Storm halt Renegades 13 game winning streak in walk off fashion 17-16
The game the Renegades would be looking forward to. They had beaten their first four opponents by the combined score of 56-18 including two 12-run rule wins. The day would start with some question marks that started at the hotel. Coach Weissman was running late for batting practice and in his haste of getting out of the parking garage would slam the front end of his rental van into the wall of the garage. Thankfully, nobody was hurt and the Cochran family was in town to watch the games…so he hitched a ride and showed up late for batting practice. Rob Dias was a question mark with his health and injury. Dias was limping through warm-ups but it would take more than this to keep him out of this game. Colorado was the three seed in this tourney and were also 4-0 on the week with wins over the Taiwan Lightning (17-5), Columbus Midnight stars (14-7), Indy Thunder (9-8) and the Southwest Slammer (14-5). Boston would lose the coin toss and Joe McCormick, Larry Haile and Christian Thaxton would go down 1-2-3 to start the game. All hell would soon break out as the bats from Colorado would do some serious damage. Ethan Johnston would start the game blasting a line drive up the middle past the hands of Rob Dias. Doug Biggins would hit a line drive into left field for the 2nd run. Guy Zuccarello would make a stop on a weak hit ball down the 3rd base line for the first out and then Joe Yee would settle into make a nice play on a hit to 3rd base by Rich Krussell and things were looking up for the Renegades. Steve Lyles would then step up and hit a lazy fly ball up the middle of the field that Rob Dias could not coral and then things just got bad as Rookie Mike Malloy would then score on a pop-up near Guy Zuccarello to turn over the order. Johnston stepped to the plate and blasted a bomb by everyone into deep left field. Biggins scored his 2nd run on a ball hit past Rob Dias on the right side of the field and then the back breaker of them all was Demetrius Morrow hitting a bomb into left field. The kicker here was Larry Haile was in a shift and was playing right on the ball. Both he and Joe Yee missed it for the 7th run of the inning. Russell would score another run before Dias stopped the bleeding. After one inning Colorado had put up 8 runs on the Boston defense. Shayne Cantan got the Renegades on the board in the top of the second with a fly ball up the middle of the field. Zuccarello also plated a run with a line drive to the right side to turn the order over as Joe McCormick and Christian Thaxton settled in and each scored. Guy Zuccarello looked good in the 2nd inning on defense as he made two stops against just one run from the bat of Ethan Johnston. When the inning was over it was 9-4 and the Renegades had started to get back into the game. The mojo stopped as Dias and Zuccarello would hit weak shots to Ethan Johnston and Joe McCormick struck out. Colorado’s bats would score three times in the 3rd but two of them were on junk that Guy and Rob Dias could not get in time. The score was 12-4 after three frames. The Renegades were waking up and Larry Haile would get on the board to lead off the 4th with a line shot into left field. Thaxton followed this with a more impressive blast into left field, Shayne Cantan hit a towering pop fly into left and Rob Dias followed suit with a hard hit fly ball into left field. Guy Zucarello changed the theme and then scored on a hard grounder to the right side for 5 consecutive runs and nobody out. What became worrisome was that Joe McCormick started to see some changes to his swing and he struck out for a second time. In frustration, McCormick threw his bat to the ground which was to close to the head umpire, John Lykowski and McCormick was warned for his conduct (he later apologized). a Scarier moment would come next as Christian Thaxton came to the plate and hit a hard line drive to the left side and took off down third base. The ball ricochet off Ethan Jonshton who chased after it into foul territory and these two speedsters collided in an ugly collision. Since Thaxton was starting his first game of the World Series, there was concern about his hip. He was fine. Johnston, whom had scored three times took the worst of it as he was hit in the head and shoulder. After a few minutes he rose to his feet and went back to the field. Colorado would tack 2 more runs on in the 4th, but the Renegade defense was settling in as Rob Dias and Joe Yee made nice stops. Boston had pulled the game within 4 runs