Lady Pilgrims win on Senior Night

PLYMOUTH — Marissa Sullivan and Emilee Keilman were honored before the game as part of senior night festivities for the Plymouth softball team Monday night; they could have been honored after the game as well.
Sullivan had a pair of doubles, two runs scored and an RBI for the Lady Pilgrims and pitched her way to seven strikeouts for the win on the mound. Her battery mate Keilman drove her home with a single in the bottom of the first to get the Plymouth scoring started in a 5-1 Northern Lakes Conference victory over the Panthers.
“It was beautiful day for Senior Night; Marissa and Emily both had decent games,” said Plymouth head softball coach Ed Kelso. “Marissa hit the ball a ton. If we’re playing anywhere else she’s got a couple home runs tonight. That long fence kept her in the park. She did a great job on the mound and a good job at the plate. Emily had at least one or two hits and played well behind the plate. Just doing the things we’ve come to expect the last four years from them.”
After Sullivan’s run in the bottom of the first, the Pilgrims picked up another run in the second inning. Sarah Iwinski walked to lead off the inning. She moved to second base on a passed ball and on Sullivan’s second double in as many innings to put the Lady Pilgrims up 2-1.
Plymouth added three insurance runs in the fourth. Iwinski led off again, this time with a single to center field. Samantha Wojcik hit a ground ball back to the pitcher and both runners were safe when her errant throw pulled the shortstop off the bag. Sullivan was walked to load the bases, and Kailey Whitley drove Iwinski home on a ground ball that was misplayed by NorthWood second baseman Lexi Bergman. Morgan O’Neal drove home the final two Lady Pilgrim runs with a pop fly that dropped between three NorthWood defenders for a single.
“That was the difference in the game,” said Kelso of the big inning. “We had a couple chances early to kind of break it open. It didn’t happen, and we got the runners on and the bases loaded and managed to get a couple timely hits. Not hit real hard, but they found their way into the outfield and we got the runs home. Once we got the lead by four runs, we pretty much just shut them down at the plate.”
NorthWood picked up its only run in the top of the first. Allie Mattingly led the game off with a double to right center field. She moved up a base on a wild pitch and score on a ground out by Katie Rhoade.
The Panthers only had two other runners reach scoring position. Jodie Ramer walked in the fourth and moved to third base on a single to right by Brynne Flickinger and Maddie Schwartz made it to second base on a throwing error by Plymouth shortstop O’Neal.
O’Neal led the Lady Pilgrims with three hits and two RBI on the day. Sullivan and Iwinski scored two runs each for Plymouth.
Plymouth bid goodbye to Sullivan and Keilman, both four-year fixtures with the program, in the Lady Pilgrims’ final home game of the year.
“It’s been fun having them around for four years,” Kelso said. “You get kind of attached to the kids after spending three straight months with the kids in the spring four years in a row. You get to have a lot of fun and some laughs along the way, play some decent ball here and there, and we’ll miss them next year when they’re not around.”
Monday’s win moves the Lady Pilgrim record to seven wins and 18 losses on the season and 2-10 in the Northern Lakes Conference. Plymouth travels to NLC top-rated Northridge on Wednesday for its last league match-up of the season.
“Obviously, we were hoping to do a little better in the conference. We had some close games, we just couldn’t get some runs when we needed them or make a defensive play here or there to make a difference, but we were competitive with just about everybody it seems like,” said Kelso.
“If we can go up there and win the game Wednesday, that would be a good little lift going into sectional next week.”
• PLYMOUTH 5, NORTHWOOD 1
At Plymouth
NorthWood: 100 000 0 — 1 2 3
Plymouth: 110 300 x — 5 8 1
Marissa Sullivan (W) and Emilee Keilman; Katie Rohr (L) and Allie Mattingly
2B: Sullivan 2 (P), Mattingly (NW)
Records: Plymouth 8-18 (3-10 NLC)

Sports Editor James Costello contributed to this report.