Tough night in Sheboygan Falls brings high-flying CG-B baseball team down to earth
There was nothing easy about the challenge facing the Cedar Grove-Belgium baseball team in a WIAA regional title game last Friday — and the final score reflected that.
After riding a late-season surge into the final, the Rockets found themselves handcuffed by Sheboygan Falls.
Falls, a No. 2 sectional seed, cashed in on Cedar Grove-Belgium mistakes and rolled to a 9-0 home victory.
Although the seventh-seeded Rockets took a five-game winning streak into the game, they committed seven errors and never got on track in an underdog role.
Pitcher Josh Ruppel did his best to keep Cedar Grove-Belgium close, striking out seven in four innings. But he also gave up eight hits and eight runs as Falls quickly took control.
The Rockets failed to get a hit in the first five innings against starter Cole Heili, who struck out eight and walked two.
Cedar Grove-Belgium eventually reached Heili and reliever Jake Wiesenthal for three hits, with Spencer Bares, Luke Kaat and Brian Mueller doing the honors.
Heili led the Falcons’ offensive assault with three hits and three RBI. His hits included a two-run triple in the fourth inning, when Falls scored four times to build an 8-0 lead.
Despite the Falcons’ heavy hitting, Cedar Grove-Belgium coach Mike Ruppel was more concerned about his team’s shaky defense.
“We always talked about two errors or less, then you’re going to be in every game,” he said.
“Committing seven errors — you can’t do that in the tournament.”
With the win, Falls improved its season record to 22-7 and advanced to sectional play Monday. The Falcons stayed hot by blanking Plymouth, 7-0, and Kewaskum, 6-0, to earn a berth in the state tournament July 20.
Cedar Grove-Belgium finished 14-9, ending the season on a sour note but still making team history.
The Rockets won eight of their last 10 games, a run that carried them to their second straight Central Lakeshore Conference championship. After sharing the title last year with Sheboygan Lutheran/Kohler, they won it outright this season.
“It was a good season,” coach Ruppel said. “They’ve got something to hang their hats on.”
Cedar Grove-Belgium will lose six players to graduation — Ruppel, Kaat, T.J. Obbink, Kyle Kirst, Justin Keller and Zach Feind.
Image Information: (1) MEMBERS OF THE Cedar Grove-Belgium baseball team saw their season come to a close with a loss to Sheboygan Falls last Friday. (2) PITCHER JOSH RUPPEL did his best to keep Cedar Grove-Belgium close, but Sheboygan Falls raced to a 9-0 win in a regional title game. Photos by Sam Arendt