DEFIANCE – Winning a state title no matter what the sport or at what level is always a grand accomplishment. And for the Archbold ACME baseball program, the second time is just as sweet as the first. That’s because the Blue Streaks bested perennial power Defiance 3-1 Monday night at their place to claim the program’s second straight state championship.
“This year is just as good,” said soon-to-be senior Gabe Petersen of the accomplishment. “A great season, great coaches. A lot of players worked hard all year.”
Archbold head coach Kirk Weldy, who guided them to the title last year, was also a player on the 2005 OHSAA State Championship team. So he is used to winning at that level.
“It doesn’t get old I can tell you that much,” said Weldy on winning yet another championship. “Winning (state) as a player and a coach, there is all the benefits in the world. Going down to Columbus, and getting here and playing in ACME, it doesn’t get old and it’s fun to do.”
The Streaks took the lead for good in the bottom of the sixth with the help of a suicide squeeze. Petersen started the frame off with a walk, then Kade Kern singled and moved to second when the throw went to third. That is when Weldy called for Holden Galvan to bunt and with Petersen charging hard, the play worked perfectly to give the Streaks a 2-1 lead.
“We talked about it at the beginning of the tournament. I said it’s gonna come down to one run one of these games,” said Weldy of the play. “We’ve been fortunate enough we’ve got a lot of runs, but we knew it was coming and Defiance was gonna give us everything they’ve got. You know what, we worked on it the other day in practice. I said it’s gonna happen. Holden executed that perfectly.”
Mitch Grosjean followed with an RBI single which put them ahead two going into the seventh.
“When those runs came in it was a huge sigh of relief,” said Archbold starting pitcher Rigo Ramos. “I knew the next inning I just needed to get the first out and we’ll cruise from there.”
Although he surrendered a leadoff walk to Defiance’s James Seele in the top of the seventh, Ramos would get three straight fly ball outs to retire the side and seal the win.
Archbold got on the board first, using a sacrifice fly off the bat of Petersen to score Jeron Williams for a 1-0 lead after one.
It took Defiance until the fourth inning to finally tie it up. Brandon Shafer hit a ball near the gap in left center that was dropped, allowing him to get to second base to start the inning. He tagged up and advanced to third on Tyrel Goings’ fly out to center, then scored on Mitchell Spencer’s sacrifice fly.
Ramos, and Defiance starter Ethan Decker continued to mow down hitters until the sixth when Petersen’s walk pushed Decker out in favor of Johnny Ceballos. Therefore, one of the Streaks’ final two runs were charged to Decker.
Earning the win was Ramos who pitched a complete game and allowed just one hit, while also striking out four batters.
“I knew going into it that I needed to really step up for this game,” Ramos explained. “I knew I had one of the best defenses in all of the state. So I went out there, just tried throwing strikes and my defense backed me up.”
“Rigo, we’ve relied on him all season long,” added Weldy. “He’s got a movement (on his pitches). He’s got good stuff. He doesn’t walk very many people.”
Petersen led the way for the Archbold offense without recording a hit, going 0 for 1 with a pair of walks, an RBI and a run scored. Jeron Williams went 1 for 2 with a walk and a run scored.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010