Rebels roll by Eastern, 13-2
Thanks to watchful eyes, and possibly a few ice packs, the South Central baseball team scored a 13-2, five-inning victory at Eastern (Pekin) last Wednesday afternoon.
Musketeer pitchers Shane Williams and Kaleb Nicholson had trouble finding the strike zone, and the South Central hitters took full advantage. As a team, the Rebels drew seven walks and were hit by four pitches, allowing for 11 base runners. Jason Boston drew two walks, and, on his last at-bat, was plunked.
‘We saw a lot of pitchers and were able to get guys on with walks,’ said South Central coach Nick Tremain. ‘Then, hits with runners in scoring position really helped out.’
The Rebels initially trailed in the game when Nicholson led off the bottom of the first with a solo homer to right center. They didn’t trail long.
South Central’s starting pitcher Matt Veith was hit by a pitch to lead off the top of the second. He was followed by walks from Lucas West and Ryan Wemes to load the bases for Matt Fox. Out of the nine hole, Fox delivered with a line-drive single to center, plating two runs.
The inning continued when Austin Knear placed a bunt a few feet in front of home plate. In a scurry for the ball, Eastern catcher Austin Brown launched the ball over first base, allowing two runs to score while the speedy Knear moved to third.
‘Knear has speed, to where, if he can put it on the ground, it is going to be tough to throw him out,’ Tremain said. ‘He’s getting better with his at-bats putting the ball on the ground.’
Jordan Yale made it a 5-1 game with a single. He would later score on a double steal involving Boston.
‘I thought the bottom of the order was really stepping up for us,’ Tremain said. ‘Ryan Wemes, Lucas West, Matt Fox brought it back to the top of the order several times. That really helped us out.’
On the hill, Veith settled down after the homer in the first. He gave up two more singles during the next four innings and closed the game with five strikeouts.
‘He left a few balls up early. Midway through the game he realized he could go with a lot of off speed today,’ Tremain said of Veith. ‘He was able to throw a lot of strikes with his curve ball, keeping them off balance. Then, he mixed his fastball at good spots and, overall, pitched well.’
Providing an additional run of support, Lucas West led off with a single and later scored on an error in the third inning. In the fourth, Mark O’Connor drove in Boston to give South Central an 8-1 lead.
For the game, the Musketeers committed seven errors with two coming in a five-run fifth inning for the Rebels.
Wemes, Fox, Yale, Boston and Spencer Ray came around to score for South Central in the final inning. Veith went on to strike out the side in the fifth for the run-rule win.
Knear and Fox finished the game with two hits each to pace the Rebels offense. Six of the starting nine scored twice in the game, providing balance.
‘Overall, we’re still getting a feel for where we are at,’ Tremain said of the young season. ‘There are games we really hit the ball and some games where we don’t have as good at bats. We’re getting to the point of our schedule where we have a tough couple of weeks ahead. We’re playing better and, hopefully, carry through the next few weeks.’
The Class A No. 7 Rebels will return to action tonight (Wednesday) when they host Crawford County at 7. They also will play at Silver Creek tomorrow (5 p.m.) followed by a weekend tournament at Madison.