Wauseon scored 10 combined runs in innings 5-6 after Archbold had to dip into its bullpen, and on the Indians side Eli Delgado gave them 6 1/3 strong innings. The Blue Streaks did put a scare into the Indians by scoring seven times in the bottom of the seventh, but ultimately they left the winning runs on base in a 14-12 Wauseon victory Thursday at Archbold in Northwest Ohio Athletic League baseball action.
On a blustery day where wind gusts at times reached 40 miles per hour, getting the win was most important, a victory that put the Indians at 1-0 in the league. It was Archbold’s second league contest in three days, as they also fell to Evergreen two days prior.
“That’s all that matters,” said Wauseon skipper Trent Thomas on getting the all-important league win. “We haven’t played real well lately, and to be honest with you, we got a lot of inexperienced guys. That are learning how to play and haven’t practiced a whole bunch. Every day we’re outside — being able to be outside — we’re playing a game. So we’re learning on the run. And the last two games, really three games, we haven’t played real well. We’re gonna be OK. (Starting) 1-0 in the league, that’s all that matters at this point.”
Wauseon was behind 5-4 through four innings, however, from there they used their newfound patience at the plate to take the lead and add on.
Tyson Rodriguez began the fifth with a base on balls off Archbold reliever Mason Siegel. He stole second base, and was advanced to third by way of a Kaden Clymer groundout. Reece Nation followed Clymer with a walk and stole second as well, forcing Siegel out of the game in favor of Zane Behnfeldt.
Rodriguez would score on a wild pitch to tie the game at 5-5, then Kage Little hit into a fielder’s choice which got Nation out in a rundown between third and home. However, the Indians responded with three straight hits from Jude Armstrong, Delgado and Ryan Marks, Delgado and Marks’ driving in a total of three runs, giving Wauseon the 8-5 advantage.
On the mound, Delgado settled in as he set the Streaks down in order in the fifth and later the sixth, helping Wauseon gain momentum.
He earned the win for the Indians, allowing eight runs on five hits with nine strikeouts.
“He just kind of grinded his way through,” Thomas said of Delgado. “Had really good off-speed (pitches) against a good lineup. Held DJ (Newman) in check. I think he was on base once or twice. I don’t think he had a hit.
“He’s so good. One of the best hitters I’ve ever seen in this area. So we did a good job on him today.”
Clay Stump led off the top of the sixth with a walk, swiped second, and reached third thanks to a Rodriguez groundout. Clymer was hit by a pitch putting runners at the corners, but was then caught red-handed trying to steal, a play where Stump took advantage of the opportunity and came home on the tag of Clymer.
The Indians later had a pair of runners in scoring position again, and they were brought home on Armstrong’s double into the gap for an 11-5 difference.
“They (Archbold) are a really good team,” explained Thomas. “Obviously, we took advantage of some walks. We had some big key hits. Again, we just played pretty well. Played some good baseball. Early in the year we weren’t even grounding out and moving runners over, we were just striking out.
“I think Ty Rodriguez had one where he got down 0-2, and he worked a count, and then he grounded out to second base and it got the runner (Stump) to third. That’s winning baseball.”
Cade Miller replaced Behnfeldt on the mound for the Streaks and was able to stop the Wauseon threat.
But the Indians tallied three more in the seventh. An error scored one of the runs, a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded another, and a bases loaded hit by pitch a third as Wauseon led 14-5 entering the bottom of the inning.
Wauseon got into trouble when Delgado had to exit the game in the seventh. He walked a pair of batters, recorded a foul out, then fell behind 2-0 to Jack Hurst before getting pulled. The bullpen struggled with command.
Hurst ended up walking to fill the bases, as did the next two batters, forcing in runs that trimmed Wauseon’s lead in half (14-7). Brian Burrowes was hit by a pitch for another run, leading to Marks being replaced on the mound by Keaton Hartsock.
The third Indians’ pitcher of the day, Hartsock allowed run-scoring singles from Behnfeldt and Jayden Seiler — Behnfeldt’s bringing in two — and walked in another run. But he also struck out Carson Dominique and got Hurst to hit into a force at second, avoiding further damage.
The Blue Streak rally proved that every run counts, and Coach Thomas was thankful his team had such a big lead entering Archbold’s final at-bats of the night.
“With this wind, you needed every run you could possibly get at that point,” he said of his team adding on runs late. “So we were just trying to scrap runs. We were still stealing bases; we were thinking about bunting at different times. That’s too good a offensive team, especially with this wind blowing out to expect to hold them down. And they about got us at the end. We were one batter away from seeing DJ again in that inning.”
Archbold took an early one-run lead after Krayton Kern led off and smacked a home run to left field in the home half of the first. Wauseon took advantage of some control issues by Seiler in the second and plated three runs.
The Streaks scored three of their own in their half of the third, the big blow being Jaybe Burkle’s two-run single. Each team managed a run in the fourth.
Seiler was pulled after completing just two full innings, surrendering three runs on one hit with four walks and two strikeouts.
Armstrong led the Indians at the plate as he was 3 for 4, walked twice, had three runs batted in and two runs scored. Kern (1 for 2) had two RBIs, three runs scored, plus walked three times.
Burkle (2 for 3) had three RBIs, walked once and scored once.
Wauseon was defeated 5-4 at Ottawa-Glandorf on Saturday to drop to 3-6 on the season.
After hosting Bryan Monday, the Indians visit Perrysburg Tuesday, and Evergreen Thursday, before hosting Delta on Friday.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010.