ELNORA — The road to a championship almost always involves overcoming obstacles and a little bit of adversity.
On Monday night at the North Daviess Softball Sectional, Barr-Reeve eventually got the biggest break of all, a long home run off of the bat of sophomore Molly Wallace to claim a 5-4 victory over North Daviess.
In the early going, the Cougars got off to a quick start.
Wallace, who also started on the mound, issued a leadoff walk to Larynda Keith. Keith eventually scored on an Ashley Troutman single. Troutman later scored in the inning after a hard hit smash by Brook Lindy got underneath the glove of Viking shortstop Jenna Knepp.
Down 2-0, the Vikings scratched out a run in the second inning.
Briona Miller hit a sacrifice fly to left, and Henley Dant, who had earlier singled, scored to make it 2-1.
North Daviess added to their lead in the bottom of the fourth inning as a Cassie Knepp single pushed the margin to 3-1.
In the fifth inning Barr-Reeve’s Tanisha Graber singled, and moved to third on another single by Kendra Yoder. Courtney Pruett then singled to make it 3-2.
Jenna Knepp continued the rally with a single to score both Yoder and Pruett, and the Vikings had a 4-3 lead.
A bit of controversy struck in the fifth inning that eventually threw the outcome of the game into doubt.
It appeared Molly Wallace forced Larynda Keith to bounce out for the first out of the inning. After a discussion, the umpires ruled that Wallace had thrown an illegal pitch, and ordered Keith back to the batter’s box.
Wallace eventually hit Keith with a pitch, and Barr-Reeve coach Darren Kenney made a pitching change as Elaina Kavanaugh took the mound.
After a sacrifice bunt landed Keith on third, a balk was called, allowing Keith to score and tie the game at 4-4. Kavanaugh was called for another balk in the inning, but the Cougars could not cross another run.
In the top of the sixth, Wallace struck with her heroics that would prove to be the difference. Wallace’s shot cleared the centerfield fence to give the Vikings a 5-4 lead that proved to be the final.
But, the Cougars had one last rally left in their season.
Alexis Reed singled to center, Keith added a bunt single, and after a sacrifice bunt, North Daviess had the winning run at second base. But Kavanaugh forced Jessica Miller to fly out to short, and Ashley Troutman to bounce out to Jenna Knepp to end the contest.
Barr-Reeve looks to claim their first softball sectional championship since 2004 tonight when it faces the winner of Monday’s second game between Loogootee and Shoals.