Monday, August 24, 2015

East Troy Bats End Rebels Post-season Run

The 2015 season came to an end for the Genesee Rebels on Sunday afternoon when they ran into an East Troy Express team who were wearing their hitting shoes. The express took advantage of a small strike zone and a tired pitching staff to knock out 23 hits on the day en route to a 17 run performance that would prove too much for the Rebels to overcome. Despite the fact that the Rebels jumped out to an early lead, the heavily favored Express stayed calm and chipped away until they took the lead for good in the 4th inning. The win means that East Troy will join Waterford as the Southwest representatives for the 2015 Grand Championships and the loss leaves the Rebels looking forward to next year.

The Rebels jumped on the Express right away in the first inning. Matt Bauer led off with a single and was followed by back-to-back walks. With the bases loaded, Andy Sturtevant blooped a single over short and was followed by a Bourassa sac fly. Chris Theisen then ripped a line drive off the firstbasemen's glove and Aaron Dolan snuck a double just inside the left field foul line. The Express then made an uncharacteristic throwing error when the catcher overthrew the pitcher on a walk which allowed Theisen to walk home. When the third out was finally recorded, the Rebels had pushed 5 runs across. Momentum was on their side.

Keith Koehn took the mound for the Rebels and put down the side in order in the bottom of the first. And recorded back-to-back strikeouts to start the second before allowed two doubles in a row which brought the first East Troy runner across the plate. The third inning saw the Express string together four singles and plate two more runs. The Rebels, on the other hand, could not take advantage of the early lead. They stranded 5 runners in scoring position between the 2nd and 4th inning. The lack of clutch hits would prove to be their undoing as the Express would put together 4th and 5th inning rallies to plate 8 runs and tally 13 hits before Koehn was done.

The Rebels pitching staff was a bit shallow this year, but it really didn't affect them until the Saturday / Sunday format of the playoffs. With Koehn not having his best stuff, the Rebels gave the ball to Matt DeMarais who had pitching a 9 inning complete game the day before. DeMarais got out of the 5th inning and allowed only one run over the 6th and 7th to keep the Rebels close, but the juice finally ran out in the 8th when the Express added 5 more runs to their tally, putting the final nails in the Rebels' coffin.

Offensively, the Rebels scored 9 runs on the day, which SHOULD be enough to win a game, however, they easily could have scored many more. The Rebels stranded 7 runners in scoring position on the day and, other than an Elliot bomb in the 6th, didn't have anything to show for their work until the 8th. In the 8th, DeMarais led off with a double down the left field line and scored on a Keith Koehn double. Bourassa then laced a two-out single which brought in two more runs before the inning ended. Despite their lack of two-out-RBI's, the Rebels had clawed back to within 3 runs heading into the bottom of the 8th. Unfortunately for them, the Express would not stop.

Despite the loss, the Rebels ended the season on a high note. Genesee was a bit of a wildcard at the start of the season with the retirement of long-time skipper Mark Wershay, but, after a rocky start to the season, the Rebels got it together and put together one of their more successful seasons in recent years. The third place finish is their best since a second-place tie in 2009. Genesee beat every team in the division except Waterford at least once. The Rebels are also set up nicely for the future with a solid core of veteran players along with the addition of some key players who should contribute for years to come.

The Rebels will hold their annual Home Run Derby on Thursday evening. It may not be that exciting as the team only tallied 3 bombs for the entire season, but there is sure to be a good amount of heckling. Stay tuned for breakdowns of individual players and other team records and stats as they become available.

Good luck to Waterford and East Troy who play their first round games this coming Saturday. Waterford will host Pewaukee which sets up a potential matchup with Pewaukee pitcher Henschel who spent the last few years in the Southwest. East Troy will head to New Berlin. While the Rebels missed out on the Grannies this year, they have their sights set high for 2016.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Bourassa, Urban lift Rebels over North Prairie

The Genesee Rebels got one step closer to a birth into the Grand Championships with a 9-3 playoff victory over the North Prairie Dawgs on Saturday afternoon. The Rebels played shut down defense, got a solid pitching performance, and came up with some clutch hits enroute to the victory. The win propels the Rebels into the Playoff Championship game (Waterford won the regular season championship and an automatic birth into the Grand Championships) on Sunday, August 23rd where they will travel to East Troy to face an Express team who defeated Oconomowoc on Saturday by a score of 5-1.

The game got off to a sloppy start for the Rebels. DeMarais took the mound and retired the first two hitters before the Genesee infield graciously awarded a hard hit groundball with a 10 foot hop over a befuddled Urban at third base. DeMarais then threw a pickoff attempt to the right field fence and the North Prairie runner stole third two pitches later. With two outs, a lazy fly ball was lifted to shallow right-center but the elements came into the play and the sure-out turned into a dropped pop fly which allowed the first run to score.

Luckily for the Rebels, that would be all the Dawgs could muster over the next 7 innings. DeMarais pounded the strike zone and got some stellar infield play behind him. Derek Urban, getting his first start at 3B on the year, calmly gathered 5 assists on 5 attempts. He flashed the leather and showed off the arm with precision darts across the field. On more than one occasion, his fancy glove work got the Rebels out of jams and held the Dawgs from crossing the plate. Up the middle, Koehn and Dolan were flawless and Dave "Mayo" Hellman showed that infielders can play the outfield as he caught each fly ball with ease in right. Other than a few fly balls that handcuffed the Rebels centerfielder and an errant throw headed for the North Prairie dugout, the defensive machine was a thing of beauty.

The game was neck-and-neck over the first four innings. The Rebels couldn't get answer the North Prairie run in the first inning but managed to get on the board in the second when Lucas Bourassa led off with a single, advanced to second on an Aaron Dolan walk, moved to third on a Heckenkamp fielder's choice, and scored on Mayo's fielder's choice. Both Heckenkamp and Hellman were motoring down the line beating out double-plays to keep the inning alive.

The third inning saw Rebel's pitcher Matt DeMarais get his first at-bat since the season-opener and he calmly blooped a double down the right-field line. He would be stranded at second as the Rebels couldn't get anything else going.

The fourth inning saw Dolan leadoff with another walk. He moved up to second on a Hellman ground out which brought Urban to the plate. Urban laced a single to right field which brought in Dolan from second. The Rebels had grabbed the lead and wouldn't give it up.

After scoring two runs in the bottom of the 5th, Genesee would add four more in the bottom of the 6th. DeMarais would collect his second hit of the game, a dribbler to the shortstop that he beat out for an infield single. Matt Bauer and Keith Koehn would put together back-to-back singles which would load the bases with one out. Chris Theisen hit what looked like an inning-ending double-play, but he had his PF-Flyers on and beat out the throw to bring DeMarais across the plate. Lucas Bourassa took advantage of the situation and ripped a single to left-center which brought in Bauer. Then, the Genesee infield would help prolong the inning. Aaron Dolan hit a hard grounder to short which looked like it would end the inning, but, true to its form, the ball took a wicked hop off the side of the North Prairie infielder. Heckenkamp followed with a hard grounder to third which once again took a neat little hop away from the fielder's mitt. After it was over, the Rebels had a commanding 8-1 lead. They would add one more in the 8th when Derek Urban continued his hot play by leading off with a double, later scoring on a Keith Koehn fielder's choice.

On the day, the Rebels would collect 12 hits and were led offensively by Bourassa would finished the day with 3 hits, 1RBI, and 2 runs scored. Bauer, Urban, and DeMarais would also collect two hits on the day. DeMarais kept the Dawg hitters off balance allowing 3 unearned runs, striking out two, and using his defense to get 5 runners in scoring position throughout the day.

The win brings the Rebels one game away from a birth into the Grand Championships. To get there, they have to go through an East Troy team they split with earlier this year. The Rebels will have a full squad tomorrow after half the team returns from vacation, work, and birthday parties and will look for another solid pitching performance from Keith Koehn to help put the Rebels into the Grannies. First pitch is scheduled for 1:30pm at East Troy.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Rebels Ready for Playoffs

The Genesee Rebels finished their 2015 regular season on Sunday afternoon with a low-key tune-up against the Southwest Division Champion Waterford Rivermen. The final score was lopsided in the favor of the Rivermen, but the Rebels got what they wanted out of the day with all players getting some key final reps before the playoffs. The game was relatively meaningless as the Rivermen had already locked up the #1 seed and the Rebels were locked into the #3 seed and both teams emerged feeling confident with their postseason potential.

