By Nick Johnson
dhi MEDIA Correspondent
VAN WERT — The Van Wert Lady Cougars scratched out a run in the bottom of the seventh inning to tie the score in their Division II sectional final against Wauseon at Jubilee Park on Friday night, but the Lady Indians captured the title with a 5-4 win in nine innings.
The Lady Cougars carried a 3-1 lead into the top of the seventh, when Erin Douglass doubled and Jordan Sloan walked to put the tying runs on base. Tiffany King was able to work a one out walk to load the bases for Wauseon. The Cougars allowed three runs to score as a hit by pitch and a fielding error gave the Lady Indians a 4-3 lead going into the bottom of the seventh.
Van Wert wasted no time in the seventh as Brooke Brown singled to start the frame and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Bowen. One batter later, Kateri Steinecker gave Van Wert new life as she singled home the tying run to force extra innings.
The Lady Indians got a two-out double from Faith Hicks in the top of the ninth. The next batter, Oliviah Banister hit a fly ball to the outfielder that was dropped, allowing Hicks to score the eventual winning run.

Van Wert got a single from Bowen to begin to mount a rally in the bottom of the ninth but the next three Lady Cougar batters were retired and Wauseon picked up the 5-4 win in extras.
“We had several opportunity to put it away early and we just couldn’t do it, swing the bat. And errors just killed us; you have to play good solid defense. We got on top of them and we were just satisfied with that,” said Van Wert coach Mike McClure.
The Lady Cougars got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the third as Hannah Hulbert singled with one out. The next batter, Brown, doubled her home and, after Brown was replaced by Rachel Gordon on the basepaths, Gordon came around to score Van Wert’s second run on an error by the Lady Indians. Later in the frame, Alyssa Bowen and Steinecker each singled with Bowen later scoring to put the Cougars up 3-0.
Wauseon got a run back in the top of the fourth as Banister singled and became the Lady Indians first run of the game on a Alex Whipple RBI double.
“(Our players) put a lot of pressure on themselves because they know the passion (the coaches) have for the game, and they get all balled up inside. They need to understand that it’s still just a game and they need to just relax and play the game. Good things happen when you just play the game,” finished coach McClure.
Wauseon improves to 11-14 on the year and Van Wert drops to 13-10 on the season.
WP: Sam Norman (WI)
9 IP 4 R 12 H 1 BB
LP: Katheri Steinecker (VW)
5.2 IP 3 R 3 H 3 BB 8 K
Double: Brooke Brown (VW), Faith Hicks (WI), Alex Whipple (WI), Erin Douglass (WI)