For Warsaw Community High School’s varsity baseball team, the results of Monday’s game with Northern Lakes Conference rival Plymouth weren’t nearly as beautiful as the weather.
On a warm, sunny evening, the host Tigers were simply outshined by the Pilgrims, who were dominant in a five-inning 10-0 win.
“We didn’t have a good approach, or energy, and I don’t know why,” said Warsaw coach Mike Hepler, whose team won 5-1 in Plymouth earlier this season. “We were coming off a nice win Friday (over Goshen), and today we just weren’t with it.”
The Tigers, who fell to 9-10 overall and 6-4 in the NLC standings, have lost six of their last seven games.
In Monday’s setback, Warsaw had just two hits – singles by sophomore Sterling Hay and senior Justin Oberlin.
Facing Plymouth junior pitcher Joe Dragani, the Tigers put the bat on the ball, but just couldn’t produce hits.
Dragani pitched all five innings for the Pilgrims, who are also 9-10 overall and 6-4 in the NLC.
To go with giving up just two hits, he struck out four and walked three.
“That’s what Joe’s capable of every time out,” said Plymouth coach Ryan Wolfe. “He struggled last week against Memorial, but before that he was lights out. He’s a junior with three pitches. That’s pretty good in high school baseball. What he did today, that’s what we expect from him.”
While Dragani was in control on the mound, sophomore George Stultz and senior Jacob Frantz were big at the plate for the Pilgrims.
Stultz, who was playing just his fifth varsity game after starting the season on the JV team, was 3 for 3 with four RBIs and three runs scored.
He hit a three-run homer in the first inning, as Plymouth took a 4-0 lead before Warsaw got to bat, and added a solo shot in the fourth.
Frantz was also 3 for 3 at the plate, finishing with a pair of doubles, four RBIs and a run.
“This was Stultz’s fifth game on varsity,” said Wolfe. “He’s got three homers with us. We started him out on the JV, and he had five bombs down there. He can hit the ball.”
Elijah Nixon, Blake Milliser, Jarrod Ellis, Brandon Milligan and Matt Flynn all had a hit for Plymouth, which plated three runs in the fourth inning and three more in the fifth.
“This was probably our best game in terms of all three facets – pitching, base running and hitting,” said Wolfe. “We had 18 hits and 10 runs against Concord and got beat. It was nice to put it all together today.”
Hepler was on the opposite end of those feelings.
His Warsaw team started the season by winning eight of its first 12 games.
As of late, however, the Tigers have struggled, and the state tournament is only a couple weeks away.
“That’s certainly a concern to me,” said Hepler. “We started out pretty well, but things have flipped on us. We’d like to win the conference, but the sectional is more important to us. It’s just frustrating the way we played today.”
Adding to that frustration, said Hepler, was the fact that Monday’s game was Warsaw’s Striking Out Cancer event.
“I want to thank Coach (Nate) Howett and Coach (Justin) Love for putting that together,” said Hepler. “It’s frustrating we didn’t produce more and raise more money.”
Junior Kevin Hawley was charged with the loss on the mound for the Tigers.
Hawley worked three innings, giving up five hits, four runs, four of them earned, and one walk.
He struck out one Plymouth batter.
Junior Jonathan Murphy and senior Caleb Heckaman pitched in relief.
The Tigers have two more conference games this week, as they travel to NorthWood Wednesday and Northridge Friday.

P    400    33    –    10    11    1
W    000    00    –    0    2    2
Plymouth – Joe Dragani (W, 5IP, 2H, 0R, 3BB, 4K)
Warsaw – Kevin Hawley (L, 3IP, 5H, 4R 4ER, 1BB, 1K), Jonathan Murphy (3H, 3R, 3ER, 1BB, 0K), Caleb Heckaman (2IP, 3H, 3R, 3ER, 1BB, 1K).
2B – Jacob Frantz (P) 2
HR – George Stultz (P) 2
Records: Plymouth 9-10 (6-4 NLC), Warsaw 9-10 (6-4 NLC)