CLYDE – The Wayne Trace softball team gave Hilltop all it wanted Wednesday afternoon in Division IV Regional action at Joe Wilson Field in Clyde.

However, the Lady Cadets scored a pair of unearned runs and held off the Lady Raiders to post a 4-3 victory and advance to Friday’s regional championship against Lincolnview.

“One of the things we talked about was the team that made less mistakes would probably win and, unfortunately for us, that was the case,” commented Wayne Trace head coach Amber Showalter. “They were able to take advantage and that proved to be the difference.”

Wayne Trace jumped in front in the first, ignited by a two-out single from Kaitlin Slade. After Paige Alber walked, both runners advanced on a wild pitch to put Slade on third and Alber on second.

Alivia Miller then ripped a two-out single to right field that scored Slade for a 1-0 Raider advantage.

Hilltop answered in the bottom of the second, putting together a pair of hits in conjunction with a pair of Raider errors.

Lana Baker doubled to left center to start the frame and Leanna Baker followed with a sharp single to left field that scored Lana Baker. As Raider outfielder Katie Anna Baumle threw home to try and cut down the Cadet baserunner, Leanna Baker took second but the play was far from over.

Wayne Trace catcher Kaitlin Slade tried to throw out Leanna Baker at second but the throw sailed into center field and allowed the Cadet catcher to score as well in putting Hilltop on top 2-1.

“I am really proud of these girls,” commented Hilltop head coach Tom Schaper. “We were able to put some hits together and take advantage of some opportunities today. I have a lot of respect for Amber (Showalter, Wayne Trace head coach) and for the program she has built at Wayne Trace. We knew this would be a tough game but I am really proud of my team.”

The Cadets pushed the margin to 3-1 in the bottom of the third as Kacy Connolly hit a two-out double to right center field that scored Joscelyn Layman from first.

“We were able to get some key hits today,” Schaper continued. “I thought we had some quality at-bats and we made plays defensively as well.”

In the fourth, the Lady Raiders cut the deficit to 3-2.

With one out, Ava Zartman stole second before Logen Bland struck out for the second out. Katie Anna Baumle then hit a single to left that plated Zartman to get the Lady Raiders within a single run.

Hilltop then pushed the margin to 4-2 in the home half of the fourth.

After a pair of outs to begin the frame, Ericka Dennison singled and Abby Austin followed with a single as well. After Glada Rising reached on an error to load the bases, Layman singled to right field to score Dennison and put the Cadets in front 4-2.

“We made some uncharacteristic mistakes today,” Showalter added. “But I don’t want that to take away from what these girls accomplished this year. These girls have a lot to be proud of.”

Wayne Trace would cut the deficit in half in the fifth.

Tigner opened the inning with a single to left field and Slade followed with a double to right center to put runners on second and third with no outs.

The Slade extra base hit ended the afternoon for Rising, who picked up the win throwing four innings, giving up six hits, three earned runs and two walks while striking out two.

“She threw the ball very well for us,” continued the Cadet mentor. “I was really very pleased with how she pitched today.”

Lana Baker entered on the mound for Hilltop, getting Alber to hit a pop fly for the first out. Alivia Miller then hit a sacrifice fly to center field that scored Tigner in pulling Wayne Trace within 4-3 before Zartman grounded out to end the inning.

“Lana came in and did an excellent job for us,” added Schaper. “We are fortunate having somebody like Lana that we know we can go to and that was big to get out of that inning there with just the one run.”

Following a scoreless sixth, Wayne Trace had one final opportunity in the seventh.

With one out, Slade singled to center field before Alber struck out for the second out. Miller then reached as her ground ball eluded the grip of Hilltop second baseman Jozlyn Jones to put Raiders on first and second.

However, Jones answered on the next play as the Cadet senior bobbled but rebounded to throw out Zartman at first to end the contest.

“One of the things we talk about is forgetting what has happened and focus on the next play,” said Schaper. “She did bobble it a little bit there but kept her composure and was able to make the play for us.”

Baker picked up the save on the mound for Hilltop, pitching the final three innings allowing two hits while fanning two.

Bland took the loss for Wayne Trace, surrendering eight hits, four runs (two earned) and one while striking out one in six innings of work.

“Logen pitched well,” Showalter stated. “She did a nice job on the mound for us and threw a nice game.”

Layman and Leanna Baker each recorded two singles while scoring once and driving in one for Hilltop, which improves to 24-5 on the season. Connolly and Lana Baker both added a double for the Williams County squad while Ericka Dennison and Abby Austin chipped in a single apiece. Dennison and Lana Baker scored runs for the Lady Cadets with Connolly driving in a run.

Slade topped Wayne Trace with two singles, a double and a run scored with Miller posting a single and drove in two runs. Baumle recorded a pair of singles and picked up a run batted in as well while Tigner singled and scored for the Lady Raiders, who conclude the season with a record of 19-6.

Bland finished with a single for Wayne Trace and Zartman scored the remaining red, white and blue run.

“I am so proud of what this team accomplished this year,” concluded Showalter.