The Rebels entered the game Sunday a bit shorthanded with multiple players scheduling vacations during the final week of the season. The Rebels that were there were ready to play. Here are some highlights from the game:
- Derek Urban started on the mound for the Rebels and in just 1 2/3 innings quickly because the most prolific sniper in Rebel history plunking FOUR Waterford batters and throwing just 38 pitches.
- Brandon Molkentin returned from a month-long hiatus, during which he was incommunicado, touting a grizzly-adams type beard and made his LOL debut on the mound and collected a base hit.
- 9 of the 11 Rebels hitters collected one hit on the day.
- Kindall Wincek swung 9 times and collected his first LOL career hit.
- Chris Theisen finally unleashed the power and disclosed some sensitive information on a fastball that used some never-before-seen deep space quantum mechanics power to launch itself over the right center fence for his first home run of the year showing everyone
that it's all about the power of the mind.
- Derek Urban collected his first hit of the season and, in case you missed it, hit more batters in 1/3 of an inning than the rest of the Rebels pitching staff hit during the entire season.
- Andy Sturtevant, Brian Szajna, Dave Hellman, Nate Labott, Kyle Stasik, Aaron Dolan, Nelson Heckenkamp, Dom Nabak, and Keith McFarlane did nothing baseball related.

Despite the loss, the 2015 regular season proved to be a successful one for the Rebels They finished with their best winning percentage since 2009 and are heading into the playoffs with confidence at a record-high.

The Rebels locked up the # 3 seed for the playoffs and will host the # 4 seed North Prairie on Saturday, August 22nd at 1:30 at Genesee Town Park. The teams split their earlier meetings this season with the Rebels winning the most recent affair by a score of 7-4. North Prairie is a scary team to face as they have a lot of young talent to go with a core of veteran players. The Rebels will be short-handed again next Saturday as they will be missing four starters, but the amount of depth the Rebels have added this year, they are still in good hands.

In other action, # 2 East Troy will host # 5 Oconomowoc. The two winners will face off on Sunday, August 23rd. The winner of Sunday's matchup will join Waterford in the Grand Championships on the weekend of August 29th & 30th.

Click HERE for More Pictures from the Game 
*Photos Courtesy of Lisa Heckenkamp

Monday, August 10, 2015

Rebels Clinch Third Place in Win over Dousman

The Genesee Rebels clinched a 3rd place regular season finish with a 10-6 victory over Dousman on Sunday afternoon. The win propelled the Rebels to a record of 10-5 and guaranteed them at least one home playoff game. With one game remaining on the regular season, the Rebels find themselves playing solid baseball at the right time of the year.

The game Sunday saw Derek Urban make his first start of the year on the mound and it almost turned out disastrous. Urban walked the first batter he faced and then gave up a single to have runners on first and second with nobody out. He then struck out the #3 hitter before giving up an RBI single to put runners on first and third with one out. Another walk saw the bases covered with an infestation of Frogs. Urban kept his cool and struck out the next batter before inducing an inning-ending-gound-out to escape with only one run crossing the plate.

The top half of the second inning went smoother as Urban kept the Frogs from adding to their lead. Genesee got on the board in the bottom of the second when Bourassa led off with a single and then beat an infield throw to second base on a Theisen groundball to put runners on first and second with nobody out. Hellman laid down a picture-perfect sac bunt and was followed with a Heckenkamp walk. Szajna struck out to bring up Bauer who smoked a dribbler down the third base line that the Frogs defender threw into right field plating Bourassa and Theisen. The Rebels had grabbed a 2-1 lead.

The bottom of the third saw the Rebels and Urban flirting with danger yet again. Dousman loaed the bases with one out before Urban walked in a run. The nine-hitter lofted an RBI fly-out to right field to put runners on second and third with two outs and two runs across. Urban again buckled down and unleashed the strong arm to strike out the leadoff hitter for the third out. All in all, it was not a terrible start for the young hurler. At times, he struggled with his command but limited the damage to three runs. He showed flashes of brilliance and left no doubt that when he is on, he is a lights out pitcher.

Three innings would be enough as Urban turned the ball over to veteran Matt DeMarais in the fourth.The Frogs looked to cash in on the pitching change as they ripped two ground-ball singles to start the frame and advanced to second and third on an errant throw from the outfield. With two outs, a wild-pitch and RBI single plated two Frogs to see then reclaim the lead lengthen their lead to 5-2.

The bottom of the fourth saw the Rebels bats wake up as Theisen, Hellman, and Heckenkamp got the inning started with three straight singles. Szajna struck out again before Bauer laced another single. Keith Koehn then blasted a triple to the left field fence, but a perfect relay saw Bauer cut down at the plate. The damage had been done however, as the Rebels had tied up the game 5-5.

DeMarais then settled in on the mound as he would only allow four baserunners and one run over the next five innings to close out the game. The Rebels, however, were not done scoring as they plated two runs in the 6th before adding three more insurance runs in the bottom of the 8th thanks to some crafty baserunning by Elliott who scored from second on an errant throw to first base and a triple to right center by Chris Theisen. The three run 8th would bring the scoring to an end as the Rebels would wrap up the game with a final score of 10-6.

The victory gave Genesee a bit of revenge as Dousman had defeated them earlier in the season. The Frogs continued to hit the ball well against the Rebels as they finished the game with 12 hits, but it was the Rebels offense which proved to be the deciding factor in the game.

The win assures Genesee of hosting a playoff game on Saturday, August 22nd. They will face either North Prairie, Burlington, or Oconomowoc who are all tied for the final playoff spots. East Troy will host the other game on Saturday with the winners facing off on Sunday, August 23rd to determine the second team who will represent the Southwest in the Grand Championships.

The game Sunday was the final game of the season for Rebels Dom Nabak and Nelson Heckenkamp who both report to school this week. Nabak will take his talents to the balmy tropics of the Twin Cities area where he will bring his sarcastic comments and meathead mentality onto the football field for Concordia where he will no doubt torment the underclassmen running scout team offense. Heckenkamp returns to Arizona for his senior year of high school. Even though both of them did not see much time on the field this year due to injuries, they will be missed down the stretch and look forward to stellar seasons in 2016.

The Rebels finish up the regular season with a game at Waterford next Saturday, August 15th. The game is relatively meaningless in regards to the Southwest Division as both the Rivermen and the Rebels have their spots locked down, however, Waterford is playing for the overall #1 seed heading into the Grand Championships and there is a chance that a 3rd team from the Southwest could receive an at-large bid to the tournament. First pitch is scheduled for 1:30pm.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Rebels Clinch Playoff Birth in Loss

In an interesting twist of fate, the Genesee Rebels got what they were looking for from the 2015 season when they lost to East Troy by the final score of 3-7 on Sunday. Despite the loss, the Rebels found themselves the recipients of a playoff spot thanks to an Oconomowoc loss to East Troy the day before. The Titans' loss gave them 8 losses on the year and guaranteed that the worst the Rebels would finish the regular season would be in 5th place. Hopefully that is not the case, however, as the Rebels' goal is to finish the season in 2nd or 3rd place, locking in a home playoff game on August 22nd in the process.

The game Sunday proved to be a frustrating one for the Rebels. A rock hard playing surface and gusting winds led to a season high 5 Rebels errors on the day. These errors, coupled with some timely defense and bit hits by the East Troy Express, and a ludicrous balk call would prove too much for the Rebels to overcome. The game was always within reach and was just as closely contested as the previous matchup on the season. Unlike the previous matchup, the Rebels could not capitalize with the big hits when runners were in scoring position and the Express did just that.

The game could have gone much differently had the first inning started out a little differently for the Rebels. Genesee loaded the bass with one out and were looking to break the game open right from the start. Lucas Bourassa ripped a grounder down the line which was stabbed by the Express third baseman who promptly stepped on 3rd and fired to first for a rally-killing double-play. The Reblels got on the board first in the 2nd inning when Chris Theisen led off the with a triple to right center and was brought in on a Dave Hellman sacrifice fly. That would be the first and only lead for the Rebels on the day as East Troy was able to capitalize on a phantom balk call in the bottom of the second. Apparently, once the pitcher steps off the rubber, he does not become a position player and must throw the ball to any base he makes an attempt towards. Regardless of the ludicrosity of the call, the Express were able to score the two runners who were awarded free bases and did score 5 more times unaided by the umpires. One call does not a game make, but it sure can make you scratch your head.

