Rhude pitches Flames into Tri-County finals

WEST BEND – Matt Rhude twirled a three-hitter as the Plymouth Flames downed West Bend 7-UP, 7-3, in the semifinals of the Tri-County Baseball League playoffs here Wednesday night.

The Flames, who improved to 22-11, advance to the finals Wednesday night against the winner of the Clyman-Monches contest which is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 9. The time and place for the finals haven’t been determined yet.

West Bend was the regular-season league champion with a 6-0 record.

Rhude allowed one earned run and four walks while striking out nine.

“Matt pitched really well. His breaking ball has really improved lately. He moved the ball around well and mixed his pitches well,” said Flame manager Rick Meyer.

Meyer said getting ahead of the batters was also a key for Rhude’s effective pitching.

Rhude allowed two runs in the bottom of the first inning but was nearly untouchable over the next six innings which saw him blank West Bend on no hits. After Anthony Schlass hit an RBI double with no outs in the first which gave 7-UP a 1-0 lead, Rhude retired 11 batters in a row.

The Flames scored four runs in the fifth which gave them a 6-2 lead. The key blow was Jake Klemme’s two-run double. Zac Cain contributed an RBI single and Luke Held knocked in a run with a sacrifice fly.

Plymouth made it 7-2 in the sixth when Zach Gambrell scored on a wild pitch after lashing a leadoff double and moving to third on Nick Wilson’s sacrifice bunt.

The Flames grabbed a 1-0 lead run in the first on Cain’s groundout. Dusty Medved’s RBI double tied the game for Plymouth at 2-2.

Plymouth rapped out 11 hits, led by Greg Rhude, Cain and Klemme with two each. Cain and Klemme had a team-high two RBIs apiece. Greg Rhude scored a teambest two runs.

“We hit the ball pretty well. We had 11 hits throughout the lineup and everybody contributed. We played well on defense,” said Meyer.

Eight Flames were in the hit column.

West Bend didn’t have anyone with more than one hit. Schlass led in RBIs with two.

Matt Parrent pitched a complete game for West Bend and took the loss. Parrent fanned 12 batters and allowed seven earned runs and two walks.

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