PLYMOUTH — It was the night that the lights went out in Plymouth as a wild night at the ballpark turned into a game one NLC win for the Pilgrims over Mishawaka 10-9.
In a wild finish, Plymouth came to the plate trailing by three in the bottom of the seventh. Ivan Winkle set the stage for what was to follow with a first-pitch double in the inning scoring moments later on a throwing error.
Before it was over there would be two pitching changes a fifteen-minute delay as the lights went off and the Pilgrims taking the win on a walk-off walk to Matt Manzuk.
“We won,” said Plymouth coach Ryan Wolfe. “There were a lot of things that both teams will look at that should have won the game or lost the game every other inning it seemed like.”
“You just fight and you battle and do what you can,” he said. “The conditions weren’t ideal for either team but we got a game in and we won.”
Starting and continuing in a steady drizzle for the entire night both teams struggled out of the gate but settled in after trading three-run first innings. Plymouth starter Skyler Aker gave up a hit to the first three hitters of the game but struck out a pair to end the inning and went unscathed until the fifth when Mishawaka third baseman Justin Fisher took a fastball over the wall in right-center for three RBIs in a four-run Caveman fifth and a 7-5 lead that looked like it might be enough for the win.
Mishawaka plated insurance runs in the sixth and seventh off of reliever Matt Manzuk.
Meanwhile, after surrendering five in the first two innings Mishawaka starter Tanner Cline settled in to toss zeros for the next three, finally giving up a run in the sixth before leaving after Winkle’s seventh-inning double leading 9-6.
“Our pitchers were around the plate,” said Wolfe. “They did a good job, they had a few pitches they’d like to have back but we had some good at-bats late and to come back and win is a huge win to start the conference.”
“Skyler did a good job there getting out of that first inning with a couple of strikeouts and then going out and finding his curveball,” he said. “That’s what we wanted to do tonight and I thought he got it over in a lot of different counts.”
Part of the wild ride was 14 errors committed by both teams in the game, 10 of those by Plymouth. Only five of the nine Mishwaka runs were earned.
“It’s the kind of game it was,” said Wolfe of the adventures in the field. “There were a lot of ups and downs. At times we got frustrated with ourselves. You find a way to get through those things and it’s tough. It’s tough when your expectations are so high. We are still working through some of those things.”
“The conditions are bad but they aren’t letting that be an excuse for them,” he said of his team. “The ball is wet you are going to make some errors, and you have to let those things go and work on the next pitch.”
That they did, coming from behind twice the second time to take the win.
“That’s our lineup one through nine they are always coming at you,” said Wolfe. “Bottom of our lineup came through, hit the ball, and did what they needed to do. It takes all nine.”
“We gave them a lot of outs they gave us a lot of outs and got the runs when we needed them and had one more than they did tonight.”
The win is even more important as the possibility of playing game two of the NLC schedule is in question due to a threatening weather forecast.
“Hopefully we can get Concord in Wednesday, if not we will probably push it to Thursday and play Thursday, Friday, and Saturday,” said Wolfe. “To get this in and keep our pitching on the schedule was big for us.”
Plymouth is 4-2 on the year 1-0 in the NLC with a game scheduled at home on Wednesday against Concord. Mishawaka is now 3-2 and 0-1 in conference play.
•PLYMOUTH 10, MISHAWAKA 9
At Bill Nixon Field
Mishawaka 3 0 0 0 4 1 1 9-9-4
Plymouth 3 2 0 0 0 0 1 4 10-7-10
WP — Manzuk (1-1). LP — Banks. HR — Fisher (M). 2B — Fisher (M), Winkle (P).