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.