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Sullivan & Worcester to play the Renegades on June 21

A rare put out against the Renegades from the S&W softball team!

For the fifth year in a row the Sullivan & Worcester LLP softball team will take on the Renegades in an exhibition game.  The Renegades have owned these Lawyers on the field for the first four 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 always 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 with warm ups  and we hope to start the game around 7:15 at Moxley Field located at 31 Westminster Avenue in Watertown

Sullivan and Worcester having a great time on the sidelinesThe 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!

Renegades go through some Growing Pains in Bolingbrook and finish 5th

For the first time since 2014, the Renegades came to The Bolingbrook tournament.  This is the biggest non World Series tournament of the 2017 season and had some of the top teams in the league competing.  Boston would bring a green team to this set of games, as Jamie Dickerson would own the mound for Boston, having only pitched in some Beast of the East action.  On the defensive side of the ball, Boston brought two callers with limited and no experience in Ben Coiner (6 games experience) and Joe Bourque (0 games experience). Boston would also be without three starters from their 2016 season in Guy Zuccarello, Joe McCormick and Rob Dias.  The mantra for the weekend would be getting this squad some experience and learning together.  In addition to this, we would be up against some tough weather conditions with winds over 20 mph all day and gusts over 30mph at times.  It got so bad that our canopies would get destroyed leaving us to bake in the high 80-degree temps.  Let’s get to the Bolingbrook game results!

Game #4 Comets rally in the 5th to win 13-10

Bolingbrook game results - heroes of Game 1

Thaxton scored three runs while Larry and Shawn each scored a pair in this match against the Comets

The Chicago comets would be the first opponent of the weekend.  Boston owned a one game-winning streak over the comets as Boston bettered the Comets in the 2016 World Series for the first time in this rivalries history.  Christian Thaxton would make his 2017 debut and go down swinging without contact on 4 straight pitches.  Boston would go down 1-2-3 with 2 strikeouts in the first inning.  Nick Lopez would also struggle at the start as the Comet’s pitcher.  Through 2 innings Chicago held a 2-0 lead and each pitcher had 3 strikeouts.  Thaxton would lead off the third with a bomb over the head of the Comet Left fielder and then Shawn Devenish would score on a grounder up the gut to put Boston on the board.  In the Bottom of the 3rd the Comets would tack on two runs but their strikeouts were adding up as they now tallied five and Jamie Dickerson had more contacts than Nick Lopez.  The 4th inning was a good one for Boston.  Justen Proctor hit a shot up the middle and Coach Rob could be heard saying it was his best hit…EVAH!  That sparked a rally.  Thaxton then launched another ball to the moon into left field.  With one out, the L Train then hit a grounder to the right side for another Renegade score.  Joe Yee would cap the inning with one of his best hits as he blasted a shot into left field.  The Renegades had a 6-4 lead. Joe Quintanilla would make a stop to start the bottom of the 4th inning.  That brought up Big G who would hit a grounder up the middle that looked like an easy out.  The Renegade defense had multiple chances at it, but came up empty.  Juan Gonzalez would strike out.  The Comets then went to their bench.  Bernardo Barrera was 0-2 with two whiffs so they called rookie Frank Muso to the plate. Muso laced a pitch into right center and the Comets were tied up and excited that their rookie gave them a shot in the arm.  After 4 innings the Comets and Renegades were locked at six.  In the Fifth, the Renegades could not keep the Thaxton magic alive as he went down on 4 pitches.  Devenish and Quintanilla would plate runs and give the Renegades an 8-6 lead and a lot of hope. That hope would not last long Richie Schultz led off with a weak ball to the right side.  Thanh Huynh and Joe Yee could not get it time and Schultz had his first run of the game.  This would signify what would lie ahead in this inning.  The Comets would send 10 hitters to the plate and score 7 runs.  Many of these hits would elude the Renegade defense.  Five of the six Renegades would have multiple chances on defense and come up empty on defense.  It would go down as one of the worst innings in Renegade history.  Only 13 innings in Renegade history were worse than this.  The Comets had done it to Boston for the 4th time of those 13 forgettable innings.  Boston would put up some fight and score two in the top of the 6th but coach Weissman pulled Shawn Devenish in this inning as he felt tightness in his leg in this game running to third.  Though it was a loss, the Renegades were happy with how this team played.  A Few stops on defense was the difference in this match.

