MAUMEE – Taking advantage of everything they were given, Archbold was able to pull away to defeat Otsego 6-4 in a Division III softball district semifinal Monday at Rolf Park in Maumee.
The Blue Streaks trailed 1-0 and 2-1 before a four-run bottom of the second put them ahead for good. Two errors, one coming in the outfield with people in motion, helped the Streaks out. Grace Mayer drove in a run, then a throwing error moved runners around when Gabby Nafziger singled.
Archbold added an insurance run in the bottom of the fifth when Kylie Sauder doubled, moved to third on a bunt by Madison Roth and scored on a sac fly by Bralynn Blanton.
“Otsego is a very good team,” Archbold coach Andrea Thiel said after the win. “They are well-coached and sound defensively. They swing the bats very well. I couldn’t be more proud of the kids today.”
After Otsego scored in the top of the first, Archbold tied the game in the bottom of the frame when Nafziger – who drew a walk to start the inning – raced around to score on a throwing error after a bunt by Sauder.
“It was huge,” Thiel said of answering the Otsego runs in the first two innings. “If you give a team like that a run, they can take off. It was huge to come right back and get that run in the bottom of the first.
“I thought we ran the bases well and were pretty aggressive,” added Thiel. “That all started when Gabby took third on the bunt. That was huge where she read that. That’s one of those things where you can’t yell because that draws attention to the defense. She read that perfectly and that was huge for us.”
Archbold’s defense did come up with a couple big plays late to hold on to the lead. Blanton fired back-to-back strikeouts to leave runners on second and third in the fifth and Reagan Kohler made a great running catch for the first out of the seventh after a lead-off double by the Knights.
“Reagan made a great play,” lauded the Archbold coach. “Give them credit, they are a good team. They swing the bats really, really well. We had to shut down their rally there at the end.”
Otsego did close the gap to 6-4 in the final inning, but a pop-up with a runner at second ended the game.
Mayer finished with a pair of singles for the Streaks.
In the circle, Blanton scattered 11 hits and fanned six with no walks.
Archbold will now move on to face Eastwood, who no-hit Swanton in a lopsided district semifinal.
“It’s going to be a battle,” the Archbold coach said of facing the Eagles. “We’re going to have to bring our best game and hope our best is good enough.”
The district final is Thursday at 5 p.m. back in Maumee.
Reach Randy Roberts at firstname.lastname@example.org