It took a big hit in a clutch moment by the Rebels best hitter, 1B Kyle Reinholt, but the Rebels were able to avoid a playoff elimination versus the Leduc Milleteers on Sunday night in the bottom of the seventh inning.
RHP Craig Koughan took to the mound versus Milleteers RHP Murray Doyle. Leduc struck first when Doyle was able to help his own cause with an RBI single in the first inning, scoring SS Trevor Pahl. The first inning could have been a lot worse for the Rebels, but CF Josh Lyons was able to cut down two Milleteer runners (CF Greg Zilkie at third and 1B/RF Steven Pahl at home to end the inning). The run was an unearned run charged to Koughan who gave up only 6 hits (4 singles in the first, a single in each of the third and fourth innings) and was able to strand 5 Milleteers on the basepaths.
RHP Corey Epp relieved Koughan for the sixth inning and after a lead off walk, was able to get the next three batters in order. The seventh inning was a different story for Epp as all 7 Milleteers he faced reached via 5 hits, a walk and a fielder's choice. The big hit came via RF Kevin Doyle when he connected on a bases loaded double to the opposite field line clearing the bases. RHP Kris Kushnerick was able to come in a stop the bleeding recording the next two outs, giving the Rebels a chance to win it in the seventh.
1B Kyle Reinholt was already sitting on a 2 RBI evening (bases loaded HBP and a Sacrifice Fly in fifth) but had yet to record a hit. The Rebels best hitter the last three seasons took some verbal abuse from teammates in the dugout for the lack of hitting production but quickly shut his critics up. With RHP Murray Doyle out of the game after three innings, and RHP Kevin Doyle only able to muster one inning with a leg injury, the Milleteers turned to 3B Shawn Brinkworth to work the fifth, sixth and seventh. The Rebels were able to capitalize quickly collecting 4 hits off of Brinkworth in the fifth and sixth cashing in two runs.
In the seventh inning, Brinkworth would only throw two pitches with Reinholt connecting on the second pitch to drive it deep and over the left field fence not only winning the game for the Rebels, but ensuring that they would at least be entitled to a single game playoff between them and with the Camrose Roadrunners or the Bardo Athletics. Winner would then take on the Leduc Milleteers in round one of the playoffs.
Longtime Rebel Travis Bugge remembers when the Rebels of old snuck in on the last day of the PBL season on two occassions by the skin of their teeth before rolling to a PBL title. Hopefully the 2011 squad can build the same kind of momentum and take a run at the PBL Championship.
First up though will be either the Bardo Athletics or the Camrose Roadrunners, both of whom won the season series 2-1 versus the Rebels. The game is expected to be played either late this week, or early next week as the league is still waiting for the Armena Royals and Camrose Roadrunners to get their game in. Camrose wins, Ryley vs. Bardo. Armena wins, Ryley vs. Camrose.