|Stabler’s double lifts WT to regional finals|
By KEVIN WANNEMACHER • Progress Sportswriter
FINDLAY – Libby Stabler doubled with two outs in the bottom of the sixth to score Mackenzie Swary for the game’s only run as Wayne Trace captured a 1-0 win over New Riegel in Division IV regional semifinal action in Findlay Wednesday night, May 28.
It will be a battle of Raiders to go to the state tournament. Wayne Trace (21-7) will take on Lakota (20-7) in the regional championship game at noon Saturday, May 31 after Lakota (who is also the Raiders) defeated Patrick Henry 5-2 on Thursday.
Wayne Trace’s run was the lone dent on the scoreboard in a classic contest. Raider junior Addison Baumle and New Riegel senior hurler Taylor Kirian each limited their opponents to three hits in the contest. The difference came down to the red, white and blue connecting with a big two-out hit that eluded the Blue Jackets.
Scoreless into the bottom of the sixth, Swary led off with a single to left field.
A sacrifice bunt by Emilie Linder moved Swary to second before the junior catcher advanced to third on a deep fly to right field by Brenda Feasby.
With a 2-2 count, Stabler then came up with the hit of the night in roping a double down the left field line to plate Swary.
“It was a senior who came up with a clutch hit,” noted Raider head coach Jack Baumle. “Libby had swung at a pitch that was low there before that but she came back and battled before delivering that big hit.”
The Raiders tried to push the margin further as Bailey Bergman followed with a single to right but New Riegel’s Lauren Zoeller was able to shoot down Stabler at the plate.
The Blue Jackets would make things interesting in the top of the seventh.
Junior Kara Scherger opened the inning with a single and stole second. Zoeller then reached on an infield single to put runners on first and second with no outs.
However, junior Haley Theis tried to put down a sacrifice bunt but popped it up instead and Bergman was able to record the out.
Sophomore Leah Bouillon hit a line drive that was caught by Feasby in center field for the second out but the drama wasn’t over.
Scherger and Zoeller executed a double steal that would put runners at second and third with two outs. With senior pinch hitter Lauren Ladd at the plate, Baumle threw a ball on the first pitch before three consecutive strikes sent the Raiders to Saturday’s regional championship.
“We didn’t throw a lot of fastballs but we did mix it up location wise and threw a lot of rise balls and curve balls,” noted the Raider mentor. “I think we were able to keep them off balance a little bit.”
New Riegel came into the contest on a roll, having won 13 straight games while averaging ten runs a game in that stretch. However, that offense never was able to get into any type of rhythm against Baumle and the Raider defense.
“They didn’t make solid contact a lot tonight,” commented the elder Baumle. “When they did, our defense stepped up and made plays. We knew coming in we would have to play good defense and we did tonight.”
The Blue Jackets, who went down in order four times on the night, did threaten for the first time in the third.
With two outs, senior Morgan Noftz reached on a bunt single before senior Taylor Kirian reached on an error to put runners at second and third. However, junior Taylor Arbogast grounded out to Bergman at third to end the inning.
Wayne Trace put runners in scoring position for the first time in the fourth.
Feasby reached on a Blue Jacket error to start the inning and moved to second on a Stabler groundout. Bergman moved Feasby to third with another groundout before Kirian shut the door by striking out Carley Wright.
“It was a classic high school softball game,” continued the Raider coach. “It’s too bad either team had to lose because this was high school softball at its best.”
Baumle struck out eight in running her streak of innings in tournament play without an earned run allowed to 28. The junior hurler scattered three hits and walked none.
Kirian, who will pitch at the University of Akron next season, struck out two while allowing three hits and no walks in six innings of work.