LAKEVILLE | It was obvious early that a single run could be the lone output in this Class 2A LaVille Semistate semifinal.
Wheeler pitcher Nickole Finch carried a no hitter into the seventh inning, allowed a single but still held on for a 1-0 win over Carroll on Saturday.
Freshman Kayla Aytes, who had two hits, had the lone RBI in the fourth for the Bearcats (19-7)
"We had to find a different way to win," Finch said. "(Saturday) was a close one. It was just pitch for pitch. The freshman came out and did her thing."
Finch came out overpowering the Cougars (17-7), striking out 12 on the day while walking only one.
Carroll starter, Carly Kingery, was sharp early, striking out nine of the first 10 Bearcat batters.
With two outs in the fourth, Wheeler's Karessa Sweeney had a single before stealing second and advancing to third on a throwing error. That set the table for Aytes, who added her second hit of the afternoon.
"We were talking about how (Kingery) had a good rise ball," Aytes said. "I'm a sucker for high fast balls, so I was waiting on the first pitch. But then that outside pitch, I could execute on (it)."
Finch was able to take care of the rest. The junior continued to dominate the Carroll batters until Finch gave up the one hit late.
"It was all working," Finch said. "We got the extra work in because the game before us went to extra innings. It better be all working
(Saturday), because (that's) the day I need it to work."
Adams Central defeated Wapahani 11-6 in 10 innings in the first semifinal.
Wheeler coach Marc Bruner said the team was happy with the quick victory to advance.
"That game kind of went the way we needed it to," he said. "The first (semifinal) took a long time. We know the second game isn't too far off. It was nice and quick, and Nickole didn't throw, I don't think, all too many pitches. It kind of went the way we needed it to in terms of preparing for a second game."