Rebels undone by defense, Denver
REINBECK — Defense became a much more difficult task without Tyler Tscherter on the mound, but never before this challenging for the Rebels.
The Gladbrook-Reinbeck baseball team struggled to make even some of the most routine plays it faced as Denver capitalized on nine Rebel miscues in a 19-6 victory over the hosts in Tuesday’s cross-NICL contest.
A night earlier, Tscherter struck out 17 of the 22 BCLUW batters he faced in a seven-inning no-hitter and the Rebels were 4-for-4 in fielding the ball. On Tuesday night, Gladbrook-Reinbeck (11-7) made eight errors in the first four innings and found themselves trailing 8-5 as a result.
Much of the rest was Denver’s doing as the Cyclones (15-7) racked up 11 runs in their last three at-bats to turn the cross-conference contest into a bit of a blowout.
“Oh yeah, definitely the worst,” G-R head coach Scott Kiburis said of his team’s defensive performance compared to the rest of the season. “Denver puts the ball in play. I thought if we started making the plays — we had scored five runs to that point — that maybe we could continue to score and we could get into a high-scoring game.”
Denver did its part, scoring in six of its seven at-bats to overtake Gladbrook-Reinbeck’s fast start. The Rebels answered Denver’s one in the first inning with two of their own, and the Cyclones’ two in the second with three more for the home team.
After both teams went down without scoring in the third, Denver didn’t put up less than three runs in an inning the rest of the way and G-R got just one more tally.
“We came in with possibly putting our 2-3-4 pitchers in there because we wanted to see them against a good team like Denver,” said Kiburis. “If Denver were in our side of the conference they’d be near the top. They’re near the top in their side, too.
“They put pressure on us and put the ball in play. And there were some innings our pitchers had to get six or seven outs, and that makes it hard on a pitcher in the next inning, not just that inning.”
Gladbrook-Reinbeck junior pitcher Cullen Eiffler (0-3) was tagged for the loss having allowed nine runs — though only three earned — over four innings. He gave up six hits and four walks before giving way to Cody Gebel, who surrendered 10 runs — six earned — on five hits, five walks and one hit batter over 2 2/3 frames. Gebel did register the Rebels’ only strikeout, however, in the top of the sixth.
“Cullen has pitched against a couple of the best teams we’ve faced, like West Marshall and Denver,” said Kiburis. “Those good teams put the ball in play.”
The Cyclones compiled 11 hits, led by Brock Farley’s big day at the dish. Farley finished 3-for-5 with an RBI groundout, a single off the fence, an RBI double to deep center, a two-run home run and an intentional walk to lead off the top of the seventh.
Bryce Phelps went 2-for-5 with two doubles, three runs and four RBIs, and Nathan Eggena was 3-for-4 with an RBI and three runs scored.
It was all too much for the Rebels to keep pace with, in spite of their hot start. Gladbrook-Reinbeck got its first five runs off Denver freshman starter Cale Neuendorf, getting him for five hits, one walk and one hit batsman.
William Kiburis led off the bottom of the first inning with a four-pitch walk, and Tscherter burned the center fielder for a double. Keagan Giesking followed with a chopper up the middle that drove in both runners, giving G-R a 2-1 lead.
Neuendorf nearly got out of a two-on, two-out jam in the second, but Tscherter hit a two-run double off the base of the fence in left to make it 4-3 Rebels. Giesking blooped an RBI single to shallow center and Gladbrook-Reinbeck led 5-3.
Denver turned to Braden Powers for the next three frames, and he allowed on run on one hit with three walks and one strikeout. Jackson Kiburis reached with a one-out walk in the fifth, Gebel singled to right, Eiffler walked to load the bases and Kale Hasselmann got a run home on a groundout.
Tscherter and Giesking led the Rebels with two hits apiece, Tscherter going 2-for-3 with two doubles, two runs scored and two RBIs and Giesking finishing 2-for-4 with three RBIs. The rest of the G-R lineup was a collective 4-for-22 with four runs scored and no RBIs.
Gladbrook-Reinbeck dives back into NICL West Division play with games Wednesday at East Marshall and Friday at West Marshall.
Denver 19, Gladbrook-Reinbeck 6
DENVER 120 533 5 — 19 11 2
G-R 230 010 0 — 6 8 9
Cale Neuendorf, Braden Powers (3), Zach Miller (6) and Mitchell DeVries; Cullen Eiffler, Cody Gebel (5), Ethan Gienger (7) and Jackson Kiburis. W–Powers (2-0). L–Eiffler (0-3). 2B–DEN: Bryce Phelps 2, Brock Farley; G-R: Tyler Tscherter 2. HR–DEN: Farley (4). LOB–DEN 8, G-R 8.