Game #5 Renegades clip the Scrappers 7-5

Bolingbrook game results - heroes of Game 2

Justen Proctor led the team with 4 stops on defense while Christian Thaxton scored twice to pace the Offense in this contest

In the first match up since 2012, the Renegades took on the Cleveland Scrappers next.    These teams played ten straight years from 2003 to 2012 but none since.  Cleveland has been in a rebuilding mode.  Their bench was thin and their line up had two rookies but one long-term veteran in 62-year-old Wilbert turner.  On the mound would be another Wiley veteran, Kevin Barrett.  Boston would start fast as Thaxton scored on a high pop up to the left side.  The best hit of the inning belonged to Shawn Devenish who hit a shot into left field where Jeff Dell made a nice play.  For the Boston defense the story would be the work of the front men.  Both Justen Proctor and Thanh Huynh would make stops for the Renegades in the first.  The 2nd was a bad inning.  Dickerson would throw 12 pitches and Joe Yee, Justen Proctor and Thaxton could not even earn a foul tip.   The Scrappers could not take advantage in their half of the inning as Christian Keeley and Steve Miller would whiff before Thanh Huynh would stop the infamous, Wilbert Turner.  In the third inning, Larry Haile would plate a run on a grounder to the left side and with one out Joe Quintanilla would hit a ball down the first base line that hugged the line for Boston’s second run of the frame.  Joe Yee would hit a laser into right field and Boston would hold a 4-0 lead. Cleveland had no answer in their frame as Barrett set Stanley Griffin and Jeff dell down on strikes.  Devenish would plate the only Renegade run in the 4th inning on a laser down the third base line to put Boston up 5-0.  Cleveland would wake up in the bottom of fourth.  Christian Keeley got the scoring started with a hard shot into right field that eluded Joe Yee.  Turner would then score on a similar hit. Up next, Jeff Dell scored the third run of the frame for the Scrappers on a ball which Larry Haile and Joe Quintanilla could not grab.  The Scrappers made it 5-3.  In the fifth, Justen Proctor answered the challenge and scored on a grounder down the third base line that Stanley Griffin could not get to on the 5th pitch he saw.  Thaxton then hit the first pitch for a run scoring grounder that rolled past Jeff Dell in left field.  Boston now led 7-3.  In the Bottom of the 5th, Cleveland had no answer and after Thanh Huynh made his third stop of the game off the bat of Christian Keeley, Steve Miller and Turner would strike out.  With a chance to put their foots on the throat of the Scrappers, Boston struggled.  14 pitches, 13 swings and just 4 foul balls and Yee, Proctor and Thaxton would strike out off Jamie Dickerson.  Justen Proctor would stop Stanley Griffin for his game leading 5 stops to start the 6th inning.  Jeff Dell would hit a pop fly up the middle, which Aqil Sajjad could not find in time to make it 7-4 and give Cleveland hope.  Rookie, Antonio Dobyne would strike out for the 2nd time in the game.  Christian Keeley would then hit a pop fly down the first base line.  Thanh Huynh broke to the line but the ball got by him and the Scrappers were now down just 7-5.  Rookie, Steve Miller was looming for some Abracadabra and for the first time put a ball into play.  Weissman had moved Thaxton and Yee mid game and this time, Thaxton laid out and made the play to close out the win.  Boston would now be 1-1 on the day and would break for lunch with the hungry Indy Edge awaiting them for the last game of the day.

Game #6 Indy Edge have something to prove to the league mercy Ruling Gades 18-5

Bolingbrook game results - heroes of the weekend

Coaches Jamie Dickerson, Ben Coiner, Joe Bourque and Aaron Proctor formed one of the youngest coaching staffs in Gade history (not pictured – Rob Weissman)

