NorthWood takes big NLC win over Pilgrims

PLYMOUTH — Analyzing the Plymouth Pilgrims’ Friday game with NorthWood, you could say the weather was beautiful at Bill Nixon Field.
It was hard to find much else positive as Plymouth had one of those games teams have in a long baseball season, dropping a 15-0 decision in five innings. The Pilgrims surrendered a seven spot to the Panthers — highlighted by a three-run homer by NorthWood’s Blake Cleveland — digging a hole it was hard to dig out of.
“First inning went decent got out of that with one run,” said Plymouth coach Ryan Wolfe. “Second inning we struggled throwing strikes. You have three freebies in the first four hitters you’re going to give up some runs. They stay on a lot of pitches. We didn’t work down in the zone at all. Every ball they hit was up so we were not there on the mound tonight.”
“They (NorthWood) don’t make mistakes and once they got ahead their pitcher settled in,” said Wolfe. “We were out of the game way early. You’re playing from that far behind it’s a long day.”
It was that. Made longer by NorthWood starter Tommy Klem attacking the strike zone with three pitches and working ahead all day. Klem threw just 65 pitches on the night and didn’t walk a hitter, striking out four. Plymouth first baseman Jarrod Ellis was the only Pilgrim hitter to figure Klem out with a pair of hits.
Meanwhile the NorthWood (4-1) offense continued to pour on runs, scoring in every inning. Josh Miller added another homer for the Panthers as part of his three-hit, three-RBI night, and leadoff man Hunter Lane was 3-for-4, scoring three times and stroking a pair of doubles.
“Every pitcher out there struggled to get ahead in the count,” said Wolfe. “We have a pitch chart, and every time I look at it we’re 2-0. I tried to throw backwards a little bit, but when you aren’t throwing curveballs for strikes either and when you’re throwing fastballs down the middle, a good team like (NorthWood) is going to hit the ball. One through nine they hit the ball, and they hit the ball hard.”
The times don’t get easier for the Pilgrims (5-7) with NLC-leading Northridge coming to Bill Nixon Field on Monday before the second round of NLC play starts with road games at Elkhart Memorial and Concord on Wednesday and Friday.
“We need to continue to get tough,” said Wolfe. “We need that bulldog mentality. We need to get that mentality where we give up a run that’s it, that’s over, I’m going to get this guy right here. This coming week doesn’t get any easier. We play a tough Northridge team on Monday so we better be focused.”
At Plymouth
NorthWood: 171 24 — 15 13 1
Plymouth: 000 00 — 0 5 0
Tommy Klem (W 2-0) and Tanner Cleveland, Kyle McCoy (4); Jacob Frantz (L 1-2), Braydon Davidson (2), Levi Schuler (5) and Elijah Nixon.
HR: Blake Cleveland (NW), Josh Miller (NW).
2B: Hunter Lane 2 (NW).
JV score: Plymouth 4, NorthWood 3