PLYMOUTH — If pitching and defense win championships, it would be hard to argue with the John Glenn Falcon’s chances of a sectional title at Plymouth.
Falcon starter Justin Gierlowski was one pitch away from a no-hitter, and Glenn made some slick defensive plays in his support in taking a 5-0 shutout from the host Pilgrims in the opening round of sectional play at Bill Nixon Field.
“I went out to talk to him there early, and he told me he was rushing it up there and that’s exactly what he was doing,” said Glenn head coach John Nadolny. “Once he got over that he was in a rhythm and once he gets there he’s really hard to beat.”
The Falcons (19-8) took advantage of a pair of Plymouth errors to plate two in the third on a big Mark Einhorn double and never looked back. Glenn put across three more in the fourth.
Plymouth (13-16) had its opportunity against Gierlowski in the top of the first. With the bases loaded Bailey Clark hit a ball to first that turned into an unusual double play with Blake Milliser slipping rounding third and getting tagged out to end the inning.
“We did what we needed to do the top half of the first. We talked about getting out to a good start,” said Plymouth coach Ryan Wolfe. “They were able to push across a few with an error in the third inning and then their pitcher got in a rhythm and we couldn’t get him out of that rhythm really for the whole game.”
Gierlowski struck out eight in the game and walked two, allowing just one Plymouth base runner after the first inning. Plymouth starter Jacob Frantz wasn’t far behind, scattering six hits, striking out five and allowing just three earned runs in the game.
“I thought Jacob pitched real well, they hit a couple of balls pretty hard, but he was able to get out of some things,” said Wolfe. “He got a lot of pop ups and he could have folded when we got down five, but he stayed at it and gave us a shot.”
Nadolny was far from upset with his team’s effort as the Falcons continue on a roll that started over the season’s final week.
“Whatever happens the last two weeks we’ve really been in a groove,” said Nadolny. “We’ve been playing well on defense, we’ve been getting good pitching, making plays. It’s the right time to be putting that all together.”
• JOHN GLENN 5, PLYMOUTH 0
At Class 3A Plymouth Sectional
Glenn: 002 300 0 — 5 6 0
Plymouth: 000 000 0 — 0 1 3
Justin Gierlowski (W 7-2) and David Jaworski; Jacob Frantz (L 4-4) and Elijah Nixon.
2B: Mark Einhorn (G), Jaworski (G).