PLYMOUTH — You couldn’t have asked for much more for a home opener as Plymouth’s Pilgrims got in the win column with a 16-2 five-inning victory over South Central.
“Anytime you win and you play well it’s good I don’t care who you’re playing,” said Plymouth coach Ryan Wolfe. “I thought our approach at the plate was actually similar to the other night (a loss at St. Joe on Wednesday). We were aggressive, and we are a team that’s going to put a lot of pressure on people this year. When you put pressure on them and you are also able to drive the ball in the gap — a lot of our guys can do that — it puts that much more pressure on people.”
The Pilgrims started that pressure right away with the first game jitters seemingly in the rearview mirror, putting up a run in the first inning with lead-off man Ivan Winkle stroking a double to left-center and scoring on a single by Tanner Feece.
Feece had a big night going two for three but it was nowhere close to the night that starting pitcher Matt Dobuck had. In addition to taking the win, and allowing just one run, the Plymouth senior had a pair of hits — a two-run double and a grand slam homer — on his way to six RBIs.
On the mound, he went four innings striking out six but walking five. The periodic bouts of wildness would be the only blemish on the night.
“That’s going to be the key especially when we get into conference play, free bases,” said Wolfe. “The other night we had 19 free bases between walks, passed balls, errors and they know that’s stuff we have to clean up.”
“I keep telling myself it’s just game two it’s the first time that we’ve faced a live batter but we are playing games now,” he said. “In close games where we don’t score 16 runs those things are the difference.”
“We’ve talked a lot to Matt about relying on his defense, he doesn’t have to strike every kid out,” said Wolfe. “I thought overall he did a pretty good job. We have to have him out there.”
Plymouth’s youngsters continue their growth as the sophomore class continues to be well represented and continue to have solid outings. Adding to Matt Manzuk and Cam Shively was Michael Sheely taking a turn at DH and turning in a three-hit night with a pair of doubles and RBIs.
“A lot of those guys, this is their first high school game let alone varsity but my expectations haven’t changed at all,” said Wolfe. “Play as hard as you can and win the game. The young guys are fun to watch.”
“We told our catchers last night we just wanted them to worry about catching,” he said. “Michael took advantage of that opportunity. He’s another guy that can put one in the gap or beat out an infield hit.”
“Again it puts all kinds of pressure on the other team,” said Wolfe. “We have guys that are always thinking 90 feet ahead, that makes it easy on me and that gets a lot of guys in scoring position. We have a lot of guys that can do a lot of good things.”
“We did a lot of things against St. Joe that are going to help us win games,” he said. “We did a lot of things that we are not going to win any games if we keep doing them. We just have to keep getting better.”
The Pilgrims (1-1) will continue to try getting better today with a doubleheader against Mishawaka Marian — weather permitting — with a game one start time of 11 a.m. at Bill Nixon Field.
•PLYMOUTH 16, SOUTH CENTRAL 2
at Bill Nixon Field
S. Central 0 1 0 0 1 2-2-3
Plymouth 1 4 10 1 x 16-15-0
WP — Dobuck (1-0). LP — Ferrell. HR — Dobuck (P). 2B — Sheely (P) 2, Winkle (P), Dobuck (P), Shively (P).