LACROSSE | Kouts head coach Tim McNeill and his coaching staff stressed to the team to never give up, and the Fillies heeded that lesson in Friday’s Class A sectional championship.
Morgan Township erased a three-run Filly lead in the top of the fifth to tie the game, but Kouts answered back with three in the bottom of the inning to grab the lead for good. The Fillies beat the Cherokees 9-7 to win the school’s second softball sectional title.
“In the past, once they got down they would have a difficult time thinking that this was it, but we kept telling them that it was never done until it’s done,” McNeill said.
The Fillies (10-13) will play Pioneer in Tuesday’s regional.
The first five hitters reached base for Kouts in the fifth. Jayla Crump was hit with a pitch, and Emily Kolb and Kylie Bruce followed with singles. Crump scored on an infield bobble to put Kouts ahead.
Emma Leatherman followed with a single that seemed to plate two, but one Kouts runner was called out for not touching home. Emily Heinold drove in another run with a single.
Two singles and an error brought in a run and had the tying run on first in the seventh for the Cherokees (13-13), but Bruce got back-to-back fly outs from the next two hitters to secure the win.
Bruce hit a three-run home run, the first of her career, in the first to give Kouts a 3-0 lead.
“It put the team ahead and it really got us going,” Bruce said of her blast.
Leatherman had a two-run single in the third to make it 6-2 after making a pair of errors in the field.
“It was amazing to come back after those errors and help my teammates out,” Leatherman said.
The Cherokees tied the game at 6 with three runs in the fifth. Three singles and two bases-loaded walks accounted for the runs.
Crump, Bruce and Leatherman each had two hits for Kouts.
Katie Bachert led the Cherokees with three hits. Kaley Lauder and Kari Gourley each added a pair of hits. The Cherokees had nine hits but left 12 runners on base.
“We had so many opportunities, and we didn’t get the timely hit,” Morgan Township coach Rich Patterson said.