PLYMOUTH — Another grey spring day in Indiana led to another grey spring game of baseball, with Elkhart Memorial taking a Northern Lakes Conference-opening night win over Plymouth at Bill Nixon Field by a 6-3 final.
The Chargers had their way for much of the day behind the right arm of Scottie Clark, who went five for Memorial surrendering just two hits and no runs.
“Scottie did a nice job on the mound tonight,” said Charger head coach Scott Rost. “He really didn’t have any off-speed stuff working for him so he was able to locate pretty well, and that helped. We made some mistakes, but there were some crucial times that they had runners in scoring position and we made some crucial plays, so that was big.”
A pair of double plays in the fourth and sixth innings extricated Elkhart pitchers from jams while their hitters took advantage of good counts at crucial times early on. Plymouth starter Jacob Frantz made a lot of big pitches early, but when he was behind in counts the Chargers made him pay.
“When he does that (get behind in counts) he does struggle a little getting back into the count,” said Plymouth coach Ryan Wolfe. “Then they can sit on that fastball when he can’t throw his off-speed stuff when he wants to or when he needs to. When he was ahead in the count he was effective early on. We have to find something mentally to get him back on track. He’ll find that as we go on.”
Meanwhile Plymouth bats tried but struggled to help their pitcher stay in the battle.
“We hit some shots but right at ‘em,” said Wolfe. “You’d like to push a couple across early and not wait until that seventh. We just have to make some plays. We had four errors early. We have to a better job early in the game and score some runs to get some momentum.”
Levi Schuler had a second solid outing from the bullpen to help Frantz bid for the win.
“Levi did a great job tonight, and he had a great outing the other night (at Bremen),” said Wolfe. “That’s what he does. He goes out there and gets ahead in the count. When he does he can throw that tight curveball, and when he does that he can keep them off-balance. He did exactly what we want him to do, and hopefully he continues to do that.”
The Pilgrims weren’t willing to go without a fight, however.
Shut out until their last three outs, they plated three with two out in their final at-bat helped by an RBI single by Bailey Clark and an RBI double by Elijah Nixon, but it wouldn’t be enough to gain the win.
Memorial moves to 2-7 on the year and Plymouth falls to 2-4 with a home game on Wednesday against Concord.
• ELKHART MEMORIAL 6,
Memorial: 003 200 1 — 6 8 2
Plymouth: 000 000 3 — 3 4 3
Scottie Clark (W, 1-2), Noah Pawlak (5), Brock Herman (S) and Robert Asbury; Jacob Frantz (L, 1-1), Levi Schuler (5), Bailey Clark (7) and Elijah Nixon.
2B: Brock Herman (EM) Daniel Asbury (EM), Cody Gamble (P), Nixon (P).
HR: Robert Asbury (EM).