Proud to be a Renegade – The Making of the Renegades

They say things happen for a reason.  You hear it all of the time.  Playing volleyball in the winter all it took was an attempt to block a shot and on the landing, snapping ligaments in an ankle that resulted in a set of crutches and an ankle injury that took 6 weeks to heal.  That would surely end a softball season before it began.

A call came in from a friend from Hofstra University.  Steve Guerra was on the other line.  “Dude”, in his Long Island accent.  “There is a group of blind people trying to start a beep baseball team in Lowell.  They need help and I thought you may be interested in helping.  You have experience adapting sports to people with disability and you love baseball.  Will you check it out and see if you can help?”

Numbers were exchanged and one fateful spring night on a dusty baseball field in Lowell, I sat with the intent to observe.  Five or six visually impaired people were trying to hold a practice and at this moment, Dot was holding a bat at the plate.  Pitch afer pitch after pitch resulted in a swing and a miss. 50 people’s lives would soon change at this moment…and they would not even know it.

I couldn’t take it any longer, this poor woman was not going to hit the ball. I stepped off the bleachers and introduced myself.  Making some mechanical adjustment to her swing, she thanked me.  The very next pitch she actually made contact for the first time that day.  A few applause rose from the field and a giant smile on her face. “Wow, your a great coach”, she claimed.

That was luck…pure luck, or was it fate?  After practice, I thought about things and decided to try to make this bunch my team, the Lowell Lab Retrievers.  We learned from each other that summer but most importantly, things were forming before my eyes.  Somehow, I convinced two of my good friends to join me on this crusade.  All summer long we practiced and we found games  against  groups I knew whom we  Strapped on blindfolds to compete against.  It was a rewarding experience to see our friends experience this challenge.

That summer, we were notified that a group of guys in Brookline and New Bedford were also interested in forming a team, but they had no idea what they were doing.  Late that summer, we setup a match in Brookline where this ragged team from Lowell would take on these other teams in an exhibition.  We will never forget some guy who refused to wear a blindfold lay out for a hard grounder and then say he could not see.  We also giggled when the team from new bedford’s pitcher (who was blind) hit their players not once, not twice but multiple times with the pitch.  The Lowell Lightning volunteers stepped in and helped and a bond was formed.

The organization that stood behind both of these new teams was the Association of Blind Citizens (ABC).  John Oliveira took a few of us out one night for dinner and it was discussed that these three teams should join forces. ABC had financial resources, plenty of people interested in playing but they lacked coaching.  Lowell had coaches but was about to lose their sponsor and really only had five players.  The grand plan was to have three teams locally and the Lowell coaching staff would take an all-star team from these teams to the World Series.

That dream died when the people in charge of the Lowell team disagreed with this vision.  The Lowell coach took a stand and pretty much said that the Lowell organization would fail if it did not join forces.  At that time there was a stand off and the coach parted ways with Lowell feeling it in his gut that Lowell was a lost cause on its own as it simply lacked both financial and player resources.

These teams would play one another in some scrimmage games during the 2001 season and the team from Brookline would grow and a core group of players decided they wanted to be more competitive

John would call this coach and his knowledge was passed onto the teams on one spring day in 2001.  In 2002, this team from Brookline aspired to go to the World Series in Chicago and was  led by John Oliveira. They had players like Guy Zuccarello, Darren Black, Joe Quintanilla and Sengil Inkiala making  their first appearance and winning their first game against the Tyler Tigers. But the team would not be known for their win, they would be known by their ability to drink and party.  Everyone wanted to hang out with Boston.

In 2003, Oliveira wanted a change and asked this coach to come back and consider trying to coach again.  Things would start crudely as not every player wanted a coach.  Terrible fields causing ankle injuries, a lack of qualified coaches and a coach who had never seen a NBBA game would start forming the Renegades as they are known today.

With the team in the Brookline area, the coach reached out to more friends to join the coaching staff.  Through some bumps in the road, The Renegades worked together to change the culture of this team by  keeping the coaching staff unrelated to the players, rolling out a code of conduct, working hard at practice and having a mission to become a more competitive team…but not competitive amongst each other.  Within the team, we support each other…between the lines we play hard.  the goal was playing ball, not partying.

