Rebels Open 2013 With A Win

Posted May 13, 2013


For the second time in less than a week, the Ryley Rebels had to dig deep and overcome a bad defensive inning to defeat the Bardo Athletics, this time it was in the regular season as the two teams kicked off the 2013 PBL Schedule in Holden.
 
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E L
Bardo Athletics 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 4 10 3 6
Ryley Rebels 0 0 1 4 0 0 5 12 3 7

 

W – Craig Koughan (1-0)
L – Chris Middlestat (0-1 vs Rebels)
S – Kris Kushnerick (1)
 
P Craig Koughan would make his second career Opening Day start for the Rebels, both of which came against the Bardo Athletics. With the win on Saturday, Koughan moved to 2-0 versus the Athletics on Opening Day since joining the team in 2010. His first win came in 2011 after the Rebels defeated Bardo 9-5.
 
It was also the second start versus the Athletics in four days for Koughan and the Athletics jumped out of the gate quickly with the bats as lead off hitter C Rob Berrecloth would hit a double to centre field to start the game. The line drive to centre managed to take a high hop off of the rock hard Holden turf and over the head of CF Tyson Schielke for the easy stand up double by Berrecloth. Koughan however was not fazed and stranded Berrecloth at third base after three ground ball outs in a row including a nice pick up deep in the hold by SS Brian Tavaroli.
 
But Bardo’s P Chris Middlestat answered in a big way as he would strike out the Rebels in order in the home half of the first getting CF Corey Epp, SS Brian Tavaroli and 1B Kyle Reinholt swinging. The Rebels would finally break through in the home half of the second inning when after retiring four Rebels in a row, RF Kris Kushnerick would finally get to Middlestat with a single to left field on a 1-1 fastball to give the Rebels their first hit of the game. But once again Middlestat would answer by getting out of the inning with Kushnerick stranded at third base and 3B Travis Bugge left at first to keep the game 0-0 heading into the third inning.
 
 
Bardo P Chris Middlestat challenged P Craig Koughan on Opening Day 
 
Koughan would answer for the Rebels in what looked like was shaping up to be a pitchers duel by retiring six Athletics in a row in the second and third innings. By blanking the Athletics through three, Koughan was finally able to get some support in the bottom of the third when CF Tyson Schielke would reach on an infield single and error to SS Ryan Olson. Then with one out and Schielke on second base, SS Brian Tavaroli would hit a hard line drive to right field that took another great hop which led to a bobble by RF Chris Kallal allowing Tavaroli to get to second base on the error. But once again Middlestat would settle in and record back to back Reinholt strikeouts to end the threat and leave a Rebels runner in scoring position.
 
As with the exhibition game on Tuesday night, it was a Rebels error that led to a big inning for the Bardo Athletics. SS Ryan Olson would hit a ground ball that handcuffed 3B Travis Bugge allowing him to reach first base. Olson would quickly take off for second base on the steal but would reach third when an errant throw by C Kevin Reinholt sailed into centre field. A RBI single by CF Joel Hendrickson, who entered the game for an injured CF Craig Neufeld, would tie the game up at 1-1. The next batter, 3B Ken Bragget would pop up to LF Travis Jones would ended up misjudging the effect of the wind, missing the ball and allowing the Athletics to reach second and third base. Back to back to back hits by 1B Peter Neufeld, RF Chris Kallal and LF Jeremy Copeland all scored runs and pushed the Athletics lead to 4-1 with no one out. With the shaky defence behind him, Koughan would strike out two of the next four batters to end the inning and limit the damage to four runs. 
 
 
1B Kyle Reinholt takes a swing on his quest for the PBL batting title 
 
Would a patented Rebels implosion ensue? Many fans thought so, but the team had other ideas and answered the criticism.
 
The first pitch of the fourth inning by P Chris Middlestat was promptly ripped back up the middle on a line drive single to centre field by RF Kris Kushnerick. The hit would kick start the inning for the Rebels as P Craig Koughan singled to send Kushnerick from first to third, followed by another single by 3B Travis Bugge to score him and make the game 4-2 with no one out. PH Brett Holmberg would make his second impact play against the Athletics in as many games as he would tomahawk a Middlestat offering into centre field to score another run and move the Rebels to within one at 4-3 Bardo.
 
 
A RBI single would fall for the Rebels in the fourth inning
 
2B Corey Epp would come up clutch scoring the tying run as he would single home 3B Travis Bugge on a close play at home. With the go ahead run in his sights, LF Brett Holmberg would try to come all the way around from second base but a strong relay throw by SS Ryan Olson from almost as deep as the left fielder would nab Holmberg at home. A slide probably means a run, but the pants stayed white for another day and the 7-6-2 out was recorded. The Rebels found some luck as 2B Corey Epp would score on a wild pitch and fortuitous bounce off of the close Holden back stop to score the fifth and final run for the Rebels. At the end of a long inning by both teams, the Rebels found themselves ahead 5-4 heading into the fifth. 
 
 
Rebels LF Brett Holmberg is tagged out at home by C Rob Berrecloth 
 
P Craig Koughan told skipper Kevin Reinholt he was good for one more inning and pitched a scoreless fifth before turning the ball over to the bullpen for the sixth and seventh innings. But who was going to come in from the bullpen was a little bit of a guessing game as Reinholt ordered both Corey Epp and Kris Kushnerick up in the pen to warm up. When both players looked to be struggling due to some sore shoulders probably the result of badly planned bullpen session that involved a radar gun, Brian Tavaroli also made his way to the pen. It wasn’t until the Rebels were trotting out onto the field at the beckoning of the umpire that it was decided that Kushnerick’s shoulder was a hair better than Epp’s and he was standing the closest to the mound on the way to the outfield. 
 
PH Nick Scott would hit a bloop single off the end of the bat and over the head of 3B Travis Bugge, just inside the line, to put the tying run on base. After striking out 2B Sean Melanson, C Rob Berrecloth out chip a stand up double into left field on a pitch above the shoulders and well outside to put the tying run on third base and the go ahead run at second base. Kushnerick was able to thumb it in just well enough to get a ground out to SS Chris Middlestat and a fly ball to P Ryan Olson to end the inning. Kushnerick would return in the seventh to record the six out save by retiring CF Joel Hendrickson, 3B Ken Braget and 1B Peter Neufeld in order to end the game.
 
 
2B Corey Epp takes a lead from first with 1B Peter Neufeld looking on 
 
While the win was great, the team really wants to focus on getting out ahead of teams early and avoiding the meltdowns in the field which have led the opposition to big innings in two straight games. Especially with the four time PBL Champion Leduc Milleteers as the Rebels next opponent on Tuesday night in Leduc. No word on who will be taking the hill for the Rebels, but it was an early season visit to Leduc in 2012 that helped kick start a great run by the team which ultimately but them into a position to take first place. Hoping the same will hold true in 2013. 
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