Panthers outlast Huskies to earn state berth

by Greg Ceilley
of The Review staff


THE PLYMOUTH PANTHERS celebrate winning a sectional baseball title over New Holstein Monday night and earning a state berth. Pictured for PHS (left to right) are Michael Troka (23), Cooper Gosse, Joe Steinhardt, Sam Miller and Holden Reilly. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley THE PLYMOUTH PANTHERS celebrate winning a sectional baseball title over New Holstein Monday night and earning a state berth. Pictured for PHS (left to right) are Michael Troka (23), Cooper Gosse, Joe Steinhardt, Sam Miller and Holden Reilly. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley RANDOM LAKE – The Plymouth Panthers held off a furious rally by New Holstein to win, 11-8, in the sectional championship game here Monday night and advance to the state summer baseball tournament.

“We’ve been working for this [state berth] our whole careers,” said PHS senior left fielder Isaac Fintak.

“We have five seniors on the team and we get to go to state together. I’ve been playing with the seniors since junior league. It feels great [going to state]. I’m very proud of the team.”

PHS, the No. 1 seed, improved to 27-6 while the No. 7-seeded Huskies finished 17-15. This will be Plymouth’s first state trip since 2015.


ISAAC FINTAK of Plymouth drills a leadoff double in the first inning of Monday’s sectional baseball finals versus New Holstein. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley ISAAC FINTAK of Plymouth drills a leadoff double in the first inning of Monday’s sectional baseball finals versus New Holstein. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley “It’s amazing. This is what I’ve been looking forward to my whole life,” said senior center fielder Taylor Struve about going to state.

“Our hitting was excellent. Everybody hit the ball well. I’m very proud of the team.”

The Panthers exploded for six runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to build a commanding 10-2 lead.

The Huskies answered with six runs in the top of the sixth to shave the deficit to 10-8. NH had just three hits in the frame but took advantage of control problems by PHS pitching.

The Huskies drew four walks and had one batter hit by a pitch, and were helped by a PHS error. Four runs scored on bases-loaded walks and one run was forced in due to a hit batter.

PHS added an insurance run in the sixth on Aiden Reilly’s twoout single which drove in Will Birkholz who had singled with one away.

Plymouth’s Joe Steinhardt relieved Cooper Gosse in the seventh with a runner at first. Steinhardt retired all three batters he faced to earn a save.

The key hits for PHS in their fifth-inning outburst were RBI singles by Sam Miller and Matt Pohl and an RBI double by Taylor Struve. Steinhardt contributed a sacrifice fly.

Struve’s sacrifice fly gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead in the first. PHS tallied two runs in the second on Holden Reilly’s looping single to go up 3-0. The Panthers upped their advantage to 4-0 in the third on Gosse’s double down the left-field line.

PHS banged out 14 hits, led by Fintak, Gosse, Birkholz, Pohl and Holden Reilly with two each. Holden Reilly had a team-high four RBIs amd Struve contributed two.

Birkholz and Pohl led Plymouth in runs scored with two each.

“It’s just like it’s been all year – finding a way. Nothing has been easy. We’re very resilient and we showed that today,” said PHS head coach Butch Cain.

“It’s been a total team effort from the first practice of the year through today. Our consistency throughout the lineup has been a key for us.

“There wasn’t any panic on the field or on the bench,” said Cain, referring to NH’s rally.

“We’re excited to go down to state on Friday. I’ve been proud of the team all year.

“We had good discipline at the plate with two strikes. It has to be a full team effort in all facets,” said the coach who was pleased with the defense.

The Huskies rapped out 11 hits. Kadyn Judkins, Teddy Schnell, Owen Heus, Collin Hau and Randy Smith had a team-best two hits each. Schnell and Casey Schrage led in RBIs with two each.

Aiden Reilly was the Panthers’ starting and winning pitcher. He allowed four runs (all earned) on 10 hits with one walk, one hit batter and four strikeouts in five innings.

Brad Schroeder pitched a complete game for the Huskies and took the loss. Schroeder surrendered 11 runs (eight earned) on 14 hits with one walk, two hit batters and one strikeout.

The Panthers will face Muskego (20-12) in the semifinals at the state tourney which will be held Friday, July 20 at Kapco Park on the campus of Concordia University in Mequon. The game will follow the other semifinal game, which will start at 11:35 a.m., between Menomonee Falls and Pius XI Catholic (Milwaukee).

The championship game is scheduled to start at 6:05 p.m. Prior to the title game a special ceremony at about 5:45 p.m will be held to recognize all 53 of the previous state championship teams. Each team will have a representative at the ceremony.

Plymouth’s 1982 state championship team will be represented by Scott Richards who was the Panthers’ head coach that season.

This is the final year for summer baseball due to the low numbers of teams (only 50 this season). Only spring baseball will be held after this year.


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