Fast forward to 2015 and this phone call from Steve Guerra changed the lives of so many people in the Boston Area.    I sit here in awe of what we have built.  So many of my friends and family bonded together and with the help of some others who joined our crusade, we have built one of the most unique teams in the league.  In the 13 years we have been coaching this team, we have had just two volunteers related to a player.  We consider ourselves a family..though we are not related.

In 2015, the NBBA has more than 30 teams registered.  As we look at the roster, we suddenly notice that not only are we one of the top teams in the league…We have become one of the oldest teams around as far as being able to keep our team together over the years.  Since the Renegades came into the league in 2002, there have been more than 43 teams.  Nine of these teams have folded, others have watched all of their players leave for other teams and many of them are just plain new.  Looking across the league, The Boston Renegades have only 8 teams that have been around longer…and not all of these teams have been as fortunate to consistently improve over the years. Only Austin, Bayou City, Chicago and Tyler have been to every World Series since the 2002 season.  This a tribute to the hard work of the Renegade volunteers and players on and off the field.  It is not easy to keep a team together in this league.

Things happen for a reason.  An ankle injury from playing a game hard eventually translated to transferring hard work and passion into a group of amazing volunteers and truly inspirational players.  My name is Rob Weissman and with the help of Bryan Grillo and Ron Cochran we started this crusade in Lowell.  I am so proud to be a Renegade and I thank everyone who has touched this team over the years.  We are truly Renegades in this league in that we do things differently and win or lose we are amazing as a team.

Bryan Grillo, Rob Weissman and Ron Cochran pose on the field at Lelacheur park in Lowell in 2000 as coaches of the Lowell LAB Retrievers

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Boston Prepares for 14th consecutive World Series on July 28th

The Boston Renegades will attend their 14th consecutive World Series this season in Rochester, NY.  This is a pretty amazing milestone as only 4 other teams in the league have been to every series since the Renegades joined the NBBA in 2002.  Those teams are Austin, Bayou City, Chicago and Tyler. This is a huge tribute to what the Renegades have been able to accomplish on and off the field.  Boston is also one of the only current teams  whom have made a steady descent through the rankings of the league from doormats to a number one seed in a pool play bracket this season.

What separates Boston from most of the teams ahead of them is they are 100% home grown.  Every player on the roster has grown up as a Renegade. Of the five teams ahead of the Renegades only Chicago can say they are similar as Austin, RHI, Colorado and RHI all host multiple players in their starting line up from other teams.

The format of the World Series starts with one day of pool play on Tuesday, July 28.  This year, there are six pools of four teams each.  2015 will be the largest World Series in The time the Renegades have been in the league.  The Seeding of the first 16 teams is based on the finish of these teams in the 2014 season.  Sadly, the league has an awful answer for how to seed the remaining 8 teams that are attending this year who could not attend in 2014.  They are seeded by when their registration fee was entered.  This is a terrible practice and ruins many brackets because teams are seeded incorrectly.  For example, the Taiwan Home Run who won the 2013 World Series are seeded 23rd and are in the same bracket as the RHI Extreme who finished 2nd in 2014.  This represents pure laziness on the leagues part to seed a tournament correctly.

The six pools look like this

A B C D E F
Austin Blackhawks RHI Extreme (IN) Colorado Storm Bayou City Heat(TX) Chicago Comets Boston Renegades
Minnesota Millers Southwest Slammers (AZ) Indy Thunder Long Island Bombers Tyler Tigers (TX) NJ Lightning
Atlanta Eclipse Lonetsar Roadrunners(TX) Columbus Midnight Stars (GA) Athens Timberwolves(GA) NJ Titans Arizona Phenom
BCS Outlaws (TX) Taiwan Homerun Taiwan Lightning Rochester Redwings (NY) Canada Indy Knights

After day one of pool play is over, double elimination starts.  These games will begin on Wednesday, July 29th and end with a Championship game on Saturday, August 1st for the two teams who don’t have 2 losses.  For the remaining 22 teams, one great thing the League does is hold placement games.  This allows teams to play others whom had similar paths.  For example, all of the teams whom lost two games straight will play in a small bracket against each other.

