PLYMOUTH — Post 27 snapped a three-game skid on the night before starting its annual trip to Minnesota, and even more heartening for the team, it did so with a modified lineup.
After entering the championship doubleheader at its first annual Patriot Tournament over the holiday weekend on a 10-game winning streak, Plymouth dropped three games straight, costing it the tourney championship Monday and a home game against South Bend Post 50 on Tuesday.
Jacob Eaton entered Wednesday’s game with the bases loaded, one out and the potential winning run at the plate in the top of the sixth. The 6-foot-6 Laporte left-hander shut the door on visiting Kokomo Post 6 for the save and a 7-4 momentum-seizing win in Plymouth’s eighth game in just five days at Bill Nixon Field.
“It was huge,” said Post 27 coach Mike Hite. “We won 10 in a row, got beat three in a row, and to win one before we get on the bus tomorrow for Minnesota was a big morale-booster. That’s what we meant to do. We played a lot of different people, but we were still confident we could compete in this game and hopefully come out on top, which we did. Everything’s good right now.”
Eaton relieved Brock Anson, who struggled with his command after coming in in the top of the sixth and gave up three walks and two hits in return for one out . Eaton fanned his first batter and induced five straight outs to slam the door on the visitors and earn the save, while Plymouth middle reliever Aaron Christenberry got the win giving up five hits for two runs in two innings replacing starter Jordan Scheetz in the fourth.
“Jake came in in a very pivotal situation in the ballgame. We could’ve gotten in a lot of trouble with the bases loaded and one out and their best hitter at the plate,” said Hite. “He came in from the bullpen on short notice, threw very well and struck him out. He came in and shut them down. Actually, we were just looking to keep him in for that half of that inning, but we figured he was pitching so well, just leave him in and finish out the game. He’s done that for us before so I’m very happy about that.”
Post 27 took the initial lead with a trio of runs off four hits in the third and fourth frames, but Kokomo cut that lead to 3-2 with a pair of runs off four hits in the fifth. Post 27 took the lead for good with some small ball on a productive bottom of the fifth as Evan Jurjevic laid a bunt back to Kokomo reliever Cody Jansen for a squeeze play at the plate to start the four-run frame. Sean Rogers grounded through the gap at second to score both Sean Liedtky and Jurjevic, who had advanced to second and third respectively on a wild pitch. Ben Saliwanchik drove in Rogers on a ground-out to second for Plymouth’s final run of the night.
“We’re working on a lot of things; we’re still trying to peak before (state) tournament time,” Hite said. “We had the suicide on, and Evan realizes it. A 2-0 pitch, he probably looks for a good pitch anyway, the pitcher’s going to be throwing it across the plate, and it worked out. He got it down and executed. You’ve seen it; when we execute we win ball games. When we don’t execute, we struggle a little bit. And that’s the way it should be, I guess: The better executing team is going to win the ball game.”
Post 27’s victory came with a revamped lineup as the team tried to give some relief to its exhausted starters at the tail end of a hectic five-day stretch.
Kyle Cartwright started behind the plate after playing left field throughout the Patriot Tournament and was himself relieved in the fourth by Brody Andrews, while Liedtky took some cuts in the DH slot, James Hackworth manned first, Cory Krider took over in right, and Connor Flynn slotted in at second and the number two spot in the batting order, finishing 2 for 4 with an RBI in the win.
“Most of the original starters were playing eight games in some four to five days, and that’s tough on a body, I don’t care where you’re playing,” said Hite. “It was good to see we got some other people out there with Flynn at second, he came through with two hits and turned the ball real well. Cartwright was back again behind the plate. He did a fine job there, and we got Brody Andrews behind the plate. That may be the first time this year; he might have had an inning early, but he’s been injured. It was good to see everyone can contribute. We’re looking forward to the rest of the year.”
Post 27 leaves today for its annual trip to Minneapolis, Minnesota and the Gopher Classic. The team will open tourney play with a game against Gillette Wyoming at 4 p.m. Friday, followed by a nightcap versus Sartell Minnesota at 6:30 p.m.
• PLYMOUTH POST 27 7,
KOKOMO POST 6 4
Kokomo: 000 022 0 — 4 9 4
Plymouth: 001 240 X — 7 10 0
Jordan Scheetz, Aaron Christenberry (4, W), Brock Anson (6), Jacob Eaton (6, Sv) and Kyle Cartwright, Brody Andrews; Jerry Flick, Cody Jansen (4, L) and Daniel Salinas.
2B: Cory Krider (P).