Clutch hitting, pitching key Flames’ playoff win

by Greg Ceilley
of The Review staff


RYAN WACHTER, the Plymouth Flames’ right fielder, attempts to catch a fly ball down the right-field line by Cedarburg’s Matt Woelky in the third inning of Saturday’s Rock River Baseball League playoff game. The ball dropped in and Woelky got a triple. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley RYAN WACHTER, the Plymouth Flames’ right fielder, attempts to catch a fly ball down the right-field line by Cedarburg’s Matt Woelky in the third inning of Saturday’s Rock River Baseball League playoff game. The ball dropped in and Woelky got a triple. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley PLYMOUTH – The Plymouth Flames pounded out 15 hits and got clutch relief pitching from Jake Klemme to key a 9-7 win over the Cedarburg Mercs in the first round of the Rock River Baseball League divisional playoffs Saturday afternoon at Carl Loebe Field.

Plymouth, 24-12 this season, had a balanced attack with six batters contributing at least two hits. Zac Cain, Jake Klemme and Greg Krahn spearheaded the hit parade with three each. Greg Rhude, Luke Held and Matt Rhude cracked two apiece.

Matt Rhude and Krahn had a team-high three RBIs each, followed by Cain’s two.

“It was a good team effort. We put a lot of people in scoring positions and we came through in clutch situations,” said shortstop Greg Rhude.


CLAY HENNING of the Plymouth Flames lays down a sacrifice bunt in the eighth inning of Saturday’s Rock River Baseball League playoff game versus Cedarburg. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley CLAY HENNING of the Plymouth Flames lays down a sacrifice bunt in the eighth inning of Saturday’s Rock River Baseball League playoff game versus Cedarburg. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley “Today, [Taylor] Piel didn’t have his stuff but we were also attacking fastballs and we attacked our pitches.”

Piel was the losing hurler. He went the distance and gave up seven earned runs, walked four and recorded six strikeouts. He earned a complete-game win over the Flames, 6-5, in the teams’ previous meeting on July 29 which was a regular-season Northeast Division game.

Piel stranded 12 Plymouth baserunners in the July 29 contest, compared with nine on Saturday.

Klemme pitched the final four innings and held the Mercs to one run (unearned) on only one hit with one walk and three strikeouts en route to earning a save.

“I hadn’t pitched for awhile and I had all-right stuff. I threw strikes and made them put the ball in play and let my defense do it,” said Klemme.

The Flames tallied three runs in the bottom of the fifth to seize the lead for good at 8-6. With one out, Klemme and Matt Rhude belted back-to-back doubles, with Rhude’s driving in Klemme which tied the game, 6-6.

Dusty Medved batted next and grounded to the shortstop who made an errant throw to the third baseman on an attempt to nab Rhude. Medved advanced to second on the error. Krahn followed with line-drive single which knocked in Rhude and Medved, giving the Flames an 8-6 advantage.

The Flames scored a huge insurance run in the eighth to go up 9-6. Greg Rhude drilled a leadoff double to the left-center gap and moved to third on Clay Henning’s ensuing sacrifice bunt. After Cain drew an intentional walk, Held came through with a single which drove in Rhude.


GREG KRAHN, Plymouth Flame second baseman, lashes a single in the seventh inning of Saturday’s Rock River Baseball League playoff game against Cedarburg. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley GREG KRAHN, Plymouth Flame second baseman, lashes a single in the seventh inning of Saturday’s Rock River Baseball League playoff game against Cedarburg. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley The Mercs scored an unearned run in the ninth, aided by two infield errors. Cedarburg stranded runners on first and second.

Plymouth scored four runs in the first to go ahead 4-1. The Flames banged out five hits in the frame, led by Matt Rhude’s two-run single. Cain and Krahn delivered RBI singles.

Troy White’s RBI single in the fifth gave Cedarburg a short-lived 6-5 lead.

Woelky and White led the Mercs in hits with two each.

Matt Rhude was the Flames’ starting and winning pitcher. He allowed six runs (five earned) on nine hits with two walks and a pair of strikeouts in five frames.

“We made it more exciting [at the end of the game] than it should’ve been,” said Flame manager Rick Meyer.

“We had some clutch hitting, not just one or two guys. We had some guys who hit the ball hard but didn’t have anything to show for it.

“Jake doesn’t get rattled [on the mound]. He didn’t get flustered in the last inning. He showed good composure and threw strikes.

“It was a team effort,” added Meyer.


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