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!


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