Plum baseball ‘resilient and tough’ in early-season stretch

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Saturday, April 17, 2021 | 11:01 AM


When Plum baseball coach Carl Vollmer looked back at the Section 2-5A series against Mars from April 12 and 13, he didn’t see perfection.

Far from it, he said.

But what he saw was a pair of dramatic, last-inning victories that could go a long way in determining who walks away with the section title this year.

“I took away from those games that we’re resilient and tough,” said Vollmer, whose team improved to 4-0 in section with the 5-4 and 6-5 wins.

“We talk a lot about how games are not always awesome from start to finish. There’s going to be moments of failure and disappointment with errors and other difficult times. It’s how you handle that which is important. The guys handled it really well. We’re a young and inexperienced baseball team, and those games told me a lot about what the potential of this team is.”

In the first game against the Planets, Plum was held without a hit through six innings by Alex Heavner. But the Mustangs collected four hits in the seventh and built a 5-1 lead.

Colton Lowman delivered a sacrifice fly to give Plum a 2-1 lead, and Nate McMasters added a two-run single later in the frame to pad the Mustangs’ advantage.

Every run was needed as Mars’ Teddy Ruffner hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the seventh to get the Planets to within one.

Plum needed a seventh-inning rally to defeat Mars in the second game of the series.

Caden Norcutt delivered the game-winner. He hit a walk-off double with the bases loaded to bring home the winning runs in the 6-5 triumph.

“I was pretty confident in myself despite the pressure of the situation,” Norcutt said.

“I had a pretty bad game in the field, so I knew I had the chance to do something good at the plate. It was a cool feeling. Mars is a good baseball team, but it was nice to come back and get those wins.

“We’re still improving. We’re playing with confidence, and I think we’re going to keep getting better from here on out.”

Mars fell to 3-3 in section with the losses.

“That is a good Mars baseball team with a strong lineup,” Vollmer said.

“Our pitchers did a very good job. Defensively, we scuffled at times. But we were clutch when we needed to be offensively. Mars was a good measuring stick to see what kind of team we are.”

Plum was scheduled to visit former section rival Franklin Regional on Friday. The game was to be contested past the deadline for this week’s edition.

“Franklin Regional is a very talented team in all areas,” Vollmer said.

“It’s always fun to play them. There is a nice rivalry there, whether we are in the same section or not. We have a lot of respect for them. We are glad we get the chance to play them, as well as the Penn-Traffords and the Hempfields.”

Plum was slated to play Woodland Hills in a section series on Monday and Tuesday, but the games were postponed to April 30 and May 1 because of covid issues with Woodland Hills.

Next up for Plum is a nonsection matchup at Hempfield on Friday.

“This year, because we didn’t go to Florida, it gave us the opportunity to schedule some extra nonsection games up north,” Vollmer said.

The Mustangs have section series remaining against Penn Hills, Fox Chapel and Hampton.

The Foxes and Talbots entered this week tied for second in the section with 3-1 marks.

Plum was delayed in getting its season started. It swept a section doubleheader from Armstrong, 7-2 and 8-0, on April 3 before suffering a 5-1 loss to North Allegheny on April 9.

“North Allegheny is really good in all areas, and they dominated us on the mound,” Vollmer said.

“It wasn’t a bad baseball game, but offensively, we were dominated at times.”

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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