PLYMOUTH – One play is often the difference – or at the very least – the turning point in a game and for Plymouth’s Pilgrims one pitch is essentially the difference between victory and defeat in an opening day home loss to Mishawaka Marian 4-2.
That one pitch was a 1-2 change up that stayed up and somehow bounced off the foul pole in left field on Tyler Serocynski’s three run third inning home run. It would be the last of only two hits the Knights could manage on the night, and one that Plymouth starter Jesus Luva would like back in an otherwise strong outing, but it would be enough.
“In these early games the pitchers are ahead of the hitters and you have to scrape together whatever you can,” said Plymouth head coach Ryan Wolfe. “Their inning it was two walks and a home run. The inning that they scored one run I think we gave them about five outs that inning. When you give them free bases it’s hard to play.”
In the second inning the Knights used two walks and the only two Plymouth errors in the game to scratch across the first run. In inning three a hit batter and a walk set up Serocynski’s heroics. The Knights would have only two other baserunners in the game off starter Jesus Luva and Tim Tremaine with three innings of scoreless relief.
Meanwhile the Pilgrims were wasting opportunities on offense, stranding 10 baserunners in the game. They were unable to score just one with the bases loaded and one out in the third, and failed to take advantage of runners in scoring position in the fifth and sixth.
“We needed a two out hit,” said Wolfe. “We got some guys on base and early in the year in a close ball game you have to get those.”
Plymouth scored one in the third when Benji Nixon walked, stole second and scored on Noah Pesak’s grounder to second. The only other Plymouth tally came in the fourth when Thomas Dolan singled to lead off the inning and scored later on a double play grounder.
Starter Jesus Luva and reliever Tim Tremaine were solid. Luva gave up just two hits striking out three and walking two. Tremaine pitched three innings of scoreless, no hit relief.
“You’re going to give up some home runs,” said Wolfe. “If that one is a solo home run we’re okay, that’s going to happen but the free bases in front of that is the thing we have to do a better job of.”
“Coming into this season we knew we had a veteran club that knows the right way to play the game,” said Wolfe. “We had a few kids in some positions that they haven’t been in a whole lot with some of the injuries that we have. We had some baseball plays that we need to make – some pop ups just going and catching the ball, communication – we have some things to shore up.”
With Jeremy Drudge and Ezra Winkle out with injuries Noah Pesak took his first career start at first base, and the outfield of Thomas Dolan, Jacob Deacon and Payton Skirvin were all getting their first varsity starts as well. In all the new starters showed well.
Deacon and Dolan each had hits for the Pilgrims. Pesak, Cam Dennie and Jackson Lee had the other Plymouth hits.
“We have a team with great leadership,” said Wolfe. “We’ll get back on the ship and be ready for the next one.”
Marian evens their season at 1-1, Plymouth falls to 0-1 and – weather permitting – takes on South Central on Friday.
•MARIAN 4, PLYMOUTH 2
At Bill Nixon Field
Marian 0 1 3 0 0 0 0 4-2-0
Plymouth 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 2-5-2
WP – Jake Bishop. S – Jarrett Bickel. LP – Jesus Luva (0-1). HR – Tyler Seroczynski (M).