The Genesee Rebels headed into the final two weeks of the season with their destiny in their hands. Unfortunately, it didn’t pan out the way the Rebels would have liked. The good news; they made the playoffs. The bad news; they narrowly missed out on a home playoff game.
Backtrack to the 28th when the Rebels headed to Waterford to meet the Rivermen. The Rebels got off to a great start, scoring in both the first and second innings to hold an early lead. Matt DeMarais was on the mound for the Rebels and kept the Rivermen off balance and scoreless for 5 innings. Although he struggled with his command at times, he did not allow a base runner to reach third base until the 6th inning when Waterford was able to push two runs across to tie the game at two.
The Rebels made a pitching change in the 7th, and that was all the Rivermen needed as they strung together a few hits to finally break the game open, scoring six runs in the frame.
Although the Rebels tried to mount a comeback by scoring two in the top of the eighth inning, they were only able to add one more run in the ninth for a final score of 8-5 in favor of Waterford. It was a tough loss to swallow for the Rebels who won seven of the nine innings and saw another game escape from their clutches late.
Six days later, Genesee and Waterford faced each other again, this time in Genesee. With a victory, the Rebels would clinch a home field playoff game. Unfortunately, it would be nearly the same story as before. The Rebels jumped out to an early lead, DeMarais kept the Rivermen off balance for eight innings this time, before surrendering a one-run-lead in the top of the ninth. Rookie Derek Urban came on in relief in the ninth and held the game within reach as the Rebels, after leading the entire game, found themselves down one run heading into the bottom of the ninth.
Another rookie sensation, Keith Koehn beat out an infield single to start the inning, was moved to second on a sac bunt from Aaron Dolan, and then scored on a Jim Szajna pinch-hit-rbi-game-tying-single. Momentum seemed to be back in the Rebels favor, although they could not capitalize and the game headed to extras.
Urban pitched a scoreless 10th, but the Rebels were unable to in the bottom of the inning.
The 11th inning saw Adam Brechtl of Waterford come up with a huge two-out-two-rbi double that would prove to be the difference maker as the Rebels, once again, lost a game they should have won.
With two straight losses to Waterford, the Rebels penciled their name into the 5-seed in the playoffs regardless of how they would do against Dousman in their regular season finale.
The Rebels did not disappoint as they jumped out to an early lead and held onto it this time, beating the Frogs 8-3. Keith Koehn put in a stellar 8-inning performance on the mound, earning his first Land O’ Lakes victory. Aaron Dolan added three hits offensively for the Rebels and Matt Bauer turned in two hits of his own.
The victory put an end to an up-and-down regular season for the Rebels who saw themselves playing at both ends of the spectrum. They finished with 10 wins and 8 losses. While making the playoffs is always a sign of a good year, it’s hard to not take the five seed with a grain of salt as Genesee had the two seed within reach.
The Rebels travel to Oconomowoc on Saturday, August 10th to face the Coonies at 1:30. Oconomowoc handed Genesee two losses already this year, so the Rebels have them right where they want them.
Game Highlights and Lowlights:
- - Brian Szajna made his regular season, Land O’ Lakes pitching debut against the Frogs and threw four strikes without wearing socks.
- - Andy Sturtevant did not sit down for the entire game against Dousman claiming, “If I sat down, I wasn’t getting back up.”
- - Chris Theisen and Aaron Dolan flashed the leather coming up with a few diving plays each during the last three games of the season. Theisen credits the “talking glove” while Dolan simply defies the rules of gravity.
- - Alex Lawrence turned 21 on Sunday and the Rebels have yet to see or hear from him since.
- - Kyle Stasik continued his stellar season at the plate drawing three walks against the Frogs.
- - Matt DeMarais kept the crowd in it with an emphatic “Oh Yeah” after smashing the ball a solid 59 feet in the air earning a well deserved fine.
- - It has been determined that “the black does not count” and that most of the Rebels simply love disagreeing with umpires.