FINDLAY — Lakota had at least one baserunner in every inning but the first, but it couldn’t get enough of them home, falling 2-1 Saturday to Wayne Trace in a Division IV softball regional final at Diamond Fields.
Wayne Trace scored twice in the first inning, and that was enough in the battle of the Raiders.
“In these games against good teams, you have to get the key hits when you get kids in scoring position. That was really the difference in the game,” Lakota coach Chris Chalfin said.
“I knew for us to have a chance, it was going to have to be a low-scoring game. I didn’t think we were going to get into a slugfest.”
Lakota (20-8) didn’t manage to score until the seventh inning.
“The game didn’t go quite as we expected,” Wayne Trace coach Jack Baumle said. “We scored twice in the first inning, and I thought we were getting our offense off to the right start.
“After that first inning, we couldn’t produce anymore. Our defense and our pitching held them down.”
Lakota’s Morgan Gangwer retired the first two batters in the first inning, but Wayne Trace then put together four straight singles to score twice.
Carley Wright and winning pitcher Addison Baumle each had a run-scoring base hit in the first inning.
“We just couldn’t get them out there for a while,” Chalfin said.
With the lead, Addison Baumle worked around trouble until the seventh inning. She struck out 10, walked one, and allowed six hits. Lakota also had one batter reach on an error.
“There was a reason why we weren’t getting key hits, because we’re good hitters. But [Baumle] is a really good pitcher,” Chalfin said. “It looked to me like she was throwing her curve ball on the outside part of the plate, it was breaking out of the [strike] zone.
“The scouting report was that she was throwing a riseball, but I don’t think she threw a lot of pitches up high. I thought it was that pitch on the outside part of the plate that had movement on it, that we couldn’t reach.”
Lakota stranded seven runners, including three at second base.
In the seventh for Lakota, freshman Brianna Ray singled to center field with one out. Samantha Miller sacrificed Ray to second, then Nikkia Cooper doubled to left field to score Ray. It was one of two doubles for Cooper in the game.
Baumle got Bree Long-Meyer to pop out to first base to end the game.
Gangwer allowed six hits, striking out three, and did not walk a batter for Lakota.
“We kept making defensive plays, we pitched well, we played hard. I don’t think we have anything to be ashamed of,” Chalfin said.
Brenda Feasby and Libby Stabler each had two hits for Wayne Trace (22-7).
Wayne Trace faces Cuyahoga Heights in the state semifinal at 10 a.m. Friday in Akron’s Firestone Stadium.
It was Lakota’s first trip to a regional final. It had three seniors, with only shortstop Alaina Bickford playing in the game.
“We have a lot of good players coming back. The expectations are going to be pretty high,” Chalfin said. “We are going to work in the offseason and try to get better and come back next year ready to play — and hopefully the kids will be hungry.”