Even after seeing the Rebels easily shellack their two previous opponents, the undefeated Maui Raiders must have felt confident that they could handle the Rebels. After all, they also cruised past two teams in impressive fashion, displaying solid defense and timely hitting. In reality, they were in for the shock of their softball lives.
The Rebels totally dominated the stunned Raiders on their home turf, shutting them out by a final score of 11-0. And it wasn’t even that close. In fact, the Rebels came within one run in the sixth of closing this game out via the 12-run mercy rule for the third straight game.
The Rebels methodically took apart the Raiders, dominating in every facet of the game. The tone was set early, as third baseman Tom Christy made two sterling stops on smashes down the line to retire dangerous hitters. His infield mates of Neil Zaslow, Russell McCluskey and Lambert Alapai played tremendously as well, nabbing hard hit balls and turning them into easy outs at first and second.
Pitcher Gary Yates continued to channel his son (Major League pitching star) Kirby, inducing many harmless pop-ups and ground balls as the ever aggressive Raiders hitters lunged at well-placed pitches on the edges of the plate. The Raiders only managed one extra base hit – a double to the gap in right center that barely glanced off the outstretched glove of a streaking Mark Koeler. In fact, only a few balls made their way to the outfield at all – and those that did were invariably caught.
In a contest between two clubs that were smashing the ball all tourney up to this point, pitching was inevitably going to make a big difference. Yates came through with a gem, and the Raider’s pitcher could not contain the ferocious Rebel attack. A rare Tournament shutout was the result.
The red-hot Rebels bats continued to boom in this game. Instead of big 5-run innings, the team built a huge lead a few runs at a time, always seeming to get a key hilt with runners in scoring position. The Rebels scored in every inning, highlighted by two in the first, two more in the third and then exploded for four more in the fifth inning, making the score 10-0. The team added a run in the sixth, and almost pushed across the game ending mercy-rule run, only to be foiled by the Raiders pitcher who snagged a two-out wicked line drive up the middle by Koeler with Ray Gordon on third base.
The power bats also came through with two more home runs, including a majestic blast by Larry Rego that scattered spectators beyond the left field fence. Yet again, every starter in the line-up reached base safely to keep the pressure on the opposition inning after inning.
The Rebels mashed another 21 hits in the contest to overwhelm the shell-shocked Raiders pitcher. Mark Koehler, Lambert Alapai, Tom Christy, Jeff Farrington, Neil Zaslow and Barr Surles all had two hits in the game to lead the team to victory.
Yates shut down the opposing lineup one after another, with an array of pitches that baffled the hard-hitting Raiders. Incredibly, in the pressure-laden atmosphere of the State Tournament, he yielded only four hits to a team that had mauled previous opponents.
Hitting – Tom Christy 2-2, Mark Koehler 2-3, Lambert Alapai 2-3, Jeff Farrington 2-3, Neil Zaslow 2-3, Barr Surles, 1H: Tom Kuhlman, Russell McCluskey, Larry Rego, Gary Yates, Ray Gordon