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Rebel rally downs Dons for state bid

July 26, 2015
TYLER STRAND - Central Iowa Press , Reinbeck Courier

PARKERSBURG - A business trip to New Orleans prevented Chad Kickbush from watching his son pitch in Tuesday's Class 1A Substate 3 contest.

Camden Kickbush made sure his father would have at least one more opportunity to see him compete in a Rebel jersey a few days later.

Scattering four hits in a complete-game effort, Kickbush limited the Dons' high-powered attack and No. 9 hitter Brady Kuehl tallied three hits including a two-run single as the Rebels shocked seventh-ranked Don Bosco 7-2 in Tuesday's Class 1A Substate 3 contest.

Article Photos

Gladbrook-Reinbeck celebrates a 7-2 victory over Don Bosco in Tuesday’s Class 1A Substate 3 game in Parkersburg. The Rebels upset the seventh-ranked Dons to earn the program’s third state tournament berth and the first since 2007.
Photo by Tyler Strand

Taking advantage of three balks by Dons' freshman starter Trevor Brown in the fourth, the Rebels moved ahead for good with four runs in the frame to earn the school's fourth state tournament berth of the school year after G-R finished runner-up in football, captured a state title in basketball and took third in soccer this spring.

Kickbush used some words of encouragement from his father to fuel him on the mound.

"He had to leave at two in the morning this morning for a different state for his job," Kickbush said. "He wrote on his note 'good luck. Win one for me and I can come watch you at state.' And so that really motivated me and it was a great team we played. I'm really proud of the guys and I'll get to play one more for my dad."

Fact Box

Gladbrook-Reinbeck 7, Don Bosco 2

At Parkersburg

G-R, 100, 401, 0, -, 7, 10, 3

DB, 101, 000, 0, -, 2, 4, 1

Camden Kickbush and Bryce Ehlers; Trevor Brown, Baylor Bedard (5), Martin Huck (7) and Cade Schares. W-Kickbush (5-4). L-Brown (7-1). 2B-G-R: Brady Kuehl, Logan Flamme; DB: Tanner Weber, Schares, Huck. LOB-G-R 6, DB 5.

The Rebels (17-11) trailed 2-1 heading into the fourth before breaking things open.

Phillip Zimmerman was hit by a pitch and moved to second on Brown's first balk of the frame which drew Don Bosco coach Blaine Rhoads out of the dugout to question the call. Joe Smoldt bounced back from a pair of first-inning errors with an RBI single up the middle to knot the game before moving two more bases on a pair of wild pitches.

Bryce Ehlers drew a walk and Jeff Tscherter plated Smoldt on a sacrifice fly to shallow center field to move the Rebels ahead. Cameron Murphy's single past third kept the flurry going before Brown's second balk of the inning and Kuehl ripped a two-run single to punctuate the rally. Brown was called for a balk once more but finally got out of the inning by getting Kickbush to pop out.

Brown had just one balk on the season but was called for four in Tuesday's state qualifier.

"It's just frustrating, you have a kid that doesn't get called all year and then you get to the substate - and I'm not saying he wasn't balking, but nobody called it on him all year - and now you expect him to adjust," Rhoads said. "It's tough on a young kid like that. You've got to try to adjust during the game and obviously he didn't do a very good job of that.

"Those guys have known how to win all year with football, basketball and soccer. To me they're mirrors of us and they found a way to win tonight and hat's off to them."

The Rebels added some insurance in the sixth and seventh against reliever Baylor Bedard. Ehlers earned a base on balls in the sixth and his pinch runner Matt Roeding moved to second on Tscherter's sacrifice bunt before advancing to third on Murphy's groundout and scoring on a wild pitch.

G-R turned a double play to end the bottom of the sixth when Kickbush fanned Brown and Ehlers fired to second to catch Trey Frost stealing. Logan Flamme led off the seventh with a double to center and moved a base on a passed ball before Josh Cooley drove him in with a single. The Rebels tallied 10 hits overall against three different pitchers to earn the program's third state tournament berth in school history. The Rebels also advanced in 1988 and 2007, each ending in first-round exits.

G-R took an early 1-0 lead with back-to-back singles by Flamme and Zimmerman preceding a sac fly by Cooley, who drove in two runs in the game. The Dons used two errors bookending a Spencer Bruess sacrifice bunt to knot it up. Dalton Smith drew a walk in the third, stole second and scored on Cade Schares' RBI double to left center to move ahead 2-1. Kickbush picked off pinch runner Logan Lutgen at second to end the inning.

Kickbush (5-4) struck out four, walked two and hit another for the win. Flamme and Cooley had two hits apiece, while Kuehl bolstered the bottom of the order with three hits including a double.

"He's been doing that all season for us and he just loves being in that spot," G-R coach Jeff Charley said. "We got on base any way we could tonight. In the past we haven't been able to get them in and tonight everyone was just hitting the ball hard and brining them in and Brady Kuehl had a great night at the plate for us."

The Dons (31-5) defeated G-R 14-1 in five innings in the season opener for both teams on May 25 before the Rebels had even held a practice. Rebounding from that loss in a resounding way has been G-R's story all season.

"It's our seniors, our senior leadership is unbelievable," Charley said. "The way they practice, they way they come into games and the way they're ready for games - they just get it done. ... They're talking all the time out here and helping each other out. If somebody else is down, they pick each other up and they just have fun playing."

The Rebels ride a season-best six-game win streak into the Iowa High School Baseball Tournament where they'll face top-seeded and No. 1 ranked Newman Catholic (36-4) Friday at 5 p.m. at Principal Park in Des Moines. The Knights are playing in their eighth straight state tourney including a runner-up finish last year after a state title in 2013.

G-R's record is a stark contrast from the rest of the field with every other team owning at least 25 wins, though the Rebels are playing well at the right time.

"We struggled a couple games in the middle of the season and we struggled at the beginning of the season," Charley said. "They just came and when things have to get done, they get it done."


The winner of Friday's game will play either fifth-ranked Martsendale St. Marys or No. 6 Coon Rapids-Bayard in the semifinals on July 30.



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