The Renegades play three games on Tuesday.  Here is a quick synopsis of who they play as the Six seed

Game 1 – Indianapolis Knights.  Indianapolis now hosts three beep baseball teams and this is their first year as a team.  the Knights have a few players whom played for the Indy Thunder over the years including Eddie Brown who hit .433 and led the Thunder in average in the 2014 season.  One thing the Knights lack is a home grown pitcher.  They have recruited a pitcher to pitch for them whom lives out of state and is a first year pitcher named Lyndsey Woodard.  The Thunder lost all four games they played in bolingbrook this year to Cleveland, Minnesota, Chicago (7-4) and the Indy Thunder.  Sadly, it’s hard to find scores of all their games.

Game 2 – Arizona Phenom.  The Phenom are another brand new team and the second team in Tucson, Arizona.  Four of these players broke off from the Soutwest Slammers to form the team.  Their most known player is Pete Trejo, who hit .281 in last years World Series.  Chris Padilla scored 7 runs for the Slammers as well and he is on this squad as a former starter of his cross town ex-team.  They will also be joined by at least two players from the California Rays team in Jen Boylan and Eric Scholz.  All in all, they have six players who played for the Slammers in 2014.

Game 3 – New Jersey Lightning.  finally a team we know and know well.  The Renegades have beaten the Lightning twice in the 2015 season by scores of 13-2 and 8-1.  They are led by Sherlock Washington who is still an offensive threat and one of the best deep defenders in the game.   They also have Casey Bahn up front to make stops on the junk.  Like the other two teams the Gades will play in this day…they to have been heavily impacted by players forming a new team.  The difference between New Jersey and the Knights/Phenom is most of these players left the Lightning to start their own team (The Titans).  The Lightning finished the Beast of the East tournament with a 1-5 record and averaged just 2 runs a game over the 6 contests.

From there….we have no idea what will happen,  butt we hope the seeds fall correct and that the beepball gods give us a chance to stay healthy and compete at our highest level.  Below is a list of the teams by seed with the Renegades career record against each team

Seed Team Boston’s record against
1 Austin Blackhawks 2-4
2 RHI Extreme 0-3
3 Colorado Storm 2-7
4 Bayou City Heat 0-4
5 Chicago Comets 0-10
6 Boston Renegades
7 Minnesota Millers 3-0
8 Southwest Slammers 3-0
9 Indy Thunder 3-9
10 Long Island Bombers 17-11
11 Tyler Tigers 6-1
12 New Jersey Lightning 10-2
13 Atlanta Eclipse 1-0
14 Lonestar Roadrunners 1-0
15 Columbus Midnight Stars 0-0
16 Athens Timberwolves 0-0
17 New Jersey Titans New Team in 2015
18 Arizona Phenoms New Team in 2015
19 Indy Knights New Team in 2015
20 Canada New Team in 2015
21 Rochester Redwings New Team in 2015
22 Taiwan Lightning 0-0
23 Taiwan Homerun 0-2
24 BCS Outlaws 0-0

Please note that  seeds 17-24 are not seeded with any consideration of their ability as the Homerun won the 203 World Series.  The league chooses to seed teams who did not compete at the prior years world Series based on the date of there registration fee being received.

Renegades win 5th straight Beast of the East Title!

For the second time in new England’s history, four blind baseball teams converged in Massachusetts.  This time the Woburn Host Lions were behind the event and they did a spectacular job.  not only did they get the hotels set up, paint the fields, get sponsors, run a food truck and provide all the volunteers, they found a way to donate money to all the teams in attendance with the winner of the Beas of the east getting $500.

the 4 teams of the Beast of the east

Boston, NJ Lightning ,Long Island and Pennslyvania pose for a picture together before the games begin (Photo by Frank DiMaura)

 

Rob Dias (Pictured) and Joe McCormick  would pace the Renegade offense with three runs a piece (Picture by Adam Glanzman)

Rob Dias (Pictured) and Joe McCormick would pace the Renegade offense with three runs a piece (Picture by Adam Glanzman)

