ARCHBOLD — Bryan’s baseball team had just rallied in the fifth inning to tie the score, but Archbold’s Jeron Williams had other ideas.
With two outs in the sixth inning and runners on first and third, Williams smacked a single which served as the winning hit to lift the Blue Streaks over the Golden Bears by a score of 2-1 on Tuesday at Memorial Park.
“With Jeron Williams up to bat, with two outs and the game on the line, there isn’t anybody I’d want up there more than him,” Archbold coach Dick Selgo said. “The guy is an athlete, he’s a clutch player, he’s come through in big situations. He came through big time tonight.”
Williams faced Bryan pitcher Dom James, who had just been sent to the mound with to face Williams. James entered the game with a 1-0 count.
He allowed a two-strike single, though, as Williams’ RBI was enough for the win.
Despite the fact that the game was a one-run game decided in the sixth inning, Bryan coach Jeff Inselmann wasn’t pleased with how his team played just two days before a district semifinal game.
“I’m extremely disappointed in our guys,” Inselmann said. “I didn’t think we competed. We took too many good fastballs and were chasing too many breaking balls. They’re a good team, we just didn’t have the energy we need. It’s very concerning going into Thursday.”
Bryan, which had just five hits in the game, couldn’t string together enough offense throughout the game.
The Golden Bears had hits in four innings, but in just one inning — the third — was there more than one hit.
“It’s been us all year,” Inselmann said. “It’s up and down. We lack leadership, I guess that’s on me. (But) coaches can’t play for these guys. I’d love to play these guys (Archbold) once a week, they whooped us all three times. We’ve got work to do. Close scores, but we couldn’t get it done against a good team, which is concerning, because we’re facing a really good team Thursday.”
Against an Archbold team that used five different pitchers on the night, Bryan couldn’t get the job done at the plate with consistency.
“We’re trying to get everybody a little bit of a tune-up and keep their pitch count down,” Selgo said. “We’ve got a tournament game Thursday, so that’s our main priority. We know that Bryan is always going to be tremendous competition, so we’re very happy they were able to come play us tonight.”
No Blue Streaks pitcher recorded more than six outs. D.J. Newman got the win in two innings, having allowed two hits and the lone run.
Benny Roebuck had the only RBI for Bryan on a double in the fifth inning to tie the game at one. That, however, was all the offense the Bears could muster. Nate Miller added a single, as did Conner Lemons, but the offense wasn’t nearly strong enough to overcome the herd of Blue Streak pitchers.
Archbold (23-3) is rolling into a Division III district semifinal against Otsego on Thursday with good feelings aplenty.
“Facing a very good team in Bryan, we competed very well,” Selgo said. “We had 11 hits on a very tough day to hit with the wind blowing in and the ground very soft. We played very good defense, we got good pitching with everybody we put out there. I’m very pleased with what went on out there today.”
Just across the other foul line, though, Bryan had the polar opposite thoughts and feelings.
As the team discussed the next few days in right field after the game, Nolan Kidston’s solid outing of 6 2/3 innings with just two runs allowed was all for naught. As was the hit from Roebuck and the nearly perfect defense the Bears played all day.
The Golden Bears will face No. 1 seeded Bowling Green on Thursday, on the same field where they tried to rally the team on a blustery Tuesday night.
The problem for the Bears, is how to fix it all in less than two days.
“We didn’t come ready to play today,” Inselmann said. “I guess that’s on me as a coach. But it’s disappointing, you’re playing a rival (the) last game before a tournament game and we kind of laid an egg. It’s cold, windy, but whatever. They were playing in the same conditions. We’ve got to figure out how to compete. It’s been the same thing all year.”