and trailed 14-10. In the top of the 5th Rob Dias scored on a grounder to left field. Zuccarello plated a run on a line drive to 2nd base but then Joe McCormick came up and continued to struggle as he had swung and missed on 10 straight pitches after tearing the cover off the ball in the previous 4 games. Larry Haile and Christian Thaxton would then plate runs and tie the game at 14-14 as Boston had fought back from an 8 run deficit. In the 5th, Colorado would score on two more chump runs as Rich Krussel and Stevie Lyles beat Joe McCormick and Larry Haile and pushed the score to 16-14. During this time, Coach Weissman was looking hard at McCormicks swing on video and he found something that would help. This was discussed with hitting coach, Mike Marciello. Heading into the 6th inning, Guy Zuccarello hit a nice line drive into left field but Doug Biggins slid to make the stop. As the play unfolded, Weissman looked to the bench and asked when Demtrious Morrow was put back into the game. Play was stopped and the Renegades found out that Morrow was entered illegally by not notifying the score keeper. Weissman urged the umpires to make that run count since Morrow was in the game illegally. After a long delay it was decided that since Morrow was not involved in the play, the out would stand because the rule was not stated in the NBBA rule book. After a long delay, up stepped Joe McCormick who had been taking pointers from Marciello. On the first pitch, he blasted it into left field and the Renegades went crazy as Weissman was fired up and screaming “UBERSENSE!” Larry Haile then drove a line drive up the middle to make it 16-16. Christian Thaxton who had scored 4 straight runs in this game strode to the plate and on the 1st pitch hit a ball off the bottom of the bat which Ethan Johnston stopped and then Shayne Cantan struck out on 4 pitches…but the Renegades had come back 16-16. Doug Biggins came to the plate and was 3-5 on the day and hit a grounder to the 1st base side. Larry Haile moved to and it kicked off him as Biggins scored in walk off-fashion. Boston had their first loss of the World Series and had a 13 game win streak stopped. Boston had not let up this many runs in a game since 2012 when Colorado scored 22 and Chicago scored 31 times. BUT this was the 2nd time they had scored 16 runs this week which was one of their biggest out-puts in team history (most was 21 against Chicago in 2012). Since this game took a long time, the Indy Knights were awaiting the Renegades on a field far across the park. As the Storm would next face the RHI Extreme.
Renegades 12-run third team of the World Series rolling over Knights 19-10
Following the loss to Colorado, the Renegades huddled and were reminded they were still alive for the championship as they only had one loss. They were told to keep their heads up and forge forward. As they packed up their equipment, they were forced to head to the other side of the complex where the Renegades would face off against the Indy Knights for a 2nd time. The Knights had played well since they played the Renegades as they had beaten NJ (4-3), Arizona (11-5), Columbus (15-14) and Atlanta (10-2). They seemed cocky as we arrived at the field when Pitcher, Ron Cochran asked Lindsay Woodard, how they had done and she replied, “you will soon see what we can do”. Ron chuckled and brought this banter to the bench as bulletin board material. Joe McCormick would lead off this game and his struggles would continue as he would foul off just one pitch and go down swinging. More work was to be done to his swing and he would soon become a project for Coach Rob and Mike to help him set up his arms consistently. Christian Thaxton moved up to 2nd in the order and scored followed by run scoring hits by Larry Haile and Guy Zuccarello in the first to give Boston a 3-0 cushion to start. This line-up had some changes to it as Joe Quintanilla was making a start and batting 5th, Shayne Cantan was starting at 3rd base and batting 6th while Rob Dias was moved to a Designated fielder. Dias was still limping and the overall feeling was we would need him to stay loose. We feared if he tightened up he would be lost for the day. The Renegade defense looked more relaxed to start this game as Rob Dias and Joe Quintanilla made stops to start off the game before John Lombardo put the Knights on the board. After one inning Boston was up 3-1. It would be over from here. In the 2nd inning Boston would go off in record setting fashion. Joe McCormick would lead off and score on a line drive into left