Peaking as postseason looms

Cedar Grove-Belgium’s baseball team is getting healthy and playing its best ball all season as Rockets get ready for the playoffs

TYLER KRAUS’ RETURN from injury has been a boon to the Cedar Grove-Belgium High School baseball team. Photo by Sam Arendt
By 
MITCH MAERSCH
Ozaukee Press staff

Cedar Grove-Belgium’s High School baseball team followed up a dominating doubleheader with a take down of a quality program at Sheboygan Falls last Friday.

Jason von Heimburg had his best stuff and allowed two hits and a walk while striking out 12 in 6-2/3 innings.

After 102 pitches, coach Tom Race pulled his ace to a standing ovation from the road crowd.

“He was just dominating. That’s the best I’ve seen him pitch ever,” Race said.

Race said he figured von Heimburg was throwing in the low 80s. The two hits he allowed were to the same hitter, who looped balls into right field just over the second baseman’s head.

Race said von Heimburg’s curve ball was dropping off and hitters couldn’t tell the difference in his arm action on his fastball and changeup.

Offensively, Jacob Bohlmann got the key hit that broke open the game, Race said.

In the second inning, Bohmann took a check swing that plopped the ball into right field that scored Mason Noll for the Rockets’ first run, which turned out to be the winning run.

In the fourth inning, Bohlmann walked, Chris Mueller had one of his two hits, Tyler Kraus walked, Drew Emperly hit into a fielder’s choice that ended up scoring one run, and Paul Simmelink hit a two-RBI single to left.

In the fifth inning, Noll walked, Ben Michaels reached on an error, Mueller singled and Kraus got a base hit that scored three runs.

Race praised Kraus for a sharp game at the plate and on the bases. He only had one hit but he reached base four of five times with the help of three walks, and he scored two runs. Race moved Kraus to the leadoff spot a quarter into the season because he works the count so well. Kraus’ on-base percentage is over .500.

The victory moved the Rockets to 14-10, their best record this late in the season in Race’s four years as coach. The Rockets have won five in a row.

“We’re playing our best baseball,” Race said.

“We’re hitting the ball now, and everything is making sense to the players now. The strategy we’re implementing — players are starting to get it.”

Some of the offensive firepower comes from extra batting practice. Last Friday before the game, five players took time to work on their hitting, and more sessions are scheduled this week.

“That’s the kids calling me, not me telling them to do it or not. That extra batting practice has really paid off,” Race said.

The Rockets rolled over Elkhart Lake-Glenbeulah on the road in a doubleheader on June 27, beating the young team 22-3 and 17-2 with both games ending in five innings via the 10-run mercy rule.

In the first game, Michaels went 4-for-4 and hit his first home run of his varsity career in the third inning, a solo shot that cleared the left-field fence. He also had a double and a walk, six RBI and four runs scored.

Paul Simmelink and Cameron Kirst each went 2-for-2 with a double, Zach Zimpelman was 2-for-3, Mueller 2-for-4 and von Heimburg was 1-1 with a double and sacrifice fly.

Race cleared his bench early.

“Everybody hit. We were able to get in some of our junior-varsity players in the second inning, and all of them hit, too,” he said.

On the mound, Brad Katte threw 44 pitches before Race pulled him to save his arm for later.

In the second game, Michaels continued his “unbelievable night” by going 2-for-3 with a double, Race said.

Von Heimburg clocked a two-run homer to left field in the fourth inning and pitched three innings. Tyler Kraus pitched the final two.

The Resorters’ two runs came on errors.

The Rockets have gotten healthy at the right time. With the playoffs ready to start next week, Kraus and Matt Poull have returned from injuries to bring the team back to full strength.

The Rockets were scheduled to play at Oostburg on Monday, host Plymouth on Thursday and play at Port Washington on Friday. All games are at 5:30 p.m.

 

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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