DEFIANCE — Lake's Jayce Vancena may not have been at his best, but the senior right-hander kept Elmwood off-balance for the entire game Thursday in a Division III district semifinal at Defiance High School.
Backed by 13 hits, including two home runs, Vancena pitched a six-inning no-hitter as Lake (25-3) posted an 11-1 run-rule victory over the Royals (12-13).
Lake (25-3) now faces Archbold on Saturday at 2 p.m at Defiance for the title.
Archbold advanced with a 4-3 win over Genoa, scoring the winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning on a throwing error.
Vancena struck out 11 and walked three. The Royals hit only two balls into the outfield. His fastball registered between 88 and 91 miles per hour during the game.
“This definitely wasn't one of my best games, but I just kept the mentality of going out there and competing,” said Vancena, who has signed a national letter of intent to attend the University of Michigan. “You are going to have days when you don't have your best stuff. Those are the days that you have to go compete the hardest.”
It was Vancena's second no-hitter of the year as he also did not allow a hit to Elmwood in the Flyers' Northern Buckeye Conference opener.
“He's one of the best pitchers who has been around this area for quite a few years, and he lived up to the billing,” Elmwood head coach Kyle Reiser said. “We don't see velocity like that; it's hard to simulate that kind of velocity to get them ready to play.”
Elmwood scored its only run in the fourth inning. Jacob Wise walked to start the inning, moved to second on a passed ball and to third on a wild pitch. With two out, Wise scored on a third strike in the dirt.
“We weren't as sharp as I would have liked to be on everything. Jayce didn't have his best command for the whole game, but we battled,” said Lake head coach Greg Wilker.
Connor Bowen had three hits and four RBIs, including a three-run home run to pace the Flyers. Cody Witt and Vancena each added three hits for Lake, while Vancena and Walsh each drove in three runs.
“It's been like that the whole year, we have hit the ball very well,” Vancena said. “It's been awesome to go out there and pitch with a lead, almost every game.”
“We have been hitting the ball around all year, scoring runs, and executing.”
On Wednesday, Lake dropped an 11-10 decision to Genoa, breaking a 19-game winning streak.
Wilker said having a game on Thursday allowed the Flyers to put the Genoa loss behind them.
“That's the beauty of baseball … you are right back at it the next day,,” Wilker said.
In the second game, Archbold tied the game at 3 in the bottom of the seventh and then won the game in the bottom of the eighth.
Matt Sevey led off the bottom of the eighth inning with a single. He then scored the winning run on a throwing error on Micha Bernath's sacrifice bunt.
“It's a true game and you have to get every out,” Genoa head coach Ron Rightnowar said. “If you are going to move on in the tournament, you have got to make those plays. We didn't make them and that's what got us beat.
“We did enough to beat them, we just didn't pull it off defensively.”
Dick Selgo, Archbold's head coach, said he was sending Sevey when the throw went down the right-field line.
Casey Gose gave Genoa (17-7) a quick lead with a leadoff home run in the first inning. The Comets took a 2-0 lead in the fifth inning on Cody Pickard's RBI double.
Genoa's Like Rightnowar kept Archbold (19-9) hitless until the fifth inning. Jacob Wagner's single cut Genoa's lead to 2-1 and Derek Walker hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game.
Genoa regained the lead on Nick Wolfe's sacrifice fly in the top of the sixth inning. Archbold's Chan Wyse led off the bottom of the seventh with a bloop double down the left field line and later scored on a throwing error.