Pilgrims fall to Crown Point in rain-shortened Plymouth baseball tourney
PLYMOUTH — The Plymouth Baseball Tournament was called for the first time in recent memory due to the unrelenting rain, but not before everyone in the four-team field got a game in.
Defending Class 4A champion and current No. 5-ranked Carroll beat No. 4 Penn 8-4 in a match-up of top-five teams in the opener at Bill Nixon Field, while Plymouth lost 14-8 to Crown Point in the nightcap, postponed more than six hours past its originally scheduled start time.
Plymouth answered back from deficits to tie its game up twice but couldn’t get over the hump after a three-run third inning by the Bulldogs. With the significant rain delay, neither team was at its best as Crown Point committed a pair of errors and the Pilgrims tallied three in the loss.
“We’re a little short-handed this Saturday. The rain didn’t really hurt us not playing a second game,” said Plymouth head coach Tony Plothow. “We knew these guys were going to be ready to compete, and they were, it’s just with that layover both teams were a little affected by that. Then, knowing this was it, I thought maybe we’d sneak up and get them, but that’s a great team, very well-coached.
“We had our hands full today,” said Plothow. “I like the way we battled, we just came up short.”
Crown Point jumped on Plymouth with two runs in the top of the second, parlaying a hit batsman and a pair of hits into the initial lead, but the Pilgrims responded with a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning as Chase Peters was hit by a pitch, Dan Smith drew a one-out walk, and Phil Iwinski ripped a hard-hit, two-out single through the infield gap and into left to score both and knot the game at 2-all.
The Bulldogs again took the lead in the third as Brett Boyer scored Kevin Brunski on a sacrifice fly to deep center, and Jake Lindeman drove in Jose Andrade and Aaron Orosz with a one-out double to right following a pair of singles by Andrade and Orosz, giving the visitors a 5-2 edge, but Plymouth again answered back with three runs in the bottom of the inning.
Damon Howe and Kyle Cartwright drew one-out walks from Crown Point starter Jake Lindeman, and Peters drove in Howe — who moved to second on a balk and third on a wild pitch — with an RBI chopper into left in Point reliever Nick Nauracy’s first batsman faced. Cartwright scored on the second wild pitch of the inning to retie the game, 5-5.
The Bulldogs put up a second-straight three-run frame on a walk, two singles and an error taking the lead 8-5, but this time Plymouth had no answer.
The Pilgrims scored runs off walks by Richie Luva and Dan Smith, an RBI single from Iwinski and an RBI double from Houston Hodges in the sixth to bring the game within reach at 11-8 following a three-run top of the inning by Crown Point.
Plymouth threatened with the Hodges and Connor Flynn in scoring position and Howe at the plate with just one out, but Hodges was caught trying to score on a wild pitch for the second out, and Cartwright grounded out to second to end the Pilgrims’ scoring. Crown Point scratched out three more runs in the seventh to bring the score to its final margin.
“(Hodges) has done some great things for us on the bases,” said Plothow. “I was yelling ‘Not you,’ but he’s done a lot of great things for us on the bases, and he was just trying to make a play. If we make mistakes, I’m glad they’re aggressive. The timing was a bad situation, but if he makes it it’s a big play, if he doesn’t we’re talking about it.”
• CROWN POINT 14,
At Plymouth (Plymouth Tourney)
Crown Point: 023 303 3 — 14 15 2
Plymouth: 023 003 0 — 8 6 3
Jake Lindeman, Nick Naersu (3, W), Steve Low (6, S); Doug Andrews (L), Chase Peters (7), Phil Iwinski (7)
2B: Lindeman (CP) 2, C.J. Becerra (CP) 2, Houston Hodges (P)
Records: Crown Point 9-8, Plymouth 12-6.
• CARROLL (ALLEN) 8, PENN 4
Penn: 300 010 0 — 4 5 0
Carroll: 020 600 X — 8 9 2
Chad Whitmer (L,5-1), Bradey Szekendy (4) and Max Andresen, Jordan Gosztola (5); Jeremy Shelmadine (W), Gavin Downs (5-S) and Elliott Ford.
2B: Sam Sweeden (P), Grant Wilson (C), Downs (C).
Records: Penn 15-1, Carroll 15-2.