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Rebels rain on Ranburne

THORSBY – Brantley Bice was in no shape to help lead a baseball team to a Round 2 playoff victory Friday — or so one might have thought. The Thorsby senior had flu-like symptoms the night before and was given IV therapy in between games.

Yet, Bice was the winning pitcher in Game 2 as the Rebels defeated the Ranburne Bulldogs 17-15. He pitched the first four innings and later returned to close out the game, striking out five batters.

The Rebels shut out Ranburne 10-0 in Game 1 and secured themselves a spot in the state quarterfinals.

“I never had doubt. We were in it the whole time,” Bice said after the game, quick to give props to his teammates.

It was quite a contrast to last year’s postseason, as Ranburne was the team that sent Thorsby packing after Round 2 of the 2009 playoffs.

Coach Ab Argent called Friday’s wins a “gutsy performance” for both the Rebels and for Bice individually.

“Our kids showed the heart of a champion, I think,” Argent said. “It was a complete team effort. We used everyone on the bench.”

Cory Woodall homered in the second inning of Game 1, and Matt Morgan followed up with an RBI double.

Blake Elkins doubled in the fifth, and Woodall batted home a run with a single, later scoring on a passed ball. Morgan led off the sixth inning with a double, and Maddox and Minor each sent long balls to the fence for RBI.

Cody Carroll pitched the entire first game, striking out seven of 20 batters and walking no one.

Ranburne was a different animal in Game 2, scoring twice in the first. But Elkins answered in the second with a 2-run double. Morgan then put the Rebels in the lead with a 2-out RBI single, followed by a double from Jace Maddox and another 2-run double from Elkins.

In the fourth, Ranburne’s Clayton Young tagged a three-run homer, and the team went on to score eight total runs that inning.

But the Rebels rallied in the sixth with a parade of hits. The final two runs were scored by Woodall, who stole home on a passed ball, and Elkins, who reached home on a suicide squeeze on a Drew Smitherman bunt.