The game did have one thing that has never before been witnessed (at least according to our records) and could probably only ever happen while playing at East Troy. To lead off the 5th inning, Genesee's left fielder, Mark Switalski, laced a line drive back up the middle. The ball landed around second base and skidded into the outfield. Swit ran to first and was casually rounding the base when he saw the baseball appear to pick up speed as it careened over the rock-hard-outfield grass and skip underneath the center fielders glove. Now, under normal circumstances, this would amount to a one-base error and the runner would stop at second base. In East Troy, however, the center field fence is nearly in Waterford. After the ball bounced past the center fielder, it zipped merrily across the softball field (which, if you were wondering, is in play), bounced around the fence, and finally came to a rest about 75 yards from where the outfielder originally tried to play the grounder. Needless to say, Mark got on his horse, sprinted around second, lost his helmet going around third, and scored without a throw. It felt like a bunt scene out of RBI baseball. While the play was exciting and frustrating for a baseball purist and any pitcher to watch, it would be too little too late for the Rebels as it was one of their only hard hit balls on the day.

A bright spot for Genesee was the season debut of pitcher Derek Urban who spent the better half of his summer annoying little league players and parents with his consistently inconsistent strike zone and "take-no-BS" umpire attitude. He pumped through two innings of relief work allowing no earned runs and only one hit. We won't talk about the two HBP and one walk which prompted one well-hydrated East Troy faithful to ask "This your first time pitchin son?" The Rebels were glad to get Urban on the mound as he will be a key to the rest of their season.

If the season ended today, Waterford would get the automatic bid to the grannies, East Troy would hold the 2 seed and Genesee would have the 3 seed which would guarantee them at least one home playoff game on August 22nd. Burlington and North Prairie each sit with a record of 6-7 and Oconomowoc is close on their heels at 6-8. A win next week vs Dousman or the regular season finale at Waterford would lock up at least a 3-seed for the Rebels while they could still lose out and, by way of the tie-breaker of head-to-head and runs against, hold onto the 3-seed. A win would be much better.

The Rebels are back in action next Sunday, August 9th when they host Dousman for a 1:30pm start time. It's "Dollar Day" at the ballpark with $1 hot dogs. With 4 games left, the Frogs could still mathematically make it into the playoffs, so the Rebels know it won't be an easy game!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Rebels Sweep Raiders

The Genesee Rebels won two big baseball games on Sunday afternoon when the Rome Raiders came to town. The Rebels received two stellar pitching performances, nearly flawless defense, and timely hitting on the way towards notching their 8th and 9th victories on the year. The two wins have the Rebels sitting firmly in 3rd place in the Southwest Division with 3 games to go. They are only a half game behind the East Troy Express who they play next Sunday. That game will be incredibly important for determining home field advantage in the playoffs.

The story of Game 1 was an excellent defensive performance by the Rebels. Matt DeMarais took the mound for the Rebels and turned in a stellar performance. He retired the first 9 batters he faced before having to pitch out of a one out, 1st and 3rd jam in the 4th inning. The 4th inning would give the Raiders their best chance to score as they placed their only runner of the game in scoring position before two pop-outs ended the threat. Only 4 Raiders reached base the entire game thanks to a few diving catches by the Rebels and a well called game behind the plate by veteran catcher Andy Sturtevant. On the day, DeMarais would strike out 7 Rome hitters and allow only three hits.

With the Rebels playing solid defense, they knew they had to score at least one run for a chance at the win. The first three innings saw the Rebels feeling frustrated at the plate as they placed a runner in scoring position in the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd inning but could not come up with the big two-out hit. Genesee finally got on the board in the 4th inning when Andy Sturtevant led off with a single and was moved to third on back-to-back fielder's choice groundouts which brought up Chris Theisen. Theisen smashed a hard ground ball towards second that was too hot to handle for the Raider second baseman allowing Sturtevant to score.

The Rebels would get three more runs in the 5th as they took advantage of two walks to get runners on first and second. With two outs, Andy Sturtevant delivered a big two-run double that scored Bauer and Elliott. Sturtevant moved to third on the throw home and scored on the next pitch as it skidded to the back stop. The Rebels would add to their lead in the 6th as Bourassa and Theisen each crossed the plate to give them a final score of 6-0.

Game 2 was almost a carbon copy of game one. This time, it was Keith Koehn who turned in the excellent pitching performance. He was also helped out by stellar defense behind him including the Land O Lakes debut of catcher Nathan Labott who just finished his high school career with the Waukesha West Wolverines. Labott provided and immediate boost to the Rebels as he did not allow a single ball to the backstop and threw out the first runner who tried to steal on him. Koehn found himself in a bases loaded jam with one out in the second inning before inducing an inning-ending double play ball. He would only allow one run on the day while striking out 4 on his way to the complete game victory.

Just as in game one, the defense came up huge. First baseman Chris Elliott made a diving play on a hard smash down the line that would have easily made ESPN's Top 10 list while outfielders Chris Theisen and Mike Hodel added sliding catches of their own. Despite the random and extremely awkward hops that Genesee Town Park provides to ground balls, the Rebels held their own and helped keep the Raiders off the board.

Offensively, the Rebels got on the board in the 3rd when rookie Nathan Labott scored on a Keith Koehn triple to the wall. They would get one more in the fourth before putting the game out of reach with a 5-run 5th inning. The Rebels would knock four doubles in the 5th inning alone as the first five batters to come up scored. The 7 runs would be more than enough for the Rebels to put the short-handed Raiders out of their misery.

The two wins for the Rebels gave them the potential to move up on 2nd place East Troy, however, the Express were able to eek out two extra-inning wins against Burlington to hold steady ahead of Genesee. First place Waterford also escaped disaster by pulling off a double-header sweep of Dousman by the close scores of 9-7 and 4-2 to remain alone atop the standings with a 12-1 record.

As it stands now, there appears to be two races to keep an eye on as the season winds down. Waterford seems to have a lock on a first place finish and automatic bid to the Grand Championships. While they could lose two of their last three to end with a potential tie with East Troy, that scenario is extremely unlikely.

Directly behind Waterford, however, there is an interesting battle for second place. East Troy sits with a record of 9-3 and the Rebels sit at 9-4. The two of them play next Sunday. Genesee won the previous match up this year, so the Express will be looking for revenge. The second and third seed will each earn at least one home playoff game while the second seed could clinch home field advantage for both rounds.

Behind the Rebels, there are three teams who each have 7 losses on the year. North Prairie, Oconomowoc, and Burlington will be fighting tooth and nail to save their seasons and clinch a playoff birth. With only the top 5 teams in the division earning playoff births this year, one of these teams will end the season on the outside. Burlington and Oconomowoc face off on August 8th which very well could be the determining game as the season winds down.

With three games remaining, the Rebels need only 1 victory to clinch a playoff birth and a home game in round one of the playoffs. They would much rather end the season with the 2 seed and home field advantage throughout. They will need to continue to play flawless over the remaining three games as East Troy has shown no signs of letting up. Whatever games you are watching, the final three weeks of the season promises to be exciting for the Southwest Division.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Southwest Set Up for a Wild Finish

After two-thirds of the season, the Southwest Division finds themselves poised for a wild finish to the 2015 campaign. If anything, the last two weeks have proven that no week is a "safe week" and no team is assured of a victory. The Genesee Rebels were fortunate to have a BYE during the last week as every single team other than Burlington sustained one loss. The end result of a crazy weekend of games is that EVERY SINGLE TEAM IN THE DIVISION still has a chance at making the playoffs. That will make for a very interesting and exciting final third of the season. Currently, there are really three teams that have a shot at winning the regular season title and earning an automatic bid to the Grand Championships. Remember, this year, the regular season champ along with the playoff champion makes it to the Grannies. This makes the regular season much more important and gives each team a fighting chance to make it.

If the season ended right now, here's what would happen:
1. Waterford would be the regular season champ and earn an automatic bid to the Grand Championships.
2. East Troy and Genesee would host playoff games as the 2 and 3 seeds respectively.
3. North Prairie would travel to Genesee and Burlington would travel to East Troy as the 4 and 5 seeds respectively.

But, the season is not over and there is still much left to be determined. So, here's a quick glance at where everybody stands as they enter the final stretch of the season:

1st Place: Waterford: 10-1
Waterford sustained their first loss of the season to the East Troy Express on Sunday losing 8-12. The loss gives the rest of the division a glimmer of hope that maybe, just maybe, there's a chance that they could be dethroned as the regular season champs. The Rivermen have 5 games remaining on the season; 2 against Dousman, Rome, Burlington, and Genesee. While the Rivermen cruised through their first 10 games, the rest of the division is playing tough ball as of late. With anyone capable of winning, the Rivermen will have to bring their A-game (which they are more than capable of doing) to finish the season atop the standings and earn the automatic bid.

