ELIDA — Lima Central Catholic seemed to have all the momentum going into the third inning after Thunderbird Mary Kate Dee hit a three-run home run in the second and when LCC tacked on a run in the top of the frame, it owned a 4-1 advantage.
But Wayne Trace responded in the bottom of the third with four runs of its own and then added six more in the final three innings for 10 unanswered scores including a three-run blast from Kaitlin Slade to put the Raiders up 14-4 to garner the 10-run rule, six inning victory and a Division IV district title.
“Tip your cap, they hit the ball and boy did they hit it hard tonight,” LCC head coach Brett Roehm said. “We gave them a couple of plays and we didn’t really play well defensively but I don’t want to take anything away from Wayne Trace. You know they were here to play. They outplayed us tonight.”
Wayne Trace advances to the regionals against New Riegal in Defiance at 2 p.m. Wednesday. LCC ends its year with a 14-11 mark.
“We kind have gotten off to slow starts all year but we just keep battling,” Wayne Trace head coach Amber Showalter said. “They are a great group of kids and they just keep battling and battling and battling. I knew they could do it, they just had to believe in that. I think we relaxed and played our game.”
For the game, Wayne Trace had 16 hits, including four extra base hits. Raider Logen Bland had a home run in the fifth as part of a three-run frame. Slade finished with three hits, including her dinger, and she drove in five runs on the night.
Raider Tiffany Sinn, who picked up the win on the mound, had three hits, including a double, and teammate Tatum Tigner had three hits and drove in three runs.
Sinn, who struggled early by giving up four runs on five hits in the first three innings, gave up only two hits over the final three frames to stymie the Thunderbirds. In six innings, she struck out four and walked five.
Sinn can thank her teammates for making some big defensive plays in those innings. Wayne Trace got some big defensive gems from the outfield and a huge double play in the sixth inning when second baseman Macy Doster fielded a hot smash, stepped on second and fired a bullet to first.
“We take great pride in defense and work on it really hard,” Showalter said. “We have pushed these kids to the max this year and they have responded and this is a great feeling.”
Roehm added, “It seemed like every ball we hit hard, they fielded. They made the plays so tip your cap to them because they earned tonight’s win.
Conversely, LCC had a number of fielding miscues, seven total, that only added to its woes.
Even though Roehm was disappointed with the loss, he said the Thunderbirds accomplished a lot this year to make it to the district finals.
“We hit a lot of home runs this year and I mean a lot of home runs,” Roehm said. “It’s exciting to do that but you also have to find that base hit … but I would take these girls in a heartbeat. Last year we didn’t play at all so it is a great season and we are going to miss our seniors definitely but I would love to have these girls back if I could.”
Dee finished the game 2 for 4 with three RBI and a run scored. Kennedy Parker had a double and run scored and Kyla Badea had a double and drove in a run.