Boston would start the day off against the PA Wolfpack.  A team they beat by just two runs in the previous game.  Uncertain who would be in this roster before the game, the Wolfpack actually looked better than before with the return of John Margist to their line up and shockingly, Scott Hogwood was playing after his injury just two weeks prior.  The difference in this match would be Ron Cochran’s presence on the mound.  To start the game, Boston would lose the coin toss and be the visiting team, on their own field.  The first inning of this game was action packed, as was the same case in the first meeting of these two teams.  Joe McCormick would score the first run of the game on the 6th pitch of the at bat.  Larry Haile  would then hit a deep fly ball into left to plate the second run for the Gades.  With one out Rob Dias would hit a bomb into deep left but he hit it so hard the ball broke and the play had to be done over/  He then promptly (on the first pitch) plated a run on a weak line drive to the right side.  Aqil Sajjad would plate the team’s 4th run of the inning to help turn the line up over and get back to the top.  Joe McCormick would then miss a base on a sure run to end the frame (Earning the pink blindfold for missing the base).  In the bottom half, Hogwood and Margist would both plate runs to make it a 4-2 game.   In the top of the 2nd inning, Larry Haile and Ron Cochran would face each other.  The result would be a weak grounder up the middle for a Mike Coughlin defensive stop.  The significance was this was the 3,000th hitter Ron had faced in his career as a pitcher since he started pitching in 2006 for the Renegades.  Not much of a highlight, but a remarkable test of endurance for this pitcher and team.  Dias would score in this farm to give Boston a 5-2 lead and they would never look back.   McCormick and Rob Dias would each go on to plate two more runs and Pennsylvania would not be able to make contact.  After 4 innings, Boston led 10-2 and started to pinch hit for all the starters.  The bench was unproductive as they struck out in 5 of the 7 trips to the plate off of Jamie Dickerson and Dan Cotter.  With one out in the Bottom of the 6th inning, the Renegades led comfortably by the score of 10-2 and the Wolfpack bats had struck out 16 times.  Boston defense did not have a single stop.  With the top of the order up, Coach Weissman yelled out to Evan Silver to make a play…and that he did on a smash up the gut by Mike Couglin.  the final out would be on a weak grounder to the left side gobbled up by Guy Zucarello.  Boston was now 4-0 in the Beast of the east…while the Wolfpack dropped to 1-3.  On the other field, the Bombers crushed New Jersey 13-0 and these two teams would prepare to square off next

 

Joe McCormick

Joe McCormick screams after scoring as he is fired up. This would be his 100th run of his Renegade career. He Larry Haile and Christian Thaxton would ace the way with three runs each in this match (Photo by Adam Glanzman)

The Renegades and The Bombers have been a rivalry since the start.  The Bombers won the 1st seven games in a row from 2002-2007 until the Renegades finally broke the curse.  The Renegades entered this match with an 8 game streak of their own and a 16-11 lifetime record.  The fans were starting to arrive in anticipation of the best game of the tournament.  Long Island had a stronger sorer than two weeks prior as they had their two best defensive players on the field in   Boston lost the coin toss again and was visiting team.  Joe McCormick led off the game and scored on a fly ball to the left side.  This was a milestone run for Mac as it represented his 100th run of his career and he became just the 6th player in Renegade history to score 100 runs.  Larry Haile and Rob Dias would also plate runs in this frame to give the Renegades a great start and a 3-0 lead entering the bottom of the inning.  The Long Island line up featured some changes as switch otter Alex Barrera was in the lad off spot and Joe Dejesus was batting in the two hole.  Right out of the gate they went down on a stop by Guy Zuccarello and Joe McCormick.  Two batters into this game and the Renegades had as many defensive stops as they had in the entire previous game.  The Renegade second inning was not good, McCormick went down swinging on four pitches.  Haile also whiffed on 6 pitches and Christian Thaxton was put out on a weak ball to Matt Puvogel.  Long Island had a chance but the bottom half of their order would be stopped by Rob Dias and Guy Zuccarello.    With the score 3-0 Boston was unable to add any offense in the 3rd inning as Rob Dias, Evan Silver and Aqil Sajjad were put out by Jose Dejuses, Matt Puvogel and Chris Dejesus.  Long Island would strike in the 3rd inning.  With one out, Jose Dejesus would hit a ball down the 3rd base line.  Since Boston was playing a shift, that slot was wide open.  Guy Zuacrello was left all alone on that side and Dejesus beat Guy by a split second on a bang-bang play and the score was 3-1.  McCormick would clamp down the rest of the inning making stops and heading to the 4th inning Boston clung to a 3-1 lead.    The Fourth inning would be huge and historical as well.  Joe McCormick, Larry Haile and Christian Thaxton would score to start the inning on bombs into left field to start off the inning.  With two outs, Aqil Sajjad would score on a weak hit ball off Dan Cotter and the onslaught would continue.  Aqil’s run allowed the top of the order to get up again and they did better than the first time through the line up as McCormick, Haile, Thaxton and Dias would plate 4 runs in a row to give the Renegades an 8 run inning.  The most the Renegades had ever scored in an inning against Long Island and the first tint whey had scored this amount in an inning ever. (their most was 11 against Stockton in 2007).  Long Island was mentally defeated at this point and the score was 11-1.  The game would end in a fun way for Boston as Joe Yee was brought into the game as a replacement for Evan silver and made the final two out of the game.  These two stops equaled his entire output from the 2014 season.  Boston was now 5-0 in the Beast of the East, pushing Long Island to 3-2.  On the other field, New Jersey had upset Pennsylvania in a 3-2 win.  The Renegades had clinched the Beast of the East for the 5th straight time.

