Despite trailing 3-0 and having starting pitcher Trevor Rupp exit after recording just two outs, Archbold strung some hits together and used a few Swanton errors to outlast the Bulldogs 6-4 in Northwest Ohio Athletic League baseball Monday.
“If we want to stay in the league race, this was a must win,” said Bluestreak skipper Dick Selgo on his team responding after Friday’s loss at Bryan. “We knew it wasn’t gonna be easy, because Swanton’s program has been on the upswing for the last three or four years. So we are gonna take this win. It was a grind out (win), but we got it.”
The Bluestreaks went down in order in the top of the first against Swanton starter Roman Epley, and the Bulldogs went to work in the bottom of the inning.
After a ground out, Xavier Williams got things going with a base on balls. Michael Lawniczak also walked, then Derek Floyd was hit by a pitch which loaded the bases. A Hunter Mix single scored Xavier Williams for a 1-0 Bulldog lead.
Zach Bloom’s base hit brought home two more to make it 3-0. Rupp got Carter Swank to pop up for the second out, however, he walked Zach Zawodni to re-load the bases, ending his day as he was replaced on the mound with Bryson Taylor.
“Trevor’s just struggling a little bit right now with his starts,” explained Selgo. “But, we’ll hopefully get him back going. The good news is, we’ve got guys that are coming in out of the bullpen and keeping us in the game.”
Taylor finished off the Dogs in the first as he got the next batter to ground out.
Kade Kern reached first base thanks to an overthrow to lead off the top of the second, then Gabe Petersen singled and moved to second when the throw went to third in an attempt to get Kern. After a strikeout, Cory Erbskorn’s RBI single got the Streaks on the board.
Another errant throw to first brought home a pair of runs, knotting the game 3-3.
“I thought Roman did a really nice job pitching. We didn’t help him out defensively,” said Swanton coach Tim McCarthy. “We knew going into the season that, we do a really good job of pitching to contact. They hit the ball at us, and we failed to make some plays.”
The next Archbold batter grounded into a double play to end the threat, but the damage was done.
“To play this game, you got to deal with adversity,” said Selgo of his team fighting back to tie the game. “As an individual and as a team. We did that tonight.”
In the top of the third, a hit by pitch and steal of second by Nic Rodriguez, then Jeron Williams’ base hit broke the tie and put the Streaks on top. They extended their lead to 5-3 later in the inning on a RBI single from Brandon Miller.
Bryce Williams’ single and an error which put Kern on got the Streaks going in the fifth. Petersen’s sacrifice bunt off the new Bulldog pitcher, Bloom, moved both runners into scoring position. This allowed a run to score on Miller’s ground out to make it 6-3.
Swanton got the run back in the bottom of the inning. Floyd was hit by a pitch to lead off the frame, then he moved to second on a wild pitch, but was tagged out at third on Mix’s fielder’s choice.
After a pop out, Swank reached on an infield single and Zawodni’s base hit scored Mix to pull the Dogs back within two.
The score remained the same until Swanton’s turn in the seventh. A pair of hit batters around a strikeout put the tying runs on base. It also forced Selgo’s hand, as he turned to his bullpen once again and replaced Taylor with T.J. Rice.
Rice would retire the side with a strikeout of Zawodni and a pop up off the bat of Tommy Chonko.
“These kids will never give up,” said McCarthy of his team threatening late in the game. “They are gonna play to the last pitch. We just, we needed to get one or two hits in that game and we couldn’t muster them up.”
Archbold’s bullpen was the story of the game, going 6 1/3 innings and allowing a run on two hits with five strikeouts. Taylor earned the win over 5 2/3 innings, picking up four of those strikeouts to three walks.
“(He) did a great job holding us in there. And then it looked like he started to tire a little bit,” said Selgo on Taylor and the bullpen in general. “Then T.J. Rice came in, and he’s been really good out of the bullpen for us. To have a good season, you got to pick each other up. That’s just what happened there.”
Epley was charged with six runs on six hits in four innings of work to take the loss for Swanton.
Miller went 1 for 2 with a pair of RBIs to pace the Bluestreak offense. Bloom (1 for 3) had two RBIs for the Dogs.
Archbold (13-1, 4-1 NWOAL) hosts Delta Thursday while Swanton (8-5, 2-3) welcomes Patrick Henry.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010
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