PLYMOUTH — The Pilgrims took a break from a busy Northern Lakes Conference stretch Tuesday, diming an inexperienced Argos team 13-2 in five innings in a make-up game at Bill Nixon Field.
Phil Iwinski pitched a shutout through four innings and the Pilgrims racked up nine hits, including six during a 12-run fourth as Plymouth gave some of its starters a break in a rescheduled rain-out sandwiched between a win over Northridge Monday and a home game against Elkhart Memorial today during a busy NLC stretch.
“It started with Phil tonight; I thought Phil pitched well, that’s two in a row for him on the mound pitching well for us,” said Plymouth head coach Tony Plothow. “Just getting ready for the conference tomorrow and getting him ready for the weekend, for our big tournament, that was a nice outing for him.
“We’re happy with the outcome, getting through this and playing well and hopefully continuing on.”
An inexperienced Argos lineup dominated by freshmen and with no JV struggled with five errors in the loss. Plymouth batted through the order in the bottom of the fourth against Dragons starter Dominic Cataldo and beleaguered reliever Kurt Zechiel.
Richie Luva drew a lead-off walk to start the big inning before Dan Smith reached on an error on a fly to right, and Jacob Segraves doubled both he and Luva home to put the Pilgrims up 3-0. Houston Hodges reached on an error at short, Connor Flynn hit an RBI single into right, and Damon Howe cranked a two-run double to deep left to put the home team up 6-0.
Kyle Vanlue scored Flynn with a blooper over the first baseman’s head, Chase Peters was hit by a pitch, and Luva drew his second walk of the inning to load the bags before Smith singled into shallow right to score Howe, and Segraves drove in two more runs with a hard grounder into center. Cole Mann drove in another run with a grounder for a throwing error from third, and both he and Segraves scored on another error at third on a ball hit by Doug Andrews to complete the outburst.
“That’s been our deal all year, even last year, is we’ve had that one inning that just kills us,” said Argos head coach Chuck Bowen. “We kind of let up and lose focus for a moment. It’s tough for us this year; we’re a younger team, we don’t have a lot of pitching. After our number one guy we get in a spot where we have a hard time throwing strikes, and it helps if you make the plays. We’ve had those innings where they just busted it open and just poured the runs on.”
“It was a pretty well-pitched game up until then with both teams making plays, and they had a couple errors and things kind of broke open for us,” said Plothow. “We had some good at-bats and they switched pitchers and again we were getting some good looks and some good at-bats.”
The Pilgrims pinch-hit four players with the game essentially sewn up during the fourth inning, and Vanlue and Smith got their first starts in right and at third base, respectively. Smith went 1 for 2 officially with a walk, two runs and an RBI single, while usual designated hitter Segraves called a solid game behind the plate and went 2 for 3 with two runs and four RBI.
“It was good to get some guys in the game,” Plothow said. “Dan Smith got his first start tonight, Jake Segraves got another start behind the plate. We started resting some of the kids in the middle of our conference with all those games we had last week and all we have coming up.”
Plymouth moved to 11-4 overall, while the Dragons fell to 0-12 with the loss, although they earned something of a moral victory with two runs in their final at-bat in the top of the fifth. Jacob Mechling and Joep Schlosser drew back-to-back one-out walks and Brian Snyder drew a third walk from Pilgrims reliever Hayden Skirvin to load the bags before Spencer Beam singled into center, and both Mechling and Schlosser scored on an error on the play, Plymouth’s first error in five games.
“That’s been the biggest thing that I’ve been looking for,” said Bowen. “We haven’t won a game yet this year, and I knew it was going to be a rough road, but I just want these guys to keep fighting. I kind of called them out on that; they haven’t been showing me that lately. I told them if they came down here and rolled over they’d get their butts annihilated today, but they fought hard all the way through. An 11-run ball game, in our shoes, I couldn’t have asked for a better deal coming down here to a 3A school.”
• PLYMOUTH 13, ARGOS 2
Argos: 000 02 — 2 2 5
Plymouth: 001 (12)X — 13 9 1
Phil Iwinski (W), Hayden Skirvin and Jacob Segraves; Dominic Cataldo (L), Kurt Zechiel (4) and Zac Stockman.
2B: Connor Flynn (P), Damon Howe (P), Kyle Cartwright (P), Seagraves.
Records: Plymouth 11-4, Argos 0-12.