Wayne Trace senior Emilee Linder takes a swing during the Lady Raiders’ 2-1 win in the regional softball finals versus Lakota on Saturday. Linder and the Raiders will make their first-ever final four appearance in softball later this week. (dhi MEDIA/Randy Shaffer)
Wayne Trace senior Emilee Linder takes a swing during the Lady Raiders’ 2-1 win in the regional softball finals versus Lakota on Saturday. Linder and the Raiders will make their first-ever final four appearance in softball later this week. (dhi MEDIA/Randy Shaffer)
By Kevin Wannemacher
dhi MEDIA Correspondent
kwannemacher@timesbulletin.com
FINDLAY — One thing was certain before Saturday’s Division IV regional championship softball game – the Raiders were going to state. Thanks to a pair of first inning RBI singles, it was the Wayne Trace Raiders who earned their berth in the state semifinals with a 2-1 win over the Lakota Raiders at Marathon Fields.
Wayne Trace, who is now 22-7, advances to take on Cuyahoga Heights (20-3) in Friday’s first semifinal with a 10 a.m. start at Firestone Stadium in Akron. The Redskins defeated Berlin Center Western Reserve 2-0 in their regional championship matchup.
“It’s a great feeling,” noted Wayne Trace head coach Jack Baumle. “These girls have worked so hard and to see all of that hard work be rewarded is great.”
The red-white-and-blue got all the offense it needed in the first inning. With two outs, Libby Stabler and Bailey Bergman recorded back-to-back singles to left. Carley Wright followed with another single to left field that scored Stabler before Addison Baumle added another RBI single that plated Bergman.


“I thought once we hit the ball the way we did in the first that we might just take off from there,” continued the Raider mentor. “But it didn’t work out that way. Thankfully it worked out for us though.”
The local squad had a chance to do further damage in the third but couldn’t come up with the big hit.
Brenda Feasby and Stabler posted consecutive singles before Bergman reached on a fielder’s choice that forced out Feasby. Following an illegal pitch to move runners to second and third, Lakota pitcher Morgan Gangwer got Wright to pop out to shortstop Alaina Bickford before Baumle grounded out to end the inning.
“We’ve done that at times this year where we just haven’t come up with that key hit,” stated the Raider head coach. “That is something we have to do a better job of.”
Lakota put two runners on with one out in the fourth only to see Baumle sit down Destiney Long-Meyer and Aspen Ray to keep Lakota off the scoreboard. In the fifth, Cooper hit a two-out double before Bree Long-Meyer struck out to keep Lakota scoreless.
Alaina Bickford reached on a single to start the sixth for Lakota but three straight fly outs ended the inning. Things would get interesting in the seventh, though.
Following a Baumle strikeout of pinch-hitter Taylor Odom, Ray reached on a single to center field. A sacrifice bunt by Samantha Miller moved Ray to second but Lakota was down to its final out. Nikkia Cooper then ripped a double to left that scored Ray and got Lakota within 2-1.
Baumle, though, ended the Lakota rally right there, as she retired Bree Long-Meyer on a pop-up to Stabler at first base, igniting a Wayne Trace celebration both on and off the field.
The Raider junior hurler finished the day with ten strikeouts while allowing one walk and five hits. Lakota’s run was also the first earned run allowed by Wayne Trace in tournament play this year, ending a streak of 34.2 innings.
“It definitely wasn’t Addie’s best day,” Baumle said. “But she battled through it and we were able to make enough defensive plays. She was getting tired there at the end and her location wasn’t as good as normal.”
Wayne Trace again got some strong play by the Raider outfield down the stretch, including a key catch by Sydney Critten in right field to thwart a Lakota scoring chance. “Sydney made a big catch there,” commented the elder Baumle. “She changed directions and had to come back and get the ball but she was able to make the play and it was a big one.”
Morgan Gangwer was the tough-luck loser for Lakota, scattering seven hits while giving up two earned runs. Gangwer also fanned three on the afternoon.
The second game in Division IV will feature Minster (26-3) against Bainbridge Paint Valley (22-8) at 12:30 p.m. on Friday. All four schools will be participating in their first state tournament. The state championship game is slated for Saturday, June 7, at 4 p.m.
Scoring
Lakota 000 000 1- 1 5 1
Wayne Trace 200 000 x- 2 7 2
Lakota Hitters - Nikkia Cooper (single, double), Alaina Bickford (single), Destiney Long-Meyer (single), Brianna Ray (single)
Wayne Trace Hitters - Brenda Feasby (two singles), Libby Stabler (two singles, run), Bailey Bergman (single), Carley Wright (single, RBI), Addison Baumle (single, RBI)
Winning Pitcher - Addison Baumle 7 IP 5 H 1 R 1 ER I BB 9 K
Losing Pitcher - Morgan Gangwer 6 IP 7 H 2 R 2 ER 0 BB 3 K