Quad City Sox ready to take on the ``World'' as ISC World Tourney hosts

August 14, 2009

Quad Cities, IA/IL

By Terry Duckett,
It's a case of "Home, Sweet Home'' for the Quad CitySox men's fastpitch softball team as they host the 2009 International Softball Congress World Tournament this week at Moline's GreenvalleySports Complex.

On a pleasant Thursday evening, the Sox and another area club, the Thomson Merchants, opened the tournament on an informal note with a five-inning exhibition game, won 2-0 by the Sox behind a four-hit shutout by pitching ace Al Rebeling.

"I've been playing since 1989, and I never thought I'd see (the World Tournament) back here,'' said Sox first baseman Bill Kranz. "Now that it's here, we need to step up and make it happen. When we knew it was finally coming here, we were thinking that we'd get to stay at home and sleep in our own beds, and we don't have to spend money on hotel rooms. Every weekend, it seems like we're gone out of town.''

Rebeling, a veteran of nearly 30 seasons of fastpitch softball, is also pleased to see the World Tournament back in the Quad-Cities, where it was a fixture at RockIsland's Douglas Park for many years, peaking during the 1960s. The tourney is back in the Q-Cs for the first time since 1973.

"You always hope'' for the Worlds to return to the Q-Cs, "but to be honest with you, I didn't think it would ever come back,'' he said. "It's nice to have it back, and this complex (Greenvalley) is a nice one for all the times. Actually, I'd never been here before.''

While Thursday's five-inning exhibition wasn't publicized nearly as much as the World Tournament itself, which gets underway today with a schedule that includes Thomson taking on the Kegel Black Knights this evening at 6, a good-sized crowd turned out both for the game and the pre-game hitting exhibition that saw several local media types taking their cuts against Rebeling.

"It was good to see,'' said Sox designated player Keith Peterson, a 25-year fastpitch veteran. "I've seen peopleI hadn't seen in awhile, and it's good to get to play on my side of the river. I'm old enough to remember guys who played back in the '60s, and I know the history of what went on back then.''

Of playing at home, Peterson said: "It'll be a little more like a vacation than if we went out of town, with a lot of family and friends at the games. It won't be all business like when we're out of town.''

In Thursday's game against the Merchants, the Sox hit upon a formula they hope to repeat throughout the upcoming week, scoring both of their runs in the bottom of the first inning when Kranz tripled inPeterson, who had led off with a walk. Kranz then scored on a sacrifice fly by Nick Needham.

FULL STORY    with pictures

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