Panthers fall at state in classic pitchers’ duel

by Greg Ceilley of The Review staff


HOLDEN REILLY, Plymouth senior, follows through on a pitch to a Muskego batter in Friday’s state baseball tournament game. Third baseman Cooper Gosse is also shown. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley HOLDEN REILLY, Plymouth senior, follows through on a pitch to a Muskego batter in Friday’s state baseball tournament game. Third baseman Cooper Gosse is also shown. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley MEQUON – Friday afternoon’s state summer baseball tournament semifinal at Kapco Park matching Plymouth and Muskego was one for the ages.

Plymouth senior Holden Reilly and Muskego senior Rob Zolecki battled in an amazing pitchers’ duel. Zolecki, who flirted with a perfect game, fired a no-hitter as the Warriors prevailed, 1-0. Reilly was outstanding as well with a one-hitter.

“It was a great game overall. It was fun to be a part of,” said Panther head coach Butch Cain.

“Holden went after their hitters, hit some corners and trusted his defense. He was our workhorse all year and didn’t let us down [at state]. He had control of the strike zone.

AIDEN REILLY, Plymouth first baseman, catches a foul pop-up as the first-base umpire looks on in Friday’s state baseball tournament game against Muskego. – Review photo by Greg CeilleyAIDEN REILLY, Plymouth first baseman, catches a foul pop-up as the first-base umpire looks on in Friday’s state baseball tournament game against Muskego. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley“Zolecki got ahead early in the count with his fastball in the first three or four innings and then mixed in his off-speed pitches [more] later in the game. Getting ahead in the count is huge for a pitcher,” Cain said.

“You have to give him [Zolecki] credit. He threw it with zip and put it in a location where we couldn’t fight it off.”

Several of Zolecki’s six strikeouts were swinging ones on fastballs up in the zone.

“It’s kind of surreal now but a lot of credit to my teammate behind me. They gave me a lot of confidence on the mound, knowing that if I threw strikes they would make plays behind me,” said Zolecki after the game.


MATT POHL of Plymouth lays down a bunt in the sixth inning of Friday’s state baseball tournament game versus Muskego. Pohl reached first on a throwing error by the pitcher. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley MATT POHL of Plymouth lays down a bunt in the sixth inning of Friday’s state baseball tournament game versus Muskego. Pohl reached first on a throwing error by the pitcher. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley “My coaches always tell me I got to get ahead [in the count], get ahead, get ahead. When I did that, I could mess with the zone some, throwing fastballs up.”

Zolecki said he was proud of his performance and his team.

Zolecki had a perfect game intact through five innings with the Warriors up 1-0. The perfect game ended when Matt Pohl led off the Panthers’ sixth with a bunt and reached first base safely on a throwing error by Zolecki.

Pohl stole second base with no outs but was left stranded there. He was the only PHS runner in the game. Zolecki fanned the next two batters before Joe Steinhardt stepped to the plate. Steinhardt smashed a long drive which left fielder Scott Bulski caught just shy of the wall.


JOE STEINHARDT of Plymouth hits a drive to deep left field in the sixth inning of Friday’s state baseball game versus Muskego. Warrior left fielder Scott Bulski caught the ball near the wall. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley JOE STEINHARDT of Plymouth hits a drive to deep left field in the sixth inning of Friday’s state baseball game versus Muskego. Warrior left fielder Scott Bulski caught the ball near the wall. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley Muskego scored the eventual winning run in the third. Frankie Cistaro drew a two-out walk and Wes Kwapick followed with a triple to the gap in right-center field which drove in Cistaro.

Plymouth’s defense was outstanding.

Pohl, a junior right fielder, made an outstanding play in the first which saved a run. Pohl, with his back to the infield, made a sliding catch deep in right field on a ball off Zolecki’s bat. Muskego had a runner at second when Pohl made the grab.

The Warriors’ first inning ended when PHS third baseman Cooper Gosse robbed Jacob Leszczynski of an RBI single with a diving catch of a line drive. Plymouth’s defense played errorless ball.

Reilly walked five, including one intentional, and had two strikeouts.

Zolecki’s no-hitter is only the fifth in the 54-year history of the state summer baseball tournament which was held for the final year. Only spring baseball will be held next year.

“Rob came out throwing strikes and kept them off balance,” said Warrior head coach Jacob Paige.

“To do this [no-hitter] on this stage is something to celebrate. It’s something he’ll never forget. I can’t say enough about his pitching performance.

“Our defense played well behind him. I’m proud of the team

“Holden Reilly pitched a nice game. I was impressed with the Plymouth team all around. They made some great plays on defense,” said Paige.

The Warriors won the first state baseball title in school history with a 2-1 win in eight innings over Pius XI Catholic (Milwaukee) in the finals Friday night. Muskego finished 22-12 and Pius XI ended at 30-4.

The Panthers finished an excellent season at 27-7 which is the second-most wins in PHS history (the 2014 team had 28 wins).

“The team left everything out on the field. We represented the program, school and community with class [all season] and capped it off at state,” said Cain.

“We had a great season. There were definitely a lot of highlights.”


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