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DAYTON - It was high drama at high noon yesterday as the Archbold Blue Streaks and junior ace pitcher Landon Good tried to close out a win in the Division III state baseball semifinals against top-ranked Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy.
Good had a chance to eliminate the Eagles at exactly noon, but CHCA made the Streaks and coach Kevin "Scoop" Miller sweat it out for a few extra minutes during a 38-pitch seventh inning before hanging on for a 7-6 victory at Fifth Third Field.
The Eagles (27-4), trailing 7-3 entering the top of the seventh, rallied for three runs after two were out and had the bases loaded when Good (12-1) completed his 127-pitch outing by getting pinch-hitter Clayton Webster on a pop fly to second baseman Patrick Shannon.
"It was getting close and I just tried to battle and get out of it," Good said. "My defense made the plays for me. [The Eagles] put the ball in play and they were hitting it hard off of me. I tried to get it by 'em, but I couldn't do it."
Archbold (23-6) will play Frankfort Adena (25-6) for the championship here tomorrow at 10 a.m.
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"We were going to go with him [all the way]," Miller said of Good. "I thought he was really throwing well, and that is just an incredible hitting team.
"I don't think I could've lived with myself taking him out and not giving him that opportunity. He worked so hard to get to that point. Fortunately for us, we were able to get that last out."
Good's quick delivery and junior catcher David Borcherdt's fast peg forced CHCA to adjust its offensive scheme in the second inning when Eagles standout cleanup hitter Chris Hatfield and No. 5 hitter Tom Andrews each walked and then were thrown out stealing. Coming in, CHCA had swiped 215 bases in 220 attempts this season.
"We're going to try and run on everybody until they prove they can shut us down," CHCA coach Larry Redwine said. "That hadn't happened all season, but the pitcher was going 1.03, 1.04 [seconds] to the plate and the catcher was just slightly over 2.00. That's not good math for stealing bases.
"They shut the running game down and we just went nose to nose and tried to slug it out. They had more timely hits than we did."
The Blue Streaks, who scored in five of six innings, went up 1-0 in the first inning, with leadoff hitter Mike Evans singling and eventually scoring on Kirk Weldy's fielder's choice grounder.
Archbold added a run in the third inning. Borcherdt singled to right with two outs, Casey Nofziger singled to right-center and Weldy notched his second RBI with a single.
The Streaks went up 4-0 in the fourth when Patrick Shannon doubled to the gap in left-center, and pinch-runner Josh Bernath eventually scored on Brooks Wagler's groundout. Jaron Bernath then reached on a throwing error by third baseman Doug Browne, and pinch-runner Eric Beck scored on Evans' two-out triple to right.
The Eagles rallied within 4-3 in the fifth sparked by pinch-hitter Sean Swallen's leadoff double. He scored on Trae Balzano's one-out single to left. Balzano was bunted to second and scored on pitcher Ben Hoyer's single to right. Hoyer came around on Hatfield's triple to center.
Nofziger gave Good some breathing room in Archbold's half of the fifth, pounding his sixth home run of the season, a solo shot just fair down the line in left.
"You can't sit on four runs, and we kept scrapping every inning to get more," Nofziger said. "That's what you need to do as a team."
The Streaks added two insurance runs in the sixth on a Wagler single, Wade Rychener's double down the line past Browne, and Evans' third hit of the game, a two-run single to center for a 7-3 lead.
"This was a great team win," Evans said of his team's 11-hit attack. "Everybody pitched in. After that inning they scored three runs, Casey comes back and hits a home run. You can't ask for much more than that. It got the team up and it got the intensity back on our side."
Balzano led off the seventh with a single, Hoyer added a one-out single and Hatfield walked to load the bases.
Good retired Balzano on a force at the plate on a come-backer for the second out, but Matt Carlin (4-for-4) delivered a two-run single to right on a 2-2 pitch, Jonathan Gaietto singled to left to plate Tom Andrews, pulling the Eagles within a run, and Sean Swallen walked to reload the bases.
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