Lady Pilgrims struggle in opener

PLYMOUTH — It was a shaky opener for Plymouth softball Tuesday night.
The Lady Pilgrims struggled inside the circle, in the field and at the plate against a more experienced Mishawaka lineup, ultimately falling 18-0 in five innings at Centennial Park.
“I was sick on our scrimmage so this was my first time getting to see our girls get on the field and get after it against a different opponent,” said Plymouth head coach Haley Church. “Usually Mishawaka is a solid team, and they’ve already started the season — this is their third game. You could tell that they have that game-time experience, for sure.”
The trouble started early for the Pilgrims as the Cavemen plated seven runs in the top of the first off an RBI single from Liv Chrobot, a two-run triple from Hailey Allison, an RBI single from Danielle Johnston, another score on an error and Nichole Linner’s score off a wild pitch.
Mishawaka scratched out two more runs in each of the second and third innings, then plated another five during a big fourth off four walks and hits by Allison and Kenzie Davenport.
The Pilgrims cobbled together a three-person pitching staff as the home team surrendered a total of 11 bases on balls and 11 hits by the patient visitors, all while committing seven errors on defense.
“We kind of had pitching by committee today,” said Church. “We still need to get that to be a better part of our game. They got the walks at timely times, and then they were able to get some good hits, and our defense wasn’t even there as a whole with some of those good hits.”
But Plymouth also struggled at the plate as Mishawaka’s Linner and Crystal Markiewicz combined for a one-hit shutout. Sam Wojcik recorded Plymouth’s only hit in the bottom of the second following a Katie Berg walk, but both were ultimately left stranded in scoring position.
“It could be a 1-0 game; if we don’t cross the plate then we’re still not going to be able to get a victory,” Church said. “That’s probably our focus. We just want to be able to get the bat on the ball a little bit more. When you only have one hit it’s tough to score more runs than anybody.”
The Pilgrims open the season at 0-1 while Mishawaka moves to 2-1 on the year. Plymouth will look to bounce back Saturday with another home game versus LaPorte at 11 a.m.
“It’s the same day as the softball/ baseball pancake and sausage breakfast, so it’s going to be an early morning for them. They’re going to get up, work the breakfast, then come here and hopefully get a victory,” said Church.
“This is our home year, so we have like 17 games here, and it’s just nice to see quite a few people in the stands. Hopefully we’ll keep that up and get some Ws for them.”
At Plymouth
Mishawaka: 722 52 — 18 11 0
Plymouth: 000 00 — 0 1 7
Nichole Linner (W, 2-0), Crystal Markiewicz (4); Miriah Brumley (L), Hayley Brown (2), Emily Hopple (4).
2B: Linner (M)
3B: Hailey Allison (M), Shelby Smith (M)
Records: Mishawaka 2-1, Plymouth 0-1.
JV score: Mishawaka 17, Plymouth 0.