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Pilgrims fall in sectional opener

May 24, 2018

BEN GONNA THROWLAPORTE – It will come down to two plays in an almost perfectly pitched sectional game.
Plymouth’s Cam Dennie and Mishawaka’s Sam Shively matched up in a gem at LaPorte that the Cavemen eventually won 2-0, but with just seven outs to play the outcome could just have easily been reversed.
In the Plymouth fifth, Jackson Lee led off with a walk and after a sacrifice bunt, courtesy runner Payton Skirvin was in scoring position with one out. A strikeout later Plymouth shortstop Benji Nixon walked to the plate and hit a one strike pitch hard into the hole between short and third. Somehow Mishawaka shortstop Grant Jablonski made an outstanding backhand stop to keep the ball in the infield. While he had no chance to throw out Nixon at first, it forced Skirvin to stop at third on a ball he would have easily scored on had it gone to the outfield.
With runners at the corners and two out Cole Filson lined a shot to center that appeared to have all the earmarks of beating Caveman centerfielder Donavan Snyder over his head. Somehow Snyder recovered and outran the ball a few steps shy of the fence with a slick over the shoulder catch, for the final out, and more importantly stopping two Plymouth runs from scoring.
“Those couple things that happened were it,” said Wolfe. “They made some plays to nullify any opportunities we had. That’s the way the game goes sometimes.”
Meanwhile both pitchers had very few chinks in the armor. Dennie struck out nine in six innings of work and gave up just one hit – a third inning single to designated hitter Sam Rajski who then gave way to Jack Hecklinski the second basemen he was hitting for.
Hecklinski promptly took off to steal on the first pitch and a wild pitch to the screen allowed him to move all the way to third. One pitch later another wild pitch would score him with what appeared would hold up as the only run of the game.
Plymouth had only three hits as Shively went the distance for his sixth win of the season, striking out seven, including the game’s final out.
“It comes down to just a few plays in a game like this,” said Wolfe. “We knew we were going to see a good pitcher. Both teams had one hit going to the sixth inning. We just couldn’t pull this one out. I can’t ask for any more from our guys. For Cam to compete the way he did. Our guys went down swinging.”
The Pilgrims end the year at 17-11 and a share of the NLC title.
“What they’ve given me for four years I couldn’t have asked for anything more,” said Wolfe of his senior class. “This group has worked really hard. What they’ve left as a legacy over the last four years makes them a special group. They’ve won a lot of ballgames, two conference titles, they left it all out there. I couldn’t be prouder of them.”
Payton Skirvin, Noah Pesak, Jeremy Drudge and Benji Nixon played their final games as the senior class.
at LaPorte
Mishawaka 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 2-1-2
Plymouth 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0-3-1
WP – Shively (6-1). LP – Dennie (1-1). 2B – Dennie (P).