PLYMOUTH – While the rains came early in the day it was a beautiful night for baseball at Bill Nixon Field, made more beautiful by a 3-0 win by the Pilgrims.
In a game originally scheduled for NorthWood, the Panthers were anxious to get the contest in despite wet conditions at their home field. Both schools made the decision to switch the venue early Monday afternoon and came to Bill Nixon Field for the second time this season.
In their first meeting at NorthWood made no doubt about a big 10-1 at Plymouth and with talented right hander Alec Holcomb on the mound felt confident of a similar outcome.
Plymouth starter Cam Dennie had to leave the game in the third with a one hit shut out, but Cole Filson came on in relief in the fourth and more than held ground tossing four innings of no hit ball, striking out four allowing just one baserunner – a lead off walk to Brent Mast in the seventh.
“He did a great job with all his pitches working and was right around the plate,” said Plymouth coach Ryan Wolfe of Filson’s heroic effort. “There’s a lot of confidence between him and the guys that he can make pitches and they can make plays to come in where he did and hold them hitless he did a great job and gave us a shot to win.”
Dennie left the game in the third having thrown 30 pitches and Filson was able to take the baton and finish the win.
“He knew he was going to be first in the bullpen but he had no idea with Cam in the game you never know if that’s going to happen,” said Wolfe. “He’s (Filson) proven it all year coming out of the bullpen and hammering strikes.”
Plymouth plated two in the second when Jackson Lee laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move Jeremy Drudge and Jacob Deacon – who both singled to lead off the inning – into scoring position. Freshman Matt Dobuck drove in one on an error by NorthWood shortstop Sawyer Warren, and Jesus Luva drove home a second with a single.
Plymouth pushed across another in the sixth when Dobuck doubled home Thomas Dolan running for Jackson Lee who led off the inning being hit by a pitch. Wolfe gambled for another one hitter later having Benji Nixon attempt the suicide bunt which was popped up for out number two.
While Nixon didn’t drive that run home he saved one with stellar defensive work in the bottom of the inning, making a play in the hole at short look easy and retiring Sawyer Warren one pitch later on a tough chance.
“That’s a sign of maturity,” said Wolfe. “With an at bat that didn’t go the way he wanted – not being able to execute – and in this game the ball is going to find you right away. It did and it’s just sign of maturity that he leaves that where it was and moves on and makes two outstanding defensive plays.”
Every run was at a premium and the Pilgrims were able to execute a little more than the Panthers.
“When you have two good teams going at it like this the little things are what win you ball games. I knew coming into this game I thought the team scoring first would win the ball game,” said Wolfe. “I challenged our kids to come out and get a run across early and they did that.”
NorthWood coach A.J. Risedorph had a similar notion.
“He brought his infield in early too and one run could win this game,” said Wolfe. “The mentality of playing a good team is that I challenged our kids to accept that call.”
“You don’t get a whole lot of chance to practice at this point in the year and we’ve been taking a lot of fastballs,” said Wolfe. “We really challenged our kids to go up there hitting fastballs early in the count and we did that. It goes back to our kids having a plan when they go up there. That can be more important than your swing and our kids had a good plan tonight.”
Plymouth stays in the running for an NLC title in a three way tie with Goshen and NorthWood. Wednesday’s game at Bill Nixon Field with Northridge will be critical.
Plymouth is in action at home again Tuesday with CMA.
•PLYMOUTH 3, NORTHWOOD 0
at Bill Nixon Field
NW 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0-1-3
Plymouth 0 2 0 0 0 1 x 3-8-0
WP – Filson. LP – Holcomb. 2B – Dobuck (P).