Pilgrims rally past Minutemen

PLYMOUTH — The Plymouth Pilgrims have found some interesting ways to win game at home this season, and Friday’s contest with the Concord Minutemen was no exception.
This time, however, it wasn’t a new way to win.
In a situation eerily similar to last Friday’s 5-4 victory over the NorthWood Panthers, the Pilgrims used a pick-off attempt to score the winning run in a 6-5 Northern Lakes Conference victory at Bill Nixon Field.
With Hayden Skirvin occupying third base and Blake Milliser on first, Joe Knapp worked his way to a full count with two outs in the fifth inning. Milliser strayed off of first base before the pitcher committed to the plate and was picked off at first base. Milliser was caught in a run-down and managed to stay in the pickle just long enough for Skirvin to cross the plate for the eventual game-winner.
If it wasn’t for the pitching of Jordan Scheetz and an outburst in the fifth inning by the Plymouth offense, the outcome may have been different.
The Pilgrims got down early, giving up five unearned runs in the top of the second inning.
With one out in the inning, Concord five-hole hitter Cain Crowley singled up the middle. Dakota Simon followed that up with a ground ball that was misplayed by Plymouth shortstop Connor Flynn, and the runners advanced to second and third on the play. The second error of the inning, this time by first baseman Skirvin on a toss to Scheetz covering the bag, cost the Pilgrims two runs. A single to right field by Mason Eldridge and a throwing error by right fielder Milliser put runners at second and third once again for Concord.
The Minutemen got a single from Preston Miller to drive in Connor Slabach, upping the lead to three and putting runners at first and third. Concord added a fourth run to the lead after Miller stole second base and Eldridge advance to the plate on the throw to second base. Miller scored the final run of the inning – and game for Concord — on a single to right by leadoff hitter Nick Wysong.
Plymouth’s bats struggled to connect with Concord starter Seth Huxford’s pitches early in the game. The senior right-hander cruised through the first four innings of the game allowing only two hits — a second inning single to right field by Riley Cartwright and a fourth inning single to right by Trent Briles — while striking out six Pilgrim hitters.
But Huxford starting having control problems in the fifth inning, and Plymouth capitalized with six runs to take a 6-5 lead.
Flynn walked with one out an advanced to second base when Concord second baseman Taylor Miller couldn’t handle a ground ball by Chase Peters. Jacob Seagraves walked to load the bases and was replaced by pinch runner Cole Mann. Ike Kastner singled home Flynn and Peters with a line drive to right, and Cartwright plated Mann on his second hit of the night to cut the Minutemen lead to two.
Briles came up with his second single of the game to score Kastner and trim the lead to one run. After a Concord pitching change, Skirvin hit a sharp ground ball just off the glove of the Concord third baseman for a single to score Cartwright. Briles was sent home on the play but was called out on a close play at the plate. Milliser followed that up with a bouncer off the glove of the third baseman of his own to put Pilgrims at first and third base. Skirvin crossed the plate on the first-and-third play to give the Pilgrims the lead for good.
Scheetz went the distance for Plymouth to earn the win. He allowed seven hits and struck out two Concord batters without allowing a walk in the game.
“I thought Jordan (Scheetz) was pitching great,” said Plymouth coach Tony Plothow. “You look at all of the shut-out innings up there, all of them except for the second inning with all the unearned runs, and he just didn’t give up. I also have to give credit to some of our sophomore hitters. Cartwright and Briles came up with some big hits.”
Cartwright and Briles each had a pair of hits for the Pilgrims in the win.
The Pilgrims jump back above the .500 mark at 8-7 on the season with the victory and improve to 5-3 in NLC play.
Plymouth returns to action today, hosting Class 4A No. 9 Crown Point, two-time defending state champion Fort Wayne Carroll and Penn. Crown Point and Carroll square off at 11 a.m. with the Plymouth versus Penn match-up to follow.
At Plymouth
Concord: 050 000 0 – 5 7 2
Plymouth: 000 060 x – 6 7 6
Jordan Scheetz (W) and Jacob Seagraves; Seth Huxford, Jake Stauffer (5, L) and Dakota Simon
Records: Plymouth 8-7 (5-3 NLC)
JV score: Plymouth 3, Concord 2