PBR Spotlight game: No. 1 Defiance vs. Sandusky Perkins

By Dylan Hefflinger

ARCHBOLD- Division II top-ranked Defiance earned its 15th district championship in school history with a 5-2 victory over Sandusky Perkins.

The Bulldogs were able to get on the scoreboard first in the top of the second inning against Perkins' starter senior Ryan Ebert. With one out, junior Dom Romero singled up the middle, before senior Jacob Moore drew a walk. With runners on first and second, junior Joe Keween stepped to the plate.

With the Pirate outfield shading him toward left, Keween hit an Ebert fastball to the gap in left-center that just got over the head of junior Quinten Harrington. Romero and Moore had no trouble crossing home plate thanks to a great read on the ball by Moore. Keween strolled into second with a double and the Bulldogs had an early 2-0 lead.

The Bulldogs stretched the lead to 5-0 in the third. Unsigned senior catcher Joe Gentile reached on an error with one out before Kentucky recruit junior Rob Zeigler reached on a walk. Senior Shea Murray followed with a perfect bunt single up the line toward third to load the bases. A wild pitch to Romero allowed Gentile to score, before the Romero hit a grounder to second baseman sophomore Devin Dubbert with the infield drawn in.

On the play, Dubbert threw home to try and get Zeigler, but his throw was off the mark. Zeigler scored and Murray, who was at second, got a great jump on the play and scored without a throw to the plate to give the Bulldogs a 5-0 advantage.

The Pirates cut the deficit to 5-2 in the bottom of the third on Defiance miscues. A wild pitch on a strikeout, a hit batsman and an error led to Dubbert and junior Matt Clark scoring what proved to be the lone Perkins' runs of the game.

Zeigler, a 6-4 righty, settled down after that allowing just one more Pirate hitter to reach base. Zeigler went 5 2/3 inning allowing just one hit and two walks, while striking out seven.  Zeigler featured a heavy 4-seam fastball  in the 85-88 mph range as well as a sharp breaking curve in the low 70s.

Zeigler gave way to Bulldogs' ace Anthony Kidston who retired all four Pirates he faced. Kidston, who threw a one-hitter in a 2-0 win over Toledo Central Catholic on Thursday, got his fastball up to 87 mph, while featuring an outstanding changeup in the low 70s.

Sandusky Perkins bows out of the tournament with a 19-10 record.

Defiance (29-1) will make its ninth trip to regionals in the past 14 years and take on No. 11 Jonathan Alder (21-6) in the regional semifinals at Tiffin University on May 24th. The game will be a rematch of the 2010 state semifinals in which Alder defeated Defiance, 5-0. No. 6 Wapakoneta will meet Parma Padua in the 2 p.m. regional semifinal at Tiffin.