A lot of times in high school baseball an early lead means nothing. Especially when the team trailing has experienced players who nearly reached the state tournament a season ago.
That was the case Monday at Archbold’s Memorial Park as the Blue Streaks overcame a 4-1 deficit through four innings and fought back for a 7-4 win against Swanton in NWOAL play.
“That was a horrible start to the game for a team like ours that’s supposed to be good defensively,” said Archbold coach Dick Selgo. “Now the good news is we overcame it. You’re not always gonna be able to overcome that. Especially against good teams, and Swanton is a pretty good team.We cannot have those kind of starts and have the outcome that we want. But, we kept playing, we battled.”
The Bulldogs did all their damage in the first two innings where they scored a pair of runs in both. They also took advantage of Sam Petersen’s command troubles in the first two frames.
The big knock was an RBI single in the top of the first by Gunnar Oakes who finished 3 for 3 on the day.
Archbold tallied a run in the bottom of the first on a hit from Gabe Petersen. He also went 3 for 3 at the plate.
Selgo was forced to remove starter Sam Petersen in the top of the fifth after he walked two of the first three hitters he faced and was about to walk another.
“Sam’s arm was bothering him a little bit even before the game,” the coach said of the change. “So I was really worried about how he was going to be able to pitch. Fortunately, he said it wasn’t bothering him that much, but he was having some control issues. Well eventually the pitch count got up there pretty high.”
Trevor Rupp took over during pinch hitter Ben Burke’s at bat, and although he was at one point behind in the count 3-1, he managed a strikeout. He then got a foul out from the next Bulldog hitter to retire the side.
“He threw a lot more strikes than Petersen did,” said Swanton coach Tim McCarthy on the difference between Rupp and Sam Petersen. “But I mean we still had base runners. The Petersen kid’s off-speed stuff wasn’t really (working). The Rupp kid threw his curve ball for a strike a few times and at the right time. It kept us a little bit more off balance. But I thought our at bats overall weren’t bad.”
The Blue Streaks had two of their first three batters reach in the next half inning, as both Brandon Miller and Nic Rodriguez would then move up on a balk by the Swanton pitcher.
A ground out off the bat of Toby Walker plated Miller, trimming the Bulldog lead to 4-2. The Streaks followed with an RBI single by Bryce Williams and a two-run double by Gabe Petersen that was hammered into the left center field gap to put them on top 5-4.
“Those were really big hits and those two guys have been coming through for us all year,” said Selgo. “We count on them. And they did come through big time there. It’s a tough day to hit when the wind’s blowing in and their pitcher is throwing a good game.”
The Dogs looked to do damage with two down in the top of the sixth.
Oakes got it started by pulling a ball into right field for a hit, then both Zach Zawodni and Josh Adcock were hit by pitches to load the bases. However, Rupp got Derek Floyd to pop up ending the threat.
Archbold’s Ian Radabaugh led off the next half inning with a double to center which ended the day for Bulldog starter Roman Epley. Miller followed with a bunt for the Streaks, and he reached via a fielder’s choice as everyone was called safe when the throw to third was not in time.
After a Miller swipe of second base, both runs would come home on an errant throw from the Bulldog catcher to third, making it 7-4.
“We just talked a little bit about playing a complete game. All seven innings,” said McCarthy on the message to his team. “We made a couple really dumb mistakes. They got a couple fortunate bounces. And they ran with it.”
Rupp (4-1) earned the win on the mound after replacing Sam Petersen, going 2 2/3 innings and allowing no runs on just one hit. Epley took the loss for the Dogs, pitching five innings and allowing six runs on eight hits while striking out three.
Archbold outhit Swanton 9-4. After Gabe Petersen, Walker went 2 for 4 with an RBI and Williams was 1 for 3 with an RBI.
“Every win in the league is a big win. We’ve had some close ones,” concluded Selgo. “Now we need to continue on that path. There are no gimmes. We’ve seen it throughout the league. Where teams are beating other teams and it’s just, sometimes there is no rhyme or reason. So that just tells you that there is a lot of balance from top to bottom.”
The Streaks dropped a 3-2 decision at Paulding on Tuesday. Swanton fell to Maumee by an 8-1 final.
Archbold (11-5, 4-0 NWOAL) is at Delta Thursday while Swanton (10-5, 1-3) travels to Patrick Henry.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010