Baseball: Griffith knocks off Andrean in regional semifinals
By Mike Hutton 648-3139 or email@example.com June 2, 2012 7:50PM
Updated: July 7, 2012 8:13AM
PLYMOUTH — By the time the soft liner over second base from Austin Brown had dropped gently into right center field, Griffith coach Brian Jennings was halfway down the third-base line, stuck in between full celebration mode and waving his arms frantically for Matt Colomes to get to the plate safely.
Colomes got in safely, giving the Panthers an improbable, unbelievable, unreal 6-5 victory over Andrean Saturday in the opening semifinal of the Plymouth Regional.
The 59ers were ranked second in the state, the Panthers hadn’t scored in two previous games against Andrean this season, and Andrean coach Dave Pishkur was 42-6 lifetime against Griffith. The 59ers typically eat Panthers for dinner.
Jennings couldn’t say enough about his under-appreciated team.
“Nobody has given these kids respect the entire year,” he said. “All we’ve done is play every day.”
Give the Panthers this much: They were resourceful and efficient. They eked out six runs on four hits and they scored three times in the fifth inning on one hit.
Andrean was as careless and inefficient as perhaps it’s ever been.
Pishkur said it was perhaps the “worst game he’s seen his team play in a decade.”
The stat line bears that out.
Andrean finished with five errors. Last week, Kankakee Valley coach Doug Greenlee praised the 59ers as a defensive juggernaut after the Kougars lost in the sectional final.
This is a loss that won’t evacuate the consciousness of Andrean soon. The 59ers had plenty of chances to either score or stop the bleeding.
A few of them included:
Matt DeSomer getting caught looking on a 3-2 count with the bases loaded and no one out in the sixth inning.
A high throw from pitcher Mark Pishkur to home plate on what would’ve been an easy double play with the bases loaded for Griffith in the fifth inning.
The four walks, five errors, three passed balls and two hit batters that let the Panthers hang around.
And that is just a sampling.
Griffith got the winning run after Colomes reached based on an error by the shortstop Mike Brosseau. He took second place on a passed ball that barley got away from catcher Nick Tobye. Tobye couldn’t find the ball after it slipped about five feet behind him.
That set up the winning hit by Brown.
Brown said he knew the ball had a chance to drop as soon as it left his bat.
“I was just trying to keep it in play,” he said.
Pishkur said there was no thought of bringing in ace pitcher Zac Ryan even in the fifth inning when the 59ers were in the middle of a pitching meltdown. He said it takes Ryan too long to warm up. Pishkur was playing to win the regional, which meant planning for Ryan to play in the championship game. Sometimes the best plans get derailed. In 2008, Andrean lost to Mishawaka Marian in this same regional in the opener with their best pitcher, Adam Norton, not on the mound.
Pishkur also wanted to make it clear that Griffith deserved all the credit.
“Congratulate them,” he said. “They won. They deserved it. I hope they win state.”