Rebels heading to state

Published 3:00 am Saturday, May 9, 2015

By Mike Hensley

It wasn’t easy for head coach Richard Johnson and the Zion Chapel Rebels Friday afternoon, but after winning three games the Rebels are advancing to play in the AHSAA Class 2A State softball tournament, after knocking out Horseshoe Bend 6-5.

After losing their second game of the tournament to the same Generals team Thursday night, the Rebels were faced with the task of winning three straight games to make their dream of going to Montgomery a reality.

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In an early morning match up with Central-Hayneville, the rebels put up big runs early and often and went on to beat the Lions 11-0 in five innings.

Billie Copeland kept the Lions off balanced the entire morning, and the rebels were able to capitalize off costly mistakes by the Lions.

“I expected our girls to come back today and respond a little better than what we did yesterday,” Johnson said. “We still didn’t play the way I wanted to play, still committed some errors. We still put the bat on the ball, and we are doing that okay.”

After a short turnaround the Rebels were at it again against Reeltown. The Rebels used a balanced offensive attack and won handily 11-3.

The Rebels once again received a stellar pitching performance from their ace pitcher, Copeland.

The win over Reeltown set up a rematch of Thursday’s second round-match up that previously went in favor of Horseshoe Bend.

After the Generals put up one run in the first, the Rebels answered quickly in the bottom half of the inning when Morgan Carter started off the game with base hit up the middle.

With one out in the inning Faith Dewberry lined a double to right field scoring Carter and giving the Rebels their first run of the game.

Dewberry wasn’t far behind her as the very next hitter, Ivy Sanders, batted her in with an RBI-single.

After the second out of the inning Qualls reached base off a throwing error by the third baseman scoring Sanders.

Both teams went scoreless in the second, but in the third, The Generals tied the game after starting pitcher K-Rae Blasingame hit a ball over the left center field fence evening up the game for the Generals.

The Generals scored again in the top of the fifth putting the Rebels in a late hole. But, in the bottom of the sixth the Rebels were able to answer quickly. Haleigh Dewberry got the inning started by reaching on a infield base hit. After a walk by Copeland, Ivey Amlong tied the game with a base hit to right field. With two runners on, Carter stepped to the plate and drilled a ball to left field that glanced off the fielders glove and rolled all the way to the wall. Both Copeland and Amlong scored on the play giving the Rebels the 6-4 lead.

The Generals, however, were not going away without a fight. They had their first two runners reach, one of them scoring off a sac fly off the bat by Alana Story.

With a runner in scoring position and two outs, Copeland forced a groundout to win the game for the Rebels.

“They had heart, We tried to install all year long to not give up, Johnson said. “I told them coming into this ballgame that they have not see Zion Chapel, they have not seen how we really play. They saw a team yesterday, that was not us.”

The win ended what was a long day for the Rebels and continued an exciting and monumental season for the Rebels.

“Out of 23 years this has been the most fun and exciting season I have had,” Johnson said. “The amount of work these girls have put into it has been phenomenal. We’re going to take this one day at a time. We are going to come back Monday and we will look to see who we match up with.”