams in the Blue Chip Conference and in our Sectional that will be very good,” Lester said. “Vincennes Rivet will return nearly everyone from their State Runner-Up team from last year, Loogootee and North Daviess will be good and Shoals can surprise some people and with our schedule, we are going to have our hands full this year.”
The Vikings baseball season will delay the opening because of the deep run in the basketball state tournament as games with Gibson Southern and Vincennes Lincoln will have to be rescheduled.
These two teams just happen to be some of the better programs around will be two of the better teams the Vikings will face this season.