KIMBERLY - The first time Kimberly and Appleton North met this season on the baseball diamond the Papermakers overwhelmed North, 14-3, in a battle of Fox Valley Association heavyweights.
Tuesday, they met again, tied for the FVA lead, and the Lightning hoped the second meeting would result in a different outcome.
Kimberly belted three home runs and pitcher Scott Schreiber was just too tough, scattering five hits, as the Papermakers took control of the FVA with an 8-1 win.
"He threw real well," Kimberly coach Ryan McGinnis said of Schreiber. "We put some good swings on those balls. We got that good feeling going on offense and the old saying, ‘Good hitting is contagious.' We had some good cuts."
One of those players getting good cuts was first baseman Ben Diedrick. The senior was 5-for-5 in the leadoff position, setting the table for the offense.
"We came with a very good approach today," said Diedrick, who drove in two runs. "The hitting was contagious."
"He's a great hitter," McGinnis said of Diedrick. "Our lineup all the way through, we have great hitters."
Kimberly received homers from Schreiber, Turner Van Krey and Travis Vander Hyden as the Papermakers recorded 12 hits. McGinnis said giving Schreiber, arguably the best pitcher in the conference, run support was big against a North team that can put "crooked" numbers on the scoreboard.
"It's nice to give him some runs," McGinnis said. "We didn't have to be perfect. We had a margin for error."
Schreiber, though, doesn't need much offensive help and sometimes he can supply it. The junior hurler's fastball was too fast for North and his off-speed pitches were also effective.
He did face a bases-loaded, no-out situation in the seventh inning, but even then Schreiber managed to hold North without a run.
"I think it was good for Scott to have that great outing and help his confidence," McGinnis said. "Man, they're a really good hitting team. He shut down a really good hitting team. We need to continue to get better."
"Scott Schreiber's incredible," Diedrick said. "He's a fun player to watch. I'm glad he's on my team. With Scott throwing, we just want to get as many runs as possible and get him comfortable throwing."
After Schreiber hit his home run, North intentionally walked him the next two times. He along with North's Clark Eagan are frontrunners for FVA player of the year.
"He's pretty special," McGinnis said. "He's fun to watch."
Kimberly (11-1 FVA) holds a one-game lead over North (10-2) with one week to play, so the conference title hasn't been won yet.
"The big thing for us is to get better every single game," Diedrick said. "Appleton North's a quality opponent and anything can happen. We played well and want to build off of it."
Kimberly and North are in the same Division 1 sectional, but the Papermakers have missed out on the state tournament the last two seasons, while North has been at Fox Cities Stadium.
Kimberly's playing like it might return to state and keep North at home this spring.
"That's in the back of our mind," Diedrick said of making state. "We want to keep building and play our best baseball as the regular season comes to a close."
Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay
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