Pilgrims take win over Concord

Plymouth rallies around Chuy Luva to start an inning in their NLC win
By: 
Rusty Nixon
Sports Editor

The offensive tide continues to roll for Plymouth’s Pilgrims as they rode a nine hit performance with more aggressive baserunning to a 10-3 NLC win over Concord at Bill Nixon Field.
It was a “trap” game for the Pilgrims who’ve had a very good week with a road win at Northridge and are leading a Wednesday night suspended game. A big weekend coming up with some of the state’s top teams coming to Bill Nixon Field for the annual midseason Plymouth tournament and road games at Warsaw and Goshen early next week gave Plymouth coach Ryan Wolfe some concern.
Wolfe’s team put his mind at ease.
“We hit the ball, we ran the bases well, we took extra bases, anything you want your guys to do out there we did well,” said Wolfe. “This is a game coming in - Concord had won two in a row in the conference - it’s one of those that worries you as a coach. They were on a high. With the weekend ahead of us we didn’t want to let one slip away from us.”
They did not let it slip away and more good news from Plymouth was a big recovery of Jesus Luva who gets win number four on the year with a solid six innings.
“We got a great outing from Chuy,” said Wolfe. “He had an issue at Wawasee with some blisters on his fingers but those are all healed. He had that changeup tonight, he got ground balls tonight and that’s the biggest thing. He got the ground balls he needed and that’s when he is at his best.”
Those ground balls simply fed the Plymouth defense that has been very solid for the better part of the year.
“We expect to make the routine plays but we made some double plays, made some big plays,” said Wolfe. “I feel we have one of the best, if not the best infield in the conference and with our two guys up the middle (Benji Nixon, Cam Dennie) our pitchers ought to just go for ground ball after ground ball.”
The Pilgrim offense showed up as well and Cam Dennie in a big way with a pair of two run homers part of a four for four, five RBI night.
“It was great to see Kam Vanlue get a double tonight,” said Wolfe. “He’s hit some balls hard and it was good to see him get something to show for it. Our guys take game like swings in batting practice and when we can do that it adds up. We have an experienced group and they are getting good swings up there.”
And running the bases with abandon.
Plymouth jumped to a 3-1 lead but Concord appeared to regain some momentum and seemed on their way to way to a quick one two three inning in the second when Benji Nixon turned a routine single into a leg double keeping the inning alive for an RBI single from Cole Filson, followed by a two run homer from Dennie with two outs.
“One thing that I’ve worked on as a coach is not getting upset if they get thrown out, trying to take an extra base,” said Wolfe. “We’ve got an experienced group that should have a good idea when to go and when not to go. Benji taking second there is just instincts. Then we get the home run because we got Cam to the plate.”
“My arm is tired from waving guys around at times but if we’ve got a runner on second and we have a hit in the outfield we’re going to try and score,” said Wolfe. “We are going to try to put that kind of pressure on you.”
Cam Dennie came on to close out the game on the mound - getting some work in preparing for next week - completing the feat of striking out four in an inning with Concord shortstop Carson Kronemeyer reaching on a dropped third strike for the second time in the game with two outs.
Plymouth is now 8-6 on the year and keeps pace with Goshen and NorthWood in the NLC race in third place at 6-2 with the suspended game waiting for completion.
Saturday the Pilgrims host South Bend Riley, Penn and Fort Wayne Carroll in their annual tournament at Bill Nixon Field. The Pilgrims take on Riley in game one at 11 a.m.
•PLYMOUTH 10, CONCORD 3
at Bill Nixon Field
Concord 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 3-4-2
Plymouth 3 3 0 0 0 4 x 10-9-1
WP - Luva (4-1). LP - Maynard. HR - Dennie 2 (P). 2B - Nixon 2 (P), Dennie (P), Vanlue (P), Kronemeyer (C), Mendoza (C).

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