It was a must win game for the Rebels if they had any hope, no matter how long of a shot it was, to make the PBL Playoffs and to avoid sitting them out for the first time in the teams recent history (2009-2013). Heading into the game the Rebels needed a big win and a lot of help from the reigning PBL Champ Leduc Milleteers to put two must win games next week at the feet of the Bardo Athletics.
Win – Corey Epp (2-1)
Loss – Sheldon Petryshyn
The Rebels did their part scoring a total of 19 runs, collecting 18 hits, making the Roadrunners commit 6 errors and seeing great pitching from Corey Epp and Brian Tavaroli to hold Camrose to only 5 hits and 2 walks. A key factor heading into the game was going to be the ability of the Rebels to keep the unpredictable Roadrunners off of the base paths and force them to hit with one or two outs all night. Epp and Tavaroli combined to retire the lead off batter in each of the six innings in the mercy rule evoked game. Being aggressive with the Camrose hitters and challenging them paid off for Epp and Tavaroli as they combine for a total of seven strikeouts while only walking two Roadrunners.
While Epp was spinning a gem in a big game, the offence pounded the Roadrunners pitching which was a combination of Sheldon Petryshyn, Aaron Hayes (maybe?) and Josh Banack.
The offence started out quickly in the first inning by loading the bases after three singles by 2B Brian Tavaroli, SS Dylan Solberg and 3B Craig Koughan but the Rebels were unable to score any runs after close plays at home and first didn’t go the Rebels way. The second inning was another disappointing inning for the Rebels as C Don Oslund would get to second base after hitting a rocket down the line at 3B Kory Keohane who promptly wore it off the leg sending the ball out of play and Oslund to second base. But once again Petryshyn was able to wiggle out of the jam and left Oslund stranded at second base.
The first run of the game finally came in the top of the third inning when SS Dylan Solberg hit a double down the right field line before moving to third base on a passed ball. RF Kevin Reinholt would hit into the run scoring 4-3 making it 1-0 Rebels. After the Roadrunners responded in the home half of the third inning, the Rebels needed to answer to keep any hope of the playoffs alive.
The Rebels would send a total of twelve batters to the plate in the top of the fourth inning chasing Petryshyn who surrendered seven runs in the fourth inning to make it 8-3 Rebels. CF Kris Kushnerick would start the inning off with a walk and be moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by P Corey Epp. C Don Oslund would reach on an error to the Roadrunners second baseman as he misplayed the pop up putting runners at first and second with one out. Petryshyn would hit 1B Kyle Reinholt to load the bases but would get a huge strikeout of LF Brett Holmberg for the second out. Once again it looked like the Rebels might not get anything from a bases loaded situation as in the first inning. But the ball got rolling with the help of Petryshyn as he would hit 2B Brian Tavaroli scoring Kushnerick for the first run of the inning. SS Dylan Solberg would follow with a RBI single, then RF Kevin Reinholt with a two RBI single, 3B Craig Koughan with a two RBI double and back to Kushnerick for a RBI single off of reliever Aaron Hayes who replaced Petryshyn after the Koughan double. When the dust was settled it was a seven run inning with the Rebels hitting three singles and a double to blow the game open at 8-3.
The fifth inning was almost successful as the fourth inning as the freight train that was the Rebels offence showed no signs of slowing down. Back to back errors by Adam Siebold and Kory Keohane to start the fifth inning quickly put the Roadrunners in the hole with the top of the Rebels lineup coming to bat. 2B Brian Tavaroli would score 1B Kyle Reinholt from second base (he reached second on a successful stolen base attempt but nearly injured his hand, wrist, elbow, knee and chin on the slide) and SS Dylan Solberg would follow with a two RBI single to extend the lead to 11-3. The Roadrunners would finally record an out but another rally would start with a 3B Craig Koughan followed by a CF Kris Kushnerick single to centre field, another bases loaded hit batter when P Corey Epp would stand in to take one for the team and then another two RBI single in the inning, this time off of the bat of C Don Oslund. The wheels had fully fell off for the Roadrunners infront of a decent home crowd as the Rebels walked out of the fifth inning ahead 15-3.
In what turned out to be the last inning of the game, the Rebels struck again in the sixth inning, this time off of P Josh Banack who came in to try and stop the bleeding. LF Jimmy Robertson would start the inning off with a double that CF Alex Roth couldn’t quite squeeze on the diving attempt followed by another single from 2B Brian Tavaroli and walk to SS Dylan Solberg to once again load the bases. RF Kevin Reinholt would collect another RBI ground and 3B Tyler Helgeland ripped a ball down the first base line that 1B Eldon Banack made a nice reaching catch that would have score two runs and saved another extra bases hit. The Rebels would score their seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth runs as CF Kris Kushnerick would respond to a pitch over his head with a three run home run to left field. Another error by the Roadrunners, this time by the right fielder and another single by C Don Oslund wrapped up the night offensively for the Rebels.
A total of forty four Rebels were sent to the plate to have thirty eight at bats with just under half (17) reaching base on hits, six reaching on errors with five of the forty four getting a free pass on a walk or hit by pitch.
The rout puts an exclamation point on a turbulent regular season for the Rebels as they finish with a 6-7-1 record, currently good enough for fourth place but the fifth place Bardo Athletics still have two home games to go next week. Consistency was the key issue for the Rebels in 2013 both with the play on the field and within the roster as lineups varied night to night with scrambles for eight or nine players the norm on most nights.
The Rebels will now be cheering on the Camrose Roadrunners and the Holden Blue Jays as they are hoping for two losses for the Bardo Athletics next week to slip into the playoffs.