Roman Sanchez

Abilene’s Roman Sanchez (48) swings away against Hillsboro in the first game of doubleheader played in Abilene on June 16, 2020.

The Abilene Rebels baseball team played Clay Center 17U last Friday night in Abilene. The double-header was originally scheduled to be played in Clay Center, but their field was too wet from overnight rains, and the double-header was moved to Abilene.

Clay Center was the visiting team in Game One and Abilene was the visiting team in Game Two. The Rebels won the opener 13-1 and the nightcap 17-6.

In the opener, Clay Center got its lone run after two outs. With a runner on second base, a ball was hit between third and short. Carter Taplin was playing third base for Abilene and fielded the ball to his left. The runner collided with Taplin, knocking the ball away from him, and knocking Taplin to the ground. The runner was called safe at third. The controversial call led to a run for Clay Center after a single. Taplin was out for the rest of the game after the collision.

The Rebels came up in its half of the inning and took the lead after Cayden Wyckoff was hit by a pitch, Kaden Coup reached on an error, Robbie Keener was hit by a pitch, and Brenton Reiff singled to drive in two runs to take the early lead.

In the second inning Abilene opened up its lead with six runs. Ben Short singled and scored, Stewart Scott and Roman Sanchez were each hit by a pitch and scored, Wyckoff reached on an error to drive in a run and scored, Coup walked and scored, Keener singled to drive in two, and Reiff reached on an error and scored. Abilene led 8-1 after two innings.

In the third, and what ended up being the final, inning Abilene plate three more runs as Scott led off with a walk and scored, Sanchez singled and scored, Wyckoff was hit by a pitch for the second time and scored, Coup singled to drive in two, Keener and Reiff each singled in 13-1 final.

“Clay Center came right out and hit the ball…they sent seven batters to the plate in the first inning, and each one put the ball in play,” said Abilene coach Billy Hansen. “I think it helped get us a little more focused on playing. Our defense was pretty solid, and we hit the ball well too.”

Offensively for the Rebels, Keener went 2-2, was hit by a pitch, and had three RBI. Reiff went 2-3 with three RBI and a stolen base. Coup was 1-2 with two runs scored, a walk, three RBI, and a stolen base. Sanchez went 1-2 with two runs scored, was hit by a pitch, and had a stolen base and Short was 1-2 with a run scored. On the mound for Abilene, Keener went the distance striking out one, walked none, allowed just three hits, and no earned runs.

In game two, Abilene got the early lead as the visiting team with Sanchez leading off with a walk and later scoring on an RBI single by Coup. Clay Center tied the game in its half of the inning, also after a lead-off walk later scored on an error to make it 1-1 after one inning. In the second inning Abilene took the lead as Ayden Taylor reached on a fielder’s choice, stole third base, and scored on a single by Short. Clay Center went down in order.

Abilene added to its lead in the third with four runs as Coup singled, stole second and scored. Keener walked and later scored. Karsen Loader doubled to drive in a run. Taylor reached on an error, stole a base, and later scored, and Sam Gantner walked in the inning. Clay Center got a run of their own on three singles and an error.

The Rebels added to their lead in the fourth inning with four more runs. Sanchez singled, stole a couple of bases and scored. Kellen Signer walked, stole second and later scored. Coup singled, stole second and later scored. Michael McClanahan doubled to drive in a pair of runs and stole a base, and Taylor walked and stole a base. Clay Center started to battle back in its half of the fourth by scoring three runs of its own on four hits and two Abilene errors to make the score 10-6 in favor of Abilene.

The Rebels blew the game open in the fifth inning with seven runs. Gantner reached on an error, stole a base and scored. Sanchez singled, stole a couple of bases, and scored. Coup singled and stole second. Keener doubled to drive in a run and scored. Loader tripled to drive in a couple. McClanahan singled to drive in a run, stole a couple of bases and later scored. Taylor walked, stole second and later scored, and Short walked and stole second. Clay Center got a double and walk in its half of the inning, but they were stranded for the 17-6 final.

“We hit the ball really well in this game, but also had a few more strikeouts and we were patient at the plate in walking eight times,” said Hansen. “We had some errors defensively, but overall, we weren’t too bad. Ayden pitched really well in his first start for us. As one of our younger players, I was impressed with how well his command was. He threw a lot of strikes. I would rather a team hit the ball, and give our defense an opportunity to make an out, than walk batters.”

On the mound for Abilene, Taylor tossed four innings striking out five, walked one, hit a batter, allowed eight hits, and three earned runs. Taplin pitched one inning in relief, striking out one, walked one, allowed one hit and no runs.

Offensively for the Rebels, Coup was 4-4 with three runs scored, four stolen bases and an RBI. Sanchez went 2-2 with three runs scored, two walks, and three stolen bases. McClanahan was 2-3 with two runs scored, three RBI, and three stolen bases. Keener went 1-2 with two runs scored, two walks, and an RBI. Loader was 2-4 with two runs scored and three RBI, and Short was 1-3 with a walk, an RBI, and two stolen bases.

Abilene, now 3-5, was scheduled to play at Chapman Monday night for a double-header beginning at 6.

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

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