The Indy Edge were a team in transition in 2016 due to infernal turmoil. It started with was some issues when they did not renew their team and lost their three seed, which they owned as the RHI Extreme.  Jarred Woodard left them in 2016 to pitch for the Thunder; this team took on a new look.  Then after some debate in the league office as to why they could not retain the RHI seed (they finished 3rd in 2015)…they walked away from their new pitcher, Lindsay Woodard and went with teenager, Kyle Kennedy.  The Edge would have a good World Series in 2016 as they had to climb from a seed that put them at the bottom of the league.  In the end, they finished 7th.  A very good showing for this team of veteran players and a rookie pitcher.  In a show of disrespect, the Edge were talking some smack on social media about how poorly the Renegades played in the title game.  They came into this 2017 match up looking to make a statement that they were a top tier team.  Kyle Kennedy impressed right out of the gate.  In the top of the first inning, Kennedy threw just 11 pitches.  They key was he faced 8 batters and only one hitter swung and missed…at just one pitch.  The Edge held a 4-0 lead.  Boston would answer.  Christian Thaxton scored on a hard grounder to the right side while Joe Yee would score on a grounder down the third base line and Aqil Sajjad would plate a run on a tweener that Marc Morris could not corral.   In the top of the second, Proctor would stop Chris Dunleavy and Joe Yee would make two stops against Brian Christian and Pete Trejo.  Larry Haile would be the only Renegade to score in the bottom of the second because Danny Foppiano would make two nice stops, one of them on a dead ball off the bat of Justen Proctor.   The Edge bats would heat up and Danny Foppiano would plate a pair of runs to pace the Edge offense to a five run inning as Aqil Sajjad and Joe Yee would have some struggles in the field.  Weissman was visibly upset at the play of Sajjad and would talk to him about how to lay out for a ball during this inning.  In the Renegades minds, this game was about getting experience for this green team.  On the other side of the field, the Edge were looking to burry the Renegades.   At this point, the Boston bats would go dark.  Marc Morris would stop Sajjad this time…and then Dickerson would struggle and strike out the next 5 batters over the next two frames.  Good news happened in the 4th inning.  The Renegades defense set the Edge down 1-2-3 as Proctor made two stops and Aqil Sajjad listened to his coach and made a diving stop on a ball off the bat of Brian Christian.  Around this time, the Edge started to complain to the ump.  Though they were up 10-4 in what looked like a lop-sided game, they were complaining about Dickerson’s cadence.  Weissman ignored them.  Dickerson toing the rubber was struggling to find consistency with his pitches and the result was bunches of strikeouts.  He was not cheating in any way.  The Edge complained he was telling the players when to swing the bat.  Nothing could have been further from the truth. Dickerson laughed it off saying “if I was cheating I sure am not doing a good job since we are missing so often” The Edge were simply looking for every edge they could get and tried to rattle Dickerson.  Things took a turn for the worst in the 5th inning.  The Edge would plate eight runs in this frame with Foppiano and Marc Morris each plating a pair in this inning.  The Edge had put up 18 runs and instituted the 12 run rule.  The Boston Renegades truly were getting a test.  As the 12 run rule was started, a few of the Edge were still complaining to the umpire about Dickerson as they showed poor sportsmanship.  Boston would get the hammer in this game and lose 18-5.  Kyle Kennedy would pitch a gem.  He would strike out just one batter.  His 3% strike out ratio was the best performance of any pitcher against the Renegades since 2009 when Darnell Booker achieved the same while pitching for the Indy Thunder.  This game was a big learning moment.  Luis Soto played the whole game at Rover on defense.  He saw more action on defense in this game than in his entire career.  He almost scored on a ball earlier in the game as well.   Aqil Sajjad played the whole game at Midfield and though he stopped just one ball in 9 tries, he showed promise that he understood how to lay out for the ball.  Coiner and Bourque each saw a ton of game action and improved their calling.  Than Huynh was filling in at Right shorty, a position he hates…but he was improving all day long.  Joe Yee and Justen Proctor were both working on their mechanics at the plate and though they were a combined 1-7 in this game, they showed promise of being able to make an impact.  Boston would be ok.  They were hot…very hot (as they were also the only team of the 8 teams without a canopy for this game due to the fact the winds damaged most of the canopies and there were no extras left).  They would need to regroup and prepare for the Austin Blackhawks in the morning.

