CHAPMAN — The Abilene Rebels baseball team traveled to Chapman this past Monday for a double-header and came away with a split. In a great opening game between the two teams, Abilene got the 2-1 victory, but Chapman got the win in the nightcap, 8-0.
Game one featured two of the top pitchers from both teams with Abilene’s Kaden Coup seeing his first action of the season on the mound, matched up with Chapman’s Chance Liebau.
In Abilene’s first at-bat Carter Taplin got a one-out single, but that was it for the Rebels’ offense. Chapman got a hard-hit ball in its lead-off spot to right field that tailed away from Abilene’s right fielder, but the batter was thrown out at third base.
Chapman was able to plate a run after a walk and two singles for the early 1-0 lead.
In the third inning for the Rebels, Stewart Scott reached on a walk and stole second and third bases. Roman Sanchez followed with a walk and a stolen base. But they were stranded after a couple of flyouts. Chapman also had a scoring opportunity in the third after a lead-off double, a single and a hit batter, but they were also unable to score.
Neither team did much offensively in the fourth inning, though Chapman did get a single and a walk. The game headed to the fifth inning with Chapman still holding a 1-0 lead.
In that fifth inning, Abilene got a lead-off single off the bat of Ben Short. He stole second base, and get to third. Sanchez drove in Short on a fielder’s choice to tie the game at 1-1
Abilene came to bat in the sixth inning, and Coup got a lead-off walk and stole second. With two outs, Karsen Loader smacked a double to left-center to drive in Coup and give Abilene the 2-1 lead. The Rebels made a pitching change to take the field in the bottom of the inning, and sent Sam Burton to the mound for his first action there on the season. Burton struck out the first two batters he faced, and then got a flyout to centerfield.
Both teams go three up, three down in the seventh inning as the Rebels held on for the 2-1 win.
“What a great baseball game. This was with two good pitchers battling,” said Abilene coach Billy Hansen. “It was nice seeing Kaden on the mound again. He wasn’t quite as sharp as he usually is, but this was his first time out there this year. Neither team had many hits, but both teams hit the ball and the defenses had to make plays. We did strand a few runners though. We need to find a way to get them across the plate more consistently.”
On the mound for Abilene, Coup went five innings, striking out five, walked four, allowed five hits, and one earned run. Burton got the save in tossing two innings, striking out three, walked none, allowed no hits, and no runs.
Offensively for the Rebels, Loader went 1-2, was hit by a pitch, had a RBI, and two stolen bases. Short was 1-3 with a run scored and a stolen base and Taplin went 1-3 with a stolen base.
In game two, the Rebels couldn’t get much going offensively at all, with the game close through four innings. In their first at-bat, Coup hit a two-out single and stole a couple of bases, Robbie Keener reached on a walk and moved to second but they would both be stranded. Chapman went down in order in their half of the inning. Chapman did plate a run in the second inning after a lead-off double later scored on a fielder’s choice.
The home team added to its lead in the fourth inning when a failed pick-off attempt of a runner on third base scored on a throwing error for the 2-0 score. The fifth inning saw Chapman blow the game open with six runs on four hits, three walks and three errors. The time limit expired and the game ended in the fifth inning with Chapman winning 8-0.
“This was another competitive game through four innings. Then we started making errors, and those led to runs,” said Hansen. “You can’t have those kinds of mistakes against a good team. They will make you pay for them which Chapman did. We also weren’t very good at the plate. We had some little things we need to be better at, but we also did some good things. We are continuing to improve.”
Abilene now 4-6 will play in the Junction City Blues Tournament this weekend at historic Rathert Stadium in Junction City.
Abilene will open play Friday night at 8 p.m. with Junction City. They then will play Rossville at 4 p.m. on Saturday. They finish with two games on Sunday with Dodge City at 11 a.m. and Clay Center at 3 p.m. Gate fee for Saturday only games is $5 for adults, 18 and under is $3, seven and under are free.