Rebels 2009 South Shore Tournament Champs
North Bellmore, NY – The NBNM Rebels defeated Massapequa Coast, 2-1, in the 2009 South Shore Tournament final Sunday to capture their second tournament championship in as many weeks.
The Rebels came out of pre-game warm-ups for yesterday’s contest with a fire and energy not before seen from them this season. The team was pumped-up and vocal and their attitude alone appeared to rattle the kids from Coast right out of the gate.
The Rebels put the pressure on in the top of the first inning sending five men to bat but failed to score.
Rebels’ starter Nick 2 threw with great velocity and control all day long, the Rebels infield defense behind him was rock solid, and he sat Massapequa down in order in their half of the first with just 12 pitches.
The Rebels threatened again in the second inning getting Matt 26 to third base but did not get a run across.
And, again, Coast went quietly in the bottom.
Coast caught a break in the third inning when their #9 hitter popped a shallow fly to right field that dropped in between Alec 14 and Billy 20 for a hit. Their #10 hitter proceeded to smack an 0-1 fastball through the right-centerfield gap to the fence for an RBI triple and a 1-0 lead. Nick and his defense went right back to work and left Coast’s baserunner stranded at third.
In the top of the fourth the Rebels offense responded immediately. Alec 14 lead off with a well-struck single. Billy 20 followed with a base hit of his own and Nick 2 drew a base on balls. With no outs and the bases loaded, Matt 11 had a great at-bat and walked to tie the game, 1-1. Mike 13 followed with a single to drive in what proved to be the winning run. Next Matt 26 hit a ball hard up the middle that looked sure to break the game open but Coast’s pitcher managed to get a piece of the ball, knock it down, and record a force out at home. Matt 7 followed with some hard luck driving a ball down the first-base line that was fielded nicely by the Massapequa first-baseman who stepped on first and fired home where the catcher put on the tag to complete a 3-3-2 double play.
Refusing to let the momentum shift, Nick continued his stellar and gutsy performance dispensing of Coast in the bottom of the fourth with 12 pitches.
Then the Rebels went down in order in their half of the fifth.
Nick induced two quick outs to start the bottom of the fifth. The next Coast batter singled up the middle and the tying run was aboard. Two pitches later, the Coast baserunner attempted to steal second and was promptly gunned down by Matt 11 to end the inning.
In the top of the 6th, Coast brought in a relief pitcher that sat the Rebels down one, two, three.
With the intensity reaching its peak, the Rebels took the field with confidence and a 1-run lead in the bottom of the sixth.
Nick’s pitch count was low enough that he could start the inning but moved to shortstop after the lead-off hitter for Coast managed their first and only base-on-balls of the game.
Jack 8 came on to pitch with a man on first and no outs. Jack struck out the first batter he faced. With one on, one out, the next Coast batter hit a ground ball up the middle that Alec played very nicely on his backhand and fired to Nick covering at second to record a fielder’s choice and the second out. With the count 1-1 on the batter, the baserunner on first stole second aided by the Rebels miscommunication on coverage.
Jack toed the rubber with two outs and the tying run in scoring position. The 1-2 pitch was just off the plate as Coast’s baserunner broke for third. Matt 11 threw a strike to Matt 7 who applied the tag, saw and heard the field umpire signal the final out, threw his glove in the air, and joined in the celebration in the infield as Rebels players and coaches enjoyed their first South Shore Tournament title.
After being drenched by his players in a successful surprse attack with the water cooler, a clearly elated Coach Sam noted in his post-game speech, "I’ve been waiting a year for this", referencing last year’s South Shore Tournament final between these very same teams when the Rebels played below their abilities and came up short. Coach also recognized and acknowledged all the hard work and effort he, his coaches, his players’ families and his players have put in since.
While it’s a rare occasion to single anyone out, Coach Sam handed Nick a game ball for his MVP performance.
The Rebels went 6-0 in South Shore extending their record in 2009 tournament play to a perfect 12-0.