G-E-T wins Coulee softball title as Red Hawks hope for long postseason
Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau softball coach Dan Stuhr still laughs when he thinks about the speech he delivered to his team shortly after Coulee Conference games began early in the season.
It’s partly because the girls still tease him for it, but it’s also because it turned out to be advice that the girls heeded well to earn a conference title and go undefeated in the Coulee for the first time in program history.
“I said, ‘Hey, it’s important for us to get out and get a lead. And then once we’ve got a lead, step on their throats and don’t let them up.’ They pick on me about it all the time. ... but at least they were listening.”
The Red Hawks (19-5 this season) put the finishing touches on the perfect 12-0 Coulee run last week, beating Arcadia and Viroqua to close the regular season. The third-seeded Red Hawks were set to host sixth-seeded Neillsville in a Division Three regional on Tuesday.
“The kids were focused, they knew what they wanted,” Stuhr recalled last week of the early season talk. “And then I just told them, ‘This is what we’re gonna have to do to reach these goals.’ And they bought in, they worked hard and played their butts off, and they were able to do it.”
All jokes aside, Stuhr said an important part of softball is to know how to play with the lead, and he has faith in his team’s ability to do that with the postseason looming. He keeps telling the girls that they need to move past the conference championship and now set their sights on their other goals they set at the start of the season, which included a run to the state tournament.
The Red Hawks lost in the regional round against Loyall/Greenwood last year, and Stuhr said they got outplayed on that day. They haven’t forgotten that, he said, adding that his team would be ready for Tuesday against Neillsville.
After that, G-E-T could play some of the top teams in Division Three (Prescott, Bloomer, Baldwin) later in the playoffs. Stuhr said it will be a challenge, but he thinks it could make the journey even better, too.
“We’re gonna earn everything we get with the competition that we have to go through to get to the ultimate goal of getting to the state tournament.”
G-E-T 6 Viroqua 2
Eleven hits on offense and senior Genna O’Neill holding the host Blackhawks to four hits gave G-E-T its 11th Coulee win of the year last Monday.
After letting Viroqua (8-9, 4-8 CC) tie the game at two in the bottom of the fifth inning, the Red Hawks scored four runs in the top of the sixth to get the lead back.
Caydence Kokott and Rynn Duffenbach each finished 2-for-3 with a double, and Shayna Kirkey added a pair of hits as well. O’Neill finished with 10 strikeouts.
G-E-T 6 Arcadia 1
Six players scored runs for G-E-T in a clash with nearby Arcadia (1-17, 1-11 CC) last Tuesday to give the host Red Hawks the perfect 12-0 ending to the conference schedule.
Kokott scored in the first inning to give the Red Hawks an early lead before the hosts added another run in the third and three more in the sixth. Maggie Bistodeau went 2-for-2 to co-lead G-E-T in hits with O’Neill, who struck out 14 Arcadia batters on defense.
Duffenbach hit a home run, and Melissa Flynn contributed a double. The Raiders finished with four hits, including a double from Courtney Bjorge.