The Abilene Rebels Senior baseball team will open the 2020 season on the road Tuesday, June 9, with a double-header at Minneapolis beginning at  p.m. 

The Rebels started a bit of a rebuilding process last season (only three returning players) and finished with an 11-9-1 record, were the District 4 runner-up and qualified for the Babe Ruth State Tournament for the fourth consecutive season finishing in sixth place. The Rebels return six players to this year’s team.

    

Billy Hansen, who enters his 20th season as head coach of the Rebels with a 301-168-1 career record, is excited about this season. 

“We have a nice group of returning players with quite a bit of experience, but what we don’t have is a high school season to come off of and build on,” Hansen said. “We will have about two and a half weeks of practice before our first game…that isn’t a lot of time. But what I have liked, is the effort and attitudes of our kids at those practices. We have some younger kids, a few 15-year-olds who don’t usually play with this group, and they have been doing just fine  and our older kids are helping them.”

     

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the season, as it has everything, and Hansen knows this season will be affected. 

“We are starting games about a week to week and a half later than usual, due to all of the restrictions that were in place, and it’s just going to be a bit different of a season,” he said. “All of us coaches are just wanting to find games for these kids, and everyone is reaching out to each other to get games on their schedules. We will be playing a couple of Junction City Pony League teams this year, which we usually do not play, because they were just looking for games, so I did my best to accommodate them but those games will hopefully benefit us too. Most teams are basically club teams, without an affiliation, since there is no Babe Ruth or American Legion tournament trails this season. We’re all just trying to get games in, especially for the kids who didn’t have a high school season, possibly their last. The schedule could still have some adjustments as tournaments and teams are still getting things lined out.”

    

 On the field, coach Hansen expects his team to compete well. 

“We have a lot of pitchers on this team of 15 players, and if they can throw strikes consistently, we should be in a lot of games. We have a nice group of players, who were on our junior team last summer, who will have roles in a lot of games, and I think they will do some good things. Staying healthy will be the key, and we will be working on things, and learning things, as the season moves along. We want to get some kids time on the field for some experience and have some fun. I think we are all looking forward to that,” Hansedn said..

     

The Rebels’ season ended last year at the Babe Ruth State Tournament in Columbus with three close losses. They dropped the opener to Grant County (Ulysses) 5-3, lost to Columbus 4-3, and lost a tough one to Wellington 12-2, a game that Abilene was up in 2-1 heading into the sixth inning.   

Abilene will, again, have a lot of games packed into a short period of time, but will be making up for some lost time on the field from this spring.

 All of the home games for the Abilene Rebels are played at Ted Power Field in Abilene. There is no admission charge to attend the home games. 

A full schedule is listed below (subject to change).

 

2020 Abilene Rebels Schedule

June 9 at Minneapolis

6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

June 11 vs. Chapman

6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

June 14 vs. Junction City 2 (Pony)

4 p.m. and 6 p.m.

June 16 vs. Hillsboro

6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

June 19 – June 21 Tournament

TBA

June 19 or June 20

Possible at Clay Center

June 22 at Chapman

6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

June 26 to June 28

At Junction City Tournament

July 2 vs. Riley County

6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

July 8 vs. Clay Center

6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

July 13 at Hillsboro

6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

July 15 at Clay Center

6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

July 17 vs. Junction City 1 (Pony)

6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

July 21 at Junction City

6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

No postseason tournament

Contact Ron Preston at sports@abilene-rc.com.

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