BATH TOWNSHIP — It is said hitting is contagious.
Archbold proved that to be true after the softball team pounded out 24 hits en route to a 19-1 five inning victory over Bluffton in the Division III district semifinal at Bath.
Archbold (26-1) will play Sherwood Fairview for the District Championship at 5 p.m. Friday at Bath.
“We’re batting around .385 or .390 as a team,” Archbold coach Joe Frank said. “We preach to swing early and often.”
Archbold scored 11 runs in the first inning. Leadoff hitter Natalie Beck hit a drive down the third base line that kept rolling and allowed her to score an inside the park homerun. The Blue Streaks batted through the order in the inning. The highlight of the inning was Hanna Allison’s two-run homerun over the left-center field fence. Archbold led 11-0 after the first.
“We are just aggressive and that is just the way the girls are by nature,” Frank said. “We coach that way so it’s a good mix for us. We scored the ball well that first inning.”
Bluffton (8-16) scored its only run of the game in the second inning.
With one out, Bluffton’s Sami Fruchey had a base hit and Sarah Combs came in to pinch run for her. Lauren Parkins then sacrificed Combs over to second. Alexis Lugibihl then singled to advance Combs to third. Combs finally scored off of Taylor Monday’s base hit.
Archbold led 11-1 after two.
The Blue Streaks added seven more runs in the third inning. They again batted through the order and Becca Gerig’s three-run double extended Archbold’s lead to 18-1.
Archbold scored one more run in the fifth inning when Madison Kohler’s single brought in Gerig.
Allison led the Blue Streaks at the plate going 3-for-5 with a home run and three RBIs. Gerig had a double and four hits while Beck went 3-for-4 with a homerun and two RBIs.
“We just have to keep doing what we’ve been doing all year long,” Frank said. “Our defense has been rock solid. There’s no secret to the game. You just have to execute the fundamentals and that’s going to take you a long way.”
McKenna Reneker had a double for Bluffton while Monday had a single and one RBI.
“We had a successful season,” Bluffton coach Tony Rumer said. “We battled all year long. We were competitors the whole time and I give the girls a lot of credit for that.”
The Pirates lose five seniors — Kylee Barnett, Lugibihl, Adrian Rumer, Reneker and Katie Palte — but had several young players starting. So the future looks bright for the defending sectional champions.
“The seniors meant a lot so we have some replacing we have to do,” Rumer said. “We have a really nice young core coming up so I’m looking forward to the future. We are very young, our pitcher tonight was a freshman, our first baseman was a freshman and our catcher and second baseman are sophomores. We have a good core group of junior high kids coming up. We’ll be in good shape.”
Bluffton vs. Archbold