There would be no comeback this time for Herbert Hoover.
Kasey Endicott scored on an error in the bottom of the fifth inning to give Wayne the lead for good and pitcher Jessie Rowe kept it that way, setting down the Huskies in order the final two innings to secure a 4-3 victory Thursday evening in the Class AA Region 4 final. A crowd of about 400 ringed Michael D. Chandler Field at Herbert Hoover High School in Falling Rock.
The Pioneers (26-5), who finished fourth in the final state coaches association poll, advance to the double-elimination state tournament for the first time since 1994, taking on LibShady Spring (14-12) at approximately 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at Jackson Park in Vienna. The No. 3 Huskies (22-5), who made four errors Thursday, saw their 14-game winning streak come to an end.
"It devastated us,'' said Hoover coach Missy Smith of the miscues.
Hoover defeated Wayne 3-1 and 4-2 in 10 innings during the regular season, each time powered by home runs off Rowe that decided the outcome.
"We just kept battling and we didn't give up,'' said Rowe, a sophomore who allowed three earned runs on seven hits with six strikeouts and two walks on 106 pitches but retired Hoover's final six batters. "We fought as a team and came through.''
Hoover knotted the game at 3-all in the top of the fifth on freshman pitcher Allison Rager's sacrifice fly to right field. The Huskies still had a runner on second base with two outs, but Rowe struck out Hoover's Damia Mogielski on three pitches to end the threat.
Endicott led off the bottom of the fifth for Wayne with a double, took third base on Payton Fetty's groundout then scored on a throwing error to give the Pioneers the lead for good at 4-3. Hoover first baseman Amber Oaks tried to get Endicott at third, but Oaks' throw was over the head of Huskies third baseman Hayle Anderson.
"We had a lot of momentum going into that and [Wayne was] barely holding and we gave them the spark they needed,'' Smith said.