Panthers have high expectations at state tournament

PLYMOUTH — The Plymouth Panthers will be making the school’s first appearance in the state summer baseball tournament in eight years but aren’t just satisfied with making it this far.

“We’re a good team. We’re nost just happy to be there. We want to win the whole thing,” said PHS junior first baseman/pitcher Zac Cain.

“We want to prove to many people that a small town, Plymouth, can do it all [win state title],” said senior shortstop Clay Henning. “We have the tools and the players to do it.”

The Panthers, 28-4, will face Brookfield Central, 27-6, in the semifinals of the state tourney to be held at Kapco Park on the campus of Concordia University in Mequon. The game will follow the semifinal matchup between Homestead (Mequon) and Oak Creek which starts at 12 p.m.

The championship game is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.

The PHS-Central contest is a rematch from earlier this season when the Lancers won, 13-1, in the first round of the Brookfield Central Invitational. The Lancers outhit Plymouth 8-1 and took advantage of eight walks and one hit batter. Senior Matt Ausloos was the winning pitcher – allowing one earned run on one hit with two walks and a strikeout in four innings.

“Brookfield Central is a great team. They pitch, hit and run extremely well. It’s important for us to expose any weak links they may have,” said Panther head coach Butch Cain.

“Our batters will need to hit our pitches. Our pitchers will need to continue to pound the strike zone, and the defense will need to continue making plays.”

“Matt Ausloos, Luke Sommerfeld and Elijah Goodman are the heart of what they do – pitching and hitting,” said the coach.

“If we shut them down, that will limit the opportunities Central can create.”

Ausloos had two hits and a team-high three RBIs in the first meeting with PHS.

Coach Cain pointed out other keys for his team to have a chance of winning.

“It’s always good to score first and have that depth throughout the [batting[ lineup,” he said. “We need to communicate and execute.

“We’re ready to go and look forward to the challenge. We’re confident.”

The Panthers have had an impressive team effort all season with all of the players making key contributions. Coach Cain is counting on everyone to continue sharing the workload and to pick each other up when needed.

The Panthers’ potent offense is led by Cain who was hitting a sizzling .506 through 30 games. Senior catcher Luke Held is next with an impressive .414 average. PHS has an outstanding nine regulars batting over .300.

Cain and Held are the RBI leaders with 42 and 36, respectively.

The Panthers’ strong pitching staff is headed by Cain and junior Matt Olig. Olig is 7-0 with a team-best 1.08 ERA. Cain is 8-1 with a 1.52 ERA.

STATE TOURNEY TICKETS

Tickets for the state tourney are $8.00 for each session (two games in session one which are the semi-final games) and are sold only at the Kapco Park ticket window during the event.

Tickets will go on sale one hour prior to the start of the first game of each session. Credit cards will not be accepted. A cash machine is available once inside the stadium.


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