At first, Katie Clark was out at the plate. Finally, she was ruled safe and Archbishop Hoban celebrated a dramatic sudden victory.

The 1-0 win over Cortland Lakeview turned disappointment into joy, earning the Knights (23-5) a spot in Saturday’s Akron Division II regional softball final at Firestone Stadium.

The deciding play occurred with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, with a conference of the three umpires determining that Lakeview catcher Sam Marino dropped the ball while trying to tag the sliding Clark, who was attempting to score on sophomore Chloe Weidrick’s single to right.

“I thought the play was being blocked without the ball to begin with,” said Hoban coach Frank Voss. “And then I saw that the ball came loose and was down on the foul line. It was a clear decision as far as her being safe.”

The plate umpire originally ruled Clark out, which would have sent the game into extra innings.

“I think he was blocked,” Voss said. “The ball was on the inside of [Marino] in relationship to the umpire who was right on the line. I think one of the base umpires had to have seen it was clearly out of her glove.”

Laney Jones was hit by a pitch from Lakeview freshman right-hander Cait Kelm leading off the seventh inning. With one out, Clark drilled a single to left center and courtesy runner Caroline Blay narrowly beat the throw to reach third, with Clark taking second.

Haylee Fisher grounded to first baseman Tori Wells, who trapped Blay off third for the second out. On a 2-1 pitch, Weidrick hit a looper over the second baseman’s head. Right-fielder McKenna Cannon’s throw reached the plate as Clark arrived.

“I’ve got to trust my coach,” said Clark, a junior third baseman. “He told me to go as hard as I can. Slide in hard. They’re a great team. We stayed in it. It’s all up to the umpire’s decision.”

Did they get it right?

“Absolutely, yeah,” Clark said.

Weidrick, the No. 9 hitter in the order, said she couldn’t recall getting a game-winning hit before.

“I’m just kind of going to let it happen,” she said. “Try not to think about anything. Just, wherever it’s at, just go and hit it.”

Hoban will face Jefferson Area (20-0), a 1-0 winner over Revere on Wednesday, at noon Saturday.

Lakeview (17-6) experienced the opposite end of the emotional scale, watching its season end.

“We kind of thought she missed the plate when she went by,” said Lakeview coach Vicki Lawrence. “And we tagged her before she got back to the plate. But we saw the picture, and they got it right.”

Jones (14-4), a junior right-hander, pitched out of some treacherous situations to keep the Bulldogs scoreless. She allowed four hits, stranding runners at third in the first, second and seventh.

“Honestly, I just tell myself to settle down,” said Jones. “When they get a hit off me, I breathe, relax and say like OK, now this one’s not going to get a hit off me. I have to also rely on my defense. I can’t worry about throwing too many strikeouts.”

Jones struck out four and didn’t walk a batter.

“She can command the circle,” said Voss, in his first year as Hoban coach. “She can pretty much do anything she wants in there. I give her a lot of credit for everything she does. She does a lot of work in the offseason to get where she is.”