This past Tuesday, the Fannin County baseball team concluded the season with a banquet, just before they start training for the next. The Rebels had a very successful season that all of the players friends and family came to celebrate at Willow Creek Falls.
After head coach Travis Stone said all of his thank yous to everyone who helped the season run smoothly, the awards were handed out.
The first award to be given were the letters that the players earned over the season. Junior, Matthew Shirah, received the academic award with a 102 grade average. The next award was the Family award where the team voted for the player that most exemplified family values in the team. Earning every single vote on the team except for his own, Chris Kimbro received the award.
The awards were then handed over to assistant coach, Cline Bowers, who gave out the Rookie of the Year award to Jerritt Holloway. For Defensive Player of the Year, Matthew Shirah earned the honor. When it came to Offensive Player of the Year, the award was given to two players. With almost identical stats to end the season, Gabe Buchanan and Hunter Gray earned the award.
It was turned back over to coach Stone as he presented the Pitcher of the Year Award. With one pitcher earning 109 strikeouts over the season and the other with 110, Carson Beavers and Chandler Kendall received the award. The AAIT award was handed out next. The award was created to show the goals of the team over the season and stands for Attitude, Approach, Intensity, and Toughness and Bryson Pack was awarded for having all of those qualities. The Diamond Rebel award was voted on by the team for the player who had one of the biggest impacts through their performance and attitude and it was given to Chandler Kendall.
The players who earned a spot on the All Region team were recognized next. The five gentleman were Chandler Kendall, Matthew Shirah, Gabe Buchanan, Carson Beavers, and Hunter Gray. Beavers and Gray were also selected by the 7AAA Region for other awards. Hunter Gray earned the honor of being Hitter of the Year for the 7AAA region while Carson Beavers earned Pitcher of the Year. Coach Stone also earned recognition from the region as he was awarded with being Coach of the Year. The seniors were then recognized for all of their hard work over the years they have played and were presented with a plaque. The five seniors were Tyler Norton, Chris Kimbro, Hunter Gray, Bryson Pack, and Chandler Kendall.
The Rebels had an amazing season where they had an overall record of 26-9, earned the title of Region Champions, made it into the Sweet Sixteen, went the Elite Eight for the first time in Fannin Baseball history, and finished fifth overall in the state. Congratulations to Fannin for such a successful season!
This past Thursday, the Fannin County High School baseball team hosted the second round of the Sweet Sixteen. The Rebels played the Redan Raiders the night before in a double header where they both won one game and lost the other. Whoever won this game would determine who would be moving on to compete in the Elite Eight.
The flip of a coin decided that the Raiders would be the home team, leaving Fannin starting off the game on offense. Lead off, Carson Beavers, got things started for the Rebels as he hit a bomb to left field that hit the very top of the fence and landed back on the field. The Raider’s earned two outs as Hunter Gray stepped up to bat and hit Chandler Kendall home for an early 1-0 lead. Fannin hit the field for defense as Matthew Shirah took his place on the mound. Shirah pitched a great game where he earned five strikeouts overall. The Rebels played a solid defense and let nothing get by them. They made three quick outs to hold Redan off from scoring and ended the inning with a score of 1-0.
With the bases loaded in the third inning, Blake Rogers stepped up to home plate and hit in Tyler Norton. Gray found himself back in the batters box where he sacrificed himself to bring in another run to put Fannin ahead 3-0.
At the bottom of the fourth, Redan finally made a mark on the board. With a runner on second, the Raiders hit a ball in the gap to bring the runner home to score their first point. Fannin was able to put another run on the board in the fifth inning before Redan started to turn things around in the sixth inning. Chandler Kendall went in to relieve Rogers from the mound where he also struck out five batters. With the bases loaded, the Raiders hit a ball to the outfield, brining in two runs. Redan’s comeback put them behind Fannin only one point with a score of 4-3.
With tension high at the top of the seventh inning, Fannin persevered. Kendall made his way to third base and was in scoring position when Redan got their third out. Kendall ended the inning with three strikeouts in a row, advancing Fannin to the Elite Eight for the first time in Fannin baseball history with a 4-3 victory over the Redan Raiders!
This past Wednesday, the Fannin County Rebels baseball team held the second round of the Sweet Sixteen as they went up against the Redan Raiders! The teams were competing in a double header in hopes of a double elimination for the other team.
Fannin started off solid on defense with a quick three up and three down outs. From the dugout, assistant coach Jeff Kuna stated, “That might have been the best first inning that they have ever played.” Redan then took the field and followed Fannin County’s lead with three outs in a row. At the end of the first inning, both teams held each other at 0-0.
Carson Beavers was on the mound for the Rebels where he had a great night as he struck out ten batters. The first batter up for Redan hit the pitch out of the park to get an early 1-0 lead over Fannin.
After a few more innings unable to get a run on the board, things started to turn around for the Rebels in the fifth inning. They started off battling on defense but finally got the third out as the bases were loaded. Jerritt Holloway did a great job behind the plate were he had quick throws to get runners out on steals. At the bottom of the inning, Fannin made their mark on the board. Rebel, Blake Rogers, was the first up to bat where he hit the ball to center field and got a single. Sophomore, Caleb Postell, went in as a courtesy runner for the junior and showed off his speed as Holloway advanced him to second base with a sacrifice bunt. Postell was on his way to steal third base when Redan’s catcher spotted him and over threw the bag, advancing Caleb home to put Fannin’s first point on the board. After the sophomore’s run, the score was tied 1-1 at the end of the fifth.
