Battle-tested Rebels ready for rematch

Published 7:00 pm Thursday, May 3, 2012

After the 2011 season ended, Thorsby baseball coach Ab Argent, as he always does, thought about what he could do to make his team better.

The Rebels had just been eliminated from the Class 2A state playoffs in the quarterfinal round by Leroy. The biggest problem, Argent decided, was that Leroy featured pitchers the likes of which the Thorsby hitters hadn’t seen all year.

“We hadn’t seen a bunch of these type arms when we got there last year,” Argent said. “It’s hard to simulate that velocity.”

So, heading into 2012, Argent beefed up Thorsby’s schedule to include games against powerhouses from larger classifications.

The Rebels (20-11) didn’t win all those games, but Argent hopes the competition will pay off.

“We played a big-time schedule,” he said. “The whole idea was to see good arms and play in different venues. I felt like this was the best way to prepare our kids.”

In a twist of fate, Thorsby finds itself facing the same Leroy team that knocked them out of the playoffs last season.

For the Rebels to play well, they’ll need significant contributions from seniors Stephen Mims and J.R. Posey. Unfortunately, both of those players are dealing with injuries.

Mims, who was penciled in as Thorsby’s ace pitcher, has had problems with his throwing arm and has only pitched 16 innings all year.

Some good news for Thorsby is that Mims pitched in a Round 2 playoff series win over Reeltown and was effective. More good news is that Mims should be fresh compared to other starting pitchers at this point in the season.

Posey has played in every playoff game on a bum knee that affects him both in the field and when running the bases.

“They’re going to have to help us produce,” Argent said.

Though Leroy lost several key components off last year’s team, they’re still talented—and senior-laden, even if several of those seniors are taking on significant roles for the first time.

Joseph Alday is the team’s 6’3” No. 1 pitcher. The offense revolves around fellow senior Christopher Ervin.

Argent said the Rebels must be sharp every pitch or risk falling behind—an unenviable position against a team that revels in putting away opponents.

“It’s going to start on the mound,” he said. “We can’t afford to walk guys, and we sure can’t afford errors.”

The games will be played at 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Friday, and noon on Saturday.