Game #7 Renegades down Austin 9-7 to take 5th

Bolingbrook game results - heroes of Game 4

Thaxton plated 2 runs and made 2 stops on defense. Justen scored one and had a game leading 8 stops on defense. Larry scored three runs with two big stops in left field while Joe Yee delivered the go ahead run while breaking his finger

After playing three games in high winds, the weather was much calmer on this morning.  The Austin Blackhawks would finish their bracket with just one win over Minnesota and losses against the Indy Thunder and Colorado Storm.  This Blackhawk team looked very different from their world championship team of 2015.  On the mound was former world champ of the West Coast Dawgs, Tim Hibner.  This game started very oddly and ended in an odd way as well.  Thaxton led off this game by hitting a grounder into left field.  He felt the base was late and the umpires did not know how to handle this rule and did not agree the base was late.  Shawn Devenish then hit a dribbler to the left side but Darius Sterling could not find it because the speaker went down into the grass.  With one out, Justen Proctor also scored on a weak dribbler to Sterling with the speaker in the ground.  One of the best hits of the inning came off the bat of Joe Yee who laced a shot into left but he missed third base and was put out by Brandon Chesser.  After all of this controversy, the blackhawks came to bat.  Steve Puryear led off with a deep drive to left but Larry Haile made a stop in deep left for a big out that would set the defensive tone.  Brandon Chesser would plate a run before the Justen Proctor show would begin as he made two stops to end the inning.  Shawn Devenish would score his second run of the game in another dinker to the left side and then Larry Haile would score in a bang-bang play which had the Austin spotters upset with the call.  Boston would lead 4-0.  In the Bottom of the 2nd, Larry Haile would make another great stop in left field to shut out Austin.  The Boston bats were quiet in the third inning with only Joe Quintanilla managing to put a dribbler to the right side into play.  The bottom of the third inning was Thaxton time (and not the offensive kind).  He made back-to-back stops at first base against Brandon Chesser and even more impressive stop against Mariano Reynoso.  Ed Manning closed out the inning for Austin by hitting a weak ball to the left side and then standing at the plate without running while Proctor easily made a play.  His coaches stood there dumbfounded as Weissman giggled about thoughts of how many times a Renegade had done this in the past.  For Boston, the strikeouts would start to pile up.  Larry Haile would score the team’s only run in the 4th but Dickerson would strike out Devenish, Proctor and Yee for his 6th, 7th and 8th strikeout of the game.  Austin got a spark in the bottom of the 4th as Faith Penn scored on a ball up the middle, which Quintanilla could not grab in time.  Austin would feed off this like vultures circling road kill.  Darius Sterling then plated a run.  Thanh Huynh would stop Puryear but Chesser would score again and the score was now down to a 5-3 Boston lead.  Huynh and Proctor would close out the inning for the Gade defense.  Weissman went to the bench in the 5th and brought in Aqil Sajjad to hit for Quintanilla.  On paper, this move did not appear to pan out as Aqil struck out.  However, part of the move was to give Dickerson back-to -back targets in similar spots.  Quintanilla’s target is one of the higher ones on the team.  The result of this was Thaxton hitting a hard grounder into left for a big run.  Larry Haile plated an insurance run and Boston would head into the bottom of the 5th up 7-4.  Penn and Sterling would lead off the bottom of the frame with strikeouts.  They were only the 2nd and 3rd of the game for Hibner.  The top of the order would come up.  Puryear, Chesser and Reynoso would score with two outs and tie the game up.  Two of these runs would score on balls close to Thaxton and Yee, which were just off their fingertips.  Close calls do not matter and Austin had tied the game at seven.  Joe Yee would lead off the 6th and hit a first pitch grounder up the middle and he jetted toward third.  After missing the base in the first, he was determined and he plowed right into the base for the go ahead run.  He was not getting up though.  We feared he may have broken a finger the way he landed and the way he was flinching in pain.  Yee went to the bench a hero and uncertain of his health.  Sajjad would strike out again making Weissman look foolish on paper…. BUT…on Dickerson’s 5th pitch to Thaxton, he would score a big run to give the Renegades a 9-7 lead.  Yee would play defense in the 6th despite his hand (which would later be diagnosed as an evulsion fracture). Penn would lead off the bottom of the 6th for Austin and this time would be denied by Justen Proctor.  Speedster Sterling would come up next and hit a weak pop down the 3rd baseline.  Proctor ranged to his right and hit the ground.  As he hit the ground, the ball one hopped and landed in his hands, while he was laying on his back.  An amazing play that shocked Austin.  Boston was fired up and one out away.  Lead off hitter, Steve Puryear who had put three of his four balls into play- all of them deep, had just one run to show for it because of Larry Haile.  As the count went deep, the pressure mounted and Hibner struck him out.  Boston held on to win an exciting game and finish in 5th place.  An exciting win and a confidence builder for this inexperienced crew.  Justen Proctor would finish with 8 stops on defense and as a team; the Renegades would have 14 defensive stops.  On a day when the bats did not have much, the gloves came up big.  Proctor would go on to make the defensive all-star team with 23 stops on the weekend.  He finished second to Stanley Griffin of Cleveland.  He was the first Renegade defender since Dino Vasile to make a defensive all star team in Bolingbrook and joined Darren Black as Renegades earning this achievement.

