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October 3, 2017 • Sports
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Redlegs claim fall league championship

In 2016, the Redlegs Baseball Club participated in the High School Division of the Ceraland Fall League for the first time and were eliminated in the first playoff game. 2017 was a different story with Jeff Cornett as the head coach and Jeff Greiwe serving in a manager’s role; 5 players returned from last season, 7 new players joined the team. A better attitude, improved players, and a new result – the Redlegs put together three consecutive playoff wins to claim the Fall League Championship in dramatic fashion:

Redlegs Baseball ClubSUBMITTED PHOTO
Front row: Aaron Greiwe, Trent Burford, Joel Norman, AJ Strassell, Jackson Cornett. Back row: manager Jeff Greiwe, Shayne Greiwe, Kyle Wilson, Cody Wilson, Eric Million, Bill Bushelman, and Coach Jeff Cornett.

Game 1 - Redlegs vs. 9 Strong
After two and a half scoreless innings, the Redlegs put three on the board in the bottom of the third. Hits by Trent Burford, Jackson Cornett, and Joel Norman loaded the bases. Kyle Wilson earned a RBI the hard way by getting hit by a pitch, then Aaron Greiwe singled to knock in two runs. 9 Strong bounced back with two runs of their own by platting two runs in the top of the 4th, then tied the game at 3 with a single run in the top of the fifth. With the time limit in play, the Redlegs ended the game by scoring 3 times: again loading the bases, AJ Strassell and Jackson Cornett were both hit by pitches, and Cody Wilson worked a walk to round out the scoring in a 6-3 Redlegs victory. Cornett started the game and pitched two scoreless innings; Norman followed with two innings; and Bill Bushelman pitched the fifth to earn the win.

Game 2 - Redlegs vs. Borden
Borden entered the day as the number one seed; these two teams played earlier in the season, resulting in a 4-4 tie. This game wouldn’t be as close.
The Redlegs blew the game wide open with an 11-run third inning, highlighted by a Jackson Cornett Grand Slam Home Run! Bill Bushelman continued his hot streak on the mound with a complete game victory, pitching all five innings, allowing only one run and scattering 6 hits with 4 k’s in the 12-1 final score.

Game 3 - Championship Game Redlegs vs. South Jet Bombers
With Bushelman still on the mound, the Redlegs started the game with a double from Cody Wilson and a RBI single from Kyle Wilson to take a 1-0 lead (Kyle Wilson sat out the second game due to illness, but came back in a big way). The Bombers scored a run off Bushelman in the third, his final inning of work in heroic day from the senior at Milan High School. The Bombers took a 2-1 lead in the 4th with a single run off reliever Eric Million. However, the Redlegs battled back and took a 3-2 lead in the top of the 5th thanks to a two-run single from Trent Burford. That lead didn’t last long, as South Jet platted two runs off Aaron Greiwe in the bottom of the inning. With the score 4-3 Bombers ahead, Million tied the game with a RBI double to knot the game at 4 heading into the final 7th inning. Cody Wilson relieved Trent Burford on the mound and held the Bombers scoreless in the 6th. That set the stage for Cody’s cousin and Jennings County teammate Kyle Wilson. With Cody and Joel Norman on base, Kyle belted a ball over the center-field fence to give the Redlegs a dramatic 7-4 lead. But the Bombers still had to bat.

After Cody retired the first two batters, South Jet rallied: first a triple, then a RBI single made the score 7-5. Power hitting left-handed first baseman Trey Johnson suddenly became the tying run, and he didn’t disappoint the Bombers - he drilled Wilson’s pitch high and deep into right-center field, looking like a game-tying home run. However, centerfielder Eric Million didn’t give up on the play - leaping up against the fence, he didn’t catch the ball, but he did manage to get his mitt over the fence and deflect it, the ball falling to the ground as the runner on first scored. Right fielder Burford alertly picked the ball up and fired it to the infield, where Johnson was rounding second and heading to third. Cody Wilson cut the throw and fired to third baseman Kyle Wilson, who applied the tag to end the game and claim the championship 7-6 for the Redlegs.

Burford was the winning pitcher, with Cody Wilson earning the save. “There are so many little things from so many players that make this win special, Jeff Cornett came in and coached this team, and his leadership was tremendous” stated manager Jeff Greiwe.

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