DEFIANCE – A three-run opening inning by Archbold was enough to last two days, as the Blue Streaks edged Swanton 3-2 in a Division III baseball district semifinal.
The Blue Streaks led 3-0 on Thursday, then held off a late Bulldog rally when the game was picked up Friday after numerous weather delays.
Already an hour late because of a thunderstorm, Archbold wasted to time to jump out to an early lead. Singles by Toby Walker and Jeron Williams, with Williams’ ball never leaving the infield, quickly put two runners on for the Streaks in the bottom of the first.
A flyout record the first out of the inning, and it looked like Swanton would get out of trouble when Gabe Petersen hit a bouncing ball to third. Walker – who was at third after a stolen base – took off on contact and was safe when the throw home was offline.
With two runners still on base, Ian Radabaugh followed with a double to right-center that cleared the bases.
For the rest of the Thursday part of the game, both pitchers were in control. Swanton’s Noah Johnston retired eight in a row until Brandon Miller drew a two-out walk in the fourth. Archbold’s Trevor Rupp was just as tough. Hunter Mix hit a one-out single in the third, but that was about it for the Bulldogs. Rupp retired the final eight batters he faced until the weather again played a part in the contest.
Mix was into his at-bat to start the sixth when the home plate umpire stopped play because of thunder and lightning. Waiting as long as they could, the teams and officials from Defiance agreed to return the next day to finish the contest.
The new day also meant that under new Ohio pitching rules, both teams would have to come back with new pitchers. Swanton took advantage, as Mix resumed his at-bat with a walk, as did Roman Epley who followed him.
Mix moved to third when Michael Lawniczak hit into a fielder’s choice that eliminated Epley at second, but it still brought up Gunnar Oakes with two runners on base. Oakes hit into a double play to end the inning.
Finally, in the seventh, the Bulldogs were able to break through. Two runners reached and two batters struck out, bringing the top of the order back up. Mix came through with a two-run single, but one more strikeout ended the run for the Bulldogs.
The win by Archbold set up a district final Sunday between the second-seeded Blue Streaks and top-seed Fairview. In the top of the second, Archbold collected four hits and were helped out by a couple of Fairview errors to jump out to a 6-0 lead in an eventual 10-2 win.
Kade Kern collected a pair of hits and also scored twice for Archbold. Bryson Taylor worked into the sixth inning on the mound to get the win.
Archbold returns to the regional tournament for the second year in a row and will face either Lake or Eastwood Thursday at 5 p.m. at Elida. Eastwood and Lake had their district final at Carter Park in Bowling Green rained out and will play it Monday.
Reach Randy Roberts at firstname.lastname@example.org