NATCHITOCHES – Simply moments earlier than a pivotal four-game Southland Convention collection this previous weekend, the Northwestern State baseball group was with out its head coach.
Bobby Barbier departed Brown-Stroud Subject minutes forward of Saturday’s 2 p.m. collection opener towards Nicholls, coping with a non-COVID-19-related medical problem that finally stored him from teaching any of the 4 video games towards the Colonels.
As a substitute of panic and uncertainty bearing down on the Demon dugout, the NSU teaching workers leaned on its familiarity with each other and the tradition they and Barbier have established to supply the Demons’ first four-game sweep in Southland Convention play this season.
“I am in no way shocked,” Barbier stated forward of NSU’s Tuesday afternoon follow. “Bert (assistant coach Chris Bertrand), (assistant coach) Spencer (Goodwin) and even (volunteer assistant) Dan (Hlad) have been round me and us for some time. I want to assume if we take any half out of our group – together with myself – it will proceed to run easily. We hope to construct one thing that runs easily, even for those who lose a component right here or there.”
To the untrained eye, nothing modified for the Demons of their weekend sweep of the Colonels.
Though Barbier was not bodily current, he was not far the remaining members of the Northwestern State workers’s minds – in each baseball and bodily phrases.
“You are taking inspiration from Bobby’s kind of management,” stated Bertrand, who has coached alongside Barbier because the latter was named head coach in June 2016. “You’ve got seen that type be a confirmed winner since he is taken over. You wish to be your self and also you wish to attempt to consider in your convictions and run it the best way you wish to run it, however on the identical time, you wish to ensure you do not actually get to the purpose the place there’s a lot change – or a lot outside-the-box considering – the gamers start to really feel like you do not have a grasp of what is going on on. You do not need them to ever really feel there’s a sense of panic or a way of fear.”
That goes double for the Demon pitching workers, as a result of Barbier doubles because the NSU pitching coach as he has for 4 of his 5 seasons in control of his alma mater’s baseball group.
Hlad joined the Demon teaching workers in January, however he was aware of Barbier’s system and considering from his two seasons at Northwestern State. A right-handed pitcher, Hlad spent the 2017 and 2018 seasons with the Demons, beginning the 2018 Southland Convention Match championship sport.
Hlad has shadowed Barbier maybe nearer than every other assistant prior to now three-plus months, placing him in a pivotal place when Barbier was unavailable for the 4 video games.
“(Calling pitches) might be probably the most impactful a part of the sport,” Barbier stated. “What impacts pitch to pitch is the man calling these pitches. One factor about Dan, he is ready. He watches these hitters on video like he is the one who might be calling pitches and thank goodness he does, as a result of I wasn’t in a position to do it.”
Like a profitable beginning pitcher, Hlad blended and matched from his reminiscence financial institution and confirmed a deft contact dealing with the Demon pitchers.
“(Having been a participant underneath Barbier) was huge,” Hlad stated. “Simply being round after I was taking part in and having the ability to be round him extra as a coach, studying from what he does and seeing what he does with the pitchers now and what he did with us after I performed, I blended these tendencies and adopted the plan with what he is carried out prior to now. It was a whole lot of what he did and trusting what he did. That is why he is been profitable with the pitchers, myself included, for the 5 years he is carried out it. It helped me be extra comfy, though I used to be a bit nervous that first inning.”
The trio of Bertrand, Goodwin and Hlad – together with graduate supervisor Trevor Wren – leaned on one another and their inherent character traits to navigate an unsure set of back-to-back doubleheaders that would go a protracted technique to figuring out Northwestern State’s postseason destiny.
The Demons and Colonels entered this previous weekend’s collection tied for fourth place within the Southland Convention standings on the halfway level of convention play. Within the face of the unknown, the Demons responded with their finest efficiency of the season.
“Within the second, you attempt to simplify the whole lot and understand we have got to maintain enterprise,” stated Goodwin, who performed for and has been a graduate supervisor and a volunteer assistant underneath Barbier. “The change was huge – your chief’s not there. The one factor coach Barbier has instilled in me as a participant — and dealing my approach up as a coach – is the flexibility to regulate and be versatile. That is what we did as a workers.”
Bertrand highlighted the workers’s means to speak with each other as a part of the rationale for the smoothness of the weekend.
Employees communication is on the coronary heart of the tradition Barbier has inbuilt his 5 years as a head coach with the Demons and the mantras that constructed “The Demon Manner” prominently echoed concerning the first-base dugout this previous weekend.
“If you hearken to him discuss to each new group initially of the 12 months, the primary group assembly is at all times speaking concerning the requirements of the baseball program,” Bertrand stated. “He talks about taking part in the best way we play. The primary follow of the autumn at all times includes him telling us, ‘Hey, guys, we will discuss to them about how we wish to play.’ Getting back from the lengthy Christmas break, sure, we’re getting ready for the season, however he tells them we will play how we wish to play – to not be results-oriented, however to concentrate on how we wish to play. Over a five-year time frame, it turns into ingrained.
“That is instilling the tradition. For these of us who’ve been round – I say these of us as a result of Spence heard it as a participant and as a coach working up the ranks, Dan heard it as a participant and as a coach working up the ranks – Lenni (Kunert), Tyler Smith, Peyton Davis, these guys have heard it for 5 years, six years for some. When you’ve a bunch like we now have of cohesive coaches and veteran gamers, ‘The Demon Manner’ turns into ‘The Demon Manner’ underneath Bobby Barbier.”