Flames claim league championship

by Dave Boehler
Review Sports Editor


THE FLAMES gathered for a team picture after winning the Southeast Wisconsin Baseball League championship on Saturday in West Bend. Pictured (from left to right) in the front row: Jake Heinemeyer, Blake Hall, Derek Hall, Cooper Gosse and Nick Wilson; back row: Jake Steinhardt, Mike Daly, Austin Mork, Taylor Struve, Jackson Pahl and Rick Meyer; not pictured: Zac Cain, Matt Olig, Tyler Betry and Ryan Schmitt. – Submitted photo THE FLAMES gathered for a team picture after winning the Southeast Wisconsin Baseball League championship on Saturday in West Bend. Pictured (from left to right) in the front row: Jake Heinemeyer, Blake Hall, Derek Hall, Cooper Gosse and Nick Wilson; back row: Jake Steinhardt, Mike Daly, Austin Mork, Taylor Struve, Jackson Pahl and Rick Meyer; not pictured: Zac Cain, Matt Olig, Tyler Betry and Ryan Schmitt. – Submitted photo Having been eliminated from the playoffs in its main league, the Plymouth Flames focused on their secondary league.

Plymouth defeated Johnson Creek, 12-2, in 6 innings Saturday in the championship game of the Southeast Wisconsin Baseball League.

The Flames could use any pitchers they wanted since they were no longer contending for a postseason berth in the Rock River League. Johnson Creek, however, is fighting for playoff position in the RRL.

“It appeared they had to throw their better pitchers Friday and Sunday,” Plymouth manager Rick Meyer said. “You could tell early on we were going to be able to hit the guys they were throwing. They were young and athletic, looked like ballplayers, but it looked early on like we could win this thing.”


HALL SWINGS at a pitch Sunday in his team’s 12-2 victory over Johnson Creek in six innings. – Submitted photo HALL SWINGS at a pitch Sunday in his team’s 12-2 victory over Johnson Creek in six innings. – Submitted photo Plymouth trailed, 1-0, when it responded with four runs in the bottom of the first. The rally started with a three-run double by Taylor Struve before Austin Mork’s single gave the Flames a three-run lead.

The Pioneers got their final run in the third and then watched the Flames get two in the bottom of the frame, three in the fourth and three more in the sixth to force the game to end early because of the mercy rule.

Struve finished with four runs batted in and every starter had at least one hit. Mike Daly and Jackson Pahl led the way with three apiece, and pitcher Derek Hall allowed six hits, struck out eight and did not walk a batter.

It was the second straight season Plymouth won the league title – the Flames were runner-up in their inaugural season in 2016 – but this year, they had to win three playoff games. Last year, each divisional winner advanced to a one-game championship.

“It didn’t quite have the same feel,” Meyer said.

Mostly because the main field in West Bend was being used for a different tournament, so the title game was switched to the high school.

“It certainly was well-less attended with no much fanfare,” Meyer said. “But we did what we had to do. It was still good. We won the league.”

RRL Recap

Plymouth wrapped up Rock River League play Sunday with a 9-1 loss at Thiensville/Mequon to finish in sixth place.

Normally six teams advance to the playoffs, but that changed this year.

“Apparently sometime in January we voted to only have five, which none of us knew, but they clarified it a couple of weeks ago,” Meyer said. “We would’ve won the tiebreaker for that sixth playoff spot, but they changed the rules.”

Plymouth was 8-10 in the Northern Division, which was called more competitive by the Flames’ manager.

“So it was a more rugged league schedule,” he said. “We lost games early because we really had numbers problems early in the year. We started I think 1-4. So we got behind the 8-ball early. We just were not competitive with a thin roster in late May and early June. Then we started playing well and we beat Hartford, which is going to win the division. But we’ve still got some numbers problems. When everybody was there, we could play with anybody. But when you get to be an adult, you’ve got other things that sometimes appear to be more important. It’s just the way it is. That what adult baseball is now. You hope they show up.”

Plymouth took a 1-0 lead on Jake Steinhardt’s single in the third before Thiensville/Mequon plated three runs in the third and four in the fourth to pull away.

It was another contest in which the Flames had to play shorthanded, a problem that has surfaced more than once.

“One of the reasons we didn’t make the playoffs in this league is we get in situations where guys don’t make it,” Meyer said. “Sunday we literally had seven guys there. I mean, I had to start. I’m 53 years old. And then a couple of high school kids showed up. We basically had to calls guys in because we were in Mequon. We were very shorthanded. It wasn’t a bad game, but they’d get a couple of runs and stretch it out. We were never in the game.”

On Friday, Kewaskum defeated Plymouth, 4-3, thanks to a leadoff home run by Brad Young – his second of the game – in the top of the ninth.

The Flames had the tying run at third but failed to score in the bottom of the frame.

“Kewaskum is very good,” Meyer said. “They’re in second place in our league and they play a lot of games. That was a good game.”


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