DEFIANCE – It was all going as planned for Archbold, until the seventh inning. Leading 6-2 in a Division III baseball district semifinal Thursday, the Streaks turned to Jeron Williams, and when he had a bout of wildness, needed both TJ Rice and Rigo Ramos to pitch in the final frame to close out a 6-5 win over Otsego.
Williams took over to start the seventh, and immediately the Knights loaded the bases thanks to an Archbold fielding error and two hit batters. Rice stepped onto the hill at that point and surrendered a hit to Ben Gray, which shrunk the Archbold lead to 6-3.
Austin Meier hit into a fielder’s choice that produced another run before Rice got a strikeout for the second out. Before he could close the door, Rice allowed one more run-scoring hit that put Otsego within one.
With runners still on base, the Streaks decided to turn to Ramos, who started and worked the first two innings on the hill. He made quick work of his one batter, getting a punchout, to end the game and saving the season for Archbold.
“The key in a tournament is to survive and move on, and that’s what we did,” Archbold coach Dick Selgo said after the win. “We had to go back to our horse to do it. We had to win this game to move on.”
It closed out what had been a hot start for the Streaks. Williams hit the first pitch of the bottom of the first for a triple, then Holden Galvan needed just one pitch to lift a sac fly to center for a 1-0 lead.
“We have pretty good hitters that have been in hitting mode all season long,” Selgo said of the first inning.
Archbold continued to work quickly through the first time down the order. Kade Kern singled and stole second, scoring when Cory Erbskorn doubled off the wall in left field. Travis Ziegler followed with a run-scoring single, and he made it 4-0 when he advanced two bases on a passed ball that was lost between the catcher’s legs.
“We really came out and attacked in that first inning,” said Selgo. “That was huge. That really set the tone for our guys. However, it’s never over until you get that last out.”
Kreighton Sims added a two-out, two-run double in the third to make it 6-0.
Ethan Hagans – who came on after Ramos left and worked four innings – was cruising until the sixth. Three singles, an error, wild pitch and sac fly produced two runs for the Knights.
“Ethan gave us just what we wanted,” Selgo said of the winning pitcher in the game. “He gave us four innings of holding on to the lead. I thought he was starting to run out of gas a little bit, that’s why we made the switch. Things didn’t work out at the point, but fortunately, we still had Rigo available and he came and bailed us out.”
Erbskorn hit a double and two singles to lead the Archbold offensive attack. Williams had a double and a triple. Kern added a pair of singles.
Archbold takes on Lake Saturday for the district championship.
Reach Randy Roberts at email@example.com