field (2 pitches), Christian Thaxton would score on a hard ground ball (1 pitch), Larry Haile would hit the 1st pitch in the air to 3rd base before Guy Zuccarello would battle (hitting the pitcher on one pitch) and strike out. Joe Quintanilla would score on a grounder up the middle (1 pitch), Shayne Cantan would score on a high fly ball to the left side (1 pitch). Joe McCormick then came to the plate and on the 3rd pitch hit a grounder to the left side for his 2nd run of the inning. Thaxton would score on 1 pitch to the right side and Guy Zuccarello would hit a hard grounder to the right side. When the inning was over Boston would send 11 batters to the plate and score 8 times. Ron Cochran threw just 20 pitches which the Renegades offered swings at (there were 2 takes) and only 3 of them were swings and misses (all by Zuccarello). One of the top run scoring innings in Renegade history (though they had scored 16 the prior day against Tyler and 9 against Arizona on day one of the World Series). In the Bottom of the 2nd, the Knights would impress by putting the ball into play. The Renegades defense struggled mightily as Joe Mccormick and Guy Zuccarello failed on 4 different hits and the Knights plated 5 runs to make the score 11-6. The Boston bats did it again in the 3rd inning sending 11 batters to the plate and scoring another 8 runs. For the 2nd consecutive inning every batter would score at least one run with Shayne Cantan plating a pair in this frame. Another highlight of the inning was Tim Syphers coming off the bench and scoring a run. When the dust settled, Christian Thaxton had his 2nd career 4-run game, Joe McCormick battled his swing and finished 3-5 with 2 strike outs. Larry Haile, Guy Zuccarello and Shayne Cantan all plated 3 runs with Joe Quintanilla plating a pair of his own. The 12-run rule was in effect with the Renegades leading 19-6. Guy Zuccarello was taken out of the game at this point because he was having a hard time with his ears on this field as he had missed 5 chances in this game. It’s funny to hear this as the former defensive MVP was more valuable with his bat (hitting .619 at this point in the World Series) John Lombardo would score a run in the 3rd inning and then something happened unprecedented in Renegade history. The official scorekeeper claimed it was the 5th inning. Ron Cochran called time and tried to explain to the umpire that it was actually only the 4th inning and the Knights should not be penalized. The Renegade coach was actually fighting for the Knights but to no avail. The umpire and scorekeeper called it the 5th inning as the scorekeeper refused to count her outs on the score sheet. Boston would get a lot of players into this game and the final out of the game was made by JJ ward as the Renegades rolled 19-10 and eliminated the Knights from double elimination. After the game, the scorekeeper was baffled as to why the Knights only had 15 outs.
Renegades set team record for most runs scored in a game and defeat Indy Thunder 22-12
In NBBA form, the Renegades were forced to change fields for the third time that day while the lower ranked Indy Thunder camped on one field all day long. The Indy Thunder were having an amazing season but they had a brutal schedule and this would be their 9th game in 3 days. They had played 3 games on each of the first three days of the Series (compared to just the 7th for the Renegades). They had gone 2-1 in pool play beating Columbus 9-0, the Taiwan Lightning 13-7 before losing in heart-break fashion to the Colorado Storm 9-8. On day 2, Indy beat the BCS Outlaws 18-5 before losing to the Taiwan Home Run 18-15 and then defeated Long Island 10-4. On this day they had won both their matches beating the NJ Titans 15-4 and the Minnesota Millers 11-10. The winner of this game would advance and secure a top 6 seed. The loser would play in the 7/8 game on Friday. A lot would be on the line and both teams were tired. The Boston injury front looked better than Indy as just Rob Dias had suffered a new injury this week. The Renegades would have the most respect for the Indy Thunder as some of their scores were very close against top teams. The line-up would go through another tweak and Christian Thaxton would be moved to the lead-off spot. Boston would lose another coin toss and start off as the visiting team. The bombs would start right out of the gate as the Renegades bats stayed on fire as Thaxton lined a shot up the middle, Larry Haile hit a fly ball up the middle and Joe McCormick hit a line drive up the middle on the 1st three