HAMLER – Archbold cruised through the District 2 ACME baseball district tournament over the weekend at Patrick Henry’s Garrold Parratt Field, all culminating with an 8-4 triumph over Kalida Sunday.
The Blue Streaks also defeated the Wildcats on Saturday, 14-4, in five innings. They are now off to the state tournament in Coldwater where they will be making their fourth straight appearance.
“We lost a heck of a group this past spring,” said Archbold ACME coach Kirk Weldy. “But I think a lot of these kids, especially the (upcoming) senior class, kind of stepped up and took charge. Didn’t bring the bar down. Which, I give them all the credit in the world for that one.”
In Sunday’s final, the Wildcats took an early lead following Matt Kehres’ bases loaded walk, plus Ayden Warncke’s two-run single which put them in front 3-0.
Archbold scraped a run in the second inning, then threw the knockout punch in the top of the third.
First, Brandon Taylor’s RBI single plated Adam Walker to pull the Streaks within 3-2. Then, following a ground out, Kalida elected to intentionally walk Drake Mohring, loading the bases. The move proved to be the wrong one, as Archbold’s Dawson Liechty ripped a double over the center fielder’s head to clear the bases and give Archbold a 5-3 lead.
“The way we hit Friday and Saturday, we knew we were gonna crack it open,” stated Weldy. “Dawson Liechty had a heck of a double that really got us sparked and going. From there, we kind of kept the bats rolling.”
Although Liechty is fairly new to baseball at the varsity level, Weldy had a feeling the situation was not too big.
“This is the first time he’s been in ACME in the varsity level. But, getting to know the kid over the last month and a half, the kid’s a competitor,” said the skipper. “So when he’s put in a tough situation, there’s probably no other guy I would actually want in that spot. We knew he was gonna hit one hard. It went a little farther than I think the center fielder thought it would.”
The squads each tallied a run in their half of the fourth, putting the margin at 6-4. Unfortunately for the Cats, that was all they could muster.
The Streaks added a run in the fifth via Chase Kohler’s RBI single, while a Taylor sacrifice fly in the top of the sixth closed the scoring.
Ethan Hagans went all seven innings to get the win on the mound. Kehres took the loss for Kalida.
Archbold opens up action at the state tournament at Coldwater’s Veterans Field this Saturday, facing the District 7 champion at noon. The tournament runs through Monday.
“Playing all seven innings,” said Weldy on his keys for the competition. “At this point, it’s gonna be a battle every game. We are gonna preach that this week and kind of get after it a little bit.
“You get into the hot days of July, some of the guys start thinking about football and soccer. The teams that stick with it, and play hard and get after it, are the ones that are normally playing on Monday night.”
Double-digit inning lifts Streaks over O-G
Archbold opened the tournament Friday, downing Ottawa-Glandorf 19-3 behind a 14-run seventh inning.
The Streaks faced four different pitchers in the inning, a frame which saw them send 19 batters to the plate. They turned a slim two-run advantage into a 16-run rout by the time the Titans went to bat in the bottom of the seventh.
“We got in good (hitter’s) counts. When they (our kids) were able to jump on a fastball, we got a couple good hits and got a little confidence,” explained Weldy.
“Overall, a good win. Again, O-G is a good ball team. They’ve been like that in the past.”
The Streaks loaded the bases quickly after a hit by pitch, walk, and a Titan error. Taylor’s bases loaded walk brought home Jaybe Burkle to extend the Blue Streak advantage to 6-3. Then, Noah Garcia and Mohring notched run-scoring singles.
Liechty added a two-run base hit, putting the margin at 11-3. Kobe Kennedy, Walker, Josiah Magallanes, Taylor, Mohring, Liechty, and Kohler – taking advantage of a struggling O-G pitching staff – tacked on RBIs to put it out of reach.
DJ Newman went the entire game on the mound for the Blue Streaks, earning the win. “DJ doesn’t walk very many people,” said Weldy of Newman’s outing. “That’s what I like about him. He’s got a nice breaking ball, can slide in that fastball. At least he doesn’t walk the guys, and you know, it gives us a chance a little bit.”
Jacob Balbaugh pitched into the seventh for the Titans, but was pulled after hitting Burkle to begin the seventh. He would be charged with the loss.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010