Written by MITCH MAERSCH
Wednesday, 06 July 2011 16:52
One year after lost-cause season, CG-B baseball team closes in on championship
LUKE KAAT and his Grove-Belgium teammates moved closer to clinching the Central Lakeshore Conference baseball title by winning their sixth straight game last Friday. Photo by Sam ArendtA year after it couldn’t finish the season due to a shortage of players, the Cedar Grove-Belgium baseball team is closing in on a conference championship.
Coach Mike Ruppel’s squad is four victories away from clinching the Central Lakeshore Conference crown after winning its sixth straight game overall and improving its league record to 11-1 last weekend.
An 11-1 victory over visiting Elkhart Lake on Friday gave Cedar Grove-Belgium a three-game lead over second-place Howards Grove (9-5).
Juniors Josh Ruppel and T.J. Obbink led the Rockets’ romp.
Ruppel pitched a complete game, allowing only two hits, striking out 12 batters and walking five.
Obbink provided the offensive power by going 3-for-4, including a grand-slam homer that broke the game open in the third inning.
Also for the Rockets, Christian O’Donnell went 2-for-2, Darren Koopman was 3-for-4, and Luke Kaat had a triple.
Every Cedar Grove-Belgium starter had at least one hit.
Elkhart Lake fell to 6-7 in the conference.
Coach Ruppel said his team has continued to improve throughout the season.
“Every night, they’re getting more confident. We’re doing more of the little things right,” he said.
The win was the Rockets’ eighth straight in league play with six CLC games remaining. Any combination of four Cedar Grove-Belgium wins or losses by the second-place team will give the Rockets an outright conference title.
Cedar Grove-Belgium (11-4 overall) will face a tough task this week with four CLC games while several players are gone on vacations.
“It will be challenging,” coach Ruppel said.
After facing Sheboygan Lutheran/Kohler on Tuesday, the Rockets were scheduled to play two home dates — a 5:30 p.m. game against Oostburg on Wednesday and a 4 p.m. doubleheader against Random Lake on Friday.
Cedar Grove-Belgium will then conclude conference play with 5:30 games July 11 at Howards Grove and July 13 at home against Ozaukee.
CG-Belgium 7, Oostburg 3
The Rockets overcame an early deficit to post a road win in a conference makeup game June 30.
Oostburg held a 3-0 lead after two innings, but Cedar Grove-Belgium responded with three runs in the third and pulled away with two-run outbursts in the fourth and seventh.
Every starter had at least one hit for Cedar Grove-Belgium, which outhit the Dutchmen, 10-6.
Jonathon Herzog went 2-for-3 in the No. 9 spot for the Rockets.
Koopman pitched the first six innings for the win, scattering six hits and striking out four. Luke Kaat worked the seventh inning for a save.