Crestview records an out at third early in the District Semi-Final matchup between the Knights and Wayne Trace. (DHI Media/ Pat Agler)
Crestview records an out at third early in the District Semi-Final matchup between the Knights and Wayne Trace. (DHI Media/ Pat Agler)
ELIDA - Momentum is a very powerful part of any sporting event and that may be truer in high school sports than any other level.

It certainly was the case Tuesday night in Elida.

The Crestview Knights used a huge defensive play to keep Wayne Trace off the scoreboard in the bottom of the fifth and followed that up with a three-run sixth to rally for a 3-1 win over the Raiders in Division IV district semifinal softball at Elida.

Leading 1-0, the Raiders had Claire Sinn on third and Emily Dyson at second with one out and a chance to widen the lead in the bottom of the fifth.

However, Crestview’s defense was up to the challenge.

After Kali Small got Olivia Egnor to pop out for the second out, Keegann Parrish ripped a line drive of a Small pitch but the Knight hurler snagged it out of mid-air and end the threat.

The play lifted the Knights and Crestview responded with a three-run sixth.

“That was a huge momentum swing,” commented Raider head coach Amber Showalter. “If that ball gets through, the momentum goes completely the other way but you have to give them credit. Somebody has to win and somebody has to lose. That is the way high school sports go. It was two good teams playing each other and a great ballgame.”

“Kali has made plays for us all season long,” stated Crestview mentor Carl Etzler. “But that was a big play for us. It picked our girls up and we were able to get a couple of runs right after that. It was just a great high school softball game between two very good teams.”

Breena Grace opened the sixth with a sharp single to left field and took second on a Wayne Trace error. After Bailey Gregory struck out, Small followed with a run-scoring double to left field that knotted the game at 1-1 with Small taking third on the attempted throw home.

Lexi Gregory reached on a Raider fielding error to put runners at second and third before the Knights took the lead for good.

Codi Miller then singled to right to score both Knight runners, putting Crestview in control and on top 3-1 before the Raiders escaped further damage.

Wayne Trace did bring the tying run to the plate in both the sixth and seventh but were unable to score.

In the sixth, Emma Crosby reached on a Crestview error before Katie Doster lined out to Bailey Gregory in center field.

The bottom of the seventh saw Meagan Speice line out to Crestview shortstop Lexi Gregory to start the inning before Claire Sinn followed with a single.

However, Small then got Emily Dyson and Olivia Egnor to ground out and wrap up the Lady Knight win.

“This was a very strong district as all four teams were very good,” Etzler continued. “I am proud of the girls for continuing to battle and we were able to find a way to get some runs there late in the game.”

The Raiders got their lone run in the bottom of the second inning.

Emma Crosby walked and Katie Doster followed with a bunt single to move Crosby to second. Following a Speice strikeout, Sinn reached on a Knight error that allowed Crosby to score for a 1-0 Raider advantage.

Small drove in one run and ripped a single and a double for Crestview, which improves to 20-4 on the season. Codi Miller also had a single while adding a run batted in for the Knights and Breena Grace recorded two singles.

Small picked up the win on the mound for Crestview, tossing the complete game and limiting Wayne Trace to four hits, an unearned run and two walks while striking out two.

The loss ended the career of eight Raider seniors.

Katie Doster, Emily Dyson, Anne Eklund, Olivia Egnor, Sara Edwards, Meagan Speice, Madilyn Brigner and Keagann Parrish all wrapped up their athletic careers at Wayne Trace, which closes with a record of 14-8.

“They are a great group of young women and I am extremely proud of all of them,” concluded Showalter. “They are going to be a big success in life. It is a tremendous group of girls.”

Dyson had a single and a double for Wayne Trace with Doster and Sinn both recording singles.

Libby Wenzlick took the loss for the Lady Raiders, pitching two innings allowing three hits, two runs (one earned) and striking out two. Brigner tossed the first five frames, surrendering two hits, one earned run and fanning five.

Crestview returns to action on Friday when the Lady Knights battle Van Wert County rival Lincolnview for the district championship in Elida at 5:00 p.m.