Post 27 falls in regional opener

PLYMOUTH — It’s a theme that’s become all too familiar for Plymouth Post 27.
The Diamond Spyders’ inability to close out innings came back to haunt them in their regional opener Tuesday night, as Mishawaka Post 161 plated all 11 of its runs with two outs to hand Post 27 an 11-9 setback.
The Spyders thus slip into the loser’s bracket and will play the loser of today’s game between Highland Post 180 and Bristol Post 143 Thursday night at 4 p.m.
“I can’t explain it. This team more than any team I’ve ever been around in my career really has given up so many runs in so many big games with two outs,” said Post 27 coach Will Shepherd. “I have no explanation, but we certainly let down. We let down on the mound, we let down defensively, and it hurt us.”
Mishawaka jumped on top with a four-run first that saw two-out RBI singles by Troy Erickson and Jim Catanzarite and a two-run single by Austin Traxler. They tacked on five more runs — again with two outs — during a big fourth inning highlighted by Anthony Piracini’s towering three-run shot straight out to center.
Post 27 chipped steadily away with two runs in the third, fifth and eighth innings and three runs in the seventh — which included a two-run blast from Culver Community product Nick Pritz — but ultimately the Spyders ran out of time.
“Obviously spotting them four with two outs in the first just set the tempo,” said Shepherd. “I’m proud of the kids for battling and coming out and making it a game. But the first nine runs with two outs, that’s just absurd. You can’t play championship baseball that way.”
Clayton Adamson took the loss on the mound, giving up eight hits for seven earned runs with three strikeouts and two walks lasting 3 2/3 innings for Post 27. Hunter Clark got the win surrendering six hits for two earned runs with two strikeouts and a walk working through the fourth for Mishawaka, and Jacob Thoma earned the save coming in to close in the ninth for Post 161. All total, the game featured 28 total hits — 18 of them by the visitors.
“I give them credit,” Shepherd said. “They came down and they swung the bat and hit the ball. You’re going to have to give them all the credit for being aggressive. They weren’t messing around. They swung the bats against all of our pitchers.”
Plymouth still has a chance to win the double-elimination regional tournament, but it’ll be a tougher road for the Spyders.
Shepherd maintains his team has the pitching depth to get the job done, however.
“A double-elimination tournament with only five teams in it, it means we’ve got a chance,” he said. “Now we’ve just got to battle through the loser’s bracket, but we’ve got the pitching to do it. What we’ve got to do is play defense and play the game right.”
At Plymouth Regional
Mishawaka: 400 520 000 — 11 18 1
Plymouth: 002 020 320 — 9 10 1
WP: Hunter Clark; SV: Jacob Thoma; LP: Clayton Adamson.
HR: Nick Pritz (P), Anthony Piracini (M)
2B: Tyler Follette (P), Pritz (P), Cole Harlacher (M), Clark (M)