Special to Reflector-Chronicle
The Abilene Rebels Babe Ruth baseball team opened their season at home on Sunday by winning two games against the Herington Mud Dogs. Abilene took Game One 10-3 and Game Two 7-3.
In the opener, on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon, Herington went down in order in their first at-bat while Abilene got off to a quick start. Matt McClanahan led off the Abilene half of the first inning with a walk and later scored, Chase Stalder then walked, stole second, and later scored, Nolan Berry sacrificed, Chad Beetch sacrificed for a RBI, Alex Friederich walked and later scored, Hunter Combes singled, and Colton Mills singled for a RBI. The Rebels led 3-0 after one inning.
In the second inning, Herington would get an infield single but also three strikeouts by Berry on the mound. Abilene got a lead-off walk from Weston Riffel, who stole second, McClanahan sacrificed, Stalder singled for a RBI and later scored, and Berry singled for a 5-0 Abilene lead after two innings. Herington got on the scoreboard in the third inning after a couple of walks, a fielder’s choice, and an error. While all that the Rebels would get in their half of the inning would be a single from Mills and a walk from McClanahan. Abilene led 5-1 after
The fourth inning would see Herington earn a couple of walks but that would be all. The Rebels would open up the game a little in their half of the inning as Berry led-off with a walk and later scored, Beetch reached on an error and later scored, Friederich singled and later scored, Combes sacrificed for a RBI, Mills singled for two RBI, and Riffel singled for a RBI. The Rebels would lead 9-1 after four innings. The fifth inning would see Herington get a lead-off walk, then a fielder’s choice, then a pick-off at first, and a strikeout. For Abilene’s half of the inning, Berry led-off with a double to left field and he later scored on an error for the 10-1 lead.
In the sixth inning, Herington would go down in order and Abilene got a single from Wyatt Youtsey but that would be all. In the seventh inning, Herington would score two runs on a single, a hit batter, a sacrifice, and some wild pitches for the 10-3 final.
”I thought we played pretty well for the first game of the season,” Abilene coach Billy Hansen said. ”We got a good pitching performance from Nolan and only had two errors on defense, but we do have some things to work on,” Hansen continued.
On the mound for Abilene, Berry went the distance striking out 12, walked four, hit a batter, allowed just two hits, and two earned runs. Offensively for the Rebels, Mills went 3-4 with a run scored, three RBI, and a stolen base, Berry was 2-2 with two runs scored, a sacrifice, and a walk, Friederich went 1-2 with two runs scored, two walks, and a stolen base, Stalder was 1-3 with two runs scored, a RBI, a walk, and a stolen base, Riffel went 1-2 with a run scored, two walks, a RBI, and a stolen base, Combes was 1-3 with a RBI, a sacrifice, and a stolen base, Youtsey went 1-4, McClanahan had a couple of walks and a sacrifice, and Beetch had a run scored, two sacrifices, a walk, a RBI, and a stolen base.
In Game Two, Herington would be the team to get off to the quick start with four singles in a row and score a run while Abilene would only get a single from Berry in their half of the inning as Herington would lead 1-0 after one inning. The second inning saw Herington not do much at the plate. Abilene would tie the game in their half of the inning after James Villalpando singled and later scored on a single by Mills.
In the third inning, Herington went down in order. The Rebels would get a lead-off double by Stalder in their half of the inning and he would later score on a balk, Beetch walked, stole second, and later scored on a double by Villalpando. Abilene now led 3-1 after three innings of play. The fourth inning saw Herington again go down in order. Abilene would get a lead-off walk from Mills who then stole second, Riffel singled, and McClanahan singled to drive in Mills for a 4-1 Abilene lead.
Herington would again get on the scoreboard in their half of the fifth inning with a fielder’s choice, an error, and a single that drove in two with two outs. The Rebels would come back up and extend their one-run lead with a single from Villalpando who stole second base, a single from Youtsey who then stole second base, and single from Riffel to drive in two runs. In the sixth inning, Herington would go down in order but Abilene would add another run as McClanahan reached on an error and later scored on a sacrifice by Friederich. Herington got a lone walk in there half of the seventh inning for the 7-3 final.
“Again, we only had two errors in the game but one of those errors cost us two runs late in the game. Had the game been a little closer, it may have cost us in a different way,” coach Hansen said. ”We pounded out 10 hits again, which is good, but there is room for a lot of improvement,” Hansen continued.
On the mound for the Rebels, Combes went the distance striking out five, walked two, allowed seven hits, and one earned run. Offensively for Abilene, Villalpando went 3-4 with two runs scored, a RBI, and a stolen base, Riffel was 2-2 with two RBI and was hit by a pitch, Mills went 1-2 with a run scored, a RBI, a walk, and two stolen bases, Stalder was 1-3 with a run scored and a walk, Youtsey went 1-3 with a run scored and a stolen base, Beetch had a run scored and three walks, and McClanahan and Berry each had a hit.
Abilene, now 2-0, will be at home this Wednesday night for a double-header against Minneapolis. The first game begins at 6 p.m. at Ted Power Field.