Plymouth Bats explode against Adams, 14-0

Nate Nixon slides in and looks to be out. However, Adams' catcher released the ball during the collision and allowing Nixon's run to count.Jeremy Drudge is greeted at third base by coach Ryan Wolfe after Drudge's two-run homer in sectional Monday.Plymouth pitcher Cam Dennie - and an eruption of bats by his teammates - led to a shut out of South Bend Adams 14-0 in sectional action Saturday.
Rusty Nixon
Sports Ediotr

PLYMOUTH – There were some anxious moments early on, but Plymouth’s bats erupted in the fifth inning for a landslide 14-0 win over South Bend Adams in the semifinals of Plymouth sectional at Bill Nixon Field.

Adams starter Breckin Brown was up to the task for four innings, taking a three-hitter into the fifth, but the Pilgrims exploded in that inning with nine hits and 11 runs to end the game in five. Brown retired four hitters into the inning, and two Adams relievers – Tim Huppenthal and Bennett Thompson – could do little to stem the overwhelming offensive tide of the Pilgrims offense.

“Being off as long as we have been off, I was a little concerned about how we would do,” said Plymouth coach Ryan Wolfe. “We responded and had good at bats. It was a great offensive performance. We hit the ball hard and had a lot of good at bats. It comes from time, taking [batting practice] on the field and getting some guys right. We had some guys squaring the ball up well.”

Jeremy Drudge came out in a big way in the game with an RBI double and a two-run homer in the big fifth inning. The biggest hit for Drudge though was a two-out single in the first that plated the first Plymouth run and started the game on a positive roll.

“That's something that we talk about all the time, two-out hits, two-out RBIs,” said Wolfe. “These last few games he's had good at bats. Even his outs have been squared up so hopefully that's something we've dealt with, and hopefully, he's coming out of it.”

Drudge went three for four with four RBIs and the home run, a pleasant sight for all Pilgrims fans as the tournament continues.

Cam Dennie was solid on the mound with five strikeouts but struggled a little with command in the third and fourth, ending with three walks. Some big pitches and solid Plymouth defense got him out of any difficulties, though. A strange “strike 'em out, throw 'em out” in the third ended the inning before Adams could plate a run.

Matt Foulks struck out on a pitch in the dirt with one out. The runner at second, Spencer Nelson, advanced to third and the runner at first, Brandon Martens, hesitated before taking off and was tagged out before Nelson could cross the plate.

A mundane 4-6-3 double play ended the fourth.

“I think the nerves got to him a little bit there,” said Wolfe. “the hype of the sectional, the buildup. He's had to get ready to pitch, mentally, three days in a row. That does wear on you a little bit. He hasn't been in a game in awhile, and we couldn't get him in the last game. He threw a bullpen so it's been awhile since he's been able to sharpen the tools.”

The new IHSAA pitch count rule reared its ugly head in the game. With rain pushing games back and a pitch count of 60 demanding at least two day’s rest. With a count of 80, Dennie will be unavailable on the mound until Tuesday if somehow rain would lengthen the tournament even further. Dennie had reached the total in the fourth with the game still in question at 3-0.

“If we had scored 10 in the fourth inning things might have been different,” said Wolfe. “He had 69 pitches at that point, and for him to have any chance of pitching again on Monday he would have had to be at 60. It's something that I told our guys before the sectional even started — we were going to be ready for any of our guys to throw on any given night. I feel confident that any guy we send out there, we'll have great defense behind them, and every ball game we are in we have to win it.”

The Pilgrims are 14-13 and play Monday at 1 p.m. in semi-final action against South Bend Riley. Monday'schampionship game will be at 7 p.m. at Bill Nixon Field.

P: 120 0 11 —14 12 0
A: 000 0 0 — 0 2 3
WP – Cam Dennie. LP – Breckin Brown.
2B – Drudge (P), Dennie (P)
HR – Dyllon Pavey (P), Jeremy Drudge (P)