Northville stings Plymouth in conference final

Northville stings Plymouth in conference final


Northville stings Plymouth in conference final


Baseball in a Glove

Baseball in a Glove

Northville senior pitcher Evan Flohr successfully navigated one speed bump Monday against Plymouth in the Kensington Conference baseball championship game and the Mustangs cruised to a 6-2 victory.

The host Mustangs defeated the Wildcats in the conference showdown for the second consecutive season and advanced to Wednesday’s association title game against Brighton (4 p.m. at Northville).

“It was great man,” said Flohr, who registered a complete game. “I just went out there and threw strikes, and I let my defense do a little bit of work and we got the job done today.”

Plymouth head coach Jason Crain tipped his cap to Flohr and the Mustangs, who never trailed after jumped out to leads of 1-0 in the first and 2-0 in the second.

“They were a little sharper than we were and credit to them,” Crain said. “(Flohr) was real sharp today. Lots of strikes. He might have walked one guy, maybe in the last inning.”

Northville head coach John Kostrzewa said getting out to a quick lead (on an RBI hit by Tyler Lowe) was a key factor in the win, noting that the Mustangs (25-2 overall) have strived to do just that all season.

“Absolutely, that’s something we stress to always try to get the first run,” Kostrzewa said. “It just takes pressure off of everybody, the pitcher, the defense, and then be able to add on as the game goes on.

“But we always feel like scoring first is a big-time thing we want to do.”

Having a workhorse southpaw mowing down batters doesn’t hurt either.

“He had the one earned run early in the game and he was really pounding first-pitch strikes and his pitch count was really low going into the last inning,” Kostrzewa continued. “I think with the heat and whatnot he started to struggle a little bit, and they put together some hits.

“He was able to make a pitch when he had to at the end and that’s pretty much been his theme all year.”

Plymouth (23-10-1) scored in the seventh on senior Patrick Downing’s third hit of the game, plating Andrew Hejka who walked with two outs.

Downing also delivered the Wildcats’ run in the third, on a solid single to center to bring home Pete Carravallah to slice Northville’s lead to 2-1.

“Big performance out of him (Downing),” Crain said. “He’s been clutch all year and today’s no exception, against a great pitcher. It was good to see.”

Throwing strikes

That rally could have been much bigger for Plymouth. Kyle Wolter doubled to get it started and Carravallah beat out a bunt to put runners on the corners with no out.

Hejka pushed a bunt, but the Mustangs threw Wolter out at the plate. One out later, Downing ripped his RBI single. But instead of potentially tying the game or taking the lead, Northville still enjoyed a 2-1 lead.

“It wasn’t a squeeze,” Crain noted. “Kyle (Wolter) just thought he could make it and we encourage aggressive baserunning so I’ll take that chance.”

According to Flohr, the key to escaping that situation was “throwing strikes and making sure I was keeping the ball low so I could get a ground ball. All in all it ended up being a good inning getting out of the jam.”

Northville then tacked on a run against Plymouth starter Kevin Anthony in the fourth, on a rally started by Flohr’s infield single.

The Mustangs loaded the bases with one out following a single to left by Kevin Morissey and another batter (Connor Walters) getting plunked by a pitch.

After a forceout at home, Nick Fegert then smacked an RBI single into the hole at shortstop to score Morrissey and make it 3-1.

A three-run fifth put the game away for the Mustangs, who scored on run-scoring singles by Chris Dunn and Kevin O’Connell.

After Flohr finally got the third out of the seventh on a groundball to first by Seth Hubbard, the Mustangs could celebrate the conference title on their home field — unlike 2014, when they won 5-1 at Plymouth.

“To be able to beat a competitive, real good team two years in a row, it’s hats off to our guys,” Kostrzewa said. “Because they did a wonderful job, today and all year long.”

Northville still had business to attend to on Wednesday in the KLAA title game, followed by pre-districts slated for May 26 at Brighton.

“Once you get to the state tournament it is what it is,” Kostrzewa added. “It’s all tough.”

Twitter: @TimSmith_Sports

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