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Pitching, defense lead Bobcats to Final Four

by Joshua Spaulding
Sports Editor - Granite State News, Carroll County Independent, Meredith News, Gilford Steamer, Winnisquam Echo, Plymouth Record-Enterprise and Baysider

Jake Buford fires to first to complete a 1-2-3 double play in action against Milford on Saturday, June 7. RC Greenwood. (click for larger version)
June 09, 2014
PLYMOUTH — The Plymouth baseball team continued the strong play that has been a hallmark of the season into the Division II tournament.

The Bobcats opened the tournament on Thursday, June 5, against Hanover and picked up a 7-0 win.

Steve Southard got the start on the hill and went five innings, striking out six, giving up just four hits and improving to 8-2 on the season. Jake Scheinman followed him to the hill and struck out three in two innings of work.

"We played just about as perfect as we could have," coach Tom Underwood stated.

Plymouth got the only run it would need in the top of the first inning. Silas Murray reached on an error and took second on a pickoff error. He then stole third and scored on a sacrifice fly to center by John Thomas.

In the third, Gavin Brickley got Plymouth started with a base hit and Collin Sullivan drew a walk. Murray reached on a fielder's choice to load the bases and a Thomas base hit made it 3-0. Jake Buford reached on a fielder's choice to drive in another run and after he stole second, a groundout by Aaron Evans plated the fifth run for the Bobcats.

Plymouth closed out its scoring in the bottom of the fifth inning. Thomas was hit by a pitch and took second on a balk. A Buford base hit put runners on the corners and a double steal plated the sixth run. Southard then delivered a base hit to drive in the seventh run of the game.

Thomas finished two-for-two with three RBIs and a run, Buford and Murray were each one-for-four with two runs scored, Brickley was one-for-three with a run and Justin Robinson, Evans and Southard all finished one-for-three on the day.

The win put the Bobcats into the quarterfinal round and they played host to Milford on Saturday, June 7, just a few hours after the team's seniors had graduated from high school.

"Jacob Scheinman was the story of this ballgame," Underwood said.

The lefty went all seven innings, striking out two, walking five, giving up just three hits and just one earned run.

Milford did manage to plate two unearned runs, but Plymouth got its runs, picking up the 5-3 win.

Milford plated two runs in the top of the third inning, but a 1-2-3 double play, turned by Scheinman, Buford and Thomas to help get the Bobcats out of the inning without any more trouble.

Plymouth responded with four runs in the bottom of the inning. Brickley started things with a walk and stole second. Sullivan was hit by a pitch and Milford intentionally walked Thomas. Buford made them pay, driving in a run with a base hit. Walks to Evans, Robinson and Dylan Donahue plated the next three runs and Plymouth led 4-2.

In the fourth, Thomas got a two-out walk, stole second and third and scored on a base hit by Evans to give Plymouth a 5-2 lead. Milford added one in the top of the sixth, but that was as close as things got.

Thomwas was one-for-one with two runs, three walks and four stolen bases.

"They can walk him all day if they want, we will run," Underwood said.

Buford was one-for-two with a run and an RBI, Evans was one-for-three with two RBIs and Chris Comeau and Robinson were both one-for-three.

"We only had five hits, but we made them count," Underwood said, noting the team took advantage of walks and used their speed to steal. "If we're not hitting, then we have to manufacture runs in other ways."

The win put the Bobcats into the semifinals where, they were matched up with Hollis-Brookline after deadline Wednesday afternoon. The finals are set for Saturday, June 14, at 7 p.m. at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.

"As long as we continue to get good pitching and good defense, we can play with anybody," Underwood stated.

Joshua Spaulding can be reached at 569-3126 or sportsgsn@salmonpress.com

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