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Kaukauna records two milestone wins this week

Kaukauna beat Fond du Lac 10-0 in five innings to win its 71st straight game. (Doug Ritchay/WLUK)
Kaukauna beat Fond du Lac 10-0 in five innings to win its 71st straight game. (Doug Ritchay/WLUK)
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KAUKAUNA (WLUK) -- It's been quite a week for the Kaukauna softball team.

First, coach Tim Roehrig won his 500th career game on Wednesday and Thursday the Galloping Ghosts won their 71st straight game, breaking a tie with Kimberly football for the longest winning streak by a team in Northeast Wisconsin.

Roehrig was honored after Thursday's game for his milestone win and explained why he has been so successful.

"You don't do it without your support structure," he said. "My wife, my daughter, my son. My wife has been a single mom for 23 years three months out of every year, and that means I'm running all over the place. I don't do it without her.

"She's always been the rock, held everything together. When I come home grumpy if we don't play well or anything else, she's the one that kind of tames me down, gets me back on a roll.

"My coaching staff, they've been the best. Some of the guys aren't here but work with us behind the scenes on things; overall those guys, I can't do it without them.

"And finally, the support structure form our fastpitch club and how we organize things and how we do it. I think that organizational structure leads to having quality kids coming in every year so we can reload and get back to work again. Those three things combined you get 500 and 71."

As for 71 straight wins, Roehirg comes away impressed with his players' ability to be ready game in and game out.

"Mentally they can show up for 71 in a row and do the things that they've done, it's remarkable," he said. "It's a testament to who they are. I guess the drive to win and succeed."

One of the main characters during this winning streak has been senior Kally Meredith, who knows she's lucky to be in this spot.

"It's amazing," she said. "Just the fact that no one has done it before just shows how honored we should be to even be in this position."

Kaukauna is hardly consumed with records. Last week, the Ghosts set a state record for consecutive wins by a softball team with 64, and the players had no idea they set a record until Roehrig told them after the game.

Their response was basically, "Ho-hum."

Nonetheless, they had an idea they could make history before they enter the postseason and aim for a third straight Division 1 state title.

"'R' (Roehrig) sat us down two weeks ago maybe and said that we had the chance to make history," Meredith recalls. "No other softball team could say that right now. So we just kind of put it under our belt and went out and we did it.

"It's a lot of pressure off us now, I think, because everyone was watching to see what we kind of did with the streak and now I don't think we will lose, but if we do, it's not the end of the world and we're just going to build up for playoffs."

Kaukauna is 21-0 after Friday's win, running their winning streak to 72 games, and it appears the Ghosts are rounding into form. After losing some key players to graduation from last season, Roehrig dipped into his depth and gave younger players a chance to be part of this incredible run.

They've come along.

"Three weeks ago we had a game where everyone just kind of kicked in," Roehrig said. "Since then we have been playing really good ball. It's been fun to watch, some of younger players really grew up. They're starting to get what we do and how we do it.

"We're starting to see things we didn't see. Two weeks ago we started to see it and last week it really started to kick in. I think we're in a good spot right now, particularly with our younger players."

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Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay

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