2nd Place: East Troy: 7-3
The Express were able to split their weekend series with Waterford which gives them a shot at capturing the regular season title and have them riding a wave of confidence heading into the final stretch. With 3 losses on the year, they will need some help from the rest of the division to make a charge at the title, but they are more than capable of winning the rest of their games. They finish with a DH against Burlington, a tough Saturday/Sunday back-to-back with Oconomowoc and Genesee, and singles against North Prairie and Ixonia If the Express continue playing the way they can, they will surely make the playoffs and even have a shot at the title. They need to be careful, however, as the rest of the division has them in their sights.

3rd Place: Genesee Rebels: 7-4
The Rebels headed into their final bye week with a tough loss to the Titans but still find themselves in a good position to end the year. With games against both East Troy and Waterford to end the year, the Rebels have a betting chance at a 2nd place finish and an outside shot and leapfrogging to the top. They will need to be flawless throughout the remainder of the season and get help from the rest of the division, but there is still a chance. They finish the year with a DH against Rome and singles against Dousman, East Troy, and Waterford. It's a tough schedule to end the year and, if they aren't careful, could find themselves adding more numbers to the loss column instead of the win column. If they play their best ball they should finish the year strong.

4th Place: North Prairie Dawgs: 5-6
After a blistering start to the season, the Dawgs have seen themselves struggling over the last few weeks. They are a team that can beat anyone in the division, but they have also proven that they can lose to anyone in the division. On Sunday, they split with Ixonia which put them below .500 on the year. They are definitely not dead as they have the ability to play very solid baseball. If they can escape the errors and make other teams beat them, they are still a threat. They end with a DH against Oconomowoc, a single against East Troy, and a DH against Dousman. Don't count them out.

5th Place: Burlington Barons: 4-5
The Barons currently find themselves in 5th place and, if the season ended today, the holders of the last playoff spot. This is unfamiliar territory for the Barons as they are used to sitting closer to the top of the division. Don't be fooled by their record. They are still one of the best teams in the division and capable of beating anyone. On Sunday, they may have saved their season with a hard fought 2-1 victory over the Titans. That victory may prove to be huge for Burlington as they look to hold on for a playoff birth. If they make the playoffs, there's no telling what they can do. They have a tough road to end the year, however, as they still have 7 games on the schedule. They have a tough DH with East Troy followed by a DH against Ixonia, a difficult Saturday / Sunday with Oconomowoc and Waterford, and they still need to reschedule a game with Dousman. The 7 games over the final stretch could propel the Barons in either direction.

6th Place: Oconomowoc Titans: 4-6
The Titans are a different team than they have been over the past few years, but they are still young, talented, and hungry for victories. A tough 1-2 loss on Sunday may have put them in a tough spot, but they are very much alive in the hunt for the postseason. The Titans have a very important DH against North Prairie coming up next week followed by a Saturday / Sunday against East Troy and Dousman before finishing with singles against Burlington and Rome. The Titans will need their pitching and defense to come up huge if they hope to jump into playoff contention. Their DH against North Prairie will give them a better idea of where they stand as the season finishes up.

7th Place: Rome Raiders: 4-7
The Raiders are an interesting conundrum. It took them quite a few weeks to notch their first victory, but they have been playing very solid baseball as of late. An almost definite victory for their opponents earl in the season has turned into an area of concern. The Raiders can play with anyone. On Sunday, they played two tough games with Dousman en route to a split. They still have a lot to prove, but they are definitely not rolling over for their opponents. They end the year with an all-important DH against Genesee and singles against Waterford, Ixonia, and Oconomowoc. The DH against Genesee will either propel them into playoff contention, or bury them near the bottom of the division.

8th Place: Dousman Frogs: 3-6
The frogs have found themselves on the short end of the stick more than a few times this year. They have had their fair share of toss losses as they are a better team than their record indicates. On Sunday, they lost an extra-inning affair with Rome before taking game two of the DH. A sweet on Sunday may have ended their season, but they are more than capable of finding themselves in the playoffs at the end of the year. With 7 games remaining, they have some tough sledding ahead, but they could very easily end the year on a high note. If they can survive a tough DH against Waterford this coming week, they have singles against Genesee and Oconomowoc, a Saturday/Sunday against North Prairie to end the season and still need to reschedule against Burlington. The good news for them is they play teams that are ahead of them in the standings and could leapfrog a few with victories. The bad news is they play teams that are ahead of them in the standings and could lose a few more tough ones before the season is over.

9th Place: Ixonia Snappers: 3-9
The Snappers played two close games with North Prairie on Sunday and were able to salvage a split. The victory kept their playoff chances alive as they could hypothetically finish the season and find themselves in the playoffs. They would need to win out AND get a lot of help from the division. The good news for them is they are not dead. At least, not yet. The Snappers have shown offensive life at times throughout the year, but still need to find some help on the mound. The Snappers finish with a DH against Burlington and singles against Rome and East Troy. The Snappers look to play spoiler over their last four games and will show up ready to go.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Titans End Rebels Streak

The Genesee Rebels saw their 5 game win streak come to a grinding halt Sunday afternoon when the Oconomowoc Titans came to town and stole a victory. The Titans got revenge for an early season loss to the Rebels as they pounded out 18 hits and scored 13 runs on their way to the victory. The loss puts the Rebels at 7-4 on the season and has them sitting firmly in 3rd place in the Southwest Division.

The game started out in the Titans' favor as they were able to plate one run in the top of the first inning off of Rebel starter Keith Koehn. In their previous matchup, Koehn was masterful as he kept the Oconomowoc hitters off balance en route to a complete game victory. That was not to be today as the Titans had his number early and often.

After finding themselves in an early hole, the Rebels offense answered in the 2nd inning with a two out rally. Lucas Bourassa launched a 2-out double to the left field fence that plated Kyle Stasik and was followed by an error by the Titan third baseman which brought him in. Mark Switalski then singled putting runners on the corners. Two pitches later, Swit stole second base and no Titan decided to cover second base. The throw from the catcher flew into center field which brought Heckenkamp to the plate. At the end of the second, the Rebels were up 3-1.

Koehn put the Titans down in order and the Rebels followed it up with two more runs in the third. A Chris Elliott walk and a Kyle Stasik single were followed by a picture perfect sac bunt from Dave Hellman and a two run single by Lucas Bourassa. It was small ball to perfection! The Rebels could have added more, but Chris Theisen was thrown out at third base as he attempted to take it on a pitch in the dirt. After three innings, the Rebels were cruising and up 5-1.

Then, the wheels fell off. We'll spare you the details, but the Titans seemed to find every single hole on the field and the baseball gods were definitely in their favor as they swatted 9 hits and plated 9 runs off of Koehn before he was pulled. DeMarais came in and got the elusive third out, but the damage was done. The Titans had reclaimed the lead and found themselves up 10-5.

The Rebels would not go quietly however as they were able to get one run back in the 5th and then mount a rally in the 6th to bring 4 runs across. Heading into the bottom of the 8th, the Rebels found themselves down by only one run. Dave Hellman started the inning with a single and was lifted for a pinch runner (Nelson Heckenkamp). Chris Theisen then bunted for a hit to put runners on first and second with nobody out. Lucas Bourassa completed his perfect day at the plate by laying down a sac bunt which put put runners on second and third with nobody out. That would be where they stayed, however, as the Titans brought their infield in and cut down Heckenkamp at the plate as he tried to score on an infield chopper directly to the short stop. Switalski then popped out to end the threat. A few unearned insurance runs in the top of the 9th would be more than enough for Oconomowoc to hold on for the victory.

Despite the tough loss, the Rebels are happy with where they find themselves after two thirds of the season. After starting the year 0-2, the have won 7 of their last 9 games and sit easily in third place behind the still undefeated Waterford and the East Troy Express who have two losses on the year, one of which was to the Rebels. With a bye coming up next week, the Rebels are poised to end the year strong. Their goal is to finish the year in second or third place to secure a home playoff game. It will be a tough feat for the Rebels as they have a double-header against a surging Rome team before they face off against the second place East Troy Express. They will then end the season against a tough Dousman team before the season finale at Waterford.

As the Rebels wind down the season, they will look to the top of their lineup to continue carrying the offense. Chris Elliott finds himself only .004 points away from a .400 batting average and is followed closely by Chris Theisen who is hitting .378 on the year. Matt Bauer and Keith Koehn are each hitting over .300 as well and Kyle Stasik and Lucas Bourassa find themselves surging offensively over the last few games. Defensively, rookie Brandon Molkentin has played solid all around the infield and Nick Heckenkamp has found a home behind the dish. The Rebels need both Koehn and DeMarais to "have their good stuff" working over the duration of the season. It looks like the Rebels will get some more defensive help when Nate Labott joins the team after the high school season ends.

