PLYMOUTH – It was a replay of the original opener at a different place and in a game played more like a mid-season contest than a season opener it was St. Joe that ended up taking the win with a 4-2 final over Plymouth at Bill Nixon Field.
The home run was in play for both teams as Plymouth jumped to a 2-1 lead on a solo shot by Grant Stukenborg in the second but St. Joe catcher Luke Houin answered with a two run shot in the fourth for the Indians that would put them ahead and be the difference in the game.
“I knew coming in that was going to be the kind of game it was,” said Plymouth head coach Ryan Wolfe. “They have some people in the middle of the lineup that can do some damage and so do we. I thought all five pitchers did a great job it’s good to have those games early in the season once you get into conference play you know that’s the way it’s going to be every night.”
Plymouth took advantage of starter Andrew Migas wildness in inning one to plate a run, but it could have been worse and Migas ability to limit the damage may have been the difference in the game.
“You’d like to push as many as you can across in that first inning,” said Wolfe. “We were fortunate to get one and we made some mistakes and we’re going to work on that. We are still relatively young and we made some mistakes but both team’s pitchers did a great job being around the plate.”
While Migas was getting out of any trouble with big pitches Plymouth starter Cam Dennie did the same with a four inning, seven strike our performance finding his way to the fourth inning. Ezra Winkle followed and while he periodically struggled with some wildness of his own, made plenty of big pitches to get out of his tough situations.
“It’s what we have is guys that can strike guys out in those key situations,” said Wolfe. “When you have that first and second or second and third when you need that big strike out we’ve got guys with that wipe out stuff that can get that big strike out and get out of the inning for you.”
One thing that Wolfe can be pleased with is a chance to see the depth of his roster in some big game situations.
“There’s a lot of things that we can do and a lot of guys we can put in our lineup,” said Wolfe. “There will be different lineups in there based on the DH and what we can do and our guys give me the ability to do that.”
Monday night will come back to one pitch that the Pilgrims would like to have back in the fourth inning that Houin deposited over the left field fence.
“You’d like to have one pitch back and that’s what happens when you have two good teams playing each other,” said Wolfe. “We’re going to win a lot of games, they’re going to win a lot of games and battle for conference titles. It’s early in the season and it gives us a measuring stick. They’re going to be there in the NIC, we’re going to be there in the NLC.”
St. Joe is unbeaten at 3-0, Plymouth is 1-1 with a game at Rochester tonight.
St. Joe 0 1 0 2 0 1 0 – 4-5-1
Plymouth 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 – 2-3-1
WP – Andrew Migas. S – Michael Dunkelberger. LP – Cam Dennie. HR – Luke Houin (SJ), Grant Stukenborg (P). 2B – Tony Carmola (SJ), Tyler Kleva (SJ).