Lost weekend: Flames drop pair to division's top two


SECOND BASEMAN Paul Gloede (above) of the Flames takes a throw too late to get a Grafton Express runner at second base during Sunday's LOL Northern Division game. Plymouth Flames' Dave Stecker (below) dives back into second base ahead of a pickoff attempt by Grafton pitcher Jordan Clark in the sixth inning of Sunday's loss to the Express, 5-1. — Photos by Stacy Gloede SECOND BASEMAN Paul Gloede (above) of the Flames takes a throw too late to get a Grafton Express runner at second base during Sunday's LOL Northern Division game. Plymouth Flames' Dave Stecker (below) dives back into second base ahead of a pickoff attempt by Grafton pitcher Jordan Clark in the sixth inning of Sunday's loss to the Express, 5-1. — Photos by Stacy Gloede The Plymouth Flames fell over the weekend to the top two teams in their division in Land O’ Lakes Baseball League play.

The Northern Division-leading Cedarburg Mercs scored in every inning from the third on Saturday to pound the Flames, 14-4, in a makeup game at Carl Loebe Field.

Sunday, Grafton’s Jordan Clark scattered seven hits as the Express stopped the Flames, 5-1, at Grafton.

The back-to-back losses dropped the Flames to .500 in the division at 7-7, but they still hold fourth place by 2 ½ games with four left to play.

The Mercs game was rescheduled from a July 10 makeup and Flames manager Rick Meyer noted that his squad was short-handed for the rare Saturday matchup.

“Not to make any excuses, but admittedly it was a makeup game and we had about five starters out,” Meyer explained. “We had a couple of guys who played out of position.

“We kicked the ball around too much. Cedarburg’s got such a good-hitting team you can’t make mistakes against them and we did. You’ve got to be on your game against them and we weren’t,” Meyer added.

The Flames jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Jake Klemme led off the game with a triple and later came around to score.

The lead held up until the top of the third, when Cedarburg broke through for four runs off Flames starter Matt Schroeder, aided by two Flames errors in the innings.

By the time the Flames were able to break into the scoring column again, with a single tally in the bottom of the sixth, the Mercs had already put 10 runs on the why they lead the division in offense, racking up 18 hits en route to their 14-run total.

Meyer said the Flames were able to see some good things from some of the younger players who were forced into the lineup in the game.

Four players delivered a pair of hits each – Klemme, Evan Walsh, Mike DuCharme and Matt Schroeder. Among the Flames’ 10 hits were a double and two triples.

Schroeder took the loss for Flames, going five innings and giving up eight runs, although only two were earned.

EXPRESS GAME

A failure to capitalize on scoring opportunities cost the Flames Sunday at Grafton.

Meyer saw his team collect seven hits in the game but strand nine runners.

“It was one of those games where you get down and try to scratch a couple of runs, but we couldn’t,” the manager summarized. “We had guys in scoring position but we couldn’t push them across. We’re not the best hitting team in the world and we couldn’t get much going.”

Express pitcher Jordan Clark was able to shut the door effectively on the Flames. He went the route, striking out 13 and walking only one.

“He just threw it by us,” Meyer said of Clark. “When we face a hard-thrower like Clark, we strike out a lot.”

The Flames spoiled Clark’s shutout bid by pushing across a run in the bottom of the ninth. Matt Ruhde doubled home Mike DuCharme, who had reached on an error to start the inning.

But, with runners on second and third and only one out, Clark fanned Eric Heidenreiter and got Dave Stecker to ground out to nail down the win for Grafton.

Stecker led the Flames with two hits, but Ruhde’s double was the only extra-base hit they could manage off Clark.

Ryan Wachter went seven innings in a losing effort for the Flames, striking out five and walking three while giving up 12 hits.

With less than two weeks left in the season, the Flames still lead Thiensville-Mequon for the fourth and final spot. Meyer noted that the rest of the schedule is favorable for his team, as three of their last four games are against second division teams Howards Grove and West Bend.

“We’ve got a couple of opportunities to win a couple of games down the stretch going into the playoffs,” he commented.

CEDARBURG 14

FLAMES 4

Cedarburg........004 132 112 – 14 18 3
Flames..............100 001 020 – 4 9 4
Mike Winter, Robby Proehl (8) and
John Regnitz; Matt Schroeder, Matt
Ruhde (6) and Dusty Medved. W –
Winter. L – Schroeder, 3-2. 2B – Cedarburg, Brian Bert, Proehl; Plymouth,
Mike DuCharme. 3B – Plymouth, Jake
Klemme, Matt Ruhde.

FLAMES 1

GRAFTON 5

Flames...............000 000 001 – 1 7 1
Grafton...............010 100 21X – 5 13 2
Ryan Wachter, Dave Stecker (8)
and Jake Klemme; Jordan Clark and
Dustin Kesner. W – Clark. L – Wachter,
1-4. 2B – Plymouth, Ruhde; Grafton,
Max Prufer. 3B – Grafton, Lance Kep_ plinger.


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