Pre-game discussion

Similar to Norman Rockwell’s famous cover photo of the Meeting of the Umpires before calling a rain out, Mother Nature interupted Tuesday’s home opener of the Abilene Rebels with lightning and eventually rain. Pictured is Rebels head coach Billy Hansen, center, talking with members of the Rebels, the umpires and the Junction City head coach about the latest weather update.

The Abilene Rebels hosted the Junction City American Legion team for a scheduled double-header Tuesday night at Ted Power Field in Abilene, but Mother Nature had other plans. After a one hour delay for lightning in the area, the game got underway.

It was eventually called an official game, and again stopped due to lightning, in the bottom of the fifth inning with two outs and the scored tied at 3-3. No reschedule date for game two has been decided at this time.

In the first inning, Junction City went down in order. The Rebels, however, got a run on the board as leadoff man Kaden Coup reached on a walk, stole second base, advanced to third on a fielder’s choice, and scored on a passed ball. Neither team did much in the second inning.

Junction City scored all three of its runs in the third inning after a one-out walk, a single, a walk and a double scored three in the inning. There were a couple singles in Abilene’s half of the inning, one coming off the bat of Ben Short which was followed by one from Coup, but they were stranded in the inning.

In the fourth inning, Junction City got a lone base runner on a walk, but that was it. The Rebels fought back to tie the game in their half of the inning as Bryce Riekeman led-off by being hit with a pitch. Glen Friederich ripped a one-out double down the leftfield line to drive in Riekeman, Roman Sanchez reached on a walk, and Kaleb Becker hit a two-out single to drive in Riekeman for the game-tying run.

With a storm approaching Abilene again from the northwest, the race was on to try to get the game in as it moved to the fifth inning. Junction City stranded a runner at third after a dropped third strike allowed him to reach safely, but that was all it would get as Abilene continued to work out of jams.

In the Rebel half of the inning, Riekeman again reached base after being hit by a pitch with two outs.

But that was when the game was called with Robbie Keener coming to the plate for Abilene. The game ended in a 3-3 tie, with Mother Nature winning.

“I know Robbie wanted an opportunity there to do something at the plate, and he was due, but we received a lightning notification, so the game was stopped,” said Abilene coach Billy Hansen. “Kaden didn’t have his best stuff tonight, but it was nice to see our guys fight through that at times and help him out defensively.”

On the mound for the Rebels, Coup went the distance striking out five, walked three, allowed two hits, and two earned runs. Offensively for Abilene, Friederich went 1-2 with a run scored and a RBI. Coup was 1-2 with a run scored, a walk, and a stolen base. Becker went 1-2 with a RBI. Short was 1-2 and Riekeman was hit-by-a-pitch twice and scored a run.

Abilene, now 3-1-1, will again be at home this Friday night for a double-header with Hillsboro beginning at 6 p.m. at Ted Power Field.

Contact Ron Preston at

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