It was the battle of the DJ’s in Defiance on Saturday as Archbold baseball took down Defiance, Division II’s top-ranked team, 5-2 for their 10th straight win of the season.
It wasn’t live music that Archbold’s DJ Newman and Defiance’s David Jimenez were providing though. Rather, they were providing put outs on top of the mound in a pitcher’s duel for most of the game.
Newman got the better of Jimenez though, both on the mound in a 6.1 inning win as well as at the plate with a go-ahead, two-RBI double that put Archbold in front for good in the fourth inning.
“That’s a Division I player, he’s just a great player,” Defiance head coach Tom Held said of Newman who is headed to Bowling Green State University next season. “He’s a great hitter, great pitcher, I thought we played well, had some great at-bats but he’s one of the best pitchers we’ve faced all year. They won the game today but I thought both teams played well.”
After a scoreless first for both pitchers, Archbold started the scoring with a Devon Morris line drive single up the middle and a Jack Hurst two-out, RBI triple that banged off the left field wall.
Defiance didn’t answer back until the fourth as after Mark Butler singled to start the inning, Gavino Gomez bunted him to second and Jayden Jerger grounded him to third, Aiden Kiessling brought him in with a dribbler that found its way into center field to tie the game headed to the fifth.
The top of the fifth inning started smoothly for Jimenez who was showing no sign of slowing down and rebounding nicely after giving up that second inning run.
But three straight baserunners on singles from Carson Dominique and Krayton Kern as well as a walk from Jayden Seiler brought up Newman who after looking at two strikes and facing a 1-2 count crushed one to the opposite wall scoring two.
Jaybe Burkle followed that up with a single to center that scored Seiler from third and also scored a hustling Newman who was tagged but not before the ball flew out of Butler’s glove to give Archbold a 5-1 lead.
“The first pitch was a ball, the second pitch was outside and he gave it to me again with the third pitch but I didn’t swing. He came back with it a third time and I put it out into right field. It was one of the biggest hits of the season so far for me,” Newman said of the go-ahead hit.
Jimenez got the final out of the fifth inning but that was it for the junior who finished with a line of five innings, five earned, seven hits, six strikeouts and two walks. Wade Liffick threw two shutout innings in relief for the Bulldogs.
“To get the first two outs in the inning and then give up four runs, that doesn’t happen very often. If he just gets that one out, gets DJ (Newman) to fish and not make contact he probably rolls to a complete game afterwards,” Held said of the fifth inning for Jimenez. “ But I thought DJ (Jimenez) threw well. They got his pitch count up because they fouled a lot of pitches off. I thought both teams competed against good pitchers. It was just really good high school baseball.”
The Bluestreaks never gave back the lead after that four-run fifth as Newman continued to pitch well even with giving up another run in the sixth on a Gomez double down the line, a wild pitch and a Jerger grounder to bring him in and close the lead to 5-2.
After Archbold stranded runners on first and third in the top of the seventh, Newman came back out to go for the complete game but ran out of gas with one out and the tying run coming to the plate after two Defiance singles.
His final line after those 6.1 innings was two runs on eight hits, five strikeouts and three walks.
“DJ is just a warrior, a tremendous athlete. He goes out there and competes but he just totally ran out of gas. I hated to pull him out but he said he was even a little lightheaded,” Archbold head coach Dick Selgo said.
So in entered Mason Siegel who was tasked with quieting the Bulldog rally and ending the game. He did just that with two flyouts to push Archbold’s winning streak to 10.
After starting the season 3-5, this win over the top-ranked team in the state in Division II is the tip of the iceberg so far this season for an Archbold team hoping to catapult this hot play into another deep playoff run.
“We’ve rattled off 10-straight wins now but none of those wins were against a team of the caliber of Defiance,” Selgo said. “We always respect their program, Tom Held has always done a tremendous job so for us to come over here and compete is a big boost for our guys.”
The Bluestreaks are now 13-5 on the season.
For Defiance, the loss is just their second of the season as they fall to 18-2 but Held knew that a tough stretch was coming at the end of the season, and seeing the caliber of pitching that Newman provides is always a good thing for a team getting ready for the tournament.
“We want to see the best right now,” Held said. “You want to be prepared the best you can be for the tournament and we have a good schedule up and down from the beginning to the end. It’s no different this week.”
Archbold 010 040 0 — 5 8 2
Defiance 000 101 0 — 2 8 0
Records: Archbold 13-5, Defiance 18-2
Winning Pitcher: DJ Newman (6.1 innings, 8 hits, 2 runs, 5 strikeouts, 3 walks). Others: Mason Siegel.
Losing Pitcher: David Jiminez (5 innings, 7 hits, 5 runs, 6 strikeouts, 2 walks). Others: Wade Liffick.
Leading Pitcher: (Archbold) — Krayton Kern 2 singles; DJ Newman double, 2 RBIs; Jaybe Burke 2 RBIs; Jack Hurst triple. (Defiance) — Gavino Gomez double; Aiden Kiessling 2 singles.