Different players use varying methods for motivation, and all Audubon's Kevin Kraemer needed was a recycled box score before facing Haddon Township in Tuesday's South Jersey Group 1 baseball semifinals.
Not that it takes a whole lot extra to get the juices flowing when these neighboring Colonial Conference rivals square off, but Kraemer has been waiting for this chance to atone for an earlier showing when the junior lefthander was not on his game against Audubon's chief rival.
On May 2, Kraemer lost a 12-2 decision to that same Haddon Township team.
Since then, Audubon and Kraemer have rebounded nicely. Audubon eventually won the Colonial Conference Patriot Division over Haddon Township, and on Tuesday advanced to Friday's South Jersey Group 1 final with a 9-1 win over the visiting Hawks.
Audubon (19-5) will host Pennsville in Friday's sectional final. It's the second straight year that the Green Wave have knocked Haddon Township out of the semifinals, but last year, it was in Group 2. Audubon is the defending South Jersey Group 2 champion.
As for Kraemer, he went the distance Tuesday, persevering through some muggy conditions to allow six hits and strike out seven.
"I used that last game as motivation," said Kraemer (5-2). "The first time, I simply didn't have it and it was a good wake-up call and showed me that I had to work harder."
It was certainly a different Kraemer on Tuesday. He masterfully changed speeds, keeping the Hawks off balance.
"He was hitting his spots," said Haddon Township centerfielder Mike Byrnes, who was 1 for 4 with a double. "He was really on his game."
Last year, Kraemer pitched six innings in the same sectional semifinal against the Hawks, but had a no-decision. Audubon won that game, 4-2, in eight innings.
"I wanted to finish things this year," Kraemer said.
Actually, Audubon came close to scoring a 10-run-rule win, and had that happened, Kraemer would have been eligible to pitch as many as five innings Friday. As it is, because of NJSIAA pitching rules, he will be unable to pitch Friday.
Brian Flacco led off the bottom of the first with a home run, and Audubon was on its way.
Leading by 9-0 in the bottom of the fifth, Audubon had a chance to put the game away when Haddon Township made an errant throw to third base that went into the outfield.
However, Audubon pinch runner Eric Schorr collided with Township shortstop Tyler Easterday, who was covering third.
Both players stayed down momentarily, and Schorr eventually walked gingerly off the field and was replaced by another pinch runner. Had the collision not taken place, he would have scored and the game would have been over.
Audubon coach Rich Horan said he didn't consider taking Kraemer out of the game, leading by the 9-0 score through five innings.
"You have to win the game at hand and worry about tomorrow tomorrow," Horan said.
Right now, Audubon is short on pitching because co-ace Andrew Schorr has missed much of the season with a stress fracture.
Due to the pitching rules, Kraemer obviously can't pitch every game. He was certainly glad to take the ball for this one, a game that provided another trip to the finals and some redemption that Kraemer was waiting almost a month to earn.
Haddon Township 0000010 - 162
Audubon 115020x - 9130
WP: Kevin Kraemer. LP: Pat Burns. 2B: HT-Mike Byrnes, Dave Flacco; A-Boomer Wickersham, Kevin Kraemer. HR: A-Brian Flacco.