Rager squirmed out of another jam in the top of the seventh when Wayne's Jessi Watts and Emily Fry started the inning with back-to-back singles. The Pioneers' Jacey Parsons was called out for runner's interference when she ran out of the first-base line and Oaks' throw to Huskies second baseman Caroline Thornburg hit Parsons in the helmet and bounced into right field. Rager then forced Wayne's Payton Fetty to fly out to left field and then fanned Endicott looking to end the game.
"I knew how we responded would tell me a lot about us and I'm pretty proud of them,'' Hoover coach Missy Smith said of her players. "They've got some guts and a little bit of heart about them. It would have been very easy to lie down. They fought back and never gave up.''
Hoover's Zoey Carte knotted the game at 2-all in the bottom of the third, lining a two-out, two-run single into right field.
"Hoover always plays tough,'' said Wayne coach Tish Smith. "We knew it was going to be a one-run game. It's who blinks first. We look forward to that. We like it. We're doing what we need to do and we're right on track, working out the little bugs so we'll be ready when it's necessary.''
Carte finished 2 for 3 with two RBIs for the Huskies while Mikayla Craze and Edmonds also rapped out two singles apiece. Edmonds reached base all three at-bats and scored two runs. Rager, who allowed Wayne to get its leadoff hitter on all seven times but stranded nine, scattered six hits and both runs were unearned while she whiffed seven with one walk.
Watts and Fry singled twice each for Wayne and Rowe allowed three earned runs on eight hits with eight strikeouts and two walks while firing 119 pitches, including 51 in the first two frames.
There was no wild celebration after the Huskies swept the season series from Wayne because everyone knows the goal is to face the Pioneers one more time with a berth to the state tournament on the line. Hoover had defeated Wayne twice in extra innings last year before coming up short in the postseason.
"Hopefully when it matters we can come back and do the same thing we did twice already,'' said Oaks. "We do have a lot of confidence, but at the same time we can't get cocky because we still have to beat them when it matters.''
Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at tatkin...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4811.