After almost a month between games The Nottingham Rebels finally got back into competitive action, taking on league leaders Leicester Blue Sox at Bulwell Hall Park on Sunday.
Sunny skies and a brisk wind blowing out to left center field greeted the two teams in what ended up being a great battle of endurance! It was Leicester who took an early lead, with a combination of timely hitting and wildness from Rebels Starting Pitcher Adam Taylor that accounted for a 4-1 lead through the first two innings of play.
The Rebels might have endured greater damage had it not been for relief pitching of Shannon Henry coming in for the struggling starting pitcher to get the final out of the second inning with the bases loaded. The total walks did seem to add up for the Rebels pitchers on sunday but several smart defensive plays notably by Catcher Richard Hu resulting in the erasure of two of Leicester’s base runners kept Leicester’s momentum in check.
Radek Zagozdzon took the hill for the Blue Sox and dominated the Rebels in the early going. However in the bottom of the forth he too succumbed to a bout of wildness that led to a Rebels fight back culminating in a double by Pitcher Shannon Henry that plated two, giving the Nottingham club their first lead of the day.
Despite a determined Leicester side retaking the lead 6-5 against Henry (71/3ip, 5h, 4er, 12bb, 8k) pitching in relief for Taylor and picking up the win the bottom of the inning would see the Nottingham club take the lead for good.
With the bases full of Rebels a broken bat blooper from Left Fielder Luke Stott fell before the deep lying Leicester Short Stop and sent the Rebel’s opposite number and player of the game Sebastian O’Dell (4-5 with 2 runs scored) off for home. Though the resulting throw beat O’Dell to the plate a collision with Leicester Catcher David Burke was enough to dislodge the ball and tie the game.
Hu followed with a 2 RBI single before Oscar Martinez doubled, scoring a further pair and giving the Rebels at 10-6 advantage.
Leicester would pull within 2 in the top of the 7th to set up a tense final few innings where a resurgent Zagozdzon and Henry swapped zeros as both offenses struggled to inflict further damage.
However a rare piece of slick team defense capped a less than stellar performance by the Rebels in the top of the 9th where Leicester went down 1-2-3. Fittingly it was O’Dell who made the final out; smartly snagging a sinking line drive down low to his right to give first blood to the Rebels ahead of an eagerly awaited double-header against the Blue Sox next weekend in Leicester.
Rebels Managers Quote: Shannon Henry
“In a game where your pitchers let up 16 walks, that normally means you loose the game but if you got a whole team staying focused and on their toes getting outs every chance they get than good things can happen. We kept the errors down and prevented Leicester from getting too far ahead. We did what Leicester couldn’t do today which was getting multiple rbi base hits that kept the pressure on them and gave us the confidence we could battle out a victory in the end.”
Written by L.Stott
Edited by S.Henry