The Rebels will enjoy the bye week to rest their arms, hone their skills, watch the scores as the rest of the league battles it out and get back to it on Sunday, July 26th when they host the Rome Raiders for a 12:00pm start.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Szajna Slides Rebels To a Sweep

The Genesee Rebels took advantage of solid pitching performances from Matt DeMarais and Keith Koehn, along with timely hitting, staunch defense, and some crafty baserunning by Brian Szajna to sweep the Burlington Barons in a double-header on Sunday afternoon. Genesee needed all 15 players to extend their winning streak to 5 games by winning two closely contested baseball games. Every single Rebel present was needed to help down the Barons and bring the Rebels into 3rd place in the Southwest Division.

Game 1 saw the Rebels once again jump on their opponents early on in the game. In the first inning, the Rebels loaded the bases but couldn't push a run across. Inning number 2 saw them continue to keep their feet on the gas pedal. Kyle Stasik led off the inning with a towering double to the right center gap and was followed by three straight walks that brought him across the plate. Keith Koehn singled to bring in Nelson Heckenkamp before Chris Elliott flew out to right for the first out of the inning. The Baron's almost got out of the jam before allowing another run but the "fleet-footed" catcher Andy Sturtevant beat out a would-be-inning-ending-double-play to bring rookie Kindall Wincek across for the third run of the inning.

The Barons would get on the board in the bottom of the third when Dylan Friend hit a one-out double down the left field line and scored on a single two at-bats later. But that would be the bulk of their scoring as DeMarais kept them off balance for most of the game.

The Rebels got that run back in the top of the fourth thanks to a Burlington miscue. Koehn and Elliott led off with back-to-back singles. The Baron pitcher calmed down and struck out the next two batters before Lucas Bourassa ripped a ground ball to third that the bounced away from the Burlington defender bringing in Koehn. That would end up being the last run the Rebels would score as the Barons cut down Koehn at the plate in the 6th inning when he tried to score on a passed ball and was called out on a bang-bang play that could have gone either way.

The Barons tried to mount a rally in the 6th with a single and a Hoffman double to put runners on 2nd and 3rd with nobody out. DeMarais induced a week ground out for out number 1 and Keith Koehn made a marvelous play on a tough hop with a rocket grounder to short for out number 2. The ground ball brought in a Burlington run, but that would prove to be it for the inning as DeMarais struck out the next batter to end the threat. The Barons would again get two base runners in the 7th inning but fail to put a run across as the Rebels defense came up big once again.

The Rebels would leave 14 runners on base in Game 1 as they are still searching for the big 2-out hits to bust games open. Of the 7 hits, Koehn had 4 and Elliott 2. Genesee proved once again that it could win a close game.

Game 2 was a very similar story to Game 1. The Rebels jumped on the Barons early with two runs in the first inning. With two outs, Chris Elliott smashed a double to the wall and was nearly picked off of 2nd as he rounded it a little too hard. When asked about the play he said, "I was feeling fast and thought I could have made it." Maybe next time Chris..... Andy Sturtevant then singled and was followed by an Aaron Dolan single to right that brought in Elliott. Theisen kept the rally going by adding another single which brought in Sturtevant. When the dust cleared, the Rebels had found their 2-out hits knocking four singles before the inning ended.

The Rebels would extend their lead in the 3rd inning thanks to a big Baron mistake. After getting the lead off man out, Burlington pitcher, Richter, hit Elliott and allowed a single to Sturtevant. With one out, it appeared the Barons would turn a double-play to get out of the inning. Dolan hit a grounder to Richter who fired to second base. Both the shortstop and the second baseman were breaking towards the bag and both held up at the same minute. The shortstop caught the ball behind second base and forgot to touch the base before firing it to first. The play at first was bang-bang with Dolan hustling down the line. Instead of turning two to get out of the inning, both runners were safe. The Barons were less than thrilled with the ruling by the umpires that Dolan had beat the throw to first base. There was no argument about the missed base at second, but apparently they felt that Dolan was out by at least 2-4 steps. A lengthy argument ensued with Barons hurtling insults and umping advice from all over the field. At the end of the debate, the Rebels had the bases loaded and the Barons were angry. Chris Theisen took advantage with an RBI fly to deep center which plated Elliott. Richter turned to some little league shenanigans to get the third out. Unbeknownst to him, the Rebels had the perfect runner on second base to fall for the trick. Apparently on tilt, Richter stood on the mound from the windup. Sturtevant's eyes got HUGE on second as he saw a chance to easily steal third. Richter pretended to go into the windup but instead moved his right foot off the rubber. As soon as he moved, Sturtevant bolted for third amidst a chorus of "B-A-C-K" calls from the dugout. It was too little too late as Sturtevant was easily tagged out at third base. The damage had been done as the Rebels now held a 3-run lead.

Burlington would put one run across in the bottom of the third thanks to a tight strike zone and back-to-back walks. Other than that, Koehn was cruising on the mound until the 6th inning. With the Rebels up 3-1, Burlington mounted a charge. After getting the first two outs, it was the Barons who found their 2-out-hits. A single by the nine hitter was followed by a triple to the right field fence and a single up the middle. After being in command for the entire game, Genesee now found themselves tied 3-3 going into the 7th.

It was now the Rebels turn to come up clutch. Brian Szajna stepped into the box as a pinch hitter. After finding himself down 0-2, he hit a weak ground ball to short. Using his speed, he beat out the throw for an infield single. Lucas Bourassa then laid down a textbook sacrifice bunt to move Szajna to 2nd. Matt Bauer flew out to left field to bring up Koehn with two outs. After working the count, Koehn hit another soft chopper towards short. On contact, Szajna bolted for third. As the shortstop charged the ball, Szajna rounded third base and watched for the throw to first. With Koehn hustling down the line, there would be no throw and the short stop did not handle the short-hop cleanly. As the ball tricked away in front of the fielder, Szajna saw his chance. With the catcher meandering towards first to back up the throw, Brian saw the plate unguarded. He turned on the jets and sprinted for home. The catcher realized his mistake and broke for the plate as the short stop fired the ball home. Szajna slid to the right of the plate sticking his left arm out and swiped it across just moments before the tag was slapped down. The winning run had crossed the plate! Now up 4-3, Koehn shut the Barons down in order in the 7th to notch the victory.

The two wins were huge for the Rebels who, after starting the year 0-2, have won 7 of their last 8 to bring their record to 7-3 on the year. It was the depth of the Rebels that proved effective as the starters and substitutions each played their roles to perfection. Another plus side was the amazing crowd that traveled to Burlington with the Rebels. It was great to see such a following and support from family and friends. One super fan even came to the rescue. With the Rebels needing a boost late in game 2, Allie Norgord sprinted across the parking and stormed into Walgreens to retrieve some much-needed water for the Rebels. With the refreshing and spirit-lifting H20 coursing through their bodies, Genesee was able to pull out the victory. Without Norgord, who knows what would have happened.

The Rebels return to action on Sunday, July 12th when they host the Titans of Oconomowoc. First pitch is scheduled for 1:30pm. The Titans are in need of a victory, so the Rebels need to bring their A-game. It's "Youth Day" at the park, so all youngsters in attendance will receive a free popsicle from the concession stand. With one game left before their next bye-week, the Rebels will look to keep their hot streak going.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Rebels Even Up Series with Dawgs

The Genesee Rebels continued their hot streak by taking a game from the North Prairie Dawgs 7-4 on Sunday. Genesee had lost to North Prairie earlier in the year and was looking forward to a chance to get even. On Sunday, they capitalized on a myriad of errors, an excellent pitching performance from Koehn, and some aggressive base running to move to 5-3 on the year and notch their 5th victory in the last 6 games. The win has the Rebels nestled comfortably into 4th place in the Southwest Division.

The atmosphere Sunday was prime for a Rebels victory as there were many festivities taking place on game day. To start things off, the Wales - Genesee Lion's Club hosted their annual "Classic Car Show" at Genesee Town Park. The show brought many motor enthusiasts and a large crowd that may not have normally attended a game. The Rebels also invited back some notable alums to take place in a modified "Old Timer's Game". The alums showed they could still swing it and throw it around. Although no roster spots were offered, retired player Jimmy Szajna was seen crying in the dugout after current Rebel Chris Elliott kept him off balance with his downright nasty curve ball. A highlight of the game was the much anticipated matchup of former Rebel and current Dawg Jason Baron facing off against retired Rebel Tim Baron. It appeared that Tim Baron still had his stuff on the mound keeping his son off balance and brushing him off the plate a few times.

