SPRINGFIELD — The Effingham County Rebels are on an even keel just past the halfway point of the baseball season.
The Rebels, bolstered by 10 seniors, are off to a 14-3 start thanks to a balanced effort on both sides of the ball.
"The seniors have done a tremendous job of keeping everybody focused," Effingham County head coach Chris Johnson said. "The effort has been great. We are being consistent at the phases of the game we work really hard at. The pitching has been really good.
“Having great leadership out of our seniors has been a tremendous lift and help and keeps everybody in the direction we want to go."
The Rebels are averaging seven runs a game. Jordan Rahn and Austin Mealor lead the team with 15 RBI while Christian Campbell has scored a team-high 21 runs.
The Rebels are looking to continue the offensive barrage now that it is time for Region 2-AAAAAA play.
"The first 17 games have all been non-region," Johnson said. "The idea was to get ready for the region. We weren't so focused on wins and losses but the kids are.
“We've been very fortunate. We've had some breaks go our way. I still attribute it to the effort that the kids are giving everyday and the leadership of our seniors."
Johnson, in his first season at the helm, expected his team to be successful.
"I knew they had a great year last year," he said. "I knew we'd be able to compete in every game we've played in. The kids have raised their level of play which has afforded us an opportunity to be successful with the wins and losses."
Ace Ethan Johnson continues to dominate on the mound. He boasts a 1.98 ERA.
"He is dynamic," Johnson said. "I think he's thrown four complete games. He's in command of what he does.
“His attention to detail in practice everyday carries with him on the field. He gives the team an opportunity to be successful and it spreads amongst our players.
“He's doing great. I am looking forward to bigger and better things from him."
It's not just Ethan Johnson sending batters back to the dugout in frustration.
"Right-hander Merritt Evans came in and, from his first start, he has been very consistent," coach Johnson said. "He has done a tremendous job on the mound, giving us a chance to be successful in all the games he's toed the mound in.
“Garrett Miller has really stepped up and filled some spots we needed. Senior Avery Elenbaas has done really well. They keep teams in check.
“We haven't given up many runs except two games."