WAYNE – Jessie Rowe notched her 500th career strikeout and led the Wayne Lady Pioneers to a 7-3 Region IV semi-final win against Scott a little over a week ago at Lady Pioneer Softball Field.
“We were ready to play today,” Wayne Coach Tish Smith said, “They could have come back and scored four and we would have still been ready to go.
“We’re not going to quit and we’re going to keep at it and protect the lead.
“We have faith in our defense, our bats, and Jessie Rowe.
The fact that Rowe was ready to play was evidenced from the start as she struck out Skyhawk leadoff hitter Kaila Craddock on three straight pitches and then got the next two hitters to ground out.
“I didn’t really think about it,” Rowe said, “I am comfortable out there because I know my defense has my back.
“I really didn’t think that I would reach that many. But I’m happy to get it with the help of my team.
“We’re going to take it one game at a time now.”
Scott was able to challenge the senior ace in the second inning when Chasity Ball, batting with one out, hit a single that trickled through the infield.
After Rowe struck out Mallory Stevenson for the career milestone, Cassidy Allen reached base on an error at third base.
“She gives the hitters an opportunity to do what they do,” Smith said, “The batters don’t have to worry because they can come up and have great at bats.
“It helps to have Jessie Rowe pitching.
“We’re thrilled she got her 500th at home in front of the crowd.”
Scott left fielder Ryleigh Robinson hit a sharp single into left-center field to load the bases, but Rowe regrouped and struck out Claudia Nelson to get out of the inning.
The Pioneer bats drew on the energy from the pitching and the defense and generated a run in the bottom of the second.
Kasey Endicott led off with a single and swiped second while Savannah Perry was at bat.
After Perry went down swinging, Tara Watts moved Endicott to third and stole second while Emily Thompson was at bat.
Thompson hit a deep fly ball into right field that was caught by the fielder but as soon as the catch was made Endicott tagged up and came home, making the score 1-0.
Wayne added to the score in the fourth inning with five runs.
Alli Maynard singled to start the frame and Endicott followed with a walk.
Scott pitcher Ally Brown struck out the next two batters, but it didn’t seem to affect Thompson, who singled home Maynard to make the score 2-0.
Rowe helped her cause by hitting a two-run double that fell just short of the center field wall and she came home on a triple by Emily Fry.
Fry scored on a single by Jacey Parsons to make the score 6-0.
The Skyhawks were able to finally score in the fifth.
Allen doubled to start the stanza, followed by a single from Robinson.
Nelson scored Allen on a ground out.
Craddock singled to bring Robinson around to score and after Rowe sat Sydney Dangott down, Brown drove home the final run of the inning for Scott.
Wayne added another run in its half of the fifth when Perry reached on a single, stole second, and scored when Nelson overthrew first base in an attempt to get Watts out.
The Pioneers advance to the Region IV championship game Thursday evening against Herbert Hoover at Clendenin.
“It’s going to be business as usual,” Smith said, “We’re going to work hard all week and get ready for Hoover.”
Scott 000 030 0 – 3 7 1
Wayne 010 510 x – 7 8 2
(S) Brown and Allen. (W) Rowe and Thompson.
Hitting: (S) Brown 2-4 RBI, Robinson 2-3. (W) Endicott 1-2 SB, Watts 1-3 RBI SB, Thompson 1-2 2 RBI, Rowe 1-2 2B 2RBI, Fry 1-3 3B.