The 2013 Abilene Rebels Senior Babe Ruth baseball team pictured left to right--back row: #18 Manager/Head Coach Billy Hansen, #24 Chad Beetch, #21 Wyatt Youtsey, #12 James Villalpando, #22 Nolan Berry, #29 Chris Cease, #13 Logan Meuli, #20 Colton Mills, #2 Coach Zac Humphreys. Front row: #6 Weston Riffel, #8 Alex Friederich, #5 Hunter Combes, #11 Chase Stalder, #7 Matt McClanahan, #9 Mark Aylward. Not pictured #15 Coach Vic Clark. (Courtesy photo)
Special to Reflector-Chronicle
The Abilene Rebels Senior Babe Ruth League Baseball team ended their season in the District 4 Tournament bracket that was held in Lyons this week. Abilene lost the opener to the host Lyons team 7-3, defeated Hillsboro 17-0, and lost to Lyons again 9-2.
In Monday’s opener, in the second game of the night, Abilene was the visitor against the host Lyons. The Rebels went down in order in their first at-bat. Then, on defense, Lyons’ lead-off batter walked and was then picked-off first base by Abilene pitcher Nolan Berry with Chad Beetch at first base, the number two batter hit a double but he would be stranded at third base.
The Rebels got the early lead in the top half of the second inning as James Villalpando reached on a dropped third strike, Beetch ripped a double to right-center that bounced over the wall, Alex Friederich sacrificed with a fly ball to center to drive in a run, Colton Mills singled to score Berry, and Wyatt Youtsey singled in the inning. In the Lyons’ half of the inning, the first two batters reach on an error and a walk before three straight strike-outs. Abilene led 2-0 after two innings.
The third inning saw Matt McClanahan walk and steal second and third base before being stranded there. Lyons would take the lead in their half of the fourth inning, and it would be the turning point of the game, as they scored four runs on just two hits, four Abilene errors, and a couple of mental mistakes. Lyons tacked on another run in the bottom of the fourth inning after a lead-off walk, a stolen base, a single, and a sacrifice.
The Rebels got another run across as Chase Stalder led-off the fifth inning with a triple right down the first base line. He then scored on a sacrifice by Berry. Lyons got that run right back after a batter reached on an error, stole a couple of bases, and then scored on another error.
The sixth inning saw the Rebels load the bases as Youtsey, Weston Riffel, and Stalder all walked with two outs before a strikeout for the third out to end the threat. Lyons got another run in their half of the inning on three hits. In the seventh inning for Abilene, Berry led-off with a single before three straight strikeouts to end the game with the final at 7-3.
"If we take care of things and don't make any errors in the third inning (seven errors in the game), I think we win this game,” Abilene Head Coach Billy Hansen said. "We talked before the game about not letting something like that happen, and it happened. We just weren't good defensively when we needed to be against a good team with good pitching and we stranded too many runners.”
Offensively for Abilene, Youtsey was 1-1 with two walks, Stalder went 1-3 with a run scored and a walk, Berry was 1-3 with a sacrifice, Mills went 1-3, and Villalpando and Beetch were both 1-4 with a run scored. On the mound for the Rebels, Berry went the distance striking out six, walked four, allowed eight hits, and just three earned runs. The WOW Award for Abilene went to Villalpando for a great diving catch in centerfield and the MVP Award went to Youtsey.
After making the trip down to Lyons Tuesday night for the 8 o’clock game versus Hillsboro, who lost to Salina LDA, the game was postponed due to thunderstorms with Abilene recording one out on defense in the top of the first inning.
The game resumed where it left off on Wednesday with one out and runners on first and second base for Hillsboro. The Rebels got out of it though without letting Hillsboro on the scoreboard. Abilene came up to bat and had an offensive explosion. Stalder singled to lead-off and later scored, McClanahan reached on an error and later scored, Berry doubled to drive in two, Villalpando singled and scored, Beetch walked, stole second and scored, Friederich singled to drive in a run and later scored, Mills sacrificed to score a run, Youtsey singled to drive in a run and scored, Mark Aylward doubled and later scored, and Stalder doubled to drive in two and scored. Hillsboro then made a pitching change. Things kept going offensively though as McClanahan singled and scored, Berry walked and scored, Villalpando singled to drive in two and scored, Beetch walked again and scored, Friederich singled to drive in two more runs and scored, Mills singled driving in a run, and Youtsey was hit-by-a-pitch before the second and third outs were made, each on hit balls. Stalder, Abilene’s lead-off batter, made three plate appearances in the first inning. The Rebels led 14-0 after one inning of play.
