BREMEN — The Lady Lions needed a little help, but they got their first win.
Bremen broke a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the seventh inning as freshman pinch hitter Lexi Pate scored the winning run on a throwing error from third to top visiting Plymouth 2-1 Tuesday.
“That was a fun one,” said Bremen head coach Josh Walter. “We just battled back at the end and made the runs happen when we had to.
“We struggled early but we had been getting runners on and moving them around the whole time, we just hadn’t been able to break through. It was walks, it wasn’t hits, but we got runners on and moved them like we wanted to, we just couldn’t get the hit like we wanted to. The last couple innings we did. That’s the difference.”
“You can’t do that, you can’t give them freebies,” said Plymouth coach Ed Kelso. “You give them too many freebies and sooner or later they’re going to score, and they did. Simple game. You make the plays and you’ve got a chance.”
Pate reached on a bunt to lead off the bottom of the seventh in her first at-bat, designated hitter Sara Krieger laid down another bunt, and Megan Stouder drew a walk on a seven-pitch at-bat to load the bases before Plymouth pitcher Marissa Sullivan struck out Bethany Grove — Sullivan’s ninth strikeout of the night — for the first out of the frame. Bremen catcher Brooke Baker grounded to third, and Pate scored the winning run on the ensuing overthrow to home to end the contest.
“She came in for us, and we have a lot of confidence that she’ll come in in a big spot and do what she needs to do,” said Walter of Pate. “She’s good on the bases, she’s fast… and we thought it was a good time to get her out there, and once she was on she did well.”
“(Baker) did what she needed to do,” Walter continued. “We got a little help there on the last run, but Brooke’s going to be a good hitter for us.”
Sullivan and Bremen lefty Saylor Bailey were locked in a pitchers’ duel through five innings before the Lions finally broke through in the sixth with a line single from Baker and an RBI double from Kailee Feldman put the home team up 1-0.
Sam Schultz grounded out to third, Taylor Lashbrook bunted into a fielder’s choice as Feldman was thrown out trying to move to third, and Allison Shorter fanned to end the inning with a slight 1-0 Bremen lead.
Plymouth gave itself new life with a run in the top of the seventh.
Morgan O’Neal reached on a grounder to third, moved to second on a Cassie Gaines bunt and reached third on a sacrifice bunt from Kelsey Hartman. Kristy Clemons grounded to second to score O’Neal — who was injured on the slide home and sat out through the bottom of the inning — and knot the score at 1-all.
Sullivan pitched a three-hit, nine K gem, while Bailey allowed just two hits with seven strikeouts of her own to move to 1-2 on the year.
“Both of them pitched a real good game,” said Kelso. “That’s the way this game is supposed to be played. It’s supposed to be a pitcher’s game, and the one who blinks first usually ends up going home disappointed.”
The Lions move to 1-2 with their junior pitcher, while Plymouth slides to 0-4 with Tuesday’s result. The Pilgrims are back in action Thursday against John Glenn in a game at 4:30 p.m.
“Hey, they fought back. We had our chances. We ended up with an injury there with Morgan so we’re moving people around in places they haven’t played before, and we still almost made the plays,” Kelso said.
“We’re not quitting. The girls didn’t quit, and sooner or later it’ll happen for them if they just keep battling.”
• BREMEN 2, PLYMOUTH 1
Plymouth: 000 000 1 — 1 2 1
Bremen: 000 001 1 — 2 3 1
Saylor Bailey (W, 1-2) and Brooke Baker; M. Sullivan (L) and Emilee Keilman.
2B: Kailee Feldmen (B)
Records: Bremen 1-2, Plymouth 0-4.