Archbold scraped across a run in each of the first two innings and their pitching and defense did the rest, managing a 2-0 shutout over visiting Pettisville in a game played at Ruihley Park Monday.
Though it was not the most perfect performance from the Blue Streaks, coach Dick Selgo was satisfied his team came away with the win over a skilled Pettisville squad.
“Credit to Pettisville. They hung in there, their pitcher did a nice job throwing strikes and their defense played well,” Selgo said. “Our guys were very sluggish tonight. This was our fourth game in five days and obviously, we may not be up to that that much. We were not tuned into the game very much at all. So I’m a little disappointed in that. But I am happy that we got the win. We got a excellent pitching performance from Zane Behnfeldt and we played well defensively. So from that standpoint I’m pleased.”
Behnfeldt kept the Blackbirds off-balance all game, allowing just one hit and four walks while striking out seven in a complete game effort.
“Zane usually throws strikes, and he did that tonight. And he had enough on the ball to not allow them to square up many hits. He was pretty much in control most of the game,” said Selgo of Behnfeldt’s outing.
Despite taking the loss on the mound, the Blackbirds’ Gideon Myers fared pretty well himself. He allowed two runs on six hits with two strikeouts and three walks over six innings.
“We had another solid effort from one of our pitchers and our defense,” said Pettisville skipper Paul Bishop of the outing. “The success we have had so far this year all starts with our pitching and defense. We were able to make the routine plays (against Archbold), in addition to Josh Horning throwing out the runner at the plate. Any time you are able to throw strikes and make those plays defensively you will be in the ballgame.”
Jaybe Burkle, DJ Newman and Devon Morris recorded consecutive singles to load the bases with one out in the bottom of the first. The next batter, Caleb Hogrefe, grounded to third bringing home Burkle to give the Streaks a 1-0 lead.
Archbold got their second run behind a two-out rally in the home half of the second. Jack Hurst started it with a hit and, with some aid from a tree branch hanging in fair territory in left field, was able to get to third.
Burkle brought him home two batters later with an RBI single, making the difference 2-0.
Pettisville put a runner in scoring position in the first and fifth innings but couldn’t get it home.
Myers singled to right with one out in the first and then moved to second on a wild pitch. However, a strikeout and Nate Keim’s flyout to deep right field ended the threat.
With two outs in the fifth, Josh Horning walked and stole second, but a strikeout stymied that opportunity.
The Birds fell narrowly at Montpelier 7-6 on Tuesday, while the Streaks were defeated 8-1 at Defiance.
Both teams can now focus on the tournament.
Archbold hosts Liberty Center in a Division III sectional semifinal on Wednesday, May 19.
“We need to find another gear,” explained Selgo. “We’ve hit a real tough part of our schedule. We’ve had some real tough losses against some very good teams. And we’ve got to find a way to handle that adversity with some mental toughness and get things going again.”
Pettisville gets a bye to the Division IV sectional final where they host either North Central or Hilltop on May 20.
“I am excited for our guys (for the tournament),” Bishop said. “Getting seeded fourth and a first round bye speaks to the hard work all of our guys have put in so far this year. This week (Archbold and Montpelier twice) will be a great week to get us ready for the tournament next week.”
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010.