PLYMOUTH — A win, is a win, is a win... and Plymouth’s Pilgrims made it three wins in their last four games with an extra inning NLC victory over Wawasee by a final of 7-6 in nine innings Wednesday.
“It was a good win,” said Plymouth coach Ryan Wolfe. “You have some of those games, what it comes down to is that we have seven and they have six, and that’s all that matters. You’d like to get there a different way, but it is what it is.”
“We could have folded. Just like Monday we got down, but we didn’t. We battled back, got some bunts down there in the extra innings when we needed to and got guys in scoring position, and it paid off.”
The Pilgrims were in position to win the game in “regulation” leading 4-3 with just three outs to play. Wawasee turned a pair of leadoff walks off Plymouth starter Joe Dragani in inning seven into three runs off reliever Bailey Clark, who entered and took a bunt from pinch hitter Bailey Yoder and threw it into right field.
Plymouth returned the favor in the bottom of the inning with leadoff singles by Braydon Davidson and Clark. Then in a wild series of events that included Trent Briles being hit by a pitch, a balk that wasn’t, and RBIs by Cody Gamble and Justin Drudge, the Pilgrims found themselves headed to extras.
Clark shut down the Warriors (1-6) for two more frames, and in the ninth a wild pitch by Wawasee reliever Nate Hare plated Gamble with the winning run.
“Give Bailey credit, he battled back,” said Wolfe. “He could have folded after that throw, but he didn’t. He hung in there and gave us a couple innings, and he’s there to get the win.”
Plymouth starter Joey Dragani took the game into the seventh but had to give way after crossing the 100-pitch mark and surrendering the leadoff walks. He was still able to have another strong start, minimizing his early damage and giving the team a chance to win.
“He threw 55 pitches in innings one and two,” said Wolfe. “I might have made a change earlier, but he told me he was alright and he showed me he could get his change up and curveball over, and he did a good job of battling back.”
But it was a night for shortstop Justin Drudge, who ended the marathon with four hits in five at bats, including a double and RBI, scored two runs and set up the winning run with a perfect sacrifice bunt.
“Drudge has squared some balls up the last few games; he did a good job squaring some up tonight,” said Wolfe “He’s got great hands, anything on the outer half he drives to right field and with his speed I can do a lot of things with him up there at the top of the order.”
Plymouth moves to 5-6 on the year and will be at NorthWood on Friday.
• PLYMOUTH 7,
WAWASEE 6 (9 inn.)
Wawasee: 030 000 300 — 6 8 0
Plymouth: 310 000 201 — 7 10 2
Andrew Milligan, Drew Anderson 7, Jordan Currie 9 (LP), Nate Hare 9, and Nate Prescott; Joe Dragani, Bailey Clark 7 (WP 1-0), and Elijah Nixon.
2B: Anderson (W), Donovan Navarro (W), Justin Drudge (P), Trent Briles (P).
JV score: Wawasee 9, Plymouth 8