PLYMOUTH – The hits kept coming, a bouncer up the middle, a rope to left, an inside-out rocket down the line. And a trickle became a gusher became full-blown Johnstown revisited, swamping a baseball team accustomed to riding out disaster.
Final score from Bill Nixon Field on Saturday afternoon in the Class 3A northern semistate: No. 1 Andrean 18, Bishop Dwenger 2 in five innings.
Final analysis from the Saints dugout: Some disasters are just too disastrous to be ridden out, no matter how resolute the intent.
“We pride ourselves in overcoming adversity, but that was a lot of adversity to try to overcome in a short period of time,” Dwenger coach Jason Garrett said after Alex Schenkel went down swinging for the final out.
“They came out and took what we gave them and then some,” said senior pitcher Luke Palmer, swept away early by the Andrean drumbeat.
Palmer lasted only one inning and 15 batters before the 59ers drove him from the hill, rocking him for eight hits and eight runs before an out had been recorded in the second inning. It was 6-0 after an inning and 9-1 after two, and the Saints never really got their heads above water thereafter.
They got a run in the first against Andrean starter Matt DeSomer and another in the third, but other than that DeSomer and reliever Jim Skiff kept them quiet, surrendering just four hits and allowing just four baserunners after the first.
Andrean, meanwhile, sent 12 batters to the plate in the six-run first and 13 more in the fourth, when the 59ers left the Saints for dead by scoring nine runs on five hits, four errors and a wild pitch.
A dozen 59ers had at least one hit and Andrean punished three Dwenger pitchers for 18 total.
“Hats off to those guys,” Garrett said. “Eighteen hits … great ballclub. I’m proud of our guys. We hung in there as best we could.”
The Saints’ runs came off singles by Justin Wagoner and Skyler Noll and an infield out in the first, and an infield error and Schenkel’s RBI double in the third. But that wasn’t going to be nearly enough to withstand the onslaught to which they were subjected.
“Didn’t go our way from the beginning,” Garrett said. “As much as we tried to overcome it, they kept on us …. I told our guys coming out of the third inning, ‘That’s a lot of adversity, let’s see if we can overcome this much.’ We’ve overcome a lot but not that much, and that’s what it kind of came down to. A little too much adversity to overcome there.”
And it ended a season that was defined by Dwenger’s ability to pound lumps on adversity time and time again.
“It goes back to us trusting each other,” Palmer said. “We trust each other to get the job done and make the play. Trusting one another allows us to be confident going late into games down. You knew we always had a chance.
“Today it just didn’t work out.”