ONALASKA — Mark Ross isn’t a coach that gets too comfortable with the success of his Onalaska Luther High School softball team.
The Knights have enjoyed plenty of victories over the last decade and are enjoying more this spring after a 6-3 win over Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau on Tuesday kept them on top of the Coulee Conference.
But Ross is always looking for improvement, and there will still be things to work on after Onalaska Luther (10-3, 6-0), ranked fourth in Division 4 by state coaches, won its fifth straight game.
One thing the Knights did well was build an early lead that held up. Senior Clare Schultz hit a solo home run with two outs in the first inning, and the Knights followed that up with a three-run second to take control of the Red Hawks (3-5, 2-3).
Two infield hits were followed by a passed ball that allowed the first run of the second inning to score. Two more singles followed to give the Knights a 4-0 lead.
The Red Hawks, who loaded the bases and didn’t score in the second inning, stormed back in the fourth. Sara Beirne’s two-run home run got them within 5-3.
“We always worry about falling behind, especially with a good team like G-E-T,” said Ross, whose team won its 13th straight conference game. “At that point, it would only have taken one hit for them to take the lead on us.
“(Pitcher) Anna (Dobbe) did a great job of getting out of those jams and keeping them at bay.”
Dobbe struck out three and walked two in pitching the complete game for Onalaska Luther, which hosts West Salem (8-5, 3-3) — winner of three straight games — on Thursday.
Sophomore Amy Gappa pitched a complete game for G-E-T and went 3-for-3 with two doubles to put some pressure on Dobbe and the Knights.
Braiden Decker was 2-for-3 with a triple, and Rebecca Robertson added a double for Onalaska Luther.
Although the Knights remained strong in remaining undefeated in conference play, Ross still hopes to see more in their future.
“Getting that early lead and being aggressive on the bases really helped us, but we still need to hit better,” Ross said. “We gave (G-E-T) too many easy plays, but overall things got better.
“It just comes down to the little things that we need to work on.”