Following a pair of historic seasons in their own right, both Archbold’s Rigo Ramos and Antwerp coach Zac Feasby were recognized for outstanding efforts on the diamond by being named the 2019 Crescent-News Player and Coach of the Year, respectively.
For Ramos, the award caps off an outstanding career for the Bluestreaks that saw the perennially powerful program reach the regional level all four years of his high school career while clinching a pair of outright league championships in that span.
This season saw Archbold reach No. 1 in the OHSBCA Division III state poll and come up just one half-inning short of a state tournament berth before a heartbreaking loss to Coldwater in the D-III regional finals.
Ramos was plenty responsible for helping guide the Streaks to such heights, as the 6-6 southpaw finished 11-1 for Archbold this season, racking up 138 strikeouts in just 78 innings with a miniscule 1.17 ERA.
Ramos was called on to start games, as he did in the district finals in a two-hit shutout masterpiece against previously-unbeaten Millbury Lake, and finish games, as he did shutting the door in relief in postseason victories over Otsego in the districts and against Upper Sandusky in the regional semifinals.
Ramos’ 138 strikeouts this season smashes a 14-year-old record of 113 held by Landon Good while his 197 career punchouts is a new school mark as well, topping Brian Meyer’s 165 from 1998-2001.
Ramos, who will toe the rubber for the Bowling Green State University baseball team in college next season, credited the motivation for an outstanding senior year to a setback over the summer.
“The heartbreaking loss in the ACME state championship game to Bryan,” said Ramos of the driving force this season. “Bryan’s our rival and in a title game, there’s extra stakes. It left a bitter taste in my mouth and I wanted to get better for the spring.”
“Rigo is a cool, calm competitor,” lauded Archbold skipper Dick Selgo, who finished as runner-up in the coaches’ voting for Coach of the Year to Feasby. “There is no situation that is too big for him. Having a pitcher with the ability that Rigo had was a tremendous asset to this team.
“It was a very comfortable feeling to know that we could put him out on the mound in so many big games.”
The 2019 season saw Archbold finish 26-4 and set multiple school records for wins (26) and a run of four straight district championships.
“Part of that is the tradition we have here in Archbold,” said Ramos. “We’re used to winning and we’ve got natural athletes that love to compete. It’s hard to get a spot in our lineup and that makes guys work that much harder and be that more competitive.”
Despite the devastating loss to Coldwater, Ramos was reflective on an outstanding run that sees nine other seniors depart with him.
“It was definitely a painful loss but as we grow older, we’re going to look back and see what kind of impact we left on the program,” said the future Falcon. “At the end of the day, we had a heck of a year.”
Ramos finished with 13 of 19 total first-place votes and 136 points, well shy of runner-up Owen Recker of Kalida, a future teammate at BGSU. Tinora’s Spencer Giesige was fourth while Archbold teammates Kade Kern, Jeron Williams and Cory Ebskorn all received multiple votes.
In the coaches’ awards, an unprecedented season led to a runaway win for seventh-year Antwerp head coach Zac Feasby.
Prior to this season, Antwerp hadn’t even tasted the district finals since 1997 much less win them. The Archers had never won a Green Meadows Conference baseball championship.
All that changed this year. Antwerp won all six GMC games it played this year, finishing tied with Tinora for the program’s first-ever crown. Led by a powerful lineup hitting over .300 this season, a talented defense and a one-two underclassman pitching punch of freshman Luke Krouse and sophomore Austin Lichty, the Archers caught fire this season, finishing with a 19-6 record, the best in school history.
“Three seniors, two juniors, three sophomores and two freshmen starting throughout the season shows how balanced this team was,” said Feasby. “This is unique because most teams that make runs to state do so with a heavy dose of juniors and seniors.
“The support from the community is also something that stands out. We had at least twice as many, if not three or four times as many fans at our state semifinal game (than) Toronto. Lastly the determination of my players, dedication of the coaching staff and support from parents, family and friends definitely stands out. Contributions from many people made this season possible.”
After bashing Montpelier 11-1 in districts, Antwerp won a 1-0 pitching duel with Colonel Crawford and a comeback from 3-0 down to defeat Kalida 4-3 and bring home a regional trophy.
For Feasby, the feat is extra special. Before last season’s 11-10 improvement, the Archers had just 15 wins in the five years prior. An Antwerp graduate, Feasby has found extra purpose in resurrecting a program he suited up for in the 2000s.
“As I’ve said before, because I graduated from Antwerp, this probably means more to me than it would mean to an outsider coming in and having this kind of success,” explained the award-winning skipper. “The road to this point has not been easy, but perseverance and dedication have allowed the program to get to this point. The same can be said for my coaching staff (Kyle Zartman, Derek Smalley and Josh Poulson), who are also all Antwerp grads.”
Feasby finished with 14 first-place votes and 155 total points in the C-N voting. Archbold skipper Dick Selgo garnered three first-place nods and 97 points while Joe Recker of Kalida, Toby Hutchison of Montpelier and Tony Gerig of Hilltop also earned a first-place vote apiece.
“It was a unique group to coach considering contribution from every level,” added Feasby. “Many different players were counted on this season to step up for us. When pitching is so strong, defense makes plays and all players can produce at the plate, it’s no surprise we were able to accomplish what we did.”