In the beautiful hills of Kettle Moraine, just a few miles from campus, America’s favorite past-time is in full force. For two decades, Carroll students and alumni have occupied the roster of a competitive men’s baseball team: meet the Genesee Rebels.
Genesee Baseball has a long history, dating back to 1922, when the Genesee Reds began. Over the years many players were from the immediate Genesee area but in 1993 there was too much interest in baseball for just one team, so a group of guys got together and formed the Genesee Rebels, which continues today.
The team has grown from a hometown baseball team to a transitory place for postsecondary and post-collegiate athletes to play baseball and share community (and after most games, a beer or two). Among the men who are 20 to 40 years of age, the demographic that tops the roster is the plethora of Carroll students and alumni.
The current 28-man roster has a total of 11 Carroll alumni. There are also a handful of alumni amongst past players. Matt Bauer ’08 is one of many that credit the continued growth to Matthew DeMarais ’07. “Matt took over managing the team in 2015 and he’s done a good job of keeping connections open with Carroll,” says Bauer, “It’s fun to keep track of the Carroll guys during their season before they come play with us.”
The team is managed by DeMarais, who still makes occasional appearances on the mound after 15 years of playing with the Rebels. “This team is like family, and it has been fun to recruit fellow Carroll students and graduates to play,” says DeMarais of playing and managing. When most teams struggle to keep a full roster, the Rebels have thrived with a talent pipeline from Carroll.
TJ Pfaffle ’21 played for the Carroll University men’s baseball team from 2017 to 2021, opting to stay on an extra year due to the pandemic. He is thankful to have a post-collegiate outlet. “I absolutely loved my time playing at Carroll and have equally, if not more, loved my time with the Rebels.” The strong team bond attests to the shared Carroll experience: “You have those shared bonds with guys you play with at Carroll and for those who graduated before my time there… you already have that bond because you’ve been through that Carroll experience.”
“Something I am truly grateful for because it was such a smooth transition and you can just be yourself,” says Pfaffle, “you don’t have to prove anything or try hard to fit in because you all share such similar experiences that it creates a new brotherhood.”
Bauer, now a veteran of the team, helps create the strong culture, “It’s just a great group of guys. Overall, I think the team chemistry that we have is special. We genuinely like each other and have a lot of fun playing together. The Town really supports us too which makes this a lot easier to keep going when most of us are working full time, but still get to play the game we love on the weekends.”
The Genesee Rebels are currently 8-7 overall with hopes to make their second consecutive appearance at the grand championships. You can see the Rebels in action on August 14 when they host a regional playoff tournament at Genesee Town Park at 10:00 a.m., 12:30p.m., and 3:00 p.m. The Rebels look to finish strong with many Carroll players leading the charge.