PLYMOUTH – For a second night in a row it was pitching and defense that carried Plymouth’s Pilgrims to a crucial 1-0 NLC win over NorthWood at Bill Nixon Field on Friday night.


Once again an outstanding pitching performance by a surprise starting pitcher equaled a win for the Pilgrims. Almost a week ago Jeremy Splix held LaPorte in check for six innings, and followed that performance with another masterful performance holding NorthWood to just three hits through six innings.


“I gotta give credit to him (Splix) and his focus,” said Plymouth coach Ryan Wolfe. “He wanted the ball and it really showed out there. When he didn’t get ahead of guys he battled back and made them hit his pitch. He’s got enough movement on his fastball to get right handed hitters to hit the fly ball to right field. When he does get a curve ball over it’s even better. He’s done a great job his past two starts and our pitching staff this week had done a great job.”


Caleb Mikesell came on to record the save, getting three NorthWood hitters to fly out surrendering just a one out walk.


“To have Caleb come out there and be in the same position he was at Concord a week ago and succeed says a lot about his character,” said Wolfe of his senior.


The Plymouth offense had just enough to take the win, getting through to NorthWood starter Vinnie Miranda for a single run in the third. Benji Nixon led the inning off with a single and then later scored on Spencer Mae-Croft’s ball that was misplayed by NorthWood third baseman Vince Hershberger.


Nixon would have two hits for the Pilgrims as would George Stults. Hershberger had a pair of doubles for the Panthers and came on to pitch three shut out innings in relief of Miranda. The Pilgrims left the bases loaded in the third and left two in in the fourth to waste a couple opportunities.


“I thought we left a few guys on base and I was hoping that wouldn’t come back to bite us,” said Wolfe. “When you have a one run game and win that one run game it says a lot about our grit and our toughness and wanting to get outs, willing to battle. They put some pressure on us there in the sixth and to get two pop outs there was really big.


“They are a solid team. Its the kind of team we’re going to see in the tournament. It says a lot about the kids we have who want to win every pitch and I thought we did a very good job.”


After a rough previous week, Wolfe was happy with the resilience of his squad to pick up three straight conference wins and four w’s on the week.


“We’ve been in two games this week where we were in the same position last week and didn’t win,” said Wolfe. “It’s often how you respond to failure. Baseball is a game of failure. You’re going to be put back out there and the ball is going to find you.”


The Pilgrims (9-4, 4-2) have another big game on the road at Northridge on Monday. NorthWood moves to 9-3 and 4-2 in the NLC.



NorthWood 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0-3-1

Plymouth 0 0 1 0 0 0 x 1-7-0

WP – Jeremy Splix (1-1). LP – Vinny Miranda. S – Caleb Mikesell. 2B – Hershberger 2 (NW).