Late rally falls short for Falcons

by Steve Ottman Review Correspondent

MEQUON - The Sheboygan Falls High School baseball season came down one last play as a furious late-game rally fell short for the Falcons with an 8-7 semifinal loss to West Bend West at the WIAA State Summer Baseball Tournament at Kapco Park, Mequon Friday, July 19.

Falls finished its season at 17- 12 overall with its third straight defeat in the state semifinal game.

West Bend West (24-9 overall) advanced to the state championship game where it lost 11-6 to new state champions New Berlin West.

“I couldn’t be more proud of these guys,” said Falcons’ head coach Ryan Fladvid. “We got down early and these guys fought back. It’s a game of momentum and I knew we had the offense to come back.”

The Falcons’ defense came out flat, as West Bend West took advantage of four errors and five walks in the first five innings to take an 8-1 lead.

In the top of the sixth inning, the Falls batters made the momentum switch.

The Spartans pitching change in the fifth inning with Jacob Lenz taking over for starter Jacob Kopp backfired. Kopp allowed just one run through four innings.

Lenz sailed through the fifth inning. However he wouldn’t make it through the next inning, as the Falcons sent nine batters to the plate, scoring five runs.

Eric Klemme started the comeback with a single to center field for the Falcons. Jake Wiesenthal singled as Josh Rostek and Jacob Brading walked back to back to make the score 8-2 with Klemme scoring.

After another West Bend West pitching change, Falcons Nick Peterson stroked a single up the middle to score Wiesenthal. Another walk to Nate Heili brought in the Falcons fourth run.

Jacob Meyer’s big bat then came to the plate with one out. Meyer, who had gone 5-for-10 in the post-season, belted a deep fly ball to right field to drive in two runs to make it 8-6.

West Bend West right fielder Billy Anderson came through big, making a diving catch to save the game.

West Bend West went to the bullpen again and was able to get Mike Raeder of Falls to ground out to end the inning.

Peterson, who had relieved Falcons’ starter Heili, gave up two hits and a run in the fifth inning. He then walked two batters in the sixth and Heili was brought back to finish the inning.

Klemme led off with another single to start the seventh. Wiesenthal’s try for a bunt single failed, as Klemme was advanced to second base.

Rostek then hit a run-scoring single to cut the lead to 8-7 with one out. Brading followed with a single, putting runners on first and second base.

Mike Bonner advanced the runners to second and third with a grounder.

Heili came up with the game on the line and drilled a deep shot to third base.

West Bend third baseman Kyle Krier made a tough stop and came through with a game-ending throw to first, as Heili’s diving slide was just a foot short.

“I wanted this moment for our seniors [Ryan Halverson and Meyer], but the third baseman made a hell of play,” said Heili. “We will miss them, but hopefully next year we step up and get the job done.”

Heili said after the game, his pitching command wasn’t there like it was in his previous no-hitter.

After a quick first inning, the Spartans took a 3-0 lead in the second

A fielding error, wild pitch, bunt, walk and a throwing error led to a wild start.

With runners at second and third, a squeeze bunt by Alex Haese led to the first run. The following batter, Al Miller, doubled deep to left to make it 3-0.

In the third inning, Heili’s struggle continued with a leadoff walk to Ryan Morrison and a wild pitch. He settled down to strike out the next two batters.

Matt Rychtik then singled to drive in Morrison and give West Bend West a 4-0 lead.

Another throwing error and walk loaded the bases, before Heili walked in the fifth run.

Falls got on the scoreboard following Klemmes’s leadoff single in the fourth inning.

Brading then hit a two-out single to score Klemme to make the score 5-1.

West Bend West added two more runs in the bottom of the fourth.

Heili would leave the game giving up seven runs, including four earned runs, on five hits and five walks with five strikeouts.

Starting pitcher Jason Kopp picked up the complete game victory giving up two earned runs on seven hits, walking two and striking out three.

Rychtik led West Bend West, batting 2-for-3 with two runs scored and two runs batted in.

Klemme had a big day for Falls, going 3-for-4 at the plate with three runs scored. Heili was 2-for-3 with a double, one run scored and one RBI. Brading had two key RBI singles and Wiesenthal had two hits.

“I told this team to remember this moment and that we have the talent to be here again next year,” Fladvid said. “Baseball is a game of nerves. We didn’t play well at first, but then mentally this team pulled together and almost pulled it out.”

The Falls baseball squad set a school record for any sports program with its third consecutive trip to state.



Score by Innings
Sheboygan Falls…..000 105 1-7 11 4
West Bend West…...032 210 x-8 7 1
Nate Heili, Nick Peterson (5), Heili
(6) and Jake Meyer. Jacob Kopp,
Jacob Lenz (5), Jacob Droese (6), Max
Sallinen (6), Kopp (7) and AJ Emerich,
Kopp (5), Emerich (7). W-Kopp. L-Heili.
2Bs-Sheboygan Falls, Heili. West Bend
West, Kopp, Lenz, Alec Miller.

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