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ARCHBOLD - With scouts from three Major League Baseball teams in the stands, Defiance senior pitcher Dace Kime mixed a nasty curveball with a blistering fastball to lead the Bulldogs to a district championship Monday.
Defiance defeated Maumee 5-2 in the Division II district title game in front of more than 400 spectators at Archbold High School. Kime struck out eight and scattered five hits.
"I knew coming into this game they'd be really worried about how hard I would be throwing," Kime said. "It's a confidence thing knowing how to keep batters off balance. But they are great team. They know how to hit. They were prepared for everything."
Maumee (16-12) battled behind senior pitcher Cal Reese, who gave up nine hits to seven different batters. The Panthers scored single runs in the fourth and seven innings.
Kime, whose fastball has been clocked at between 88 and 93 miles per hour, has committed to play at the University of Louisville. But Kime is expected to be selected after the third round in the upcoming major league draft. Scouts from the Toronto Blue Jays, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Pittsburgh Pirates were on hand yesterday.
Maumee junior first baseman Matt Williams had two of his team's five hits.
"He had good stuff," said Williams, who singled, doubled, and scored a run. "But our coaches prepared us. They threw hard to us. We knew what to expect. He has a good curveball that drops, and he has good velocity on his fastball."
Defiance (27-1) advanced to the regional semifinals on Thursday against Parma Heights Holy Name.
"That's a great Maumee team," Defiance coach Tom Held said. "They had as good of [at-bats] as I've seen against Dace Kime in his career - one through nine."
The Bulldogs, who are ranked No. 3 in the DII state poll, did early damage with three runs in the third and one in the fourth.
"When you have a pitcher like Dace Kime on the mound and you put three on the board early, that's tough on the other team," Held said.
Down 4-0, Williams doubled to open the fourth and later scored on a wild pitch. Maumee was down to its last out when Corbin Frankhouse doubled to the gap, scoring Evan Karchner. But Kime ended the game with a strikeout.
Maumee coach Cam Coutcher said he was impressed with Kime's control as well as his velocity and off-speed pitch.
"He has great command of all three pitches," Coutcher said. "That curveball is one of a kind. He's going to be real successful with that. We've seen a lot of good pitchers. He was around the plate. I was proud of our kids for sitting in there. We hit the ball. They made plays."
Erik Studyvin and Kurt Kolbow had the Panthers' other hits.
Maumee also hurt its own chances. A potential early rally in the second was halted when Kolbow over-slid second base on an attempted steal. Reese also was picked off second base in the sixth.
"We didn't execute a few times," Coutcher said. "We ran ourselves out of some innings."
Junior Ryan Cordray went 2-for-3 with a double, an RBI, and scored two runs for Defiance.
Coutcher said Reese will attempt to walk on at the University of Toledo. The Panthers have one more regular season game left today against Southview.
"Cal has been a bulldog all year," Coutcher said. "He's pitched in all our toughest games, and he's done a great job. That will be his last start for us at Maumee. I'm real proud of him.
Held said Kime also is a competitor.
"He has a big league curveball, and he throws 90. That makes it tough on high school kids. And he has a knack when guys get on base to get tougher," Held said.
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Defiance defeated Maumee 5-2 in the Division II district title game in front of more than 400 spectators at Archbold High School. Senior pitcher Dace Kime struck out eight and scattered five hits.