NAPOLEON – In a complete turnaround from Saturday’s second round matchup, Archbold had a pair of big innings that resulted in a 12-1 five-inning decision for the Blue Streaks over Napoleon in the District 2 ACME baseball sectional tournament held Monday.
The win means that Archbold finished runner-up in the District 2 North Sectional, earning them a trip to the district with Wauseon who was champion of the sectional. They also turned the tides from Saturday’s meeting with Napoleon, one that saw the Wildcats edge the Streaks 3-2.
“I think we kind of went through the motions the first couple innings against Napoleon last time. And they took advantage of it,” stated Archbold ACME coach Kirk Weldy. “That’s a good team, and if you can’t take them out (early), they’re gonna battle back and stick right in it. I thought we had a little bit of a chip on our shoulder from Saturday, and came out and played hard.”
First, the Streaks had to wiggle out of a bases loaded jam in the top of the first inning. A single, walk, sacrifice bunt and catcher’s interference helped Napoleon load the bases, albeit with two outs. Therefore, T.J. Moore’s flyout to center stymied the threat.
Archbold would jump on top in the bottom half of the inning, recording four runs on five hits.
Brandon Taylor and Dawson Liechty each had RBI singles to give the Streaks a 2-0 lead. Then, with a runner on third, Chase Kohler’s safety squeeze allowed another run to score. The four-run difference came when Zane Behnfeldt was able to get to second on a Wildcat error.
Napoleon got their lone run of the contest in the top of the second. Tanner Rubinstein worked a two-out walk, then proceeded to steal second base. He come home when the next batter, Haydon Speaks, got a base hit.
The Streaks added to their lead in the home half of the third. Jaybe Burkle’s RBI single scored Kohler for a 5-1 Blue Streak advantage.
They would put it away with a seven-run fourth.
DJ Newman and Taylor both singled to lead off the inning. After a foul out, Drake Mohring’s double cleared the bases. Liechty and Behnfeldt added RBI singles around a ground out, putting the Streaks ahead 9-1.
Later in the frame, when Adam Walker reached on an errant throw to first, two more runs scored. The last Archbold run came on a wild pitch.
For the game, the Streaks banged out 14 hits.
“We got in the batting cage on Sunday and we hit for about an hour, hour and 15 minutes. Because we knew we had to get back at it,” said Weldy. “That was one thing we struggled with the first couple games (this summer). I think we had six, seven, (maybe) eight hits. We knew we needed more than that in tournament time. We got in the batting cage on Sunday before the game and kind of went after it a little bit.”
Burkle went the full five innings to earn the win on the mound. He also reached base three times and had a run batted in.
Taylor went 3 for 3 for the Streaks, driving in a run as well. Liechty finished 2 for 3 with an RBI, while Newman was 3 for 3.
Despite rolling with a team that graduated 10 seniors this spring, Weldy is confident in his group. The expectations are high heading into the district.
“We have a lot of new faces coming in, but we’ve got some guys that have been with us and have had some of the experience that we’ve had the last couple years,” said the Blue Streak skipper. “They are kind of stepping up in that leadership role. I think every one of those guys want to fight and kind of get back where we were at last year. I don’t think we’ve brought the bar down at all. And we are gonna give it a good fight and see what happens.”
Archbold – serving as the second seed out of District 2 – takes on the top seed out of the South Sectional, Ottawa-Glandorf, Friday at 4 p.m. in Patrick Henry.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010