Panthers hold off Falcons in conference battle

by Steve Ottman
Review Co respondent

JAKE STEINHARDT of Plymouth lashes a single in Friday night’s BEC baseball game versus Sheboygan Falls. – Review photo by Steve Ottman JAKE STEINHARDT of Plymouth lashes a single in Friday night’s BEC baseball game versus Sheboygan Falls. – Review photo by Steve Ottman SHEBOYGAN FALLS – The Plymouth Panthers used a threerun third inning to knock off their rival Sheboygan Falls Falcons, 6-4, in a Big East Conference baseball battle here Friday night.

PHS moves to 7-1 in the BEC (9-5 overall). Falls drops to 6-2 in the BEC (7-5 overall). New Holstein leads the BEC with an 8-1 record, followed by PHS. Falls is in fourth place.

“We played very well on defense tonight and got a good pitching performance from Derek Schweiger,” said Panther head coach Butch Cain.

“Schweiger kept the ball down in the zone and kept Falls off balance all night.”

Schweiger started and went six innings for the win – giving up eight hits, two walks and two earned runs while striking out six.

“We ran into some good pitching tonight,” said Falcon head coach Lance Smith. “We didn’t get good clutch at-bats.”

The Falcons struck first in the bottom of the second inning as John VanderPloeg singled and scored on a double from Austin Elsing for a 1-0 lead.

The Panthers’ Sam Miller led off the third inning with a single and advance to second on an error. Will Birkholz and Austin Struve walked to load the bases. Miller scored on a wild pitch and Schweiger drilled a two-run double to right-center field to take a 3-1 lead.

Plymouth added to their lead in the fifth when it loaded the bases again. Birkholz hit an infield single and Austin Struve walked. Jake Steinhardt hit a single to drive in Birkholz. Austin Struve scored when Taylor Struve was hit by a pitch with the bases filled for a 5-1 lead.

The Panthers made it 6-1 in the sixth. Joey Osieczanek singled and scored on another single from Steinhardt.

Falls put up a run in the bottom of the sixth. Luke Burgard reached on a fielder’s choice and Elsing singled. Conor O’Dwanny hit a pinch-hit single and Burgard scored to make it 6-2.

Schweiger was lifted for relief pitcher Steinhardt in the seventh.

Steinhardt struggled to start the inning – walking the first two batters, Ross Krist and Ryan Schmitt. Kyle Peterson singled to cut the lead to 6-3.

Steinhardt then walked Jared Petrie and hit Burgard to give up another run. Steinhardt finished strong with two called strikeouts for the save.

“Steinhardt just wanted to pound the zone,” stated Cain. “He finished strong.”

Petrie took the loss for the Falcons – giving up five runs (four earned) in five innings on five hits, four walks with four strikeouts. Elsing pitched two innings in relief – giving up one run on three hits and a walk.

Birkholz and Steinhardt led PHS in hits with two each. Steinhardt and Schweiger had a teamhigh two RBIs apiece.

“We had good spot hitting and made their pitcher [Petrie] work to get us out,” Cain commented.

VanderPloeg and Elsing led Falls in hits with two each.

The Panthers’ BEC game at Kiel Wednesday evening was suspended after three innings due to rain, with PHS leading 4-2. The game will be completed on July 8 at 3:30 p.m. at Plymouth, prior to the regularly scheduled game at 5:30.

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