The Rebels kept up the energy to start off the sixth inning. Fannin played a solid defense by not letting anything get by them. Senior, Tyler Norton, had a great snag at second base where he threw to first base to get the last out of the inning. The Rebels bats were hot as they transitioned to offense. With the bases loaded, Beavers got a big lead off of third when the catcher attempted to throw him out but instead overthrew the bag which resulted in Fannin earning a 2-1 lead. The trend continued from there as the Rebels kept adding runs to the board. Matthew Shirah was the next batter up who hit a bomb to center field and drove in two more runs for a 4-1 lead. Shirah finally made his way to third base when Holloway went up to the plate and put down a sacrifice bunt for him to be thrown out at first but for Shirah to end the inning by earning one last run, putting the score at 5-1.
As Fannin reached their second out of the seventh inning, Carson Beavers was taken out of the game as the fans replied with a standing ovation for his great performance. Blake Rogers took the mound to close out the game as his pitch was hit to Gabe Buchanan at third base who made a quick out at first to end the game with Fannin ahead 5-1!
After a short break, the teams hit the field again. While Fannin hoped to win to advance to the Elite Eight, the Raiders were hoping for a victory for another chance to compete to be the ones to move on. Redan started off as the home team while Fannin started the game on offense. Carson Beavers was on third base when Matthew Shirah hit the ball to left field for a single and advanced him home for Fannin’s first run. Another ball was hit to left field by Blake Rogers who loaded the bases. Jerritt Holloway was determined to keep the trend going by getting on base which he achieved by being walked and sending home Gabe Buchanan to extend Fannin’s lead 2-0.
Chandler Kendall was on the rubber for the second game of the night where he struck out three batters. Redan was quick to respond to the Rebels lead by scoring two runs of their own to tie up the game 2-2.
The Rebels bats got hot to start off the second inning. Their hits were contagious as they scored four more runs to advance their lead. When the time came for Fannin to hit the field, they played a solid defense and held the Raiders, closing out the inning with a score of 6-2.
Fannin kept up their great defense for a couple of innings and Blake Rogers relieved Kendall from the mound. Rogers pitched the rest of the game where he struck out nine batters overall.
The Raiders started to see hope for victory at the bottom of the fifth inning. They started to put the ball into action and great things happened for them. After a couple runners made their way on base from walks, the rest of the team started to gain confidence to do the same. Redan kept placing the ball in the perfect spot where Fannin was unable to get the outs which resulted in them earning runs and tying the game 6-6.
Both teams were so close to a lead and neither wanted to give it up. When the score was still 6-6 at the bottom of the seventh inning, the game had to go into an extra one. Each team was determined to win and ended up playing eleven innings overall that went into the next day.
You could see the determination and heart that both teams had from the way they kept pushing and never gave up. At the bottom of the eleventh, Redan had a runner on base and a batter who hit the ball to the outfield, bringing in the winning run. The game ended at 12:15am as the Redan raiders claimed their 7-6 victory over Fannin County.
Since the series was double elimination and both teams won a game and lost a game, they were matched up to play again Thursday night at 5:30 for the final game of the Sweet Sixteen to determine who would be moving on to the Elite Eight.
Fannin County High School senior, Chandler Kendall, made a decision to further his baseball career yesterday as he signed a letter of intent to play for Tennessee Wesleyan University who is currently second in the nation in NAIA. It was an eventful day as Kendall not only signed a letter of intent, but he also earned a spot in the Fannin County Hall of Fame as its members awarded him with a plaque. The honor is given to an athlete whose performance and productivity is above the norm. Instead of the Hall of Fame giving this honor every year, they wait for an athlete who is very deserving of the award. His classmates had to have thought the same as they voted him “most athletic” in the senior class.
Kendall is a triathlete at the school who excels at anything he attempts. This being the first year Chandler ever played high school football, he earned the position at starting wide receiver, was picked as player of the week twice, and was picked for offensive player of the week twice as well. Basketball and baseball on the other hand are sports that Kendall has competed and succeeded in for years now. Chandler was a three year varsity player for the Rebels basketball team where he was picked for numerous awards. Kendall’s sophomore year, he was awarded with Defensive Player of the Year and Best 3 Point Percentage. The trend continued his junior year as he received an All Region Honorable Mention, GA Tip Off Club’s Player of the month for January, led his team in charges, assists, and steals, and once again earned Defensive Player of the year and Best 3 Point Percentage. To wrap up his basketball career, his senior year he was awarded with Team FYN’s Player of the Week, 7AAA All Region Team, Player of the Year for Northwest Georgia Tip Off Club, Defensive Player of the Year, and the Most Valuable Player for the Rebel’s basketball team.
While Chandler competed hard and had many successes in his other sports, baseball is where his true passion lies. Kendall has been a varsity starter for Fannin County baseball for four years now. His sophomore year he was picked as offensive player of the year, was chosen by Georgia Dugout Club as one of the top fifty players in the state, earned a spot as first team all region infielder, and Perfect Game All American. Kendall continued to receive awards his junior year with the Offensive Player of the Year Award, first team all region infielder, all state honorable mention, Perfect Game All American, and led the Rebels in home runs with nine overall. Now as his senior year comes to an end, Chandler’s team is advancing to the Sweet Sixteen and he has now committed to playing college baseball.
Goodluck to Chandler in all of his future endeavors as he continues his baseball career and to the Fannin County Rebels baseball team as they advance into the Sweet Sixteen!