Starting off with an unearned run in the first inning, Kiel baseball coach Brad Mey thought his team had grabbed the early momentum. Sheboygan Falls starting pitcher Nate Heili didn’t see it that way.
Heili, who lost to Kiel earlier this season, pitched five innings of three-hit baseball as the No. 2-seeded Sheboygan Falls (14-10) baseball team earned a 7-1 home win over No. 10 Kiel (8-19-1) on Friday in a regional final of the WIAA State Summer Baseball Tournament.
“Nate Heili kept us in check the whole game,” Mey said. “He held us in check after (we scored), kept us off balance, mixed it up. We worked the counts … but we just didn’t put a healthy swing on (his pitches).”
Heili wasn’t only efficient from the mound — he had seven strikeouts to one walk — as he also helped his cause by going 2-for-3 with two runs and an RBI. Down 1-0, Heili led off the bottom of the first inning with a single and a stolen base before scoring on a Mike Raeder groundout to tie the game at 1-1.
“(I just told the players) It’s a long game and we hadn’t even hit yet,” Sheboygan Falls coach Ryan Fladvid said when asked about the mood in the dugout after the early deficit.
Heili’s run was just the start for the Falcons, who added another run in the inning on a wild pitch and then notched three in the second and two in the third off Kiel starting pitcher and freshman Eric Weber. Having beaten the Falcons earlier in the season, Weber threw three innings as he allowed eight hits and a walk with no strikeouts.
“We had 14 hits in that game (against Weber) and we just didn’t string them together as well as we should have, so I thought if we were able to swing better situationally that we would be fine,” Fladvid said. “It was nice to get up early in the first few innings.”
For Kiel, Nathan Pieper was 2-for-3 with a run batting leadoff and Carter Voelker was 1-for-3.
After the fourth inning it became a pitcher’s duel as Kiel’s Nick Walsh pitched the final three innings and allowed one hit and one walk. Nick Peterson relieved Heili threw the final two innings, allowing no hits and one walk with two strikeouts.