VAN WERT – Cross-county rivals Wayne Trace and Van Wert squared off in high school baseball action Tuesday night with the Raiders holding on to nip the Cougars 3-2.

It was a night where runs came at a premium, but the Raiders found ways to put together a pair of early strikes to jump in front. After a pair of groundouts started the Raider first, Cale Winans walked and took second on a Van Wert error. Winans then advanced to third on a Cougar wild pitch before scoring on a Kyle Slade single to put the Raiders on top 1-0.

Wayne Trace added to the lead in the second. Kyle Forrer flew out to open the frame before Evan Crosby and Tyler Head hit back-to-back singles. Tucker Antoine hit into a fielder’s choice for the second out, but Breven Anderson posted a two-out run-scoring single that plated Crosby for a 2-0 advantage.

Van Wert sliced the deficit in half in the fifth, starting when Case Stegeman was hit by a pitch with one out. A.J. Proffitt walked to move Stegeman to second before both runners advanced on a Raider passed ball. Travis Francis then grounded out for the second out but drove in Stegeman to pull the Cougars within 2-1.

Wayne Trace added a crucial insurance run in the top of the sixth to extend the margin to 3-1. Forrer led off the inning being hit by a pitch and Crosby walked to move Forrer to second. Tyler Head reached on a Van Wert error to load the bases with Tucker Antoine hitting a sacrifice fly that scored Forrer to put Wayne Trace in front 3-1.

The Cougars then made things interesting in the seventh. Blake Bohyer lined out for the first out but Brylen Parker singled and Stegeman walked to put two runners on.

Following an A.J. Proffitt walk to load the bases, Parker scored when Travis Francis hit into a fielder’s choice to get Van Wert within 3-2. However, Stegeman and Proffitt were both tagged out on the basepaths to seal the Raider victory.

Breven Anderson recorded the win for Wayne Trace, throwing 6-1/3 innings allowing three hits, two earned runs and a walk with five strikeouts. Kyle Forrer picked up his tenth career save in closing out the contest. Stegeman took the complete-game loss for Van Wert, giving up six hits, three earned runs and five walks with two strikeouts.

Head topped Wayne Trace with two singles with Anderson, Crosby and Slade adding a single each. Forrer, Crosby and Winans all scored runs for the Raiders while Antoine, Anderson and Slade picked up the runs batted in. Damon McCracken, T.J. Stoller and Parker all singled for Van Wert while Parker and Stegeman scored the Cougar runs. Francis recorded both runs batted in.