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Big Red dominant again to stay unbeaten

By JOE GILROY • Apr 3, 2019 at 10:30 PM

NORWALK — After several years in the making, the St. Paul softball team finally got to host its first game at Norwalk Area Contractors Park on Wednesday.

Unfortunately for St. Paul, the good vibes didn’t extend to the new field as they were defeated 14-0 in five innings by unbeaten Plymouth (6-0, 2-0) in Firelands Conference action.

The onslaught started in the top of the first inning when Kaela Plank reached third base on a fielding error and then went on to score the first of her three runs in the game off an RBI single that Shilo Plank blasted into the gap in the infield. By the time the Flyers (1-4, 0-2) escaped the first inning, Plymouth scored another two runs thanks to a throwing that plated Shilo and Ariel Plank, who reached base after being hit by a pitch.

Things only got marginally better for St. Paul in the second inning when they allowed just one run. Shilo Plank again singled in Kaela Plank for the 4-0 lead. The improved play in the field didn’t last long as the Flyers allowed a six-run third inning that put them behind 10-0 — a daunting task for a team that was shutout just a day before to the same Big Red team in a 4-0 road loss.

It was a tough day all-around against a quality opponent according to St. Paul coach Bob Wilhelm. The Flyers committed six errors to go with a wild pitch, passed ball, and a hit batter. 

“I am not sure what it was tonight, it could have been a first game on the new field with panic and jitters,” he said. “We have only practiced on the field a couple of times with the weather not being conducive to practicing outdoors. We had way too many unearned runs and all the mistakes and errors hurt us. We had too many six-out innings tonight to get a win.

“That’s not to take away from anything that Tracy (Arnold) and her team did tonight,” he added. “She does a nice job coaching her girls and they get a lot out of their seniors leaders. They have seven or eight seniors, where we are starting four freshmen and have a lot of underclassmen playing for us. That is something that is going to pay off for us once we get going here, and they get some experience and their feet under them.”

Plymouth moved its unbeaten streak to start the season to six and are hitting their stride. Shilo Plank led the Big Red by going 4 for 4 with 4 RBIs and a run scored. Kaela Plank had three hits (two doubles), scored three runs and had two RBIs. Tristen Wiley also had three hits and scored two runs.

“I thought that we hit well the last two nights, but tonight the ball found the openings in the field and that is the difference between four and 14 runs,” Arnold said. “We didn’t warm-up well today before the game started, and I told the girls that we just had to pick each other up. We are a family, and picking each other up is what matters more than anything else. That is what I love about these girls — they do not care about what their stats are.

“All they are worried about is going out and getting the win,” she added. “The Plank crew came threw for us tonight, and I think we played really well in the field and have gotten a couple of good efforts the last few games on that side.”

Arnold gave Norwalk Area Contractors Park a good review on her way out.

“This is a gorgeous facility,” she said. “It is going to be a great place to play and it will be an enjoyable place to visit for a long time.”

Olivia Englert, Amelia Rospert, and Elyse Schaffer accounted for St. Paul’s three hits in the loss as Ariel Plank went the distance with seven strikeouts in the shutout win.

Plymouth 316 22 — 14 15 3

St. Paul   000 00 — 0   3   6

WP: A. Plank; LP: Rospert

2B: (P) Creveling, K. Plank, S. Plank, A. Plank, Wiley

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