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Posted August 5, 2009 | Copyright © The Northern Virginia Daily
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Rebels, Wranglers headed to Game 3

By Jerry Holsworth -- sports@nvdaily.com

NEW MARKET -- The Rebels gave up two unearned runs in the first three innings and were unable to overcome those mistakes, losing to the Luray Wranglers, 5-4, in Game 2 of the Valley Baseball League quarterfinals.

"We lost by one run and we gave up two unearned in the first three innings," New Market manager Lucas Jones said. "We just didn't execute in the early innings, and you're not going to be able to win any championship series games against an arch-rival like Luray doing that."

The loss sets up a decisive Game 3 tonight at Luray.

"We're really excited about this game tomorrow," Rightfielder Matt Townsend said. "We've been fighting back from adversity all season. People go down, and we lose people, but we just keep on giving it our best. We're still in this, and we'll be in this until the bitter end.

"I just hope the end isn't [today]."

The Rebels played on Tuesday without the services of starting catcher Nate Furry, who suffered a concussion after being hit by a pitch in Game 2. He left for home on Tuesday morning.

Sanchez Gartman, who usually starts in leftfield, was forced to replace Furry behind the plate. The replacement for Gartman in left were two pitchers: Matt Burnside played the first seven innings and closer Brian Burgess played the eighth and ninth innings.

"That was tough on Sanchez since he hadn't had the opportunity to play that position all year," Jones said. "But he wasn't the reason we lost tonight. I thought, considering everything, he did a really good job behind the plate tonight.

What really hurt the Rebels were those two unearned runs early in the game. With two outs in the top of the first, Pablo Bermudez advanced to first when New Market first baseman Zack Helgeson bobbled the throw on a groundball. The Florida International freshman scored later in the inning off a single by D.J. Hicks.

The Wranglers got another run in the second inning when a two-out double to right by Josh Wright scored Jacob Wilson.

Another error in the third inning, this time on a wild throw to first base by starting pitcher Steven Thiele off a bunt by Bermudez, scored Drew Martinez from second base.

That run gave Luray a 3-1 cushion.

"We felt like we needed to run and stay aggressive on the basepaths," Luray manager Mike Bocock said. "That was the key to this win, particularly early in the game. We ran aggressively and forced them into making mistakes."

New Market slowly clawed back into the game and drew within one run when Seth Kivett drove a three-run homer over the centerfield wall in the bottom of the fifth.

The Rebels had the winning run on base in both the eighth and ninth innings, but couldn't scratch any runs across.

"We just weren't able to put them away tonight," Jones said. "We gave up too many stolen bases and made too many mistakes in the field. Those are things that sometimes don't show up in the box score, but they kill us tonight."

Drew Rucinski got the win for the Wranglers. The Ohio State sophomore gave up four runs on seven hits and struck out seven across six innings.

Thiel took the loss after giving up five runs on five hits. He struck out eight and walked three.

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