Kyle Barrett's slider was dancing around the plate Wednesday afternoon, its deceptive qualities only enhanced by the stiff wind blowing in from left field.
"Dillon (Usiak) was calling for the slider on 3-2 counts because it was really working," said Barrett, giving props to his catcher. "He always calls a great game."
The combination of Barrett's pitching and Usiak's pitch selection were the key elements in Beyer's 4-1 Modesto Metro Conference victory over host Johansen.
Barrett was dominant through the first six, allowing two singles and an unearned run, but Tyler Love's double to right-center put Vikings on second and third in the seventh inning with two out.
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After getting two strikes on the next batter, Barrett's pitches began sailing high and a walk loaded the bases. Vince Roberts, however, came in and secured the win with a grounder to third base.
"We've got three or four good starters, behind Kyle and Dom (Rossi), but Vince is our closer," Beyer coach Steve Clark said.
Barrett threw a season-high 125 pitches. It was his highest pitch count in two years, he said, but he still tried to convince Clark to let him finish.
"I tried to wave him off, but he wasn't going to listen," said Barrett, 3-1 with a 1.45 ERA in four starts. "He made the right decision. If it would have been me, I would have left myself in and I probably would have blown it."
Barrett (eight strikeouts, four walks) helped himself with an RBI single in the fourth and later scored on Josh Shackelford's single. After Johansen cut the lead in half in the fifth, Beyer struck for two in the sixth for a 4-1 lead.
Clark's brazen decision to send Barrett home on Joey Roy's single to short left was the key play in the sixth, as the fielder came up throwing as Barrett rounded third. It looked to be an easy out, but the throw was wide and the catcher dropped it as Barrett's slide allowed him to avoid a tag.