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.