PLYMOUTH — Baseball is the type of game where missed opportunities and momentary lapses are the difference between winning and losing and Plymouth found that out the hard way in an 8-4 loss to #6 (3A) New Prairie at Bill Nixon Field.
A steady drizzle and temperatures in the mid 40s was more reminiscent of football season and made the night more miserable as the Pilgrims made five errors – three in the third and two in the seventh – that led directly to all the Cougar runs. Plymouth surprise starting pitcher Thomas Dolan deserved a better fate.
“I thought Tommy did a great job tonight,” said Plymouth head coach Ryan Wolfe. “Those four runs in the third really weren’t on him. We just threw the ball around a little bit. He did an excellent job getting his curveball over and hitting his spots. His last two outings have been awesome.”
Dolan came to the park expecting to take his normal place in right field, but when scheduled starter Matt Dobuck had arm trouble warming up in the bullpen, Dolan was handed the ball and turned in his second solid outing in a week. On a night that was not optimal to pitch in, Dolan willed his way to the sixth and left the game trailing just 4-1.
Meanwhile New Prairie starter Josh Conley was efficiently working through the Plymouth lineup that pounded out 15 hits Saturday night, holding them to 3 through five and working out of any trouble.
“We really needed to get some runs early and we didn’t,” said Wolfe. “We had a couple opportunities with two outs and against a good team you need to score with two outs. You need to take advantage of anything that they give you. Late we had some guys on base and just couldn’t get them in.”
Just as New Prairie scored all its runs in two innings, Plymouth did the same — finally pushing a run across in the sixth with a lead off walk and two straight hits, stranding runners at second and third with no outs. Dimitri Scofield came on to get three straight hitters to end that threat.
In the seventh, a lead off walk, a double and a wild pitch gave Plymouth another score, but they left the bases loaded with no more coming across.
“It was a ballgame all the way to the end,” said Wolfe. “We had guys on base and couldn’t execute some of the things that we needed to to get those runs home.”
It ended a string of seven games in nine days for the Pilgrims that saw it’s share of highs and lows with no relief in sight.
“We’ve got another long week ahead but it is what it is,” said Wolfe. “We’ve gotta keep going and building for the sectional and stay in the hunt for the NLC title. We have to take care of business and get a little help on Monday for that.”
“I think that we’ve done a lot of good things,” he said. “We’ve gotten a lot of guys out on the mound and gotten a lot of confidence heading into the sectional. We need to be ready to go.”
Plymouth is 13-8 on the year. New Prairie moves to 19-4.
*NEW PRAIRIE 8, PLYMOUTH 2
at Bill Nixon Field
NP 0 0 4 0 0 0 4 8-7-0
Plymouth 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 2-6-5
WP – Conley (4-1). LP – Dolan (1-1). 2B – E. Winkle (P), I. Winkle (P), Kelley (NP).