Gy Flexes his muscle

Guy Zuccarello flexes his muscle after leading the team with three runs and breaking two balls (Photo By Rob Weissman)

The temperatures were rising into the 90’s on this hot day and the teams were slowed down by the lunch break.  New Jersey and Boston were facing the dreaded lunch coma as they tried to get ready for this game.  New Jersey entered this match off their first win of the year in Beast of the East play and would for the 3rd time the Renegades would lose the coin toss and be visiting team.  For the 3rd time, they would strike first as Joe McCormick and Guy Zucarello would plate runs to start off the game.  For Jersey, they would be sporting a new pitcher than in the previous game as Richard Whitten would take the mound for the Lightning.  He would strike out the 1st three batters he faced.  In the second inning with one out, McCormick, Thaxton and Zuccarello would go 1-2-3 to give the Renegades a comfortable 5-0 lead.  This was comforting since the Lightning had only scored 10 runs in their 5 games.  In the 3rd inning Thaxton would plate  his 2nd run of the game on a bomb into left field when Zucarello strode to the plate in what would be an epic at bat.  The first pitch resulted in a ground ball into the NJ defense where he was put out…but the base was late to turn on and he had a fresh count.  On the 2nd pitch he hit a line drive up the middle and scored…but the ball was dead on contact.  He faced a new count for the 2nd time.  On the third pitch he hit a fly ball up the middle and scored…but the defense clued dead ball again and sure enough Guy had killed two balls on two pitches.  On the 4th pitch of the at bat (after a late base and two dead balls,) he hit a line drive up the right side and scored a run, his third opt the game, the 12th time he had scored that many runs in a game in his career.  With Dan Cotter not feeling well, Ron Cochran pitched to most of the line up in this game.   They all made contact, but not enough solid contact and Jersey’s , Casey Bahn quietly made 10 defensive stops for the Lightning.  The Lightning would plate their only run in the bottom of the 6th inning.  Overall, the Lightning struck out 16 times in this slow paced game as the Renegades rolled 8-1 playing a lot of players who had not received a lot of playing time in the earlier games including starts by Luis Soto and Rob Thayer (their first starts of the year).  On the other field, the Wolfpack bats woke up and upset the Long Island Bombers 9-4.  Boston would go on to win the Beast of the East in sweep fashion and the Woburn Host Lions would cut them a $500 check for their efforts as a donation.