Once the game started, it was all Rebels. Koehn had his good stuff working early in the game as he retired 11 of the first 12 batters he faced. The Dawgs touched him up for one run in the 5th, but other than that, it was all Koehn through the first 8 innings. The 9th inning got a little dicy as the Dawgs were going through the lineup for a 4th time. A few singles along with a few groundballs that could have been handled more effectively by the defense led to three runs with only one out. Keith showed his moxy by bearing down and getting the next two outs to end the game. It was Koehn's third start and his third complete game victory. The win brought his season record to 3-1 with a 2.41 ERA.

Offensively, the Rebels did not wait long to score and put up three runs in the first inning. Bauer led off with a Texas Leaguer over second base that found North Prairie's SS and 2B collide in a somewhat scary collision. As the ball squirted away, Bauer took advantage of no one covering second base and turned a bloop single into a bloop double. Koehn was promptly plunked with the first pitch in the middle of his back (possibly a statement pitch, however Dawg pitcher Pronschinske was quite apologetic as Koehn trudged towards first base). Elliott followed by using the friendly confines of Genesee Town Park by informing his hard hit groundball to third to hit the lip and leap straight into the air over the gawking third baseman's head. The single to left plated Bauer. Pronschinske settled in and retired Theisen and Bourassa and looked to work his way out of a jam before walking Stasik and allowing Heckenkamp to smash a hard groundball again at the Dawg third baseman who wanted no part of it bringing in both Koehn and Elliott.

The Rebels would not sore again until the 4th when Switalski laid down a two-out bunt and took advantage of  a misplay by Pronschinske to reach safely. Another Dawg error on a groundball by Bauer brought up Elliott with two outs. He smashed a single to left which brought in Swit.

Pronschinske would again settle in keeping the Rebels from crossing the plate until the wheels fell off in the 8th. Heckenkamp led off the inning with a two-fist-pump double to left and then defied gravity on a hook slide into third on a Molkentin groundball to short turning a baserunning blunder into a heads up play. With runners on first and third, Swit laid down a bunt that the Dykema, who was catching for the Dawgs, lofted gently into right field. The error scored Heckenkamp and put runners on the corners. The next pitch saw Pronschinske attempt to pick off the fleet of foot Swit at first base which he proceeded to throw to the right field fence. Swit had his PF Fliers on as he rounded second and stormed in to third. The throw from Dawg first baseman Sadowski squirted by the third baseman to the fence which saw Swit jump to his feet and sprint for home. There was a play at the plate, but Swit slid safely in scoring two runs on two North Priarie erros. The snowball fight scoring prompted a somewhat bush league helmet kick from Dykema, but no benches would clear as Bauer was restrained by the home plate ump. Like he would have done anything.... The three insurance runs scored by the Rebels proved incredibly useful as they held on the for the victory. Uncharacteristically, North Prairie committed 6 errors on the day which Genesee capitalized on.

A quick glance at the standings has Waterford sitting comfortable in first place with a record of 6-0. East Troy finds themselves in second with a record of 6-2 followed by North Prairie who has 4 wins to 2 losses. The Rebels follow in fourth. Oconomowoc seems to not be the same team they have been in the past as they have already lost 4 games on the short season. The same appears to be true for Burlington who finds themselves at 2-3 after a surprising loss to the Raiders on Sunday. Dousman, Rome, and Ixonia sit at the bottom of the standings with 1 win apiece. As of now, it appears the league is a race for second place. Waterford has shown no signs of slowing down, but with an increased level of parity in the division, any team appears poised for a victory each week.

The Rebels have a tough test when they travel to Burlington next Sunday for a double-dip. The games are scheduled for a 12pm first pitch. Always a tough game, the Rebels know they need to bring their A-game to compete with the Barons on Sunday.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Rebels Above .500

The Genesee Rebels climbed above .500 for the first time this season when they traveled to Ixonia on Sunday and took two big games from the Snappers. Excellent pitching, solid defense, and an offensive explosion led to 19 runs scored on the day. The victories vaulted the Rebels into 4th place in the Southwest Division and had them playing their best ball of the season.

In game one, Matt DeMarais took the mound and looked to get the day started with a win. After the Rebels scored 4 in the top of the first, the Snappers looked to get to DeMarais early. A leadoff single, stolen base, and bloop single over second had the Snappers on the board early. DeMarais settled in after that and retired the next three hitters to get out of the inning after allowing only one run. He then turned on cruise control and retired the 14 batters in a row, striking out 8 Snapper hitters during that stretch including striking out the side in the 5th. With the Rebels pouring on the offense, the game looked out of hand until the stars aligned and the Snappers put together a rally in the bottom of the 6th. A leadoff walk, followed by three consecutive hits turned the tables on DeMarais and the Rebels. After a brief mound visit, during which the player-coach talked to himself like a crazy person, the Rebels were out of the inning. The damage had been done however as the Snappers pushed across 4 runs in one inning. It would be too little too late for Ixonia as DeMarais retired the side in order in the 7th for the complete game victory. On the day, DeMarais struck out a career high 9 batters and only allowed 5 hits. Unfortunately for DeMarais, 4 of the hits came in the 6th inning so his ERA still needs some work!

Offensively, the Rebels let loose with a barrage of hits. The offensive stats for Genesee included 17 hits, 11 RBI's, 4 SB's, and 3BB's. The top of the order, Theisen-Koehn-Elliott combined to go 11 for 15 with 8 runs scored. Newcomer Lucas Bourassa recorded his first hit for the Rebels and 8 of the 9 starters recorded at least one hit on the day. The Rebels scored early, notching 7 runs in the first two innings, and late, plating 4 runs in the last two innings.

Game two proved to be much of the same as the Rebels handed the ball to Keith Koehn who did not disappoint as he turned in a complete game scattering 8 hits, striking out 5, and walking 1. Koehn pitched his way out of jams in the 1st, 4th, 5th, and 7th, not allowing the Snappers to get the clutch hit to push runs across the plate.

In the first, Koehn allowed the first two batters to reach before inducing a pop up and then, for the first time in recent history, a 6-4-3 double play to retire the side. In the 4th, Ixonia loaded the bases with 2 outs before Keith struck out the 8 hitter to once again escape. The 5th inning saw the bases once again full of Snappers when Koehn again ended the threat with a strike out. When asked about the near disastrous innings, Koehn smiled and said, "Danger? Ha. I laugh in the face of danger. (He then cackled like a hyena)" He actually said nothing of the sort, but it sounds like something that he might say.

Offensively, the Rebels once again struck pay dirt as they turned in 11 hits for the game. Theisen kept his strong day going in the leadoff spot by notching two more hits leading the absent Matt Bauer to research Wally Pipp. Aaron Dolan made an appearance and continued to wow with his smooth skills smacking two line drives to left field and playing a flawless short. When asked about how he maintains his skills through practice, he responded, "Practice? We be talking about practice? I mean come on. Practice? We talking about practice?" Switalski also found his swing hitting two ground ball singles through the hole and almost going yard. Swit seems to be finding his swing just in time to trade in his bat and glove for a spiffy uniform and ice cream scoop.

The day brought two much needed wins to the Rebels who now find themselves sitting in 4th place. They return to action on Sunday with a home game against the Dawgs. It will prove to be a big game for both North Prairie and Genesee as their previous matchup was played evenly until the Dawgs pulled away late in the game. First pitch is scheduled for 1:30pm in Genesee. There will be an "old timer's game" from 11:00am - 12:00pm. Any previous players for the Rebels or Land O Lakes teams in general are encouraged to come out and show they still have it. The structure of the game will depend on who and how many show up. Any volunteers to catch? Otherwise, the Rebels will throw out some young guys to fill in the spots. Come on out for a great day of Rebel baseball and Classic Cars (the Wales - Genesee Lion's Club is hosting a Class Car show from 10-4 on Sunday as well.)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

When The Dust Settles....

The Genesee Rebels welcomed the first bye-week of the season with open arms last Sunday, and they picked a perfect Sunday to have off. While the Rebels were tucked away in their beds, all three other Southwest Division games that were scheduled for Sunday were rained out. As the rest of the league struggles to schedule make up games, the Rebels are able to focus on more important things like how to get a few more wins!

After the first third of the season, the Rebels find themselves in 6th place in the Southwest Division. This doesn't sound like the best of news, but considering how the Rebels played and the team they were able to field for some of the first few games, a record of 2-3 isn't all that bad. The Rebels have shown that they are capable of playing good baseball, but they just need to do it on a regular basis.

