Flames erupt to crush Benders

WEST BEND – The Plymouth Flames unleashed their biggest offensive explosion of the season here Thursday on the winless West Bend Benders, 16- 3.

“Although we’ve been playing well, we haven’t really been hitting all that well yet and it was nice to kind of break out a little bit,” Flames manager Rick Meyer said of the win that lifted the Flames’ Land o Lakes Baseball League record to 5-2 (9-2 overall).

With the Cedarburg Mercs falling Sunday to New Berlin, the Flames are now one game behind Cedarburg in the North Group standings and are even with the 7-2 Mercs in the loss column.

The Flames pounded three West Bend pitchers for 16 hits in the win, led by leadoff hitter Clay Henning with three hits. Matt Rhude, Greg Rhude, Dusty Medved, Jake Klemme and Greg Krahn all contributed a pair of hits to the hit parade.

Meyer conceded that it was a tight contest through the first three innings, with the Flames not picking up their first run until the third inning. Greg Rhude’s sacrifice fly plated that run after an error, a walk and a hit by pitch loaded the bases with one out.

Meyer felt the game’s turning point came in the fourth inning, when the Flames tallied five times. It was in that inning when Benders starting catcher Luke Grefsheim was tossed after saying something to the home plate umpire and Meyer said he felt something went out of the Benders, a young team, after that.

Doubles by Matt and Greg Rhude wrapped up the sevenhit assault for the Flames in the fourth.

Plymouth added single runs in the fourth, seventh and eighth innings.

They broke the game open with a seven-run ninth inning, highlighted by Matt Rhude’s second double of the night and aided by a pair of errors by the Benders, who committed four in the game.

In addition to leading the Flames with three hits, Henning drove in three runs, as did Schroeder.

Ryan Wachter held West Bend to one run and three hits over the first seven inning to earn his second win of the season against one loss. Wachter struck out seven and walked four en route to the win.

“Ryan threw a good game on the mound and that kind of set the tone,” Meyer said.

“It was a good team win. Everybody did a little bit,” Meyer continued, noting that it comes at a good time for the Flames.

The team lost seven games on its early schedule to rainouts and other causes, the manager pointed out. It means the schedule will be getting heavier over the next several weeks with makeups and regularly-scheduled games.

“I’ve been preaching kind of a non-selfish approach and everybody’s signing on to the program. We go three times a week for almost the whole rest of the season.”

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