The second inning would see both teams go down in order. In the third inning, Hillsboro would get a walk for their only base runner. The Rebels scored another run in their half of the third inning as Beetch walked again and later scored on a sacrifice by Mills. The fourth inning saw Hillsboro get a lone single. Abilene tacked on a couple of more runs in their half of the inning as McClanahan singled and scored, Berry walked and scored, and Beetch singled to drive in those two runs . Hillsboro got a couple of singles in the fifth inning but that would be all as Abilene won by run-rule in five innings 17-0.
“I think that with us getting out of that first inning jam defensively, that settled us down and got us ready to go offensively,” Hansen said. “We hit the ball very well in this game and didn’t have any strikeouts while we were at the plate. Chase also came in a pitched a good game and we were good defensively, in not committing any errors”, Hansen continued.
Offensively for the Rebels, they pounded out 14 hits in the contest. Beetch was 1-1 with three runs scored, three walks, two RBI, and two stolen bases, Mills went 1-1 with two sacrifices and three RBI, Friederich went 2-3 with two runs scored, a walk, and three RBI, Villalpando was 2-3 with two runs scored, a walk, and two RBI, Berry went 1-2 with three runs scored, two walks, and two RBI, Youtsey was 1-2 with a run scored, was hit-by-a-pitch, and had a RBI, Stalder went 2-4 with two runs scored and two RBI, McClanahan was 2-4 with three runs scored, and Aylward went 1-3 with a run scored. On the mound for Abilene, Stalder went the distance striking out five, walked two, hit a batter, allowed five hits, and no runs. The WOW Award again went to Villalpando for a nice catch at second base and the MVP Award went to Stalder.
Abilene played back-to-back games and again play Lyons who lost to Salina LDA on Tuesday 5-4. The Rebels were again the visitors against Lyons and stranded a couple of runners in their first at-bat. Lyons got a lead-off double that later scored in the inning for the early 1-0 lead. The second inning saw Abilene get a lone base runner as Youtsey was hit-by-a-pitch and all three Lyons hitters struck out against Berry on the mound.
In the third inning, Abilene got singles from Stalder and McClanahan before an inning-ending double play. Lyons got three runs in their half of the inning from the top three batters in their lineup on three hits and an error for the 4-0 lead. The fourth inning saw Abilene only get a single from Mills. Lyons added three more runs on a hit batter and three hits to extend the lead to 7-0 after four innings.
Abilene got on the scoreboard in the fifth inning after Stalder walked and later scored on a single by Berry. But Lyons got the run right back in their half of the inning after a lead-off walk that later scored.
The sixth inning saw Abilene go down on a double-play with an unfortunate call at first base that Coach Hansen argued that the Lyons’ first-baseman clearly pulled his foot off of the base. Lyons added another run in their half of the sixth inning after a hit-batter scored later in the inning. The Rebels kept on trying and in their half of the seventh inning, Logan Meuli hit a one-out single, Stalder singled, Berry doubled to drive in Meuli before the third out to end the game at 9-2.
“We showed that we could play with a good team like Lyons but you just can’t make the mistakes that we did over the course of the game and expect to win.” Hansen said. “We had just one strikeout while we were batting…one…and that was Mark (Aylward) having a great at-bat when he fouled off five pitches before striking out. We were hitting the ball but we just couldn’t find any holes in their defense and they didn’t make any defensive mistakes. I was glad to see the way that everyone kept battling and for Nolan to catch the first game and then pitch the second game, after pitching two nights ago, was truly stepping-up,” Hansen continued.
Offensively for Abilene, Stalder was 2-2 with a run scored and two walks, Meuli was 1-1 with a run scored, Berry went 2-4 with two RBI, McClanahan was 1-3 with a sacrifice, and Friederich and Mills were both 1-3. On the mound for the Rebels, Berry went the distance again, striking out seven, walked two, hit-a-batter, allowed 10 hits, and seven earned runs.
“I know a lot of the kids really wanted to make it to the State Tournament this year after missing it by one game last year and now again this year, so I feel bad for them. Especially the kids in their last season playing,” Hansen said. “I want to publically thank the players who played their final season for the Abilene Baseball Club for their years of participation, which include Nolan Berry, Alex Friederich, and Matt McClanahan. Also thanks to James Villalpando for playing with us for one season. These are great young men with a great future. Thanks to their parents as well for letting me be a small part of their lives and for your support,” Coach Hansen continued.
The Abilene Rebels finish the 2013 season with a third place finish in the District 4 Tournament and a 15-9 record.