Team effort, focus crucial to Panthers’ stellar season

by Greg Ceilley of The Review staff

PLYMOUTH — A total team effort sparked the Plymouth Panthers to another very successful baseball season this past summer.

The Panthers displayed excellent team chemistry and focus throughout the season which was climaxed by their second straight appearance in the state tournament. PHS won its third consecutive Eastern Wisconsin Conference title with a 15-3 record and finished 23-7 overall. The Panthers lost to Franklin in the state semifinals, 11-4.

“The contributions of all of our team members proved to be beneficial in helping us find a way to come out on top in a large number of contests,” said Panther head coach Butch Cain.

“We were able to execute well when it counted which says a lot about our composure. Our ability to focus and stay calm under duress was an asset for us on the season.

The Panthers overcame many adversities [including injuries] and showed a great deal of pride in earning the outright EWC championship and a return trip to the state tournament this season,” said Cain.

The coach said the highlights of the season were big late-season wins over the team’s toughest EWC competitors in Kewaskum, New Holstein and Sheboygan Falls. Kewaskum finished second in the EWC. The Panthers defeated NH and Falls in the sectional semifinals and finals, respectively, to advance to state.

Cain was asked what impressed him the most about the PHS squad.

“The chemistry and resolve we showed day in and day out was an integral part of our identity this season,” said the coach.

“We are very proud of these young men and the character they displayed at all times in representing the team, their families, our school and the community. This is something we take great pride in as a program and, no matter how many wins we are able to earn during a season, remains an important part of our culture on and off the diamond.”

Cain said the individual honors that the team was fortunate to receive were again directly related to the success of the team as a whole.

The coach expressed his thanks to many people for their support of the PHS baseball program this year.

We would like to commend and thank all of our players, coaches, families, the booster club and the many others who supported us again in some way this season,” he said.

“They all played an important role in the Panther baseball team having another fun, exciting, successful and rewarding campaign. It would not have been possible without their many contributions.

“We need to send out a sincere thank-you to our seniors. We wish to thank them for the commitment and the leadership they provided to our program over the past four years. We also want to wish them the best of luck in their life-long journey of success and the fulfillment of goals,” said Cain.

The coach looked ahead to next season.

We will be rather young and inexperienced looking ahead to next year. We are confident that our seasoned veterans will help us welcome a new group of energetic/ passionate baseball players to our varsity program which will help us work hard and be competitive on a daily basis,” he said.

FINAL STATS, AWARDS

Zac Cain, a senior pitcher/infielder, led the Panthers in batting with an outstanding .471 average and RBIs with 34. Senior catcher Tyler Willeford was first in runs with 36 and stolen bases, 13.

Cain was the EWC’s Co-Player of the Year for the second straight season and was named to the All- EWC first team for the fourth straight year. He was voted to the Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association all-state first team for the third consecutive season. Cain is now a member of the Upper Iowa University baseball team as a freshman.

Willeford earned All-EWC first-team honors for the third straight year and was named allstate honorable mention.

Cain led the PHS pitching staff in wins with seven and ERA with a sparkling 1.49.

Cain and fellow seniors Matt Olig, Cole Karczewski, Willeford and Drew Schweiger served as the Panthers’ team captains this past season.

The PHS varsity letter winners include: seniors – Karczewski, Willeford, Drew Schweiger, Olig, Cain, Alex Krueger, Jack Sacket, Cole Meyer, Austin Ramminger (manager), Zach Gambrell and Nick Stucke; juniors – Austin Struve, TJ Moegenburg and Ethan Keller; sophomores – Jake Steinhardt and Derek Schweiger; and freshmen – Taylor Struve and Holden Reilly.


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