Mass Rebels 18U, playing up and growing up quickly

By DN WRITING STAFF | August 27, 2023

Thomas Marcotte led the Mass Rebels offense with a pair of RBI singles.

By Rich Bevensee

After a full summer of observing his young roster of players take on the best of the 18U teams in summer baseball tournaments, Mass Rebels Baseball coach Freddie Canuel likes what he’s seen.

“We’re definitely a younger team, with a lot of 24s and 25s, but it’s all about preparation for varsity baseball,” Canuel said. “A lot of these guys haven’t played varsity baseball yet or only played one year of varsity, so we’re trying to get them ready. We like to challenge ourselves week in and week out.”

After an entire summer of sharpening their skills, the Rebels of Westport, Massachusetts, rolled into Diamond Nation in Flemington ready to show how well they match up with older teams. 

In their first game of the Summer Finale in the 18U Wood Bat division, the Rebels received a three-inning no-hitter from Jayden Coburn and a pair of RBI singles from Thomas Marcotte in a 14-0 victory over the Shore Road Sluggers on Saturday afternoon at ‘The Nation.’ 

The Rebels took control from the outset, scoring 10 runs in the first inning after sending 15 batters to the plate and chalking up four hits, four walks and three hit batsmen. 

“Honestly, with what we have, we’ve been doing pretty well,” Marcotte said. “We’ve been putting a lot of work in individually. We might be young for our age division but it’s better for us. It gets us used to playing at that talent level.”

Nelson Figueiredo was hit twice but singled to right on this pitch for the Mass Rebels.

The Rebels racked up two more runs in the second and third innings, respectively, to trigger the mercy rule conclusion, which came in the bottom of the third when, with Scott Joseph at bat, Coburn raced home from third on a wild pitch.

Coburn, a 6-1, 175-pound right-hander, did not permit a base hit while striking out five. He walked two and hit one batter using his fastball exclusively. 

“It was all fastballs today,” said Coburn, a Taunton High graduate whose college future is uncertain. “The curveball wasn’t really working and it’s usually my best pitch. When that happens, you just say it’s not working and try to change it up and go another route.”

Coburn walked two in the first inning yet escaped by stranding a runner on second after shortstop Mitchell Canuel began an inning-ending double play. Coburn only faced two over the minimum after that.

“He settled down after the first inning, trusted his defense and pounded the zone,” Canuel said. “He’s been steady like that his last couple games. And he’s been with me since he was 10, so he’s a legacy guy.”

Marcotte got both of his RBI singles in the 10-run first inning. 

“I’ve definitely been hitting pretty well and getting on base this summer,” said Marcotte, a rising 5-8, 190-pound senior at Fairhaven High. “‘I’ve been trying to spray the outfield a little more, and I also changed my two-strike approach a little more, where I’m working opposite field, letting the ball travel a little more and capitalize when I get the pitch I want.”

Also in the first, Coburn drove in two runs in the first via a groundout and a single. And Chase Guinen forced in a run when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. 

Nelson Figueiredo was hit by a pitch twice in the inning and scored twice, once on a straight steal of home. 

In the second, A.J. Rivera stole third and scored on an error, and Figueiredo purposely got hung up between first and second so Joseph could score from third.

In the third, Marcotte scored on a throwing error and Coburn wrapped things up by scoring on a wild pitch. 

Later on Saturday, the Rebels lost to the Easton Area Baseball Organization Riverdawgs 17U, 5-1. The Rebs close out pool play against BBA on Sunday at 8 a.m.

The Sluggers, a second-year club which hails from New Rochelle, N.Y., later lost to BBA 20-0. The Sluggers finish up with a game against the EABO Riverdawgs on Sunday at 8 a.m.

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