Falcons make it to fifth straight sectional final

by Steve Ottman Falls News Correspondent

HOWARDS GROVE—For the fifth consecutive year the Sheboygan Falls Falcons baseball team reached the WIAA Sectional Final with a comeback 4-3 win over the Kiel Raiders in the sectional-semifinal Monday afternoon, July 20 at Howards Grove.

Kyle Peterson’s walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh inning scored Ryan Schmitt and the Falcons bench emptied to tackled Peterson, celebrating their comeback win.

With the Raiders trailing 2-1 in the top of the sixth, Trent Nickel hit an infield single and stole second base. Austin Goehring singled to third base, however Nickel scored on a throwing error to tie the game 2-2.

In the seventh, Raiders Nick Walsh tripled after one out causing Falls to replace starting pitcher JT Petrie with John VanderPloeg.

Walsh immediately scored on a failed pick-off play, giving Kiel a 3-2 lead. VanderPloeg struck out the two remaining batters to get out of the inning.

The Falcons took over in the bottom with all of their rally caps all placed on Bryce Ertman’s head.

After one out, Joe Van Engen singled and Schmitt reached on a fielder’s choice when the Raiders throw to second was wide for an error.

VanderPloeg also reached on a throwing error, allowing Van Engen to score and tie the game up.

Peterson then single home Schmitt for the winning run.

“It was unbelievable to have an opportunity to get a walk-off chance to help my team win,” said Peterson. “I waited for the right pitch and drove it.”

“This team finds a way to fight through adversity,” Smith stated.“Peterson is a good hitter and god hitters find a way to get on.”

Up until the sixth, the no. 7 seed Raiders and no. 3 seeded Falcons were locked up in a pitcher’s duel.

Falcons freshman pitcher Petrie had only allowed one earned run on six hits and struck out eight with one walk.

“Petrie pitched a great game,” said Falcons coach Lance Smith. “He was one of the main reasons we are where we are this season. He’s really calm for a first-year player.”

Kiel’s starting pitcher Walsh struggled in the first two innings of the game, hitting two batters, walking two and gave two runs on two hits before being lifted with one out in the second inning.

Raiders Alex Winkel pitched in relief in the second and was near perfect until the seventh, allowing three walks with five strikeouts. Both runs on two hits were unearned in the seventh.

Nickel walked and stole second with one out in the top of the first inning. Nickel advanced to third on a error and Goehring hit a RBI single for a 1-0 lead.

Falls wasted no time taking the lead in the bottom of the first. Van Engen walked and Schmitt singled. Ross Krist was hit by a pitch to load the bases.

VanderPloeg drilled a two-RBI single to leftfield and the Falcons led 2-1.

The Falcons only recorded four hits in the game. Van Engen and Schmitt scored two runs each. VanderPloeg picked up the win for Falls. Winkel took the loss for Kiel.

“We fought back for our biggest win of the season,” commented Smith. “We scheduled a lot of games this season, which gave these guys experience.”

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