NeSmith believes Rebels could be set up for a deep playoff run

Published 4:15 pm Thursday, April 18, 2024

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The Chambers Academy Rebels are once again set to host in the first round of the playoffs, this time against a familiar foe in Hooper Academy. 

The Rebels finished the season with a 15-13 record and ended the regular season on a three-game winning streak.
Hooper Academy finished with a 6-18 record, and Chambers Academy has beat the Colts twice this season. The first matchup between the two ended with the Rebels on top 11-0. The two teams matched up again on Tuesday to close out the regular season, and Chambers Academy came away with a 13-1 win. 

Despite Hooper’s record and the familiarity between the two teams, coach Dillon NeSmith is not taking the Colts lightly. 

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“They’re a scrappy bunch, and their coach (Marty Baker) has really turned that program around from a mediocre program to a team that does the little things right,” NeSmith said. “They’re still in the rebuild process, but they’re going to scrap and they’re going to fight. They’re not going to back down. We’ve still got to win two out of three, anything can happen.” 

Any coach in any sport will tell you that they do not want their team playing their best ball at the start of the season. Baseball is all about peaking at the right time. 

The Rebels are seemingly peaking heading into the postseason, outscoring their last three opponents by 25-8. 

“We’re still not playing our best ball, which is a good thing in my opinion because it still gives us room to improve,” NeSmith said. “We don’t want to play lights out at the beginning of the year. We want to play our best ball at the end of the year. That’s what we’re going to try to do.” 

Chambers Academy had teetered around .500 for the majority of the season before finally finishing above the mark. The most consistent aspect of the Rebels has been the pitching staff. 

Kyle Hand has led the way with a 2.48 ERA in 36 innings of work. Jon Caulfield started out in the bullpen but has become a starter for the Rebels. Caulfield posts a 0.55 ERA in 25 innings on the mound. 

The pitching has been there, but the Rebels have worked through some inconsistencies at the plate. Four starters for Chambers Academy have hung around the .300 mark for batting average this season. The issue has been stringing those hits together at the same time. 

“We’ve got to string some hits together,” NeSmith said. “We’re hitting the ball, but we’re not stringing them together.” 

Chambers Academy boasts a very deep roster this season and despite some inconsistencies through the early parts of the season, NeSmith believes this team is built to make a deep run in the postseason. 

“I think we could make a run. This reminds me a lot of the [team] seven or eight years ago when we made a run to the state championship game,” NeSmith said. “You’ve got to have some lucky bounces and play well.” 

The Rebels face the Colts in a doubleheader on Friday beginning at 3 P.M. E.T. with a game three set for Saturday if needed.