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Written by MITCH MAERSCH   
Wednesday, 12 July 2017 16:22

Baseball team hopes to step up despite losing final two games of regular season

The Cedar Grove-Belgium baseball team lost its final two regular-season games but still headed into the WIAA summer playoffs with momentum.
The Rockets lost both ends of a home doubleheader to New Holstein, 4-1, and 7-6, last Friday, with the second game spilling into Saturday thanks to what has become a nearly daily downpour this summer.
KIRST s3070917228 4C“We played really good both games, some of our best baseball,” Cedar Grove-Belgium coach Tom Race said.
In the first game, Tyler Kraus pitched all seven innings, allowing two earned runs on six hits, walking two and striking out two.
“He’s really coming on,” Race said. “We just didn’t hit as well. We kicked it around a little bit and it cost us.”
Justin Theune went 1-for-3 with a walk, and Matt Dirkse and Josh Weiss each went 1-for-3.

The Rockets scored their run in the fifth inning.
Jason von Heimburg got a base hit, Cameron Kirst walked and Theune singled. Jacob Kowalkowski hit a sacrifice fly to score one run, but that’s all the offense the Rockets could muster.
“We had a bunch of opportunities with runners on,” Race said.
In the second game, the Rockets took a 2-0 lead into the third inning before the skies opened up. Race praised Athletic Director Scott Parsons for some late-night work to secure umpires to be able to finish the game Saturday.
The Rockets scored two more runs each in the fourth and sixth innings.
In the fourth, an error allowed one base runner, and Alex Duquaine laid down one of his two sacrifice bunts in the game. After a Rocket was hit by a pitch and another error, Weiss walked for an RBI. Von Heimburg then hit a sac fly for the second run.
In the sixth, Theune walked and Bryce Morgan bunted down the third-base line for a hit. The Huskies threw the ball away on the play, allowing one run to score and Morgan to advance to third. Dirkse followed with an RBI triple and would have scored on a foul ball save for a super play from the Huskies’ right fielder.
A fly ball was fading foul down the right field line, and the outfielder gave chase. The Husky caught the ball with his momentum going toward the fence. Race had Dirkse tag and try to score. But the throw was perfect and the catcher put on the tag on a bang-bang play.
“I would still send him,” Race said in hindsight.
“I tip my hat. The kid made an awesome throw.”
Von Heimburg went all six innings for the Rockets, allowing six earned runs on four hits, walking two and striking out four.
Dirkse went 2-for-4 with a triple, RBI, run scored and stolen base. Weiss went 2-for-3 with two RBI, and Morgan went 1-for-1, was hit by pitches twice and scored two runs.
Race said a controversial call at first base helped the Huskies score two runs, and two balls to the outfield were nearly caught that could have swung momentum.
“We were happy with our performance. We were playing good baseball,” he said.
“I really liked the energy we brought to both games. We never wasted an at-bat. We  did what we were supposed to do.”
CG-Belgium 14, Sheboygan Lutheran 7
The Rockets batted around in the sixth inning of a road game July 6, blowing open a close game.
Dirkse went 4-for-6 with two RBI, two runs scored and a stolen base.
“Matt Dirkse had a huge game,” Race said.
Von Heimburg went 3-for-6 with a double, two RBI, one run scored and a steal.
Kirst went 2-for-2 with two RBI, a run scored and two walks. Weiss went 2-for-4 with two RBI, one run scored and two walks. Morgan went 2-for-5 with two RBI and three runs scored.
The Rockets took a 3-0 lead into the third inning, when the Crusaders answered to go up 4-3.
On the mound, the Rockets went by committee. Bradley Katte went 2-2/3 innings and allowed four earned runs, four hits and three walks while striking out four.
Kraus went 1-2/3 innings, allowing one unearned run and two hits. Weiss pitched 1-2/3 scoreless innings, striking out two and walking one.
Matt Poull pitched the sixth and seventh, allowing two runs in the sixth while getting his curveball back.
“He was throwing strikes,” Race said.
“He finished both innings in striking out kids on curveballs. That pitch hadn’t been working for him.”
Whitefish Bay 11, Cedar Grove-Belgium 1
Von Heimburg had his toughest outing of the year July 5 in a road game scheduled at the last minute.
Kraus started and cruised through the first two innings, and von Heimburg, not used to relieving, entered the game in the third as Race was watching his players’ pitch counts.
Bay scored three in the third inning, two in the fourth and six in the fifth.
The Rockets scored in the third. Duquaine walked, Morgan sacrifice bunted him to second, and after a fly out Weiss delivered a two-out RBI base hit.
Cedar Grove-Belgium (11-11) received a No. 7 seed for the WIAA summer baseball playoffs and was scheduled to host 10th-seeded Elkhart Lake-Glenbeulah on Tuesday, July 11. The winner was to play at second-seeded Plymouth on Wednesday, and that game’s winner plays in a sectional tournament Monday at New Holstein.

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