ELIDA - Landon Good didn't expect to be as dominating yesterday as he was when he struck out 18 batters in an Archbold win over Patrick Henry in a Northwest Ohio Athletic League game. He wasn't.
But with the help of his defense and the clutch hitting of shortstop Wade Rychener, the junior right-hander was good enough to pitch the Blue Streaks to their first regional baseball championship - a 3-2 victory over the third-ranked Patriots in a Division III final.
Archbold (22-6) advances to a state semifinal at Dayton's Fifth Third Field at 10 a.m. Thursday against second-ranked Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy.
"The feeling is amazing. I can't even describe how great it feels,'' Good said. "It's going to be fun down there [in Dayton]."
Good (10-1) allowed five hits and two runs, but he struck out six and, more importantly, stranded eight runners.
"I didn't strike them out, but I got the job done," he said. "That's the important thing.
"I knew they were going to hit me. I just wanted to let them put it in play without hitting it hard, then let my defense make the plays for me."
For the most part, that's how it worked. The Streaks made all but two plays, both tough-hop errors that didn't hurt them. Brendan Haas made a nice diving catch in shallow center field and Good threw a wicked curve for a strikeout and the final out in the second, stranding one. After Ajay Meyer singled and scored on Ben Botjer's RBI single in the third, Good fanned opposing pitcher Tyler Tietje for the final out with two runners on. Marc Krauss, the NWOAL's leading hitter, doubled off the wall in center and scored on a fielder's choice grounder in the fifth, but Good recorded two more strikeouts. He induced two lazy fly balls to end the game with Krauss on third.
"The last time we played it was a cold, windy and gray day,'' said PH coach Greg Inselmann. "It was a little better weather to play in and I think we saw [the ball] better.
"I thought our pitcher was outstanding and kept us in the game. A little hit here or there could have made all the difference in the world. We just couldn't come up with it."
The sidewinding Tietje (6-1) yielded seven hits and three runs while also striking out six, including three Streaks looking with runners on first and third in the sixth.
The Blue Streaks scored first when Kirk Weldy singled leading off the second, was sacrificed to second by Good and scored when designated hitter Brooks Wagler looped a hit down the left-field line.
After Meyer scored for Patrick Henry (24-6) in the third, No. 9-hitter Rychener answered with a line drive that may have gotten a boost from a strong wind as it sailed over the left-field fence for his first home run of the year.
"I guess I hit it pretty good, probably the best I've hit it all season," he said.
Rychener responded again with a single up the middle that plated Wagler in the fifth with what proved to be the game-winning run.
Contact Craig Mantey at: email@example.com or 419-724-6110.