The 2015 Final standings were as follows

Place Team Wins Losses
1 Boston 6 0
2 Long Island 3 3
3 Pennsylvania 2 4
4 New Jersey 1 5

The scores of the games were as follows

Boston Long Island Penn NJ
Boston Bos 6-5 WBos 11-1 W Bos 6-4 WBos 10-2 W Bos 13-2 WBos 8-1 W
Long Island Bos 6-5 LBos 11-1 L LI 15- 4 WPA 9-4 L LI 9-2 WLI 13-0 W
Penn Bos 6-4 LBos 10-2 L LI 15-4 LPA 9-4 W PA 3-2 WNJ 3-2 L
NJ Bos 13-2 LBos 8-1 L LI 9-2 LLI 13-0 L PA 3-2 LNJ 3-2 W

 

 

 

Sullivan & Worcester to play the Renegades on July 15th

For the third year in a row the Sullivan & Worcester LLP softball team will take on the Renegades in an exhibition game.  The Renegade have owned these Lawyers on the field for the first two years of play.  Its a great opportunity for these Lawyers to try and play the sport of baseball without their vision and a good opportunity for the Renegades to get some work in.  We walkways have a great time playing this game as we often times let the lawyers play without their blind fold when they hit to make the game more exciting if they can’t hit it with the blind fold on.  Running with the blindfold and playing defense is always the challenge.

A short video from the event in 2013

 

Sullivan & Worcester is a prominent Boston-based full service law firm with offices in Boston, New York and Washington, DC.  For the law firm, this game is a team building exercise for the summer associate class teamed up with veteran lawyers and staff.    The night will start with a clinic and be followed by a game.  The night  will begin at 6:30 PM and we hope to start the game around 7:15 at Moxley Field located at 31 Westminster Ave, Watertown, MA

The Renegades want to thank this firm for their continued support of the Renegades.  This Law firm is one of the biggest individual contributors to the Renegades fundraising efforts and we are grateful for their support!

Saturday, July 11th – Beep baseball comes to Woburn!

On Saturday, July 11th, for just the 2nd time in the history of New England four blind baseball teams will compete in the sport of beep baseball. The Boston Renegades will play host to the Long Island Bombers, New Jersey Lightning and Pennsylvania Wolfpack.  The games will be played at the Joyce Middle School located at 55 Locust street in Woburn, Mass.  Game times are scheduled for 9:00am, 11:30am and 2:30 PM.  All games are free to attend.  We recommend you to bring a chair or blanket to sit on to enjoy the games.  There will be refreshments available.  The Woburn Host Lions will be hosting this tournament for the Boston Renegades and we are thankful for all of their help!

This is the 2nd leg of the Beast of the East tournament which is in its 5th year.  The concept of the Beast of the East is to promote beep baseball on the East Coast.  The teams that make up this tournament work hard year round to support each other and have developed a rotating schedule so that all teams have the opportunity to play at home.  the teams also work off the field to help each other by sharing equipment, ideas and trying to keep costs to a minimum to allow the athletes to play ball.

The Boston Renegades are the four time champion since this format has been started.  They have been crowned the champ in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014 (there was no tournament in 2013).  The winner is determined by the team with the best record after the two tournaments with a tie breaker system.  Currently the standing so the 2015 Beast of the East look like this

Team Wins Losses
Boston 3 0
Long Island 2 1
Pennsylvania 1 2
New Jersey 0 3

The first set of games were played in Lincroft, New Jersey.  The game results were as follows

  • Boston over Long Island 6-5
  • Pennsylvania over New Jersey 3-2 in 8 innings
  • Boston over New Jersey 13-2 (12 run rule invoked after 3 innings)
  • Long Island over Pennsylvania 15-4
  • Boston over Pennsylvania 6-4
  • Long Island over New Jersey 9-2

The tie breaker rules are as follows

  1. Winner = best record of the 6 games
  2. Tie breaker #1 head to head
  3. Tie breaker #2 head to head in previous season including World Series (voided if players who play in the World Series game are not on the Team’s home grown roster)
  4. Tie breaker #3 Lowest defensive runs allowed in head to head
  5. Tie breaker #4 Lowest defensive runs allowed in entire beast of east
  6. Reason for using the previous season is to allow easier transfer of the trophy to be engraved and passed off
  7. Teams do not qualify if they use players from other teams to fill out their roster

 

Renegades Sweep in New Jersey

Though we do not have a beat writer…Here is a recap of the three games we played in New Jersey on the last weekend of June

Boston flashes the “leather” and defeats the bombers 6-5

MVP's of the game against Long Island

Rob Dias, Jamie Dickerson and Christian Thaxton all had big games against Long Island. Dias would score three times and make three stops on Defense. Dickerson would make his first appearance as a pitcher for the Gades and plate 4 of the Gades 6 runs. Thaxton scored the first run of his Renegade career