pitches of the game where every ball rolled near or well past the 170 feet mark. In fact, all 6 batters would put the ball in play for the Renegades on just 9 pitches for the inning. To start off the game for the Thunder, Corey White would lead off for Indy and controversy would start on the very first at-bat as the umpire called a ball foul that had cleared the 40 foot line which Joe McCormick had picked up. After the umpire refused to change her call, Darnell Booker, the Thunder pitcher, in a moment of great sportsmanship convinced the umpire the wrong call had been made and the out was awarded to the Renegades defense. This would be a common theme for much of the early parts of the game where calls seemed to baffle the renegades. In the bottom of the first, the Thunder would score a pair of runs as the Rodriguez brothers (both teenagers) continued to haunt the Gades, each scoring in the first frame. In the 2nd, Haile and McCormick hit more bombs and Rob Dias scored on a grounder to push the score to 6 runs. In the bottom of the frame, Guy Zucarello and Joe Yee each made stops on defense and just Corey White scored as Boston led 6-3. A comical moment happened in the 3rd inning as Joe McCormick popped up a ball to the right side and ran toward first base yelling “No base” as the base had gone out during his run to the base. He was able to find the base without it beeping but had been put out as he struggled to locate the base. He did receive a new count and scored on a bomb up the center of the field. The Boston bats would remain hot with 5 of the 6 starters scoring runs in this game. As the Boston bats banged hard, many of the Indy players were coming up limping as Tyler Rodriguez, Corey White, Jordy Stringer and Miguel Tello all needed time for injuries during the game. The worst looking injury occurred to Miguel Tello who was playing third base in the 5th inning when Joe McCormick hit a smash to left field but the ball had stopped beeping. On the very next pitch, he hammered a shot right at Tello and Tello put him out but in the process the ball hit him square in the nuts. Tello could barely stand after this play as he was clearly not wearing a cup..but he did hold on for the out. Coach Marciello joked that it was the first time he had seen three balls broken in an at-bat. The inning would proceed with Rob Dias and Shayne Cantan striking out back-to-back and the Renegades put up a donut in the 5th inning. For the first time since the 1st inning against Colorado they had not scored in an inning. Indy would plate a pair in the 5th and pull within 5 runs at 14-9. Boston was well aware of Booker’s capability to bring a team back. The 6th inning would put the nail in the coffin as the Renegades looked for insurance. They got it in the form of 8 runs as Thaxton, Tim Syphers and Guy Zuccarello all plated a pair of runs with Rob Dias and Joe Quintanilla pitching in one run each. Boston would have enough cushion 22-9 that they could afford to let up a few runs in the bottom of the 6th. When this game ended both teams were exhausted and it was close to 8:00 at night. Combine the high scoring affair with the fast fields and the fact Boston hit bombs all over the field that rolled over 170 feet caused major delays to the pace of this game. These bombs were coming from everyone in the line-up including players like JJ Ward, Joe Quintanilla and Tim Syphers whom had come of the bench to contribute at the plate. One highlight that many of the Renegades will recall was in the middle of the game, Christian Thaxton hit a laser over everyones heads and laughed as he ran down the third base line by his bench. The laugh was not in any meant to be disrespectful to the Thunder..it was merely Thaxton having fun with his new sport that he had just started playing in June. He had known that he had laid into the ball as well as he could. Thaxton would become just the 5th Renegade to score 5 runs in a game as it was just the 6th time in history a Renegade had scored this many runs and the first time since Joe McCormick and Larry Haile did it against the Cleveland Scrappers in 2012. Joe McCormick would work hard with his coaching staff to be consistent in his stance and would plate 4 runs while Rob Dias battled through injuries all day also plated 4 runs to pace the Renegade offense. Defensively, the team continued to struggle but 5 different Renegades made stops led by Guy Zuccarello making three stops on the left side. For the 2nd year in a row, the Renegades would still be alive on Friday of the World Series!