Campbellsport's Cougars pose after winning 2019 Sectional Final
I only have three years of games to choose from so even though my quantity is small I have had some very memorable games.
First, some personal information. I just finished my 21st year as the assistant wrestling coach at Campbellsport and this will be my 4th year coaching fastpitch. I got involved with fastpitch when my daughter was in third grade and I coached her rec team. I was hooked! My daughters started travel ball at the 10-u and 12-u levels and I still coach them today in travel ball and now in high school. Lets stroll through memory lane:
May 26th, 2017, regional championship game vs Poynette. My first year coaching fastpitch and my regional/sectional had #1 ranked Laconia, who was going for their 3rd straight state title, and #2 ranked Poynette who was 25-1 coming into the regional championship. We won our regional semi-final against Westfield and had to travel to Poynette to face stud pitcher Mattie Bredeson, who was 24-0 and had an ERA of around 1, and Hall of Fame coach named Bob Tomlinson. I had Alyssa Muench pitching, an up and coming sophomore pitcher who is now pitching at D2 Saginaw Valley State in Michigan. We were the away team and Kaitlynn Schill led off with a hit to right. Taylor Schmidt followed with a bunt single. Alyssa Muench then hit a slicing liner to right. Poynette’s right fielder took the wrong first step and the ball ended up going off the tip of her glove scoring Schill. Becca O’Brien hit a shot up the middle to drive in two and just like that we were up 3-0. The bottom of the 3rd, with the same score, was a major gut check. Poynette had the bases loaded and nobody out with their 3,4,5 hitters up. The first batter smoked a liner right back at Muench. A split second reaction later and that ball goes through and it is 3-1 or possibly 3-2. I brought the infield in on the next batter and she hit a grounder to short and we threw her out at the plate. The last batter pops up to the pitcher. Inning over, no damage. Bottom of the fourth with one out Poynette gets back to back doubles to make the score 3-1. Top of the 5th we load the bases on two hits and a one out walk and Becca O’Brien is the batter. She is a farm girl, that's all you need to know about her. Mattie blows two fastballs past her. I hear someone from the Poynette dugout or stands yell “Don’t make a mistake, you are up 0-2”. Next pitch Becca crushes the ball over the left centerfield fence for a grand slam. We go on to win 8-3 and I get my first regional championship. We battled Laconia and were down 2-1 in the fifth before giving up a two out three run homer that broke the game open and ended up losing 6-2. In 2018, Mattie would lead Poynette to their first of back to back championships.
Thursday, May 30th, 2019, Sectional Championship vs Random Lake. My 3rd year coaching. In the 20 plus years of Campbellsport softball no team had ever made it to the sectional championship game and like Random Lake we were seeking our first ever state appearance. Mike LaFever and his Random Lake squad knocked out Campbellsport the year before in extra innings in the regional championship game. We both had the nucleus of our team back. We were fully expecting a tight battle. Each team had a large crowd going all the way down towards the outfield hoping to see their team make school history. My shortstop, Alexis Feucht, was struggling at the plate and I had not batted her in the big regular season games in May nor the previous 3 games in the playoffs. I had a hunch this game and batted her in the 8th spot and had my DP hit for another girl. We were the home team and in the 2nd inning after a one out single by Shaylay Narges, Alexis came up and roped a double to the gap scoring Narges for a 1-0 lead. The top of the 4th saw Random Lake score a run on three hits. The last hit went into left center and with a perfect relay from the left fielder to short, to home and we cut down the go ahead runner to end the inning. In the bottom of the 4th, Allysa Klahn hit a one out double. A flyout later Feucht came up again with two outs and hit a shot up the middle scoring Klahn and we took a 2-1 lead. Random Lake answered right back in the top of the 5th with a solo homerun by Josie Mitchell to tie things back up. The bottom of the 5th after a single and a hit batter, I had my batter bunt and we scored a run on an errant throw to make the score 3-2. Fast forward to the bottom of the 7th now and Random Lake got a leadoff single to make things as nerve racking as they have been all game. Both fan bases are loud. Pitcher Alyssa Muench proceeds to get a strikeout and a pop up for the next two outs and brings up Random Lake's Calah Harder who led Random Lake with five homeruns. Muench quickly got ahead 0-2 but Harder fouled the next three pitches straight back. I remember Muench taking a step back and taking a deep breath before the next pitch. She is a girl who has ice in her veins, but she told me later she had never been more nervous than that moment. She reared back and threw a rise ball past Harder and Campbellsport softball history was made. We would end up losing in the state championship game against Poynette 4-0.
Those are the top two games in my young coaching career. We had some great milestones last year with Muench getting 600 career strikeouts and her 100th career hit. Muench also set the school record for homeruns with 8, outdoing my daughter Lauren, who had 7. Let's hope things turn around soon so we can see our players back on the field soon, after all we know this will turn out to be the best spring we have had in quite some time.
Publisher’s Note: These stories are great. It was Dan’s idea for me to ask people to submit some great stories about two or three of their most memorable games. Join and and submit some stories or other information. The website is for everybody.