In a matchup of the top two ranked teams in the Division II state coaches poll, Defiance hitters seemingly found every hole and scored a 6-1 win over Perkins in a district championship game played at Archbold High School Saturday afternoon.
The Bulldogs connected on four straight singles in the second inning — all with two outs — that scored four runs to give them a commanding 4-0 lead.
That proved more than enough for starter Weston Rivers, who took a no-hitter into the sixth inning.
The Pirates close the season at 27-2 overall, while Defiance improved to 27-1. Along with the 1 vs. 2 ranking, the two programs have combined for 23 district championships.
“The second was a long and disastrous inning, and giving up a four-spot to their pitching doesn’t bode well,” Perkins coach Ray Neill said. “They hit the ball hard and found all the holes.”
Rivers struck out five and did not walk a batter, although he hit two. He allowed two singles, one each in the sixth and seventh innings. The Bulldogs’ No. 2 pitcher is headed to Lincoln Trail College, a junior college in Illinois.
“He kept us off balance. His best pitch was his changeup,” Neill said of Rivers. “When we got down, we just didn’t do a good job of staying back and doing what we do well. We had maybe a little lack of focus when we fell down four runs, but his command of the changeup and getting us out in front of it played a big part in that.”
The Pirates went through three pitchers, with Thane Walton getting the start. After earning the win in relief on Friday, Walton pitched 2 2/3 inning and allowed the four earned runs in the second to take the loss.
Braun Miller pitched the next three innings and allowed two runs, while Chase Boyer threw the final 2 1/3.
In the sixth inning, Devin Dubbert led off with a single for the first Perkins hit of the game. Matt Clark hit a grounder to first, but attempting to get the lead runner (Dubbert) at second, the Defiance shortstop misplayed the ball and it skipped past him into centerfield.
That allowed Dubbert to reach third, giving the Pirates runners at the corners with nobody out. Cameron Waldock then grounded out to third base, which drove in Dubbert, but Rivers recorded two more outs to end any hopes of a big inning.
Thane Walton singled in the seventh for the other Perkins hit. The Bulldogs also made two great diving stops in the field to eliminate potential lead off runners in the third and seventh innings.
“They are No. 1 in the state for a reason,” Neill said. “We struck out five times and so did they, but you put yourself in an early hole like that, and it’s just tough. It was their day today. They get no-hit yesterday (1-0 win vs. Toledo Central Catholic Friday), but get 10 hits today with every ball hit hard.”
The Pirates finish with 27 wins, which ties the program record for wins in a season. Perkins also went 27-4 in 2006 and 27-1 in 2009.
“It’s disappointing today, but the full body of work is pretty good stuff,” Neill said. “A conference championship, a record tying 27 wins and a second place finish in the state poll … that’s all good stuff. I think it’s something in the future we’ll look at and feel a whole lot better about.”