PLYMOUTH – The elements were nearly as cruel as fate to Plymouth’s Pilgrims as they failed to hold a two run lead in the sixth and dropped a tough NLC contest to visiting Northridge on Monday night 5-3.
Wind and nearly constant drizzle made conditions tough but the Pilgrims struck for two quickly in the first inning and it appeared that might be enough as Cam Dennie had an outstanding start, striking out 10 walking two and scattering four hits leaving the game after five innings with a 3-1 lead.
Plymouth scored their two in the first on a Cam Dennnie solo homer and a two out single by Noah Pesak that scored Jeremy Drudge, but Ezra Winkle was thrown out trying to get to third on the play and the inning ended.
It appeared all but over when Jesus Luva struck out the first two hitters he faced in relief but then the wheels came off. With two outs a hit by Cam Knepp kept the inning alive and three walks and a single later, the Raiders had pushed across four and held a 5-3 lead.
“We played good baseball we just gave them some free bases and four or five outs in that one inning and they are a team you can’t do that to,” said Plymouth head coach Ryan Wolfe. “Overall we played pretty decent it just stinks that we gave it away at the end.”
The critical inning may have been the half inning before when Plymouth hitters loaded the bases with nobody out against Northridge starter Cam Nickell. Cam Knepp came in from left field in relief of Nickell and with the Pilgrims poised to have a big inning and got Ezra Winkle to hit a check swing topper to the right of the mound that did score Benji Nixon. He then struck out Grant Stukenborg looking and got Noah Pesak to pop out to first to escape what could have been a disaster, down only by two runs 3-1.
“He did a great job coming in,” said Wolfe. “He threw strikes and had a curve ball he could get over for a strike and that was kind of our inning to put it away there. We kept them in the ball game there and then you keep them in the ball game you never know.”
Holding the Pilgrims to just the single run in that inning proved to be enough to keep the Raiders in the game for their big four run fourth that was capped by a huge two out single from Bryce Miller that plated the two go ahead runs.
“Good ball game we just need to find a way to finish some. I look back at last year at this point and we were 3-4 and we went 7-0 and won the conference. Really all we can do is control our own destiny. You can’t control anything else but yourself. We’ve been playing good baseball, we’ve let a couple slip away they were good ballgames and we let them slip away at the end. There’s a lot of things we can still learn and work on and we’re going to do that.”
Dennie had a good night at the plate for the Pilgrims as well hitting a solo homer in the first and adding a single in the fifth. Cole Filson doubled for the Pilgrims.
Northridge 0 0 0 1 0 4 0 5-6-0
Plymouth 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 3-6-1
WP – Cam Knepp. LP – Jesus Luva. HR – Cam Dennie (P). 2B – Cole Filson (P), Bryce Miller (N).