Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Rebels Derail Express

The Genesee Rebels brought their defensive skills to East Troy on Sunday where they handed the Express a 4-1 loss and moved into a tie for second place in the Southwest Division. Matt DeMarais took the mound for the rebels and worked quickly and efficiently through the East Troy lineup. His day got off to a rough start as he let up a first inning double that eventually scored to give the Express an early one run lead. DeMarais settled in after that, pumping the zone with strikes and relying on his defense to pitch 8 scoreless innings in a row to earn the complete game victory. On the day, the Express grounded out 21 times as DeMarais kept them off balance and was backed up by stellar defense. Through nine innings, he only threw 86 pitches. 

The defense bailed him out more than once. At one point, Kyle Stasik, the Rebels third baseman, had three assists in a row. Aaron Dolan made a spectacular play deep in the hole, throwing from the outfield grass, to rob Jory Tess of a sure single. Tess was also robbed of a double when Chris Theissen fielded a laser off the left field wall and threw a laser of his own to second base to put out Tess. The Rebels also worked out of a jam in the fourth inning when the Express loaded the bases with only one out. Back-to-back groundouts and the inning was over. 

After getting behind early, the Rebels tied the game in the third inning when Steve Engel laced a one-out double to the gap and later scored on a Matt Bauer single. They took the lead in the fourth when Keith McFarlane singled to start the inning. The Rebs then leaded the bases on singles by Chris Theisen and Aaron Dolan. Alex Lawrence drew a walk to push in a run before the inning was ended on a double play. 

They scored again in the fifth when Kyle Stasik led off with a walk followed by a Matt Bauer single and a Jim Szanja sacrifice bunt. Stasik would score on a sac fly by Keith McFarlane, and Bauer crossed the plate on a Chris Elliott two-out single. 

The game was one of the cleanest games the Rebels have played in recent memory with very few mistakes both offensively and defensively. The Rebels have some huge games coming up as they take on Rome at Genesee Town Park on Sunday, July 21st. They then have two big games coming up against Waterford, who is also in a tie for second place. With four games left, the Rebels have a chance to end the season in second place and earn a first round bye in the playoffs. They are also in danger of missing the playoffs if they lose out as the teams in second through sixth place in the division are separate by only a few games. 

Game Highlights: 
  • Steve Engel caught the entire game, did a fantastic job not allowing a single wild pitch or passed ball, and did not pass out or die. He also did not get hit by a pitch. 
  • Matt DeMarais was called for a balk in the first inning that led to a run and drove his blood pressure through the roof. Apparently he pitches better when he is angry and so the Rebels are considering ways to make him angry before future starts. 
  • Matt Bauer led the Rebels with three hits on the day. 
  • Chris Theisen and Aaron Dolan had two hits on the day. 
  • The Rebels pounded out 12 hits off of East Troy pitcher Todd Nabor who usually has the Rebels number. 
  • Aaron Dolan threatened to pitch the next game if his arm continues to feel as good as it did on Sunday. 
  • Keith McFarlane unofficially changed Chris Theisen’s last name to Thompson.
  • 8 or the 9 Rebels in the starting lineup got at least one hit and Jim Szanja had a great sac bunt. 
  • The Rebels hit into FOUR double-plays on the day. 
  • Brian Szanja was brutally attacked by two small children after the game and his return is questionable.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Genesee back above .500

The Genesee Rebels worked their way back above .500 on the season with a 6-2 victory over the Ixonia Snappers on Sunday, July 7th, at Ixonia Town Park. The win puts the Rebels at 7-6 on the year and in a tie for fourth place in the standings with the Oconomowoc Titans.

Here’s the short and the long of it. DeMarais pitched 8 solid innings for the Rebels allowing only 1 run on 10 hits while striking out 6 and walking none. Chris Elliott hit a three run bomb in the top of the first inning off of Ixonia starter Ray Koszak who went nine innings allowing 6 runs on 14 hits. That proved to be enough as the Rebels worked their way out of a few jams and got one more run in the third and two in the eighth to take the victory. 

Now for the rest of the story:
Coming into the game, the Rebels’ hitters knew they had to be patient and wait for their pitch as Koszak has kept them off balance with his barrage of curve balls and other junk in the past. It looked like there would be a ton of offense right off the bat on Sunday. Aaron Dolan drew a one out walk which was followed by an Andy Sturtevant single. Chris Elliott followed that up with a three run shot to right center. As is usual with Elliott, he did not get cheated on this one! Koszak then settled in and got the next two hitters out. 

DeMarais retired the Snappers in order in the bottom of the first.

The Rebels pieced together two singles in the top of the second but couldn’t push a run across. 

It looked like the Snappers would get on the board in the bottom of the second as the first two hitters reached on singles before Sturtevant picked off Justin Wildeson from second base. Sturty must have been feeling rejuvenated after spending 10 days in Greece with his new wife as his arm looked the best it has in years on Sunday. Come to think of it, he had a little extra hop in his step and pop in his bat. Although the jury is still out if this boost of energy came from the honeymoon or spending a night curled up in the bathtub. 

Anyways, after Sturty picked Wildeson off of second base, the Kyle Schmoker hit the third single in a row to right field, but instead of scoring a run, it only put runners on first and second. DeMarais struck out the next two hitters to end the threat. 

That inning proved to be the way it went for the Snappers all afternoon. They knocked out 10 hits, however only one of them was for extra bases as the rest were little dink and dunk line drive flares into shallow outfield. Thankfully, the Rebels brought their defensive game as DeMarais’ pitching was backed up by solid play all around. 

The middle innings were pretty boring with a few hits here or there for both teams, but mainly it was good defense and off balanced hitters. As Bauer so aptly pointed out, “We sure like hitting lazy pop flies off of this guy.” Yes we do Bauer. Yes we do. 

After plating one run in the third off of a Frank Schwefel double and a Kevin Biederer single, the snappers did not get a man on third base until the 7th inning. With runners on second and third, DeMarais struck out Kiederer and got Wildeson to fly out to left to end the threat. 

Mark Wershay pitched the ninth and made confused everyone, even the umpire, with his nasty pitches. 

The Rebels return to action when they head to East Troy to take on the Express and the awesomely loud train whistles that accompany every single pitch of the game at 1:30pm on Sunday, July 14th. 

  • Matt Bauer, Andy Sturtevant, Chris Elliott, Mark Wershay, and Chris Theisen all had two hits on the day
  • Brian Szanja developed a new hitting philosophy. “I don’t swing at the first pitch. Then swing at the second no matter what.” You laugh, but it worked. He knocked out three line drive hits for arguably the best offensive performance of his life. Hopefully East Troy doesn’t read our website and decide to pitch out on the second pitch of his next at bat.
  • Kyle Stasik, the self-proclaimed “Rally Killer” rounded first base hard on a fly out to right field.
  • Chris Elliott swung hard every time he was up to bat and was rewarded with one bomb, a double, and two deep fly outs to the track. 
  • Andy Sturtevant reached base the first three times he came up to bat, but then the honeymoon magic wore off and he had two lazy flies to end the day. 
  • Aaron Dolan threw his helmet in disgust after flying out to left field which may have been the only time in his life that he became angry. 
  • DeMarais shook off his mulching injury to throw over 113 pitches. He even threw 15 of them hard. He should be good to go again in another two weeks.
  • Alex Lawrence was pointing out a cute girl in the stands to Theisen that ended up being Theisen’s sister. Oops! See the jug.

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