Rebels make run to state tourney

Rebels make run to state tourney

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For up to date results, check our website. Tuesday's championship series was played after the July 23 deadline.

Solid pitching by a contingent of five Shelby-Osceola-Stromsburg starters and relievers had the Rebels one win away from the state tournament when the Banner-Press went to print on Tuesday morning.

SOS then needed just one win over the winner of Syracuse and David City to clinch a spot at state. When Syracuse eliminated DC, that sent SOS to state automatically.

Syracuse, the host site for state, earns an automatic bid as the host. That meant the runner-up at the C3 Area Tournament in North Bend earned a spot as well.

Syracuse took down David City 9-1 in five innings in Monday's elimination game.

SOS came into the five-team C3 Area Tournament in North Bend as the two seed and had run through to the championship series thanks to wins over the hosts in the first round and Syracuse in the semifinals.

That left the Rebels as the only unbeaten team after play concluded on Sunday night. SOS then had Monday off as David City and Syracuse battled for the right to face the Rebels on Tuesday at 5 p.m.

Whichever side emerged from that Monday contest had to beat SOS twice to eliminate the Rebels and steal a trip to state. Yet, even if Syracuse somehow accomplishes that feat, it won't matter. SOS is on to the tournament starting Friday.

"It's a lot better than being in that loser's bracket," said head coach Jeff Kuhnel. "We haven't had a great year, consistently anyways. Getting two two wins right out of the gate was nice to have. When you can get a day off that's pretty big.

"It takes the pressure off a little bit, but I always say you never want to limp into it. We might play a little more relaxed and loose maybe (on Tuesday)

"A year ago we were in the opposite situation," Kuhnel said. "We had to beat a team twice, which we did. Believe me, they're going to get reminded of that. Don't take anybody lightly, which I don't think they will." 

FRIDAY - SOS 6, NORTH BEND 2: Shelby-Osceola-Stromsburg trailed 2-0 after five innings but woke up the offense in the sixth, scored all six runs then needed just 10 pitches for the final three outs and the win.

Max Hoatson gave SOS 3 and 1/3 innings of strong work, allowed three hits, no runs, walked one batter and struck out five but left the game without any run support.

Bailey Belt came on in the fourth and suffered through some control issues, hitting the first batter he faced and walking two more. Those walks led off the fifth, moved up on a wild pitch then scored on a single for a 2-0 North Bend advantage.

He came back with a strikeout to end the inning and struck out his final batter in the first at bat in the sixth. Pierce Branting followed Belt and walked a batter but left without any damage after a fielder's choice and a ground out.

The bottom half is when the bats came to life.

Hoatson and Branting both walked to start the frame followed by Tanner Wood loading the bases when he was beamed on a 3-1 count.

A Wyatt Whitmore liner to left tied the game in the next at bat.

Wood came in on a passed ball (3-2), Whitmore scored on a Jett Pinneo single to left (4-2), Alec Wieseman tripled Pinneo across (5-2) with two outs and Wieseman came in on an error off the bat of Grady Belt.

Branting allowed a two-out base runner in the seventh when he hit a batter before ending the game on a ground out to second.

SUNDAY - SOS 8, SYRACUSE 0: There was no need for late-inning drama two days later when SOS ran away with the win on a seven-run third inning after also scoring a run in the second.

Six different Rebels drove in a run including Grady Belt who went 2 for 2 and Bailey Belt who was 2 for 3.

Colin Wingard went four innings for the victory on the mound, allowing just a lone hit, no walks and three strikeouts.

Hoatson scored the game's opening run after beginning the second with a leadoff walk, moving up on a bunt, advancing to third on a wild pitch then scoring on Wood's single to right.

SOS then sent 13 hitters to the plate in the third and put up a touchdown, plus the extra point, with just two hits.

Pinneo and Branting started it with leadoff walks, a one-out error made it 2-0, Grady Belt singled in a run on a grounder up the first base side, Hoatson followed with a bases-loaded walk (4-0), another run came in on an error, it was 6-0 after a bases-loaded hit batter and Pinneo walked in the next at bat, still with the bases full, scoring another run.

"It's been a up and down year, and hopefully were ready to hit our stride and keep playing consistently," Kuhnel said. "As long as our pitching is good, hopefully the fielding and hitting and everything else will go along with it." 

Reach the Banner-Press staff at DVDsports@lee.net.

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