SECTIONAL CHAMPS: Cougars blast 18 hits in sectional finals win over Orleans

For The Tribune


Trinity Lutheran’s softball team pounded out 18 hits and scored in five different innings to whip Orleans 12-3 in the championship game of the Class 1A West Washington Sectional Thursday night.

With the win the Cougars (10-9) will play the winner of Sectional 61, Lanesville, at home Tuesday beginning at 6 p.m.

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Chad Goecker coached the Cougars to a sectional over Orleans two years ago on the same day.

“We had some big, timely hits and that’s what you’ve got to have,” Goecker said. “When our hitting was working well, when we were able to implement our ‘small ball’ things just worked out.”

The Cougars didn’t wait to get their offense going against the Bulldogs as Savannah Harweger led off the game with a single, and she stole second and third. Jodi Goecker and Jaryn Holtsclaw beat out bunt hits that drove in runs and Trinity was off and running.

Maddie Bell led off the second inning with a single and scored on Morgan Gabbard’s triple. Gabbard was thrown out at the plate before Harweger singled and scored on Goecker’s hit for a 4-0 score.

Gabbard singled and scored on Harweger’s triple in the fourth inning to give Trinity a 5-3 lead.

“We knew it was going to be a battle. It sure seemed a lot closer than 12-3. I’m very proud of the way they executed,” Coach Goecker said.

The Cougars took some pressure off the defense by batting around in the sixth inning and came up with five hits to score four runs to lead 9-3, then added three insurance runs in the seventh.

Gabbard, Harweger, Holtsclaw, Genesis Munoz and Sami Newmister had hits in the sixth inning with Holtsclaw, Munoz and Newmister driving in runs.

Gabbard, Harweger and Holtsclaw had hits and scored runs in the seventh.

Harweger led the offense by going 5-for-5 with three singles, a double, a triple, four runs scored and two RBIs. Gabbard had one of her best offensive games of the season with three singles and a triple and three runs.

Holtsclaw had three hits and three RBIs, and Goecker and Munoz both had two hits and two RBIs.

“The girls did a fantastic job of executing the plays we called, and just put the bat on the ball, and put pressure on their defense,” coach Goecker said. “It was a good combination and you just can’t beat timely hitting and good placement with bunts.

“We’ve got a tough schedule. Our record is not the greatest but it paid off. Our schedule is set up for the tournament.”

Hannah Deaton went the distance on the mound for the Cougars, allowing nine hits while striking out three and walking five. Goecker commended Deaton for her strong outing.

“It doesn’t matter what your record is, sectional championships are just hard to come by,” coach Goecker said. “I’m very proud of all the work the girls put in.”