Flames fall shy in championship game


ZAC CAIN of the Plymouth Flames fires a pitch to a Cedarburg batter during Saturday’s Northern Division baseball finals. Cain was the winning pitcher in a 10-0 rout. – Photo by Stacy Gloede ZAC CAIN of the Plymouth Flames fires a pitch to a Cedarburg batter during Saturday’s Northern Division baseball finals. Cain was the winning pitcher in a 10-0 rout. – Photo by Stacy Gloede CEDARBURG – The Plymouth Flames’ strong postseason run came to an end here Sunday afternoon with a 6-3 loss to Cedarburg in the Land O’ Lakes Baseball League Northern Division championship game.

The Mercs, who successfully defended their division crown, advance to the league grand championship playoffs. Cedarburg will host Southwestern Division winner Burlington in the first round Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

Plymouth, the No. 4 seed, routed the host and No. 1-seeded Mercs, 10-0, in the finals of the divisional playoffs Saturday afternoon. The victory forced a title game to decide the North’s grand championship playoff qualifier. The Flames had to defeat Cedarburg twice to win the division because the Mercs won the regular-season crown.

“We had a great run [in the playoffs]. I’m proud of the team,” said Rick Meyer, the Flames’ player manager whose team finished 20-12.

“We were right in this [championship] game. We had opportunities. We just didn’t get [enough] clutch hits.”

The Flames stranded 10 baserunners, compared with eight for the Mercs. Plymouth left two runners on in each of the final two innings.

Cedarburg scored four runs in the bottom of the fifth to erase a 3-2 deficit and go ahead 6-3. The big hit was Joe Reichert’s two-out, three-run triple which climaxed the outburst.

The Flames, who were held hitless by Joe Daniels until the fifth, took a 1-0 lead in the first. Matt Rhude drew a one-out walk and later scored on an infield error.


CLAY HENNING, Plymouth Flame shortstop, forces out a Cedarburg runner at second and then throws to first for a double play in Sunday’s Northern Division baseball title game. Second baseman Paul Gloede looks on. – Photo by Stacy Gloede CLAY HENNING, Plymouth Flame shortstop, forces out a Cedarburg runner at second and then throws to first for a double play in Sunday’s Northern Division baseball title game. Second baseman Paul Gloede looks on. – Photo by Stacy Gloede

Plymouth scored twice in the fifth to go up 3-2. Clay Henning broke up Daniels’ no-hit bid with a one-out single. Rhude walked with two away. Jake Klemme came through with a triple which drove in Henning and Rhude.

Daniels earned a completegame victory. He allowed two earned runs on seven hits with five walks, a hit batter and six strikeouts.

“Daniels did a nice job. He’s a battler and moves it around,” said Meyer.

Matt Schroeder was the Flames’ starting pitcher and took the loss. Schroeder gave up six earned runs on eight hits with five walks, a hit batter and zero strikeouts in five innings. Dave Stecker threw the last three frames and allowed no runs on two hits with one walk and no strikeouts.

Klemme led the Flames in hits and RBIs with two each. Rhude, who was 1-for-2 with two walks, scored a team-high two runs. Rhude was also hit by a pitch.


MATT SCHROEDER of the Plymouth Flames uncorks a pitch in Sunday’s Northern Division baseball championship game versus Cedarburg. – Photo by Stacy Gloede MATT SCHROEDER of the Plymouth Flames uncorks a pitch in Sunday’s Northern Division baseball championship game versus Cedarburg. – Photo by Stacy Gloede

Reichert paced the Mercs in RBIs with four and collected two hits. Nolan Gilbertson cracked a team-high three hits.

SATURDAY’S GAME

Zac Cain and Rhude teamed up for the Flames’ shutout against

FLAMES
3

CEDARBURG
6

Score by Innings
Flames..............100 020 000 – 3 7 0
Cedarburg.........020 040 00x – 6 10 2

Matt Schroeder, Dave Stecker (6) and Jake Klemme; Joe Daniels and John Regnitz. W – Daniels. L – Schroeder. 2B – Flames, Zac Cain. 3Bs – Flames, Klemme; Cedarburg, Joe Reichert.

FLAMES
10

CEDARBURG
0

Score by Innings
Flames............000 340 120 – 10 14 2
Cedarburg .......000 000 000 – 0 7 4

Zac Cain, Matt Rhude (7) and Jake Klemme; Zach Lauterbach, Ben Albe (7), Nolan Gilbertson (9) and Joe Reichert, John Regnitz (7). W – Cain, 2-0. L – Lauterbach. Save – Rhude, (2). 2Bs – Flames, Cain, Paul Gloede. the Mercs’ potent attack. Cain also swung a hot bat with a team-best three hits and four RBIs.

Cain, a key player on Plymouth High School’s state tournament team this summer, was the winning hurler. The right-hander surrendered four hits and three walks while fanning three in six innings.

Rhude earned a save after pitching the final three frames. He allowed seven hits and two walks to go with four strikeouts.

“We played very well. Zac and Matt Rhude pitched very well,” said Meyer.

“For his age, Zac was outstanding. He was composed and stepped up. Matt kept it going.

The Flames had a young lineup Saturday but got key contributions from several of the young players, including Cain, Rhude, Klemme and Clay Henning.

“The young guys did very well. I can’t say enough about them,” Meyer said.

The Flames banged out 14 hits. Stecker, Rhude, Klemme and Henning contributed two each. Dusty Medved had two RBIs. Klemme led in runs with three.

Plymouth grabbed a 3-0 lead in the top of the third, sparked by Cain’s two-run double.

The Flames broke the game open with a four-run fifth to build a 7-0 cushion. The key blow was Cain’s two-run single. Rhude added an RBI single.

Nick Boehnlein and John Vandenberg paced the Mercs in hits with two apiece.

Zach Lauterbach was the Mercs’ starting and losing pitcher. Lauterbach was tagged for eight runs (four earned) and 12 hits. He walked three and fanned two in 6-1/3 innings.

Cedarburg committed four errors, including three which led to four unearned runs.

Meyer thought his defense played well in both games. In Saturday’s contest, Plymouth turned three double plays.


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