PLYMOUTH – You can finally put a game that started eight days ago in the books as Plymouth was an ungracious host and sent Elkhart Memorial home in less than 45 minutes capping out a 14-6 win and stepping into a second place tie in NLC play.
Last Wednesday the Chargers came to town and played to an 11-5 score with two outs in the fifth inning and the bases loaded. The rains came and by NLC rules all games stopped are ruled suspended and must be completed from where they stopped. In NLC terms a week is an eternity and after a week Memorial came back to town red hot and directly off a 12-0 five inning win at Concord on Wednesday night.
“It’s why you have to finish the game,” said Plymouth head coach Ryan Wolfe. “I think our guys knew the importance of getting this done not looking ahead. We’re an older more mature group. We knew they were hot, they’d won a couple of games and coming in here taking care of business was pretty big.”
Made especially big by a huge win at Goshen on Wednesday that sent NorthWood back to the top spot in the conference and set up yet another meeting on Monday between the Panthers and Plymouth where at least a share of first place is on the line.
In the original contest Memorial came out hot and put three quick runs on the board in the first but the Pilgrims would have none of it sending 12 hitters to the plate in their half and answering with eight of their own. Noah Pesak was having a game to write home about at the plate with three RBIs, a solo homer a double and three runs scored and after the delay came on to finish out the game on the mound.
When everybody came back together, another wild card was in the mix as Jeremy Drudge was at the plate in Jackson Lee’s spot in the order and promptly delivered a two run single to essentially stick the nail in the coffin of any Charger comeback attempt.
The health of two key players in the Pilgrims scheme when the year began is already paying dividends with Dennie pitching a gem on Wednesday night against Goshen and Drudge freeing up the Plymouth lineup to give catcher Lee and pitcher Dennie a night off for the suspended game.
“What’s great about getting Jeremy back and having Cam healthy, the younger guys that have played this whole time while they’ve been out have filled in fantastically,” said Wolfe. “To be able to get guys like Jackson (Lee) and Cam (Dennie) an extra night off it’s big. The season is a grind and an extra day of rest is really big.”
The Pilgrims scored another run in the seventh and ended the game with 14 hits and again showed the potency of the Pilgrim bats the past week. Goshen’s Joey Peebles tamed them to an extent on Wednesday but not enough to take a win.
“We’ve had some good at bats. Games like last night we are going to need timely hits but we’ve been swinging the bat well,” said Wolfe. “We’ve been aggressive at the plate and that’s good to see. We’re going to see great pitching in the sectional and it’s going to come down to us having to execute some things that we’ve done early in the season to squeeze or safety squeeze and we’ve got guys that can do that.”
“It comes to a maturity level with our kids that we don’t panic,” said Wolfe. “Any kid in our lineup has a chance to hit a double or steal a base. They talk about five tool players we’ve got a lot of four and five tool players that can do a lot of good things and when you can put pressure on a defense they can’t take a play off. In tight games that is in our favor.”
Plymouth’s Benji Nixon, Cam Dennie and Pesak now officially have a three hit game. Cole Filson will get the win on the mound in relief of starter Tim Tremaine.
•PLYMOUTH 14, ELKHART MEMORIAL 6
at Bill Nixon Field
Elk. Mem. 3 0 2 0 0 1 0 6-8-0
Plymouth 8 1 0 1 3 1 x 14-14-2
WP – Filson. LP – Lee. S – Pesak. HR – Pesak (P), Lee (E). 3B – Dennie (P). 2B – Rost (E), Nixon (P).