BY PAUL HINES
Wayne City used early offense and a solid pitching performance to beat the Lady Cardinals 9-4 in Saturday's 1A regional final.
“It's very exciting,” Wayne City coach Joe Bernard said. “It feels very good. This is one of our goals for this season.”
Freshman pitcher Claire Miller fanned 16 Woodlawn batters in the game.
“We knew we would have some problems scoring some runs,” Woodlawn coach Matt Patterson said. “I thought we battled through that, and we got four.
“That should keep you in a game. We just didn't make enough plays.”
Wayne City jumped out to a 6-0 lead after the opening two innings. The big blow came when Sara Green stepped to the plate in the second inning with the bases load. Green launched a triple to the left field fence that cleared the bases and put the Lady Indians up 5-0.
“We were able to relax,” Bernard said. “We were able to attack hitters that way. All in all it was just very relaxing to get out to a big lead.”
Woodlawn tried to chip its way back into the game. Down 7-0 in the fourth, the Lady Cardinals started a rally. Carly Ethridge knocked a double to left field that plated the Lady Cardinals first run. Two more runs raced home after a Wayne City error to make the score 7-3.
Wayne City immediately answered with a pair of runs in the fifth to push its lead to 9-3. One scored on a Woodlawn throwing error. The Lady Cardinals committed four errors in the game.
“We get a little momentum, and we had the inning over there with the play and we didn't make that play,” Patterson said. “And it leads to two more (runs). Then it's 9-3, and our heads are kind of back down again.”
Cassandra Lueking and Ryann French put together back-to-back hits in the sixth as Woodlawn cut the deficit to 9-4. But the Lady Cardinals couldn't get any closer.
Woodlawn finished the season 22-7.