Panthers win regional championship

¦ Aggressive play keys Plymouth’s hard-fought victory
by Greg Ceilley of The Review staff


CLAY HENNING of Plymouth dives to score on a passed ball, eluding the tag by Campbellsport pitcher Jordan Dreikosen in the third inning of Friday’s regional baseball finals. Looking on for PHS are Tyler Willeford (19) and Luke Held. — Photo by Todd Starnitcky CLAY HENNING of Plymouth dives to score on a passed ball, eluding the tag by Campbellsport pitcher Jordan Dreikosen in the third inning of Friday’s regional baseball finals. Looking on for PHS are Tyler Willeford (19) and Luke Held. — Photo by Todd Starnitcky PLYMOUTH – The Plymouth Panthers relied on their patented aggressive offense to earn a 4-2 win over upset-minded Campbellsport in the regional baseball finals Friday evening at the PHS diamond.

The No. 1-seeded Panthers raised their record to 23-3-1. The No. 8-seeded Cougars, who lost to PHS three times during Eastern Wisconsin Conference action this season, finished 9-15.

PHS lost to EWC rival Kewaskum, a No. 4 seed, in the sectional semifinals Monday, July 15 at Campbellsport, by a score of 4-0.

“We had set a goal earlier this year to win the regional,” said Panther head coach Butch Cain. “The guys played with a lot of heart and pride, and the intensity was there.

“We ran the bases hard and put pressure on the defense. We knew we didn’t have our best offense, so we had to create some things.

“We knew they had a good pitcher [starter Jordan Dreikosen] and that we would have to manufacture some runs, and we did,” said Cain.

The Panthers scored three runs in the bottom of the third with only one hit as they took a 3-0 lead. Eric Leinen led off and reached first base on an infield error. He was balked to second, took third on Justin Picard’s sacrifice bunt and hustled home on a wild pitch.

Clay Henning followed with a bloop single and then stole second. Jake Richards batted next and drew a walk. Henning and Richards executed a double-steal to put runners at second and third. Henning scored on a passed ball as he dove into home to beat the pitcher’s tag.

Richards scored on a fielder’s choice by Tyler Willeford who was credited with an RBI.

The Cougars shaved the lead to 3-2 with a pair of runs in the fourth. James Huges led off with a base hit and scored on Cole Sippel’s triple to right-center field. Sippel came home on a wild pitch.

PHS added a big insurance run in the sixth to go up 4-2. Luke Hojnacki walked with one away and advanced all the way to third on an errant pickoff throw by the pitcher. Matt Rhude followed with a perfectly executed suicide-squeeze bunt which plated Hojnacki.

Starter Ryan Schieble and relief pitcher Zac Cain teamed up for a two-hitter, with Schieble gaining the win and Cain earning a save. Schieble, 8-1, went 5-1/3 innings and allowed two earned runs on two hits with a pair of walks, one hit batter and four strikeouts.

Cain fanned four batters in only 1-2/3 innings and hit a batter while walking none. When he relieved Schieble, the Cougars had runners at second and third with only one out. Cain proceeded to fan the next two batters to end the threat.

“Another quality start for Ryan. He located real well, kept the ball down and worked the ball around the corners well,” said coach Cain.

“Zac came in and closed the door for us. He came in and threw strikes and mixed his pitches well.”

Henning had both of the Panthers’ hits. He also had a teamhigh three steals. PHS was 6-for-6 stealing bases.

“It feels good [winning the regional]. We did everything close to right,” said Schieble.

“The defense made some great plays behind me and Zac. I located OK. If you keep the ball down, they can’t hurt you.

“Luke [Held, catcher] does a great job back there [calling pitches and blocking low pitches],” Schieble said.

“Winning the regional means a lot to us,” said Held. “We had an outstanding regional and wanted to carry it over into the playoffs.”

Dreikosen took the loss but pitched well. He gave up three runs but zero were earned on only two hits with two walks, three strikeouts and a balk in four innings.

CAMPBELLSPORT 2

PLYMOUTH 4

Score by Innings
Campbellsport.........000 200 0 – 2 2 4
Plymouth..................003 001 x – 4 2 3
Jordan Dreikosen, Ty Schmidt (5)
and Bennet Krueger; Ryan Schieble,
Zac Cain (6) and Luke Held. W – Schieble, 8-1. L – Dreikosen. Save – Cain.
3B – Campbellsport, Cole Sippel.


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