ROYAL CENTER | Two big innings were all Pioneer needed against Kouts on Wednesday.
The Class A No. 5 Panthers scored four runs in the first and added six more in the third in their 10-0 win in five innings against the Fillies in the regional championship game. The win marks three consecutive regional titles for Pioneer.
The Panthers (24-6) scored the only runs they needed two batters into the bottom of the first. Riley Morris led off the inning with a walk and Lindsey Miller followed with a home run to left field to make it 2-0.
Pioneer added two more runs in the frame without the benefit of a hit thanks to four walks, a hit batter and a sacrifice fly.
The Panthers tacked on six unearned runs in the third, all coming with two outs. Pioneer got the runs on four walks, two hits and an error on the infield.
In all, the Panthers benefited from nine walks from Kouts pitching and scored 10 runs on four hits.
“The control problems were a problem today,” Kouts coach Tim McNeill said. “The timely hits and the walks really hurt us.”
Kaylee Heimberg came on in relief of starter Kylie Bruce in the third and struck out four of the six hitters she faced.
Alyse Rosenbaum reached base twice for the Fillies (10-14) with a hit and error. Bruce also notched a single for Kouts.
All nine Pioneer batters reached base at least once. Betsy Bingaman had a single and drew two walks as well.
The Fillies, who won the school’s second sectional title, will graduate one senior from this year’s squad.
“We need to build upon this, and the girls have seen what they need to do in the offseason to get better,” McNeill said. “If they make the commitment, the sky’s the limit.”