Inconsistency hinders Flames’ success hopes

by Greg Ceilley of The Review staff


THE PLYMOUTH FLAMES finished fourth in the Land O’ Lakes Baseball League Northern Division this past season. Team members include (front row, left to right) Butch Cain, Travis Christenson, Chris Bennin, Eric Leinen, Matt Rhude, Paul Gloede, David Albrecht, (back row) Zac Cain, Michael DuCharme, Nick Wilson, Dusty Medved, Ryan Wachter and player-manager Rick Meyer. Not pictured are Clay Henning, Devin Christenson, Jake Klemme, Dave Stecker, Joel Fabian, Evan Walsh, Derrick Boldt, Eric Heidenreiter and Justin Gephart. — Photo by Stacy Gloede THE PLYMOUTH FLAMES finished fourth in the Land O’ Lakes Baseball League Northern Division this past season. Team members include (front row, left to right) Butch Cain, Travis Christenson, Chris Bennin, Eric Leinen, Matt Rhude, Paul Gloede, David Albrecht, (back row) Zac Cain, Michael DuCharme, Nick Wilson, Dusty Medved, Ryan Wachter and player-manager Rick Meyer. Not pictured are Clay Henning, Devin Christenson, Jake Klemme, Dave Stecker, Joel Fabian, Evan Walsh, Derrick Boldt, Eric Heidenreiter and Justin Gephart. — Photo by Stacy Gloede PLYMOUTH – Inconsistent play and lineups hurt the Plymouth Flames this past baseball season as they faded down the stretch after a promising start.

The Flames began the 2013 campaign 8-2 but lost six of their next eight games and ended the season with a 1-6 stretch. Plymouth placed fourth in the Land O’ Lakes Baseball League Northern Division with an 8-10 mark and were 14-15 overall. The Flames lost in the first round of the division tournament to Thiensville- Mequon.

“Early on, I was really excited about where we were, starting 8-2 and 4-0 in league and leading the division into mid-June after defeating Cedarburg [division champion], 1-0,” said Flame player-manager Rick Meyer.

“Unfortunately, we played poorly the rest of June. Overall, the season went as it has over the last few seasons.”

The Flames had hoped to bounce back from a disappointing 2012 season in which they went 13-14.

“We can compete with anyone on any given day. However, inconsistent play and lineups cause us to be basically a .500 team. And while .500 isn’t awful, it certainly isn’t a goal of ours to be a .500 team,” Meyer said.

“I think our splintered and inconsistent lineup is a major part of our struggles. In 29 games, I bet we had 25 different lineups. It is very frustrating since I never know who is going to show.

“This level of baseball is a major time commitment. Certain family and work commitments come first, and we have a lot of those,” Meyer said.

“We also have some talent limitations as a ballclub. We do have a nice team that competes but sometimes we just get beat by better teams.

“I thought that on the whole, our pitching wasn’t good enough this year. The addition of Matt Schroeder produced some early success but work commitments and injury limited his contributions down the stretch.

“Age and team speed are becoming factors, and we are still not a great hitting team.”

The Flames had a .270 team batting average and lacked power with only three home runs.

Meyer said the highlights of the season were the victory over Cedarburg on a shutout by Schroeder, and the fast start. Schroeder led the Flames’ pitching staff in ERA with an excellent 2.87 and was named to the LOL Northern Division all-star team.

Meyer said Schroeder gave the Flames a spark early in the season and thought infielder-catcher Jake Klemme had a nice rookie season. Schroeder also led Plymouth in batting with an outstanding .432 average but played in only 11 games due to an injury.

“We were held together by the play of our core veterans such as Ryan Wachter, Paul Gloede, Dusty Medved, Mike DuCharme and Dave Stecker. Joel Fabian also added another solid season,” said Meyer.

Wachter led the Flames in runs with 25 and steals, 16.

“We’ll have to see what next season brings. There are some nice young players coming up from the high school ranks and we need them to play,” Meyer noted.

“We have to figure out who is a full-time player and who is not because these young guys are going to push for playing time.”

Meyer expressed thanks to head groundskeeper Randy Schmitz and everyone with the Plymouth Youth Athletic Association who helped with Loebe Field preparation and with the concession stand.

FINAL PLYMOUTH FLAMES
BASEBALL STATISTICS
Batting Leaders

Avg.
Matt Schroeder……..........…....…. .432
Jake Klemme..……….......….…..... .311
Dave Stecker………….....…....….. .297
RBI
Dusty Medved……….............…....…21
Michael DuCharme.……............……16
Ryan Wachter…..……….……...........15

Pitching Leaders

W L ERA
Matt Schroeder…..............3 3 2.87
Devin Christenson..….......4 1 4.03


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