ARCHBOLD – A very successful Archbold ACME baseball season finally came to an end on Wednesday at Memorial Park as the visiting Miller City Wildcats defeated the Blue Streaks, 6-4, in a consolation game of the ACME District II tournament.
Archbold entered the tournament with a 15-1 record and finished as runners-up to Ayersville in the sectional to advance to districts. After dropping the opening district game to Kalida, they bounced back and beat Ayersville in the consolation bracket to set up the game with Miller City.
“We had a great year,” remarked Archbold coach Ben Bucklew. “With all the rain we had, we got a lot of ball in. We started playing together about midseason and its unfortunate it had to end this way.”
Bucklew started left-handed Lathon Babcock on the mound and the Wildcats countered with Jackson Lammers throwing from the right side. Both pitchers would toss a scoreless first inning, then get nicked for a run in the second.
The Wildcats scored in the top of the second with a walk, a stolen base, and a two-out RBI single from Trey Hermiller to take a 1-0 lead. The Streaks quickly tied it up in the bottom of the inning. Ian Radabaugh singled to left to lead off and went to second on a wild pitch. Isaac Petersen sacrificed him to third and Gabe Petersen tied the contest at 1-1 with a base hit.
In the top of the third Miller City used four hits, two walks and a hit batsman to score four times, jumping out to a 5-1 advantage with Jacob Schimmoeller delivering the big blow, a bases loaded two RBI single. With two outs and the bases loaded again, Ben Bucklew relieved Babcock and struck out the first batter he faced to get out of the inning without further damage.
Lammers held the Streaks in check the next two innings despite allowing several base runners. Meanwhile, the Cats were able to push across another run in the top of the fourth and hold a 6-1 lead as they entered the bottom of the fifth.
Archbold started a comeback in the fifth frame, ignited by back-to-back singles by Kaiden Bedsole and Toby Walker to begin the inning. After a line drive out to second, Derek Walker singled to drive in a run and Radabaugh plated another with a sacrifice fly to left, pulling the Streaks within three.
In the bottom of the sixth, with the score still 6-3, Archbold loaded the bases with two outs on a Gabe Petersen double and two walks but were unable to take advantage when Bucklew popped out to short.
Miller City failed to score in the top of the seventh, giving the Streaks one more opportunity to at least pull even and extend the contest in the bottom of the inning. The first two batters failed to reach base but Isaac Petersen’s potential game-ending grounder to short was bobbled, allowing him to get on.
Sam Petersen followed with a walk and Gabe Petersen loaded the bases when his routine ground ball was again misplayed by the shortstop. Bryce Williams drew a base on balls to make the score 6-4 and put the game tying run in scoring position. Bedsole came up next and drove a hard grounder back to the box that was knocked down by the pitcher, retrieved and thrown to first for the final out, sending Miller City home victorious.
“I commend my players for battling all seven innings and never giving up,” said coach Bucklew after the game. “We had bases loaded twice in the sixth and seventh inning and couldn’t get the big hit. I know they worked hard and they’re really disappointed but that’s how baseball is.”
Gabe Petersen led the Archbold offense with a single and a double. Bedsole and Toby Walker each had a single, a walk and a run scored. Babcock took the loss and Bucklew gave up just one run in four and a third innings of relief.
Lammers picked up the win and Schimmoeller had three hits for the Wildcats.
Bill O’Connell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org