REINBECK - Electricity was absent in the Rebels' stadium to start Tuesday's game.
The scoreboard was dim, the PA system silent and Gladbrook-Reinbeck's bats were still seeking a spark.
Power was restored in the top of the third and the Rebels followed suit, rallying with four runs in the fourth and a few key defensive plays late to edge East Marshall 5-4 in a clash between the top two teams in the North Iowa Cedar League West Division.
Gladbrook-Reinbeck catcher Bryce Ehlers prepares to tag out East Marshall’s Nate DeBondt in the sixth inning Tuesday at Reinbeck. DeBondt represented the tying run but the Rebels held on for a 5-4 victory in a showdown between the top two teams in the North Iowa Cedar League West Division.
Photo by Tyler Strand
Jeff Tscherter prevented the tying run in the sixth, throwing out Nate DeBondt from right field as catcher Bryce Ehlers held his ground at the plate to make the tag.
Cam Kickbush went the distance allowing five runs on seven hits and fanning six to improve to 5-1 on the year. The junior also got things started for G-R's offense in the fourth.
Kickbush reached on an error, Cameron Murphy doubled and Phillip Zimmerman laced a two-run single to the gap in center field to tie the game at 3-all. Logan Flamme ripped a triple down the left field line to put the Rebels (14-5, 8-4) in front and Josh Cooley extended the advantage with an RBI single.
"We just couldn't get the ball in play (earlier). I think we were swinging a little too hard," G-R coach Jeff Charley said. "I just told them to relax and do what they do in the batting cage on a daily basis and then we got that rally going."
"They kept their cool and didn't panic. We started out really slow and had a few errors. (East Marshall) put the ball in play and they're a great ball club. We just had to keep getting after it and playing our style of baseball."
G-R collected its eighth win in its last 10 games and gave the Mustangs just their second loss in the league.
East Marshall nearly came back in the sixth as Caleb and Sam Benzing drew walks around a DeBondt single with two outs. Nick Long laced an RBI single into right scoring Caleb Benzing before Tscherter gunned down DeBondt at the plate.
"Nate got a good jump at second and made a good turn at third," Mustangs coach Justin Frost said. "(Tscherter) just came up and made a really good throw and (Ehlers) made a good play. It was a high throw but he managed to handle it and put the tag down."
The Mustangs (18-6, 12-2) opened a 3-0 advantage in the first with Caleb Benzing reaching on an error, DeBondt singling and Nick Long plating both with a single of his own. Zach Rubenbauer added to the early cushion with a run-scoring single for the conference frontrunners.
Power came back on in the top of the third and a few seconds of the national anthem rang out before G-R made some noise in their ensuing at-bat. Logan Flamme hit a two-out single up the middle, Joe Smoldt legged out another and Cooley doubled in a run to trim the deficit to 3-1.
Josh Benzing surrendered five runs on 11 hits over 3 2/3 innings in the loss. Nick Mommer threw 2 1/3 innings of hitless ball in relief and walked a pair.
Zimmerman and Cooley each had two hits and drove in a pair of runs, while Flamme tacked on two hits and an RBI. Kickbush hadn't pitched in over a week but steadily found his form as he got deeper into the game.
"He hasn't pitched for a while because he's had a sore arm," Charley said. "He started out a little slow but once he got stronger he got in the groove and found a little bit of a zone. He just got stronger and stronger and he wanted to finish it. He did a great job."
East Marshall's Nick Long finished 2-for-4 with three RBIs and a run scored, while Caleb Benzing scored twice and hit 1-for-2 with a pair of walks. East Marshall lost for just the second time in its last 10 games.
"We need to really improve our hitting and our two-strike approach," Frost said. "We need to improve our approaches in general and take advantage of fast balls early in the count with less than two strikes. We were a little impatient at the plate and didn't always wait for the pitch that we needed."