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Vikes try to sail back to state

Jun. 5—After winning three straight sectionals and two straight regionals, Barr-Reeve returns to the IHSAA baseball semi-state on Saturday against Shakamak. In 2023, the Vikes faced Shakamak in the semi-state finals and came away with 4-2 win on the same field to move into the state finals for the second time. Barr-Reeve comes in at 25-6 after a 6-0 regional win over Tecumseh. They also had a 10-0 and 5-0 win over Rivet and Loogootee at Sectional.

The Class A No. 2 Vikings have used consistent hitting and a deep pitching staff all season as they hope to make a return trip to Victory Field.

"Shakamak is a traditional powerhouse and they have been there plenty of times. They will be up and motivated. It should be a heavy-weight fight and an electric atmosphere," said B-R coach Trevor McDonnell.

B-R has a solid rotation of Seth Wagler, Jake Pauw, Matt Lashley and Levi Lester. As a staff, they have had shutouts in five of the last seven games. The pitching staff has given up just 60 runs this season, while the offense has scored 197. Wagler has gone 7-1, Lashley is 5-1 and Pauw has three wins.

The Vikes are one of the best hitting teams in southwest Indiana, as their first five hitters Ethan Stoll, Ethan Graber, Wagler, Pauw and Lester all provide a combination of average and power. Both Lester and Graber have five homers each and Pauw has four.

"Our No. 2 through No. 5 hitters have all homered and Ethan Stoll provides a lot of speed at the top of the order," said McConnell. "As a team, B-R is hitting .335, with especially impressive numbers from Ethan Graber at .420, Wagler at .388 and Lester at .375."

They have won 12 of the last 13 games with their last two losses coming to Class A No. 3 Shakamak and 4A No. 1 powerhouse Jasper in a tourney. On Saturday, B-R will face 21-7 Shakamak, a team that beat them on May 13, 4-3 in eight innings. The two teams are equally matched with Shakamak going 8-3 and Barr-Reeve going 10-3 against common opponents.

The Lakers earned their way in semi-state with a 12-1 win over Bethesda Christian on Monday in Loogootee, after a rain delay from Saturday.

"We anticipate seeing Jax Cox or the lefty Linden Jenkins. Cox really mixes his pitches well. One of the things about this year is we have seen everyone's aces. We are pretty evenly matched and there will be no easy outs for either team," McConnell added.

The Shakamak pitching staff has given up 83 runs, with the offense pounding out 204. Their loses have also come to much larger schools, including Jasper, Bloomington North, BNL and both Terre Haute schools. They did lose to North Daviess and Linton in SWIAC play.

Last season Barr-Reeve made it to the finals and faced current Class A No. 1 Lafayette Central Catholic. In the other game on Saturday, South Central (14-8) will play Indy Lutheran (17-15) at 11 a.m.