Rally not enough for Pilgrims vs Panthers

PLYMOUTH — It could have been worse.
After a disastrous five-run open, Plymouth’s Pilgrims could have had a very long Saturday evening indeed. But fighting back, they gave themselves a chance to win before finally falling to South Bend Washington 8-4 at Bill Nixon Field.
Washington hit the Pilgrims early and often, putting up five and batting 12 players in the very first inning.
“We started off fast and hit the wall a little bit,” said Washington coach John Kehoe. “It was good to see some kids aggressive swinging the bat up early in the count. I played here before; it’s a good place to hit.”
The Panthers made that obvious, with a little early help from Plymouth.
“We sputtered there for a little bit,” said Plymouth coach Ryan Wolfe. “A couple mistakes there in the first inning, and if you put a couple freebies with three or four hits it leads to five runs.”
Plymouth began to play “one at a time” baseball in its half when lead-off man Justin Drudge reached on an error and scored on Cody Gamble’s single.
From there on it was a game of catch-up, made much easier by the pitching performance of freshman Braydon Davidson. The freshman went five innings giving up just two runs — none earned — striking out one and walking none.
“When we brought him up today we thought we might throw him a couple innings, but having him throw five he did a fabulous job,” said Wolfe of Davidson’s performance. “He kept us in the game. We had to stay there to stay in the ball game. We get that hit in the sixth we’re back within one, but we stayed in there, hung in there. We have to play better early on.”
The Pilgrims fought back several times during the game but left runners on base in several situations.
“A few miscues were starting to come back to haunt us,” said Kehoe. “But we pieced together a few more runs at the end, which is huge to get up by that four-run cushion. (Plymouth) had some nice at-bats. We were throwing strikes, but if they hit where you’re not, so be it, that’s the game. Both our pitchers did a pretty good job. Hopefully that can continue.”
“I know I was carrying helmets off the field, and I know I don’t like to do that,” said Wolfe. “We have to get some of those hits. The bottom of the line up got on, maybe the top needs to drive them in. We’ll get there.”
Wolfe was pleased with the effort of several players — available on a Saturday with the Plymouth JV having the day off. George Stults doubled along with Davidson’s performance.
“A lot of those young guys love baseball. They play hard for Coach Corbett and when nobody has a game we bring them up here, and they kept us in the game,” said Wolfe. “At one point we had four freshman in a row and three of them reached on good solid hits. We’ll keep doing that. Whoever performs we’ll have on the field.”
Plymouth (2-3) will open its Northern Lakes Conference season on Monday with Elkhart Memorial at home. Washington is now 3-5 on the year.
At Plymouth
Washington: 500 200 1 — 8 12 5
Plymouth: 100 012 0 —  4 9 4
WP: Mark Arrowsmith, Anthony DeBroka (5) and Kelly Kolat; LP: Cody Gamble (0-1), Braydon Davidson (2) and Jarrod Ellis.
2B: Drudge (P), Kolat (W).