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Coats solid pitching, Phillips triple puts Rebels on top but rain wins the day

Posted April 24, 2017

Starting pitcher James Coats fires a pitch during Monday’s varsity baseball game against Smithsburg. The Rebels were winning 3-2 in the bottom of the fifth inning when rain forced the game to be suspended.

By Brayden Leather

The Rebels had fire in their eyes. They were determined to get revenge on the Smithsburg Leopards who had won the first of two meetings of the season after rallying back from nearly being held hitless to win 4-2 back on April 3rd. On a wet and overcast day with plenty of heavy rain in the forecast, the Rebels arrived at Smithsburg High School determined to win. Both head coaches and the home plate umpire agreed to get started about 45 minutes early to avoid incoming weather and to play five innings, the minimum for a game to be official, before determining a winner.

James Coats toed the rubber for the Rebels. After hitting Leopards center fielder Ryan Bywaters to lead off the bottom of the first inning, Coats was able to get Cameron Kutchey and Austin Moser to ground out to get a quick first two outs. Alex Cuevas singled to center scoring Bywaters from third to give Smithsburg an early 1-0 lead but Cuevas was thrown out at second base as he attempted to extend his single to a double. Rebels center fielder McCoy Dutrow fired a bullet to first baseman Anthony Hodges who cut the throw and nailed Cuevas at second with second baseman Chase Molony applying the tag to end the inning. Leopards up 1-0 at the end of an inning of play.

In the top of the third, Chase Molony got the Rebels started with a one out single to left. Two batters later, catcher Dawson Hottinger singled on a hard ground ball to left advancing Molony into scoring position at second with two away. That would be enough for Chanse Phillips who ripped a 1-0 two-seam fastball from John Carter into center field under the sliding attempt of Ryan Bywaters for a two-run triple scoring Molony and Hottinger to put the Rebels up 2-1. Two pitches later, Anthony Hodges laced an RBI single back up the middle to score Phillips from third giving the Rebels a 3-1 lead.

Smithsburg would pull back within one in the bottom of the third as Mark Moholt scored from third on an errant throw from Dawson Hottinger that went into center field on a stolen base attempt by Ryan Bywaters but James Coats was out to prove this was his game to pitch. Coats struck out Cameron Kutchey on a low 2-2 curveball and got Austin Moser to groundout to second to strand Bywaters on base limiting the damage.

As the teams began the bottom of the fifth inning, with the Rebels just three outs away from a win, the skies opened and a steady rain began to fall. Pitcher John Carter would get Smithsburg started in the bottom half picking up a leadoff single. Pinch hitter Jacob Leisinger followed by reaching on a throwing error by pitcher James Coats coming off the mound. The Rebels would eventually make up for the error as they caught Carter trying to steal home on an attempted squeeze play. Dawson Hottinger applied the tag on Carter for the first out. Four pitches later, Leisinger would advance to third on a wild pitch. Mark Moholt would draw a walk on the next pitch setting up a scenario with runners on the corners with one out and the top of the lineup due up for the Leopards. Leisinger represented the tying run on third when the home plate umpire stepped out from behind the plate and called for the tarps to be put on the field and for the game to go into a rain delay. The teams would spend about ten minutes trying to stay dry in the dugouts before the coaches agreed to suspend the game to be completed at a later date.

James Coats was very solid on the mound for South Hagerstown on Monday. At the time of the game suspension, Coats had allowed four hits, one earned run, and one walk on 54 pitches through four and one-third innings. He also had three strikeouts.

The Rebels will be back in action on Tuesday evening as they host Grace Academy in a makeup game from one rained out earlier in the season. First pitch is scheduled for 4:45pm.