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  • The Courier & Press

    How Barr-Reeve's Karlye Graber became one of the best softball pitchers in SW Indiana

    By Treasure Washington, Evansville Courier & Press,

    26 days ago

    MONTGOMERY, Ind. — There's a billboard in town featuring all of Barr-Reeve High School's senior athletes. That includes Karlye Graber.

    Over the last few seasons, she's been the ace of one of the best softball teams in Class A. She was a key figure in the Vikings winning back-to-back sectional titles. Multiple area softball players and coaches have high praise for Graber because while her go-to pitch is a curveball, her rise balls are as good as anyone.

    Graber, who's from a town of fewer than 800 people, could even be one of the best pitchers in the state.

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    https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=0OHySc_0t68PMcV00

    "That kid has been a dominating force ever since she was a sixth grader that I can remember, and probably before that," Barr-Reeve coach Josh Huff said. "She's always had that drive about her and that love for the game, you can see her eyes light up when she was talking about softball. When I got to watch her pitch when she was a younger kid, she was already different."

    Graber has plenty of role models to look up to. Her older sister Tailon pitched for the state runner-up North Daviess team in 2014 and was a Mental Attitude Award recipient. Another sister, Macin, was a volleyball state champion with Barr-Reeve and is about to graduate from law school at Saint Louis University.

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    It's been ingrained in Graber that she, too, can lead her team to success. She remembers all the times she threw in the driveway with Tailon and when she tried out at catcher, which was Macin's position, but to no avail.

    "I think the pitching has worked out pretty well," Graber said.

    Graber has tossed 112 strikeouts in 57 3/10 innings this season — she's averaging almost nine punchouts per game and two per inning. One of her favorite moments this season was reaching 500 career strikeouts and tossing a no-hitter against Loogootee. She threw a perfect game just two days earlier against Washington.

    https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=4HuQGy_0t68PMcV00

    "As a pitcher, I really haven't seen a lot of other kids that are at her caliber," Huff said. "She's very, very good at what she does. She's put in the time to get to where she is today."

    But Graber hasn't thrown as many innings this season as she intended because rain has postponed so many games across Southwestern Indiana this spring.

    "I'm a pitcher of rhythm," Graber said. "As the season goes on, I get a lot better. And the more games we play, I get a lot better. The rhythm I got from throwing (the perfect game) and then taking a day or two off and throwing (the no-hitter) has really helped with my stamina and how I'm able to get through those tough games."

    https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=3AWP6C_0t68PMcV00

    Graber signed with Murray State University last November and looks forward to continuing her softball career at the next level. Playing Division I softball has always been a goal of hers. Graber added she was "lucky enough" to have the Racers see her in a couple of tournaments even though they were scouting another pitcher.

    "I'm very excited to go down there and to grow," Graber said. "I've been told by my coaches that I'm supposed to be throwing a lot, but we'll see how that goes."

    Graber still wants to enjoy these final games in a Barr-Reeve uniform. The Vikings hope to break through this postseason after losing each of the last two springs in the regional to two-time defending state champion Tecumseh.

    https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=14lBPk_0t68PMcV00

    "This season has had a lot of ups and downs with rainouts and cancellations, and that's kind of probably hindered us a little bit more than I would like," Huff said. "We are peaking at the right time and there's a lot of stuff going in the right direction. We should have an exciting postseason, and I'm really excited for this group of girls."

    While Barr-Reeve's boys basketball and volleyball programs are perennial powers, the softball program is finding its own success because of players like Graber. The school is investing in new turf for softball and baseball next year, too.

    "I take pride in helping the girls that are in our program," Graber said. "What my goal was this season was to show the girls that you can make it out of this little small town as a softball player. If they want to play college softball, they can play college softball. It's a reality for us."

    This article originally appeared on Evansville Courier & Press: How Barr-Reeve's Karlye Graber became one of the best softball pitchers in SW Indiana

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