ONALASKA — The Onalaska High School softball team did just about everything right in nailing down an outright MVC championship on Thursday.

The 10th-ranked Hilltoppers hit the ball well, ran the bases well and received three-hit pitching in an 8-0 victory over Central at Jaycee fields that gave them sole possession of the title by finishing one game ahead of second-place Holmen.

Onalaska (22-2, 11-1), which also won the MVC crown outright in 2017 and shared it with Holmen and Aquinas last season, scored six runs in the third inning to separate from the Red Raiders, who finished a 3-9 conference season. Central was seeking another big win for postseason momentum after winning three of their last four and beating Sparta 15-2 on Tuesday.

Third baseman Cailie Kowal was 3-for-4 with a double and two RBI for the Hilltoppers, who open the WIAA Division 1 regional tournament at home Tuesday against Madison West.

Maddie Trussoni, Beth Meyers and Danielle Cagle each singled for Central against Sarah Kraus, who struck out 10 batters and pitched her second straight shutout.

The Hilltoppers pulled away in the third, when Kraus, Jo Cree, Jaclyn Thomas, Alyssa Achenreiner and Kowal all drove in a run apiece during a six-run explosion.

Left fielder Cokie Binegar joined Kowal by going 3-for-4, and Achenreiner and Mariah Wick had two hits and scored two runs each for Onalaska.

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Assistant Sports Editor

Todd Sommerfeldt has covered sports for the La Crosse Tribune since 2003 after doing the same previously in the Fox Cities and Rock County.