Wauseon might not have won the Northwest Ohio Athletic League softball title Monday, but they did put some teams on notice with the sectional approaching as the Lady Indians snapped Archbold’s four-year league-unbeaten streak with a 6-1 win Monday.
“We’ve never given up and we worked harder than we ever have in the last week,” Wauseon coach Jen Croninger said after the win. “We’re just going to keep rolling from here.”
Archbold came into the game with a title tie, their 12th in a row. Bryan can also get a piece of the league title with a win against Liberty Center. The game between the two teams was postponed Monday.
The Blue Streaks worked out of a jam in the first, and Alyssa Ziegler was cruising until the fourth inning. With two outs in the inning, Harlee Floss hit a double to deep centerfield. Bralynn Blanton followed with a walk, then Juli Spadafore roped a double over the left fielder’s head that scored both runs.
“I told the girls the NWOAL has hitters and they’re all going to hit,” stated Croninger about getting the offense going. “As long as we keep our composure and play our D (defense), we’ll be fine. We honestly did tonight and I’m proud of our girls.”
The inning, which was played in the rain, also added to control issues for Ziegler. In the fifth inning, she walked three batters but didn’t allow a run. That changed in the sixth when a walk and two singles to start the frame quickly loaded the bases.
“There are some days where a pitcher doesn’t have her best stuff,” explained Archbold coach Andrea Thiel. “Today was just one of those days. I’ll still take her in the middle of the circle any day of the week.
“Being a pitcher myself,” continued the first-year Archbold coach, “I know those days are rotten. Give credit to them, they put the bat on the ball. They played really hard and were ready to go.”
A pop-up on the infield forced the runners to hold, but after that the doors opened up for the Indians. Christina Norman dropped a single in front of the fielder in left field, then Ally Tefft drew a walk, which both drove in a run. Kyrin Grime followed with a shot to right that also dropped in after a long run by the fielder. To finish off the four-run frame, Maddy Martinez was hit by a pitch with the bases still loaded to force in the final run of the inning.
“The tides turn, we’ve had a couple of situations where our pitchers have done the same thing,” mentioned Croninger. “We also had to have the hits and our hits were there tonight.”
Archbold had chances early, but couldn’t break through until the third inning. Faith Wyse started the inning when she dropped a double on the leftfield line, then moved to third on a bunt. She scored on a single by Gabby Nafziger.
Wauseon – more specifically Alisa Shelt – was in control the rest of the game. Shelt did not walk a batter and fanned four in getting the win. Her outfielders also made great plays, as Elena Pratt in left made a couple running grabs and Martinez in center made a catch with her back at the fence.
“We took some great swings, we hit the ball hard,” admitted Thiel. “They made some great plays. All hats off to them. They came ready to go and took it to us today.”
Ziegler allowed eight walks and six hits in the loss.
Blanton led the Wauseon offense with two hits.
Reach Randy Roberts at firstname.lastname@example.org