So far, the season has been a bit streaky. With back-to-back losses to open the campaign, Genesee needed to get their act together quickly. Two games against East Troy and Oconomowoc did not look to be the easiest way to do so, however, the Rebels were able to pull off two monumental victories to claw back to .500 on the year. Only Dousman stood in the way of a winning record through the first third of the season. Dousman, however, had other plans, as their bats woke up in a big way as the Rebels pitching couldn't keep the Frogs from crossing home plate.

When the dust settled from the first third of the season, the Rebels have begun to learn what kind of team they are. Uncharacteristically, the Rebels have allowed 40 runs through the first 5 games of the season. The good news is, they know this will not continue as they welcome back a few arms who will definitely help them out on the mound for the next part of the season. On the flip side, the Rebels have scored 25 runs on the year for an average of 5 per game. On most Sundays, that SHOULD be enough. Most Sundays apparently did not fall during the first portion of the season.

After a disappointing start to the season, the Rebels are feeling good. It might be strange to think that a team could be feeling good with a 2-3 record, but they know they faced a tough schedule during the first 5 games and feel confident moving forward. Their goal over the next 6 games is to go 4-2 which would bring their overall record to 6-5 heading into the home stretch of the season. It will be challenging with a double-dip against Burlington and home games against North Prairie and Oconomowoc, but if the Rebels can play consistent ball, it is definitely doable.

So far, Waterford and North Prairie sit atop the standings, each team with 0 L's in the loss column. Waterford continues to hit the crap out of the ball while North Prairie brings a youthful and balanced approach to the game. East Troy, Oconomowoc, and Burlington sit 2-5 in the standings, but Burlington only has 2 games under their belt thus far. Their schedule will pick up during the next few weeks to get their games in. After Genesee, Dousman, Ixonia, and Rome round out the bottom of the standings. The division has shown that most teams can compete with anyone on any given Sunday.

The Rebels are back in action on Sunday when they travel to Ixonia for a Father's Day double-header scheduled for 12pm first pitch.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Genesee Topples the Titans

For the second week in a row, the Genesee Rebels entered a Land O Lakes game as the underdog, and for the second week in a row, they were able to pull out a victory. This last Sunday, the rebels traveled to Oconomowoc to take on the 2-0 Titans and walked away with a 7-2 victory. The win handed the Titans their first loss of the season and brought the Rebels up to a .500 record on the season.

The Rebels took advantage of some early Oconomowoc fielding errors to score get on the board in the top of the first. With two outs and runners on first and second, the Titans looked to escape an early jam but a costly error by the third baseman allowed Keith Koehn to score the first run of the inning. Two pitches later, a wild pitch made its way to the backstop which brought in Chris Elliott. When the dust cleared, the Rebels had scored two runs on no hits.

Those two runs would prove to be nearly enough for the entire game as Keith Koehn took the mound for his first start of the season and was magnificent. He kept the usually stout Oconomowoc hitters off balance and finished the day with a complete game victory. No Titan crossed the plate until a 2-run 8th inning, but that would be all they could muster. Koehn finished with 5 Ks, 4 BBs, and allowed 9 hits on the day.

The Rebels defense would prove to be solid enough behind him to get the job done. Rookie Brandon Molkentin had his first start at Short and made quite a few nice plays on the day. Left Fielder Chris Theissen let the cannon loose in the bottom of the 6th when he threw out Aaron Benz at the plate. On the play, Nick Heckenkamp made a nice play to secure the throw off a wicked hop and slap the tag down before Benz crossed the plate. While it appeared to be a good call from the Rebels vantage point, the Titans were none too happy about it and the fans were almost treated to their first ejection of the year.

The defense came up huge again in the bottom of the 8th as the Titans had a bit of a rally going when Leslie drove a two-out hit to left field that plated Pierce. Winkelman was held up coming around third but the trail runner apparently didn't get that signal and was caught in a run down to end the inning and the threat. It was just another usual 7-2-6 put out.

The Rebels bats received a much needed lift from the addition of Nelson Heckenkamp who made his first start of the year in Right Field. Nelson finished the day going 3 for 4 with 2 singles, 1 double, 1 rbi, and 2 runs scored. His performance overshadowed that of his older Nick who had a measly 1 hit, 1 rbi, and 2 runs scored. The Rebels were treated to a double-dip of fist pumps as both Heckenkamps have no reservations about showing their enthusiasm!

In a nice turn of events for the Rebels, it was the bottom of their order who sealed the deal on the day. The bottom half was responsible for 5 runs and 5 hits on the day. Matt Bauer and Chris Elliott continued their respective hit streaks by each tallying a single on the day as well. On a lesser note, the Rebels did strike out 8 times on the day which brings their season total to 33 Ks on the year as they continue to have a hard time finding hits as they are batting .213 as a team.

On a good note, they are hitting .213 as a team and have 2 victories against 2 very good ball clubs in the East Troy Express and the Oconomowoc Titans. As their bats find their grooves, there is no telling what damage the Rebels will bring to their opposition.

The Rebels return to action on Sunday when they take on the Dousman Frogs. First pitch is scheduled for 1:30pm on Sunday.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Rebels Derail Express

The Genesee Rebels etched their first win of the season on Sunday when the Express from East Troy came to town on a rainy afternoon. The game was highlighted by good pitching, solid defense, and clutch hitting as Genesee found themselves on top of a hard fought 5-4 ball game. It was the first victory of the year for the Rebels who handed East Troy their first loss of the season.

Both starting pitchers came out dealing early. Matt DeMarais took the mound for the Rebels and started off with four scoreless innings while Jeff Smith took the ball for East Troy and had a perfect game going through three before back-to-back doubles by the Rebels Matt Bauer and Keith Koehn plated the first run of the game. The lead was short-lived however as Jeff Smith and Todd Nabor got the Express rolling with a lead off double and two-run shot over the pine trees in right. The Rebels tied it up in the bottom of the 5th with Mike Hodel scoring on a Nick Heckenkamp double to left-center. After 5 complete, the score was tied at 2 apiece.

East Troy looked to take a commanding lead in the top of the 6th as Jeff Tess lead off with a single and moved to third on a Josh Oswald single. With runners on first and third with one out, the Rebels were in a jam. A wild pitch later had Tess crossing the plate and Oswald moving up to 2nd. The inning had the makings of another Rebel meltdown, but, two pitches later, DeMarais promptly picked Oswald off of 2nd base and then induced an inning ending ground out to first base.

The Rebels would wait until the bottom of the 7th to take the lead for good. The bottom of the order, which has been the achilles heal for the Rebels thus far in the season, came up huge. Mark Switalski lead off with a walk and moved up to second on rookie Brandon Molkentin's first Land O Lakes hit. Matt Bauer continued his hot streak at the plate with a single that loaded the bases with one out. Keith Koehn hit a hard ground ball to short which looked like it might lead to an inning-ending double-play, but the Express were unable to turn two as Switalski crossed the plate to make it 3-3. Chris Elliott then hit a rocket to Center Field which hit off the wall, scoring two runs and giving the Rebels a 5-3 lead.

DeMarais stayed out on the mound for the 8th and stranded a runner on 3rd base to maintain the 2-run lead heading into the 9th. The Express made it interesting in the 9th as Oswald led off with a single and moved to third when Koehn threw a Jeff Smith groundball into right field. With first and third and nobody out, it looked as if the wheels might come off. DeMarais and the Rebels pulled it out, however, with three straight popups to end the game.

The win was desperately needed by the Rebels who dropped their first two games of the year to Waterford and North Prairie respectively. It was a solid team effort and a great win against a very good East Troy team. Matt Bauer lead the Rebels with two hits on the day while Elliott and Koehn each drove in 2 runs apiece. As mentioned earlier, rookie Brandon Molkentin looked more comfortable in his at-bats and played a solid 2nd base. Mark Switalski made a superb catch down the right field line to save a run late in the game and Nick Heckenkamp battled off a week-long illness to catch 9 strong innings behind the plate. DeMarais had a solid outing on the mound allowing 9 hits while striking out 4 and walking none. He took a rocket line drive off his chest and left arm in the 3rd inning but was able to stay in the game after surviving the near death experience.

The Rebels are back in action next Sunday when they travel to Oconomowoc to take on the Titans.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Rebels Can't Find Their Bats

The Genesee Rebels dropped their second straight game to start the 2015 season on Sunday when they lost to the Dawgs from North Prairie 6-1. While it looked like rain storms might be the downfall of the Rebels, it ended up being their absent offense that led to the loss. Unable to come up with the big hit when it mattered, the Rebs mustered only a single run against a young North Prairie team.

