DEFIANCE — Everything has gone right for Lake’s baseball team this season.
It all went wrong on Saturday.
Archbold’s leadoff batter lined out to second base to begin the Division III district final. But the Blue Streaks followed with a walk and a home run before a pair of Flyers’ errors allowed the inning to spiral out of control.
Lake trailed by eight runs before it took its first turn at the plate en route to a 15-0 five-inning loss to No. 1-ranked Archbold at Defiance High School.
The Blue Streaks’ Kade Kern, who is committed to Ohio State University, belted a towering two-run home run over the left-center field wall for an early 2-0 lead.
A wide throw from shortstop to first base put Cory Erbskorn on before Lake starter Jacob Boelkens scooped up the next swing, but sailed the ball into center field.
Another walk, two more singles and another pair of errors allowed Archbold to bat through the lineup and plate eight first-inning runs.
“One game’s not going to define our season. They played at a high level for 27 games and we just didn’t make plays we made all year,” Lake head coach Greg Wilker said. “That happens sometimes, they are a great team.
“It just snowballed; we couldn’t stop the bleeding as they say.”
Erbskorn launched a no-doubt home run to left field in the second inning before the Blue Streaks rattled off five more runs in the third.
The nine- and one-hole hitters led off with walks before Kern blasted a two-RBI triple to the right-center field fence. Archbold added two more singles and benefited from another two Lake errors for the big inning.
“Don’t be fooled by the score of that game. Lake is an outstanding team that had a tremendous season. For us to win like that is just a tremendous credit to our kids,” Archbold head coach Dick Selgo said of his team, which is going to its fourth consecutive regionals. “But in baseball, anything can happen like that when it’s a one-game series.”
“Our guys were totally prepared for this. We played the toughest schedule in the history of Archbold High School against very quality Division I, Division II teams and that helped us be ready for something like this.”
Jacob Boelkens, who has dominated lineups this season in earning the Northern Buckeye Conference Pitcher of the Year award, was unable to miss the Archbold bats on Saturday.
He finished without a strikeout, and was pulled with one out in the first inning before reentering at the start of the second. He finished on the mound after getting one out in the third inning.
“They put the ball in play. They’re a lot like us, they put the ball in play one through nine. They just did everything better than us today,” Wilker said. “I hope they win it all.”
Rigo Ramos, the Streaks’ ace and a BGSU commit, rolled through the Flyers’ lethal lineup.
The tall lefty — who was removed early from Thursday’s district semifinal win over Otsego so that he would be available on Saturday — had a no-hitter with two outs in the third and allowed just two for the game. He topped out at 87 m.p.h. and finished with 11 strikeouts — including striking out the side in the third and fifth innings.
“I was thinking before the game that my arm was a little sore from pitching on Thursday against Otsego. Then as soon as we put up eight runs, my arm was feeling a lot better,” Ramos joked.
“Every time I come out I have confidence that I can throw a shutout.”
Jaxon Delventhal, a sophomore, got the first Lake hit of the game with a single to left field in the third inning. Luke Walsh singled up the middle in the fifth inning.
“I told our kids, that’s why he’s a Division I pitcher. I said, if you think you’re a division I player, then you have to learn to hit that. He’s very good,” Wilker said.
The Flyers did plenty of hitting this season, though, scoring at least eight runs in 16 games. As the last unbeaten team in Ohio, they swept the regular-season schedule and were 27-0 before Saturday’s loss.
“They’re going into the Lake Hall of Fame for an undefeated regular season. And you don’t see that very often in baseball, so we’re very proud of that.”
TOP HITTERS: (L) J. Delventhal & Walsh 1B. (Arch) Kern 3B, HR, 4 RBI; Erbskorn 1B, HR, 2 RBI; Rice 3-1B, 3 RBI; Ziegler 1B, RBI.
Ramos (W) 5~2~0~0~0~11
Boelkens (L) 1 2/3~8~14~x~4~0
Blank 2 2/3~3~1~1~1~2