Game one of the 2015 season would be played in Lincroft, NJ, the first time in team history they had played in this town. Horrid weather reports made this day look difficult and time limits would be put into play of 1 hours and 45 minutes….though these games would move so quickly, there was no need.  For the Renegades, the challenges continued as the team was short on callers and had been working coach Kara Peters into that role.  A few days before the trip, she broke a toe and was unable to call on the field.  On the mound the Renegades would spilt long time pitcher Danny cotter with first year pitcher (2nd year coach), Jamie Dickerson.  Dickerson would be forced to go both ways, pitching to some of the guys and calling the right side of the team defense with Bryan Geillo on the left side.

Long Island was a little late getting to the fields, and the Renegades hoped this would impact their bats.  the game started off with Bomber, Joe Dejesus fouling off 8 pitches in a row before taking the K.  Then Alex Barrera would score the games first run on a pop up to the left side that he beat out on a bang bang play.  Chris Dejesus would then stroke a hard grounder down the first base line that Aqil Sajjad would range way over to the first base line and stop with his bare hand.  Rob Dias then would take a smash from Braulio Thorne away to stop the threat.  Those bats were not sleeping for Long Island.  For The Renegades, Joe McCormick would start the year in the lead off spot and score on a weak hit to knot the game at one a piece.  The top of the second would be highlighted by Rob Dias taking a hard hit ball away from lead off hitter Jose Dejesus and then as it often works, he would score the Renegades second run in the bottom of the second.  Larry Haile would also plate a run in the 2nd with two outs to give Boston a 3-1 lead.  In the top of the third, Alex Barrera would hit a weak ball to Guy Zuccarello and would be put out by 10-15 feet…or so both teams thought when the umpire called him safe.  In discussion, the umpire claimed that Guy did not use two hands to pick up the ball (which is not required).  After arguing for a short time, the umpire decided to make up a rule and the score was 3-2.  This goes to the importance of training umpires before a tournament and should not have been allowed.  In the bottom of the third with one out, rookie, Christian Thaxton strode to the plate 0-1 after a whiff in his first at bat with Jamie Dickerson on the mound.  Thaxton hit a hard grounder to the left side and sprinted to 3rd base and scored his first ever run.  What made this special was it was one of the few times he had ever run to third (He played junior college baseball).  It was a big moment as both Jamie and Christian got their first run on the same at-bat, something that has not happened since the teams first year of play in 2002.  Rob Dias would add on insurance in the third to push the score to 5-2.  In the Long Island 4th, Joe McCormick made two stops and in the bottom of the frame the Renegades started to struggle as Evan silver and Thaxton would strike out.  In the 5th, Chris Dejesus would score on a play where two renegades (Dias, Sajjad)  collided in the middle of the field to pull within two runs at 5-3.  The renegades had confidence and Rob Dias provided his third hit to lead off the bottom of the 5th for his third run of the game…but the top of the order went down easily with two strike outs and a weak grounder.  Would That extra insurance be enough cushion?  Jose Dejesus struck out to start the top of the 6th, Alex Barera scored his third run of the game, Chris Dejesus struck out and Braulio Thorne scored on a bang bang play where rob Dias ranged well Into left field to make a play…but the umps ruled in favor of Thorne and the score was now 6-5(don’t forget the free run the ump gave Long Island). Jim Hughes came to the dish 0-3 on the day and hit a grounder up the gut that Rob Dias corralled for the final out.  Boston won the game 6-5 behind Rob Dias making three runs and three stops. This would extend the Renegade win streak over Long Island to 8 games

Boston Bats wake up and show no mercy on New Jersey

Joe Yee and Aqil Sajjad

Joe Yee and Aqil Sajjad each scored three runs against New Jersey to be the MVP’s of this game

