Dennie homer greetingPLYMOUTH – It had some anxious moments but a pitchers duel between two unlikely sources finally fell the Pilgrims way in taking an 8-3 win over CMA at Bill Nixon Field.
The Pilgrims sent senior shortstop Benji Nixon to the mound for the first start of his high school career and just his third high school appearance on the mound, and CMA countered with right hander George Boardman and when the sixth inning rolled around the game was tied at one with each team having just five hits.
The two did it differently with Nixon striking out six on the way, but Boardman got nine hitters in his five innings of work to pop up and survived a bases loaded jam in the second.
Nixon left with two out in the sixth and trailing 2-1. Boardman left with one out in the fifth and the score tied at one so neither figured in the decision.
Plymouth hitters struggled with the CMA right hander all night long.
“He (Boardman) was right around the plate. We were swinging at some pitches that later in the game we finally got to telling the guys to take a strike,” said Plymouth coach Ryan Wolfe. “With a guy like that the ball looks like a balloon coming up there and we’re out in front. He did everything he was supposed to do and you sandwich him with the hard throwing guy we saw last night it’s tough.”
Will Levan came on in relief of Boardman and got the final two outs in the fifth but walked the bases loaded in the Plymouth half of the sixth setting the stage for two wild pitches and a Cam Dennie grand slam bomb that would bust the game open. Plymouth would plate seven in the inning off Levan and reliever Matt Regan.
“I told the guys when we got them together late, be patient,” said Wolfe. “Take a deep breath. We got a run there in the fourth and Benji did a great job of keeping us in the game. They have some great hitters (Hayden Schott) is leading the state in hitting and he got all of that last one (a solo homer in the seventh). It was two high school varsity teams playing and you can’t take anything for granted.”
“We were able to fight through it and get some runs at the end.”
Plymouth pitching and solid defense behind them kept the Pilgrims in the game until the bats warmed up.
“Benji did a great job,” said Wolfe. “He had some giddyup on his fast ball, Pesak came on and got that last out. We wanted to go to Deacon at the end there he hasn’t gotten a lot of work lately it was good for him to close it out.”
The Pilgrims will be in action again on Wednesday night at Bill Nixon Field with a share of the NLC title on the line. The Pilgrims must win to do so.
“This is why you play the game to put yourself in position to play games like tomorrow,” said Wolfe. “I’m glad they’ve put themselves in this position and hopefully we can come out on top tomorrow.”
The Pilgrims are 14-9 on the season.
at Bill Nixon Field
CMA 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 3-5-18
Plymouth 0 0 0 0 1 7 x 8-8-2
WP – Pesak. LP – Levan. HR – Dennie (P), Schott (C). 2B – Stofflet (C).