Softball: Kouts hangs on to reach sectional championship
By Candace Buckner Post-Tribune correspondent May 21, 2012 11:28PM
Updated: July 2, 2012 8:56AM
LaCrosse — In a sectional game that wasn’t always pretty, Kouts proved that in softball, any win can be a beautiful thing.
On Monday afternoon, Kouts outlasted Morgan Township 11-7 and besides advancing to the Class A sectional championship game on Thursday, the first-round victory was also appealing for the Fillies (9-17) as they avenged an earlier 19-0 loss to Morgan.
“We had nine errors (that game),” Kouts coach Tim McNeill said. “I think for the team that was our low point, it was rather embarrassing and we regrouped that next day at practice and started, once again, focusing on our defense.”
The defensive improvement showed in the Monday box score as Kouts committed just one error to Morgan’s eight. Besides playing sound defense, Kouts flashed a few highlight moments — including freshman Jayla Crump’s diving catch with the bases loaded to end the first inning.
Later in the game, Kouts twice lost leads of four runs, including a sixth-inning, three-run rally punctuated by Morgan junior Kayley Lauder’s infield pop up that should have been caught but was not and led to two runs scoring. Kouts, as the home team, started the bottom of the sixth inning in a 7-7 tie but still confident.
“We weren’t really nervous because we knew we had two more times to bat,” Crump said.
With two outs and the bases loaded, Crump hit a grounder toward the shortstop, but she could not field the ball cleanly from her knees. She attempted to get the runner charging toward third but the errant throw wound up behind the fielder. Two unearned runs scored and Kouts tacked on another pair before completing the inning.
“Our offense came today, our defense just didn’t show up,” said Morgan coach Lisa Baisden about her 6-17 team, which started three freshmen and a handful of sophomores. “We’ve been making young mistakes, we’re very young so we’ve been making the mistakes of inexperienced players.”