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Clutch hitting in last at bats sends Plymouth to round two of Sectionals.

May 26, 2011

Mother Nature wasn’t very cooperative last night in the first sectional game for the Plymouth Pilgrims against the New Prairie Cougars.   A pass ball by New Prairie gives Plymouth a 4-3 to advance.

“Tonight was a weird night for everyone.  The weather, our mistakes we made, timely hitting, timely pitching by Richie, a key catch by Skirvin off the bench.  There was some big plays by both teams.”, said Plymouth Head Coach Tony Plothow.

New Prairie scored two in the bottom of the 2nd to jump out early, 2-0.

Plymouth answered with one run in the top of the 4th despite having the bases loaded with nobody out situation.  New Prairie got a key double play off the bat of Richie Luva to keep the Pilgrims trailing.

New Prairie added to their lead thanks to a misplayed fly ball in centerfield to make it 3-1 after 4 innings.

Plymouth was held to a meager two hits after 4 innings by New Priarie’s starter Seth Shail.

The Cougar defense let them down in the top of the 5th with a leadoff error by their shortstop allowing Dan Smith to board.  After two straight strikeouts, Conner Flynn singled and another error by rightfielder allowed runners on second and third.  Then Damon Howe collected an RBI single to cut the New Prairie lead down to 3-2.   With Flynn at thirdbase, Howe at firstbase, Kyle Cartwright walked on a low pitch but Flynn thought the ball passed the catcher, it didn’t, and Flynn was caught in a rundown where he eventually was tagged for the third out.  Plymouth trailed by one run, 3-2.

New Prairie got a lead-off double to start the bottom of the 5th.  Richie Luva fielded a bunt, throwing to thirdbase for a fielders choice play and one out.   A key double play by Plymouth finished the Cougar opportunity.

The top of the 6th had the Pilgrims get back to back 1 out singles by Richie Luva and Jacob Seagraves.  Junior Dan Smith battled Shail in a 8 pitch count lofting a fly ball to rightfield, allowing Luva to get to thirdbase.  But senior Phil Iwinski grounded to second to end the inning.

For a second straight inning, New Prairie got a lead off double to start an inning.   Luva got the remaining three outs to keep the deficit at one run, 3-2.

Trailing into their last at bats, Plymouth had their top of the order up.   Houston Hodges struck out for a third time in the ballgame.   Conner Flynn singled into leftfield representing the tying run.   The drama built when Damon Howe got behind in the count 0-2 eventually striking out and was ejected from the ballgame for arguing the call, leaving Plymouth down to their final out.   With the Pilgrim season riding on the shoulders of senior Kyle Cartwright, he doubled putting runners at second and third with two outs.  Plymouth now had the tying run 90 feet away with Chase Peters at the plate.  A pass ball by catcher Kyle Gorny allowed the game to become tied at 3-3 in the top of the 7th.   With the go ahead run standing at third,  Chase Peters hit a clutch RBI single on a 2-2 count to give Plymouth a 4-3 lead.

“Getting two runs with two outs in our last at bats was great to see.  Cartwright had the KEY at bat in this inning.  We didn’t quit.”, said Coach Plothow.  “We trailed that whole game until the final innings.  It’s just to bad we lose Damon for a game.   We shouldn’t of but we did.”

With momentum in Plymouth’s favor, Richie Luva needed three outs to get his team to Monday’s action.  Luva struck out the first hitter he faced.  Cougar Wes Ellis drew Luva’s first walk of the ballgame with one out.  Austin Rieff  lined out to a diving  Hayden Skirvin, Howe’s replacement at firstbase, who doubled off Ellis to end the ballgame.

Plymouth will advance to Monday afternoon’s 1 o’clock game against Rochester at Bill Nixon Field.