Rebels Gear Up For Off Season
Posted September 30, 2009
The Ryley Rebels will begin their off season workouts starting in the next week or two to be fully prepared to enter the 2010 season with healthy arms and a strong hand eye coordination.
“I think there are a lot the guys who want to keep their shoulders in shape and see pitches all year round, not just for the two and a half months in summer” said Corey Epp. After seeing some success last year, although not consistently, many of the Rebels players would like to build on that entering the 2010 season. “We showed last year that when we play well, we can beat the top teams in the league, but when we play bad, we tend to let games that we should win slip through our fingers” said OF Kris Kushnerick.
2009 saw the Rebels finish in third place with a 7-8-1 record which was accompanied by an early exit out of the playoffs by the eventual league champions, the Leduc Milleteers. Rebels players seem to be using the frustration of losing two games to the Milleteers in the playoffs, after being up in both games, as motivation this off season. “I think any time you lose the way we did in the playoffs, in close games, to a team that when we play well we can beat, is frustrating” said Kushnerick, “But you have to hand it to the Milleteers they came through in clutch when they had to and it earned them a league championship”.
The Rebels look to be active in the off season free agent market as there were a couple glaring holes in the pitching rotation and in the batting order as well. First on the wish list is finding a third starter to complement the hard throwing duo of Dylan Solbergand Curt Stensrud. Although team management offered “no comment” and “out of respect for the negotiation process” they may have found a third starter and one that would be a change of pace from Stensrud and Solberg.
If the negotiations break down the Rebels may have to look within to promote some one from the bullpen to take that third spot. “I think it is something we will be looking at during the off season workouts to see who wants to step up and grab the spot” said Manager Kevin “Cito” Reinholt. There are 4 identified pitchers/throwers that have some work to do on their behalf to take that spot, LHP Darcy Grandberg (0-2), RHP Corey Epp (2-3), RHP Shane Metrunic (1-0) and RHP Kris Kushnerick (1-1) all appear to be in consideration.
Offensively the Rebels will be needing to find someone with speed as they were only able to swipe 22 bases in 33 games last season. Corey Epp led the way with 5 stolen bases followed by Kevin Reinholt, Josh Lyons and Jon Lehman with 3 each. The Rebels may also be looking for a left handed bat with power to help break up the right hand heavy top and middle order of OF Corey Epp, OF Josh Lyons, SS Dylan Solberg, OF Kris Kushnerick and 2B Kyle Reinholt.
Of the full time Rebels, only IF Kevin Reinholt (32PA), C Bryan Toles (17PA), 1B Travis Bugge (67PA), OF Dustin Solberg (55PA) and 1B Darcy Grandberg (39PA) swung from the left side (Toles, Solberg, and Grandberg only accounted for 104 of the teams 801 at bats). Getting Kevin Reinholt back will definitely help, 2009 was a lost season for him after suffering a terrible bicycle at the Tofield Sod Buster Rodeo.
The Rebels will also be looking at competing in the 7 tournaments they competed in last year as well as looking for a couple more to fill up those empty weekends. “A lot of the boys like the camping and social aspect of tournaments” said Kushnerick “We like spreading the good Rebel name far and wide.” On the agenda for next year will be Ryley’s Centennial Celebration on July 16 – 18 where the villiage is preparing for a large celebration, which includes a baseball tournament. “We were approached about doing something” said Epp “I think we will try to get something up and running”. With the success of last year’s Ryley Sports Days, the Rebels are looking at hosting a tournament on both the Ryley Sports Day weekend as well as the Ryley Centennial weekend, although nothing has been finalized yet. The team will also be looking at getting some new uniforms next season to avoid the embarassing “white and blue versus white and blue” match up with Armena.
With the Fall League Meeting coming up next week, and the season starting in only 7 months, excitement is starting to rise within the Rebels.
Posted on September 30, 2009 by Kris Kushnerick