NAPOLEON — After twice trailing by five runs, Wauseon broke through with a 10-run seventh to overtake Archbold for a 22-13 win in the District 2 ACME baseball sectional runner-up game Monday night at Napoleon.
“Our kids never gave up,” said Indians’ coach Trent Thomas after the game. “We gave up six runs in the first inning and they just kept battling. And we told them to just chip away. Then we got the lead, then we gave up a four or five-run inning off of walks and errors. They just kept battling man. This team, all summer has been, again, I wasn’t sure what we were gonna get, and they’ve been great.”
Wauseon pulled to within a run, 13-12, behind a four-run top of the sixth. Ryan Marks led off the frame with a home run to right field, as he went 3 for 3 on the night and reached base five times.
“He’s been swinging it really well the last two days. We’ve just got to keep him going,” said Thomas.
Later in the inning, Eli Delgado doubled with the bases loaded scoring two more runs, and Tyson Rodriguez walked in another to make it a one-run game.
Down the stretch, Wauseon was able to pitch more effectively than Archbold and that was the difference.
For instance, the Indians were able to use Delgado in the sixth and seventh innings and he did not allow a run, while the Blue Streaks had to use three pitchers in the seventh alone.
“Clay (Stump) hasn’t thrown a ton of innings because he was dealing with the elbow issue. He threw one inning the other day (Saturday) against Napoleon, and then he could come back and throw an inning here today. He was kind of a tough-luck guy, we committed two or three errors that inning (the fifth),” explained Thomas. “And then Eli threw one Friday with his travel team and threw probably 30/40 pitches, so was able to come back and throw on a Monday for us. Which we haven’t pitched him a ton, so that was huge to have him at the end of the game. So good for us to have some pitching, that we hadn’t been counting on all year, at the game.”
Five of the Indians’ first six batters in the game-changing seventh reached via the walk. Will Sherman and Reece Nation then came home on a pair of wild pitches to put Wauseon ahead 14-13.
With Keaton Hartsock now at third, he took advantage of a pickoff attempt at first which went awry and scored another run. Clay Stump drove in Jude Armstrong with a base hit, then Rodriguez reached on a fielder’s choice and when the throw home was not in time, a run scored to extend the lead at 17-13.
Another wild pitch later plated Rodriguez to make it 18-13. The Indians reached the final tally with two-run singles hit by Mason Thomas and Hartsock.
Wauseon now gets to move onto the District 2 ACME district tournament, and enjoys the satisfaction of having beaten their rival in the process.
“Any time we play them (Archbold) it’s a little heightened. Our kids are ready for it a little more. An elimination game where we’re done if we lose and they’re done (if they lose). It’s a big game and our kids just kept playing. We have some positive leaders in there that just kept saying ‘hey, just stay with it’; stay smiling and stuff. They are bringing the young guys along with them which we need,” Coach Thomas said.
Wauseon opens by facing host Miller City on Friday at approximately 6:15 p.m. in the district tournament.
Blue Streaks, Indians stay alive
Prior to meeting for the district runner-up crown, Archbold and Wauseon went 2-1 in their first three contests.
Archbold defeated Patrick Henry 13-3 Thursday at Ayersville and defeated host Ayersville 5-2 on Friday, before falling 5-4 in 11 innings against Tinora on Saturday. Wauseon was bested 11-5 by Tinora Thursday, but bounced back with a 2-1 win over Ayersville and 13-10 victory over Napoleon in games played in Napoleon on Saturday.
In Archbold’s sectional semifinal win over the Pilots Friday, the Blue Streaks scored all the runs they needed in the first inning. Their first two batters plated the first run, when Krayton Kern led off with a walk followed by a Gavin Bailey triple to deep center field that scored him.
The next hitter, Jaybe Burkle, grounded out and brought home Bailey. Ayersville pitcher Abe Delano then struck out his counterpart on the other side in Zane Behnfeldt for the second out, but the Streaks responded with back-to-back singles from Jayden Seiler and Ashton Kammeyer.
The Streaks would catch the Pilots off guard in scoring the third run of the game. Kammeyer looked to steal second where he beat the tag, and while that was happening, Seiler made a break for home and was able to capitalize.
Archbold loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the second, pushing their advantage to 4-0 on Burkle’s fielder’s choice to second which plated Cade Miller.
Each team added a run in the fifth to make it a 5-1 difference. For Archbold, with runners at the corners, Behnfeldt reached on an infield single to score Kern.
Ayersville threatened to make it interesting in the top of the seventh but could only score a single run.
Their first two batters were set down, and even though Luke Delano struck out for what should have been the game-ender, he reached as the pitch elluded the catcher. Ike Eiden was next for the Pilots and walked, then Abe Delano smacked a double to left scoring Luke Delano.
However, Eiden and Abe Delano were stranded when Weston McGuire popped out to the pitcher.
Behnfeldt went 4 2/3 innings to pick up the win on the mound. He surrendered four hits while striking out nine Pilot hitters.
Kern and Kammeyer each recorded a pair of hits for the Blue Streak offense, while Burkle finished 1 for 3 with two runs batted in.
Wauseon got a stellar outing on the mound from Will Sherman and scored the game-winning run in the top of the seventh en route to a 2-1 win over Ayersville Saturday. Later that afternoon, they kept their hopes of a district tournament berth by outlasting Napoleon 13-10.
Versus the Pilots, the Indians broke a 1-1 tie with two down in their half of the seventh. Keaton Hartsock started the rally with a two-out base on balls. He scored from first when Jude Armstrong crushed a double to left center field.
Sherman sent the Pilots down in order in the bottom of the frame to close out the one-run victory.
Earlier in the contest, the Indians and Pilots each marked a run in the second to knot the game at 1-1.
Wauseon’s came when Logan Waldron scored on a wild pitch with the bases loaded and two outs.
Ayersville’s Weston McGuire reached on an errant throw to begin the bottom of the inning, eventually making his way around the bases for an unearned run.
Sherman earned the win on the mound after going seven innings, allowing a run on four hits with five strikeouts.
Offensively, Tyson Rodriguez finished 2 for 3 and Armstrong went 1 for 3 with an RBI for the Indians.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010.