Rebels meet match in Bandits
Baseball coaches, players and fans take the sport seriously, but in Greenfield, Ind., its really serious baseball during the National Baseball Congress "Hap" Dumont 15-and-under World Series.
The Midwest Rebels arrived in Greenfield Friday for their debut in the tournament.
Kyle Brouhard and Travis Blankenship joined the team to make the trek to Indiana because players Aaron Hannon, John Brown and Cory Wright were unable to participate because of other commitments. Coach Phil Hannon was also unable to participate. Brad Wright took his place as the third coach for the team.
Chad Griffin, Marc Albers, Jeremy Wright and Ryan Jorgensen represented the Rebels in the skills competition Friday. Griffin and Albers participated in the Home Run Derby while Wright and Jorgensen competed in the Golden Arm competition, trying to hit a target at home plate from centerfield. The team also participated in the around the horn competition, a timed contest to see which team had the fastest in throwing the ball around the infield and outfield.
Pool play was Friday through Sunday. The Rebels finished 3-2 in the pool and were seeded third in the tournament.
"Pool play was a good opportunity for us to get our feet wet and see what kind of competition we would be faced with," said coach Brian Ash.
Coach Brian Ash said the Indiana Bandits were the team to beat in the tournament. They drew the No. 1 seed in the tourney after finishing 5-0 in pool play.
"In facing the Bandits, on a positive note, even though we lost, we were able to show everybody that we belong here and we can play with the best," Ash said. "Not too many kids at 15 years old can say they face a kid who throws 90 mph and still have a chance to win the ball game. It shows the type of kids that we have on our ball club."
When the Rebels played the Indiana Bandits on Saturday, Travis Blankenship cranked one over the left field fence
The Rebels were down 8-2 in the sixth inning, but ended the inning 8-6. The Bandits brought in pitcher Andrew Clark, who has speeds ranging from 80-90 mph.
With the bases loaded and one out. Luke Abel was up to bat. He walked and eventually scored, bringing it to 8-7. The next two batters, Travis Blankenship and Chad Griffin, struck out, ending the game.
The Rebels opened double-elimination play Monday with a 5-2 victory over the Greenwood Lightning.
"Opening in the double-elimination tournament, we got a good pitching performance from Chad Griffin and Ryan Jorgensen with a 5-2 victory over the Greenwood Lightning to set up another match with the Bandits," Ash said.
"In the re-match game with the Bandits, it started out the same as the first game with the Bandits getting out to a 9-0 lead," Ash said. "Again, we were able to come back and cut the gap to 9-6 with one out and bases loaded and were unable to come up with a key hit to close the gap even more.
The Bandits went on to score one more run. finishing the game in a 10-6 victory.
Field conditions weren't the greatest either because of rain delays.
"We were pushed up almost four hours because of sloppy, wet weather conditions, Ash said. The fields were a little soupy and took away from our speed, which is one of our major strengths."
Two costly errors allowed the Bandits five unearned runs, which Ash said was an all-too familiar story for the Rebels.
"We cut down the four errors against them; we win both the ball games," he said. "This is a perfect example that baseball is a game of inches and the team who commits the least amount of errors usually comes out on top."
The Rebels faced the Wichita Eagles in the second round of the tournament July 29. Results were not available at press time.