By Kevin Wannemacher
DHI Media Correspondent
sports@timesbulletin.com
AKRON — Wayne Trace struck first in the Division IV softball state semifinal against Cuyahoga Heights Friday morning at Firestone Stadium in Akron, but in the end, it was all Redskins as Cuyahoga Heights advanced to the state championship game with a 6-1 win.
The Lady Raiders got on the scoreboard in the opening inning, taking advantage of an early Redskin error.
After senior shortstop Emilie Linder popped out, senior center fielder Brenda Feasby reached on an error to start the Raider rally. Another senior, first baseman Libby Stabler, followed with a walk before junior third baseman Bailey Bergman flew out to left.
With two outs, sophomore left fielder Carley Wright lifted a bloop single into left field to plate Feasby for a 1-0 Raider advantage.


Cuyahoga Heights (22-3) responded in the home half of the frame and would never trail again.
Redskin third baseman Lauren Goetz lifted a fly ball to left that was misplayed, resulting in a triple to open the frame. Following a pop out, sophomore Dayna Denner tripled to right field to score Goetz and knot the contest at 1-1.
After senior pitcher Meredith Chopka drew a walk from Wayne Trace junior hurler Addison Baumle, sophomore Samantha Rodriguez reached on a Raider error that also allowed Denner to score for a 2-1 Cuyahoga Heights lead.
“We made a couple of defensive mistakes that hurt us,” commented Wayne Trace head coach Jack Baumle. “But we couldn’t hit location as well today pitching-wise like we had been previously, either. Cuyahoga Heights is a good hitting softball team. Give them credit, they came out early and hit the ball.”
The contest then was taken over by Chopka on the hill for the Redskins.
The senior hurler retired 19 of the final 21 batters she faced in the contest, allowing only a fourth-inning single to Baumle and another single in the fifth by Raider sophomore right fielder Sydney Critten.
“I thought Meredith really settled down and pitched the way she was capable after the first inning,” noted Redskin head coach Christy Zawadzki. “I think once we settled down and controlled the emotions, we played the way we were capable as a team.”
While Chopka was controlling the Raider bats, her teammates widened the margin in the second.
With one out, left fielder Brittany Nero singled with Goetz following with a single to put runners at first and second. Shortstop Jenna Stegmaier ripped an RBI-single to left to score Nero for a 3-1 lead, but Goetz was cut down on the play trying to reach third. Denner then followed with a RBI double to score Stegmaier and make it 4-1. Alicia Falorio followed by reaching on another Raider error, scoring Stegmaier to push the advantage to 5-1, and ending the morning for Baumle on the hill.
The Raider junior suffered the loss, giving up four earned runs, six hits and a walk in 1.2 innings.
Cuyahoga Heights added one more run in the fifth.
With junior Molly Crosby now pitching and two outs, Kaitlynn Gervase singled to right before Brianna Swanson reached on a Raider error. Nero then made the Lady Raiders pay, singling to center field to score Gervase and setting the margin at 6-1.
“We prepared for this game all year,” Chopka added. “We put in all of the time and the hard work to get to this level and we wanted to get to tomorrow. I think we relaxed after we came out and scored and then we just had to play the way we were capable of, and we did that.”
Cuyahoga Heights finished with 11 hits on the day, including a combined 7 of 15 effort by the first four hitters. Goetz, Denner and Falorio all had two hits for the Lady Redskins with Stegmaier adding one. Nero also had a pair of hits while Gervase and Swanson added the other Cuyahoga Heights’ hits.
Critten, Baumle and Wright each had singles for the Lady Raiders, who wrapped up their year with a record of 22-8.
“This experience has been great,” noted Addison Baumle. “This has been a goal all season long and we had some great leadership from our seniors this year.”
Shortstop Emilie Linder, first baseman Libby Stabler and outfielders Brenda Feasby and Madison McClure all wrapped up their Raider careers in the loss.
“You know, those kids have been through a lot and they just continued to work hard,” noted the elder Baumle. “They are great academically, community-wise and on the playing field. They have a lot to be proud of in leading this team to the state tournament.”
Scoring
Wayne Trace 100 000 0- 1 3 2
Cuyahoga Hts 230 010 x- 6 11 1
Wayne Trace (1)
Linder ss 3-0-0-0, Feasby cf 3-1-0-0, Stabler 1b 2-0-0-0, Bergman 3b 3-0-0-0, Wright lf 3-0-1-1, Baumle p 3-0-1-0, Crosby 2b 3-0-0-0, Critten rf 2-0-1-0, x- McClure ph 1-0-0-0, Swary c 2-0-0-0
Cuyahoga Hts (6)
Goetz 3b 4-1-2-0, Stegmaier ss 4-1-1-1, Denner cf 3-2-2-2, Falorio c 4-0-2-1, Chopka p 3-0-0-0, x- Orlowski pr 0-0-0-0, Rodriguez dp 3-0-0-0, Gervase 1b 3-1-1-0, Galang-Swanson 2b 3-0-1-0, Nero rf 3-1-2-1
E- Wright, Crosby, Glang-Swanson; 2B- Denner; 3B- Goetz, Denner; SB- Goetz, Nero; CS- Goetz
Wayne Trace pitching
Baumle (L) 1.2 IP 6 H 5 R 4 ER 1 BB 0 K
Crosby 4.1 IP 5 H 1 R 0 ER 1 BB 2 K
Cuyahoga Hts pitching
Chopka (W) 7.0 IP 3 H 1 R 0 Er 1 BB 3 K
WP-Chopka; PB- Swary