The Dawgs have a revamped and rejuvenated lineup as they have acquired quite a few young players from Carroll University and the surrounding area. It was their pitching and timely offense that helped lead them to victory. The Dawgs arms combined to only allow 4 hits and 1 run. They kept the ball low and the hitters off balance. You need to score runs to win, and the Rebels could not do that.

On the other hand, it was the Dawgs who slowly and methodically built a lead. A few runs here and a few runs there, a misplayed fly ball, a double to the gap, a missed cutoff, a bloop, a single, and it all  ended with a total of 6 runs crossing the plate. The damage could have been worse as Genesee's infield cut down 3 runs at the plate, twice foiling a first and third play.

Offensively, the Rebels had their opportunities with runners reaching scoring position in 4 of the 9 innings, but they could not come up with a clutch hit when it mattered most. Chris Elliott and Matt Bauer continued their hot start at the plate by each pounding out a hit or two. Other than that, there wasn't much offense at all. Credit goes to the North Prairie pitchers for keeping the Rebels off balance.

Despite the fact that the Rebels have started 0-2, confidence is still high. There is a lot of baseball left and it's just a matter of time before the hits start falling and the runs start streaming across the plate. The addition of a few young players mixed in with a core of returning veterans has Genesee looking forward to playing more ball.

Genesee returns to action next week when they host the East Troy Express next Sunday, the 24th at 1:30pm at Genesee Town Park.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Rebels get a "wake up" call

Well, that wasn't the way the Rebels wanted to start their 2015 campaign. The always solid Waterford Rivermen came into Genesee on Saturday and laid a good old fashioned whooping on the shorthanded Rebs. With a final score of 17-7, the Rebels were outhit, outpitched, and outplayed in the season opener. Have no fear, however, as the Rebels are far from calling the season a wash and still have high hopes for the rest of the season. They are not ready to call themselves the Brewers!

The game started well for the Rebels who jumped out to a 1-0 lead through the first 3 innings. Starting pitcher Matt DeMarais kept the Rivermen off balance through three, but Waterford finally got to him in the fourth. They put up four runs off of a single, two doubles off the wall, and a towering home run that cleared the trees in right field. Down 4-1, the Rebels changed pitchers and went with Keith Koehn who did not get much help from his defense. A small strike zone, a collection of well-hit balls, and multiple errors by players playing out of position brought the Rebels into a sizable hole from which there was no return. Koehn pitched well, but the bats and errors become overwhelming.

A bright spot on the day was the Rebels offense. After finding themselves down 17-1, the Rebels managed to fight back and bring the score to 17-7. Scoring 7 runs in a game should be more than enough to win and doing so with a lineup missing a few key bats was very encouraging to see. Matt Bauer, Chris Elliott, and Mike Hodel each stung the ball during their at-bats and nearly every Rebel in the lineup reached base at some point during the game.

Another bright spot was the play of Matt Bauer and Mike Hodel in the infield. Bauer proved that he can truly "do it all" by handing the ShortStop position "like a man." Chris Elliott was quite proud of his teammate and even teared up a little during the postgame interview claiming that Bauer's play was "truly inspirational and motivational." Hodel added a web gem or two at second base. The two of them showed that outfielders are athletes too while DeMarais proved that pitchers should stay on the mound or in the dugout!

Losing by 10 runs is never fun, but the Rebels are looking at this game as a tune up for the rest of the season. Now that they have their legs under them and with the return of a few key players next week, the season should turn quickly around and the Rebs will be back on the winning side of things.

They return to action on Sunday with a 1:30pm game in North Prairie.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Opening Day!

Opening Day is finally here! The Genesee Rebels open the 2015 season on Saturday, May 9th with a home game against the Waterford Rivermen. First pitch is scheduled for 1:30pm at Genesee Town Park. The Rebels will be playing with a shortened roster as they away the return of a few of their collegiate athletes but are excited to get things going.

The concession stand is stocked. The field is prepped. The teams are ready. Come on out and watch some baseball!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Youth Camp Saturday

The Genesee Rebels will host a Spring Training Youth Baseball Camp this coming Saturday, May 2nd at Genesee Town Park. The camp will run from 10am-2:30pm and is open to any baseball / softball athletes between the ages of 8-18. More information can be found on the "Baseball Camps" page. There are still spots available. Even if you haven't registered, come on out!

The camp will be a good kickoff to the Rebels season which officially begins the following week on Saturday, May 9th when they host the Waterford Rivermen. First pitch is scheduled for 1:30pm. As a special treat for Mother's Day, all moms will receive a free concession item (if they can name all of their children and their birthdays!).

Baseball is coming!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Complete Schedule...sort of

It appears that we finally have a complete schedule for the 2015 season. At least, we haven't heard that any revisions have been added, so this is what we are going with. Mark your calendars and plan on attending as many of the Rebels games as you can. It should be an exciting year!

Rebels 2015 Schedule

5/9 *Home vs. Waterford 1:30
           Mother Appreciation Day! 
          (All Moms receive a free concession item!)
5/17 Genesee @ North Prairie 1:30
5/24 *Home vs. East Troy 1:30
            Military Appreciation Day! 
        (Free concession meal deal for veterans. 1/2 of all proceeds go 
             towards the Wounded Warrior Project)
5/31 Genesee @ Oconomowoc 1:30
6/7 Genesee @ Dousman 1:30
6/21 Genesee @ Ixonia (DH) 12:00
6/28 *Home vs. North Prairie 1:30
                  Old Timers Game! 
                                  (11:00 - 12:00)
7/5 Genesee @ Burlington (DH) 12:00
7/12 *Home vs. Oconomowoc 1:30
                     Youth Day! 
           (Kids wear your youth baseball or softball jersey and receive a           
                               free concession item)
7/26 *Home vs. Rome (DH) 12:00
                              Double Day! 
                       (2 for 1 Hot Dogs all day)
8/2 Genesee @ East Troy 1:30
8/9 *Home vs. Dousman 1:30
              (Dollar Day! Everythings a dollar!)
8/15 Genesee @ Waterford 1:30

* End of Regular Season - Top 6 qualify for playoffs

8/22 Playoffs - Quarterfinals
8/23 Playoffs - Semifinals
8/29 Playoffs - Finals (Game 1 of 3)
8/30 Playoffs - Finals (Game 2 of 3)
8/30 Playoffs - Finals (Game 3 of 3 *if necessary)

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Upcoming Events

As warm weather continues to melt away the snow, the Rebels are shaking off the dust and preparing for the upcoming season. The Rebels starting their own "Spring Training" two weeks ago with indoor throwing / hitting at NX LEVEL. There was a strong showing from some veteran players who, along with a group of college players finishing up their Spring Semesters at their respective academic institutions, can't wait to get the ball rolling again.

Here are a few important dates to put on your calendar for the upcoming months:

Wednesday, March 18th - Indoor Practice, 7-8pm @ NX LEVEL
Friday, March 27th - Indoor Practice, 6-7pm @ NX LEVEL
Thursday, April 2nd - Outdoor Practice, 6-7:30pm @ Genesee Town Park
Thursday, April 9th - Outdoor Practice, 6-7:30pm @ Genesee Town Park
Thursday, April 16th - Outdoor Practice, 6-7:30pm @ Genesee Town Park
Thursday, April 23rd - Outdoor Practice, 6-7:30pm @ Genesee Town Park
Thursday, April 30th - Outdoor Practice, 6-7:30pm @ Genesee Town Park
Saturday, May 2nd - Youth Baseball Camp, 10am - 2:30pm @ Genesee Town Park
Saturday, May 9th - Rebels Season Opener, 1:30 @ Genesee Town Park vs. Waterford

Baseball is Back!!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Spring is coming....

It's about time the weather started to turn for the better around here! With the snow threatening to melt within the next few weeks, the Genesee Rebels began their Spring Training Indoor Practices on Friday night at NX Level. The Rebels had a nice turnout to start the season. There is a solid core of returning players who look to make this season memorable.

Noticeably absent from the Rebels practice was slugger Chris Elliott. He had a decent reason for missing the opening practice though. He was busy welcoming his first baby boy into the world. Congratulations Papa Elliott! The Rebs look forward to seeing Baby Elliott at the ball-field this summer.

Also absent was outfielder Dom Nabak who claims to have undergone season ending surgery during the past week. This is a nasty blow for the Rebels who were looking to Dom to patrol the outfield and add some speed on the base paths. The good news though is that the Rebels now have an official Bookkeeper and Foul-Ball-Chaser for the entirety of the season! Get better Dom.

The Rebels will continue their indoor practices next Friday, March 13th at NX Level from 6-7 pm. Barring any Friday the 13th shenanigans, it should be another good showing.

With any luck, the baseball diamonds will be visible within a week! Bring on baseball.

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