Archive for Wednesday, June 30, 2004

10-U Rebels win third Johnson County tournament

June 30, 2004

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Three is the magic number for the 10-U Kansas Rebels.

In their third year as a team, the Rebels won their third Johnson County 3&2 tournament June 17-19, made their third trip to the state tournament and also will compete in their third national tournament later this summer.

After losing their first game this season at 3&2 to the Blue Valley Braves by one run, the Rebels started Saturday smoothly, sailing past the Muddogs, 11-3, and Mill Creek, 12-3.

The Rebels rallied to beat the Olathe Angels, 11-8, and earned their chance at redemption against the Braves in the championship game. They won the tournament with a 15-4 victory over the Braves.

With early season tournament wins at 3&2, the Rebels had already clinched berths to the USSSA AA state tournament in Salina and the national tournament in Shawnee at 3&2.

Winning tournaments is nothing new for the Rebels, in what is the third year of playing together for the majority of the team. Many of the Rebels players started playing in Douglas County Amateur Baseball Assn. for the Red Sox.

Two years ago, as 8-Us in machine-pitch play, they took first in the USSSA AA state tournament in Wichita and second in the national tournament in Liberty, Mo.

Last year, the 9-U team's only losses came against the Topeka Crocs in both the state and national tournaments. After a second-place finish at state in Topeka, the Rebels took sixth at the national tournament in Memphis.

Coach Doug Woods said he thought the experience of going to important tournaments would help the Rebels this year in the postseason.

"As 8-Us the boys were like, 'Oh my gosh, we're playing in nationals,'" Woods said.

Power hitting has been one of the team's major weapons in tournaments, with two of the Rebels' three out-of-the-park home runs coming in those games.

Briskell Johnson hit the first home run in their first tournament at 3&2. Anthony Buffalo-meat hit one in the Liberty, Mo., tournament.

After winning their first tournament at 3&2, the Rebels took third in the Liberty tournament behind a perfect game by Montana Samuels.

They hit a mid-season slump at tournaments in Basehor and Ottawa, but then went on a 13-game winning streak before losing to the Bombers on June 16.

With a 40-10 record and a recent first-place finish at the state tournament last weekend, the 10-U Rebels are the top-ranked team in Kansas.

Woods said the success the Rebels have had this season in the AA division is one of the reasons the team will make the move up to the more competitive AAA division next year.

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