Plymouth, CGA bow out at St. Joe tilt

LAKEVILLE — Neither Plymouth nor Culver Girls Academy could wake up their bats, and both finished out their seasons with Class 3A St. Joseph’s Sectional losses at Newton Park Wednesday.
CGA recorded just two hits in a 9-0 loss to the host Lady Indians in game one, while Plymouth batters rallied with a run in the top of the seventh, but it was too little, too late in an 8-1 loss to Jimtown in the nightcap.
The Jimmies and St. Joe will play in the tournament’s championship tonight at 6 p.m.
After racking up seven hits in an errorless win over John Glenn Tuesday, the Lady Pilgrims managed just three hits against the Jimtown pitching staff with three errors on the defensive end in Wednesday’s semifinal.
“We had a couple chances early in the game, we just couldn’t get the hit when we needed it,” said Plymouth head coach Ed Kelso. “Then we had a couple of oopses or whatever you want to call them at the most inopportune times, and they’re too good of a team to do that against. If you open the door they’re going to step through.”
Plymouth put up two hits against closer Brittany Kamp in the seventh to plate a run, but it wasn’t enough for the win.
Morgan O’Neal opened up the final frame with a single, Sommer McClellan drew a walk, and Sarah Iwinski put a ball in play to short that was mishandled to load the bags with none out. Samantha Wojcik drove in O’Neal with a fly to right to keep things going, but Bailey Brown popped out and Briney Horvath flew out in the eight and nine spots, and Marissa Sullivan grounded out to short with the bases loaded to end the game and the Pilgrims’ season.
“The girls have never quit all year,” said Kelso. “There have been opportunities where they could easily have quit, but they never have. I tip my hat to all of them because they do not quit. We come up, we get the bases loaded, we score one, and we’re a swing or two away and you just never know.”
Jimtown punished Plymouth pitcher Sullivan for a lead-off hit batsman in the second as Kayla Isenbarger drove in Samantha Stephens on a sacrifice bunt to put the Jimmies up 1-0.
After putting up just two hits in three innings, Jimtown started to get to Sullivan in the bottom of the fourth with a pair of doubles by Stephens and Lanie Hodgson. A dropped ball at first on a routine grounder to short scored a pair of unearned runs, and Jimtown plated three runs in the inning to go up 4-0.
The Jimmies managed three more hits, the Pilgrims committed two more errors with the pressure on, and Jimtown plated three unearned runs and four total scores in the fifth to take a comfortable 8-0 lead.
Plymouth closes out its season at 10-17. The Lady Pilgrims bid goodbye to senior Sullivan and fellow upperclassman and battery mate Emily Keilman.
“When Marissa and Emily are gone next year they will be missed dearly. They have been part of the program now for four years, and you just don’t easily replace those kinds of kids. Somebody else is going to have to step up and do the job on the mound, do the job at the plate, figure it out.
“Marissa’s going on to play at Ancilla so we’ll get a chance to follow her out there… and Em’s going to college out in Fort Wayne so good things for both of them. We’ll miss them.”
Plymouth: 000 000 1 — 1 3 3
Jimtown: 010 340 x — 8 7 2
Marissa Sullivan (L); Shelby Kankel (W), Brittany Kamp (6).
2B: Lanie Hodgson (J), Sam Stephens (J).
Records: Jimtown 22-8, Plymouth 10-17 (Final).

Coming off an emotional win over top-ranked Marian on Monday, it took the St. Joe batters awhile to adjust to CGA pitcher Abby Jeffirs. The Indians used some small ball tactics to get on the board and get rolling.
“We were bunting a lot. We did it mostly to adjust to her timing and get our eyes focused on that type of pitching,” said St. Joe head coach Earl Keith. “And you just tip your hat; their pitcher gets to everything.
“You go from hard thrower to a soft tosser and sometimes it’s hard to adjust.”
The Indians scored a pair of runs on a leadoff walk and two errors off bunts in the second to go up 2-0, then plated another run on an RBI double from starting pitcher Taylor Ratkay in the third.
St. Joe really got rolling in the fourth with six runs off three hits — an RBI double from Kelly Welsh and RBI singles from Lauren Jamieson and Sierra McDonald — and four CGA errors batting through the order to go up 9-0.
But the Eagles were determined to stay alive, making some interesting adjustments that included pulling in their right fielder to shore up the left side of the infield with an extra player, and rolling a pair of intentional walks to St. Joe batters in the sixth to load the bases for the force out anywhere. In the end CGA avoided the runs-ahead rule loss but not the defeat.
“It took us awhile to compensate. They got six runs in that one inning and then after that they didn’t get a run,” said CGA head coach Randy Minas.
“We moved everyone around where they needed to play. It didn’t take long to realize if they’re not going to hit it to the right side we’re going to move everyone to the left side and see what happens. Walking and everything, it didn’t matter, we had to get the girl at third base. So they played seven innings hard and it was one of the few times they’ve played that far into the game this year, so we’re real proud of them.”
CGA closes out a tough season at 3-22 after entering the season with no returning pitching experience and relatively few returners in general. The team bids goodbye to seniors Monique Novoa and Alexandrea Kreuser.
“We had five seniors not return from last year and no pitchers at the beginning of the season,” said CGA assistant coach Dawn Brockey. “We’re really proud of the girls right now to see how far they’ve come without having a really strong foundation from last year.”
• ST. JOE 9,CGA 0
CGA: 000 000 0 — 0 2 6
St. Joe: 021 600 x — 9 6 2
Abby Jeffirs (L); Taylor Ratkay (W), Anna Irons (5).
2B: Kelly Welsh (SJ).
Records: St. Joe 15-11, Culver Academy 3-22 (final).