In game two, the Gades would face off against the host, New Jersey Lightning who had some turmoil in the off season as many of their players left to start another team.  The Jersey line up on this day consisted of just two players from the 2014 roster and also included two sighted players that were under blindfolds.  To make things more challenging, their starting pitcher was unable to go as she was in a cast.  Coach Weissman, wanted to get their bats going after striking out 33% of the time in the previous game and put the starters in to start the game.  The desired result was not there to start the game as Joe McCormick, Rob Dias and Christian Thaxton all struck out in the first.  Thankfully, Larry Haile plated a run as the number two hitter.  New Jersey would fare much worse as they would strike out 5 times in the first two innings and after two frames the Renegades were In Control 4-0.  The third inning is where the lightning came out of the bottle.  In this frame Boston had one of its biggest innings in history as it plated 9 runs highlighted by Joe McCormick, Joe Yee and Aqil Sajjad plating a pair each in the inning.  These 9 runs were the 3rd most the Renegades had scored in an inning.  The last time they did this was in the 2012 World Series against the Minnesota Millers.  the most they had ever scored was 11 against the Stockton Stingrays in 2007.  The real thunder came when Rob “hot tub” Thayer came off the bench and scored on a nice hit Into left field.  The team Errupted in excitement for Thayer who has as much heart and soul as any player on the squad and works so hard to better himself.  After three frames, the Renegades led 13-0 and NJ had put just one ball in play.  This invoked the 12 run rule, meaning the Lightning would continue to hit and the Renegades would stay on defense unless the game was tied up.  NJ would struggle on offense in this match as they struck out 16 times.  For Boston the defensive highlight was in the 5h frame when rookie Christian Thaxton made a stop at deep rover on a well hit ball from Doug Winthrop, for Thaxton’s first career defensive stop.  Weissman succeeded in getting the bats going and getting his pitchers some confidence. The Renegades would start the season with a 2-0 record and face Pennsylvania for the final game.

Boston Starts hot and holds on vs Pennsylvania

Aqil Sajjad and Joe McCormick were the stars of this game.  Aqil made two great stops on defense and scored a run.  Mac scored a pair to lead the Renegades

Aqil Sajjad and Joe McCormick were the stars of this game. Aqil made two great stops on defense and scored a run. Mac scored a pair to lead the Renegades

The Pennsylvania Wolfpack broke a 12 game long losing streak to the Renegades in 2014 by playing two tough games resulting in an extra innings loss and a 1 run victory over the Renegades.  Like the Lightning, the Wolfpack also lost key personal in the 2015 season including their founder and Captain, Greg Gontaryk, their pitcher, Bob Gomberg and a few players.  This team looked different but two guys who remained were Mike Coughlin and Scott Hogwood who would bat 1&2 for the Wolfpack.  Each would strike out to start off the game.  In the bottom of the first, the Renegades continued their hitting as Joe McCormick, Larry Haile and Rob Dias plated back- to-back-to back runs that barely traveled 80 feet each.  All of these balls were hit toward Mike Coughlin who was struggling in the field trying to make stops in time with the speed of the Renegades.  When the dust settled, Boston was up 5-0 after one frame.  Entering the third inning, the Wolpack had 5 strike outs, When Mike Coughlin got them on the board with a run scoring hit and Lamont Bordley came off the bench to replace an injured Randy George and he also plated a run to pull the score to 5-2.  The third inning was bad for Boston as the top of the order could not answer and McCormick and Haile each struck out.  Heading to the 4th inning, Coughlin was looking like a one man show as he pulled the Wolfpack to a 5-3 deficit and he had racked up 4 of the 6 defensive stops for the Wolfpack at this point in the game.  Further trouble would happen for the Wolfpack when slugger Scott Hogwood was put out on a hard shot down the third baseline by Aqil Sajjad.  When Hogwood hit the base he did not get up.  The Wolfpack captain had to leave the game with ribs that may have been fractured.  Boston would huddle in the 4th inning and ask for insurance.  That call was answered by a deep bomb to center field off the bat of Christian Thaxton for the most impressive hit of Boston’s weekend and would prove to be the final straw giving Boston  a 6-3 advantage with Hogwood out for the remainder of the game.  Mike Coughlin would have a career day vs Boston as he would score a run in the 6th and finish the day with 3 runs on offense and 7 of the Wolfpacks 10 stops on defense.  In the end, the Wolfpack did not have enough balls in play on offense to mount the comeback they needed and the Renegades walked away with a sweep and a grip on the 2015 Beast of the East title!