By Austin Bishop
The Winston County Journal
The scoreboard from Thursday and Friday’s playoff games with Kossuth showed that the Louisville High School Wildcats lost 4-2 and 8-5 to close out the 2014 baseball season.
That just goes to show what scoreboards know.
As far as the Louisville community is concerned, the Wildcats were winners the moment they stepped on the field Thursday afternoon, approximately 72 hours after a deadly tornado had ripped through town, killing nine and leaving hundreds of families homeless.
“I think it’s just important that we play,” said LHS head coach Charlie Smith, a couple hours before his ‘Cats played host to Kossuth at Ivy Park on Thursday. “We have a lot of hurting people, but sports has a way of bringing people together. It’s just important that we keep on going and that we be strong.”
Smith and his wife Shannon lost their home to the tornado. They had gone to safety at a shelter at First United Methodist Church just before the storm hit.
“When we got back home I looked and what we called our safe room, was gone,” Smith said. “Everything was gone. We were fortunate and blessed (to be alive).”
Coaches throughout the state called to check on Smith and his team, offering their prayers and help. “It’s just been amazing,” he said. “I just don’t know what to say.”
Louisville scored twice in the bottom of the first inning in Thursday’s opener in the second round of the MHSAA Class 3A State Baseball Playoffs, but Kossuth scored two in the sixth to tie the game. LHS had a chance to score the winning run in the seventh, but couldn’t push it across. The Aggies then hit for two in the top of the eighth to take the win.
“You could see a lot had just been taken out of us,” Smith said on Friday afternoon. “The boys gave it their all. There is no quit in them, but we were drained. We have been dealing with so much.”
Kossuth closed out the series with an 8-5 home win on Friday to advance to the third round of the series.
The home team scored three runs in each of the first and third innings, before Louisville hit for five in the top of the fourth to cut it to one. Kossuth answered with two in the bottom of the inning and held on for the win.
“I am so proud of these guys,” he said. “They are a team. We are a family. They are winners.”
That they are, no matter what the scoreboard says.