 

Renegades Start 2017 Campaign with 3 wins

The Renegades start the 2017 Campaign with 3 wins in Lincroft New Jersey in their quest for another Beast of the East title.  As with ever year, this tournament posed some challenges.  From a roster standpoint, Christian Thaxton, Joe McCormick and Thanh Huynh did not make the trip.   Three guys who played a big role in the 2016 season.  Aaron Proctor would also be called in to duty to call his first ever series of games.  Throw in the fact that rain would delay the games for more than an hour and prevent the team from getting any pre game practice and It looked like an up hill battle the team was willing to take on head on!

Game #1 Boston puts out the Fire in Walk off style 5-4

The Renegades opened the season in Lincroft, New Jersey and to start the season, we had an hour rain delay.  For the first time in team history (excluding the dead ball era), the Renegades did not have time to take bp before the game.  This would have a huge impact on the game for both teams.  Philly sauntered on to the field without bp or any type of warm up routine.  They would go down on strikes three times to stat the first.  In a surprise move, Guy Zuccarello was named the lead off hitter for the Renegades and on the third pitch of the inning hit a 45-foot pop up to the middle of the field, to give Boston a run. From there Cochran whiffed the next 5 hitters with lots of timing issues and foul balls as 45% of his pitches were fouled off into the wet grass of Lincroft.  With two outs in the bottom of the second, Guy Zuccarello laced a line drive into left field and raced to the base.  It was a close play and the umpire ruled in favor of Guy being safe to the dismay of the Philly defense and especially Mike Coughlin who was “late” in getting to the ball.  After a debate with the new umpire, the ruling stood.  Rob Dias then extended the inning on the 5th pitch he saw in the at bat with his first run of the 2017 campaign and gave Boston 3-0 lead.  In the top of the third, Philly got on the board.  They had 5 strike outs in 6 trips to the plate prior to this point but Mike Coughlin led off with a line drive down the first base line that nobody was near for their first run of their season.  Scott Hogwood then took one of his infamous giant swings and hit a weak liner up the middle of the field that put Aqil Sajjad on his heels as his first instinct was to back up.  This big swing surprised Aqil when the ball landed so far in front of him that when he tried to change directions, he fell backwards on his ass.  By the time he recovered, Hogwood had beaten him to the bag to make the game 3-2.  Dom Natoli, the Philly pitcher would then strike out the next three hitters.  After three frames, Philly had 2 runs on 3 balls put in play and had racked up 8 of their 9 outs by striking out.  This pattern would continue for them all game.  Shawn Devenish led off the 3rd for Boston with a blast into left field.  However, he came out of the batters box with a terrible line, which made him very slow down to third base.  Despite the distance of the ball, Maneer, Tawam made his first career stop against Devenish out near 130 feet.  The first 2017 pink blindfold would go to Devenish.  Joe Yee and Justen Proctor would struggle and both would strike out on 4 pitches as they struggled a bit with their mechanics.  In the 4th, Gina Natoli led off for the Fire and put a ball into play off her brother Dom. Dom said after the play ” it was a nice hit but you are running in quick sand”. Justen Proctor gobbled it up with ease for his second stop of the day.  Mike Coughlin strode to the plate and on this attempt hit a ball down the first base line again.  This time it stopped rolling between Guy Zuccarello at Right Shorty and Rob Dias at First base.  Guy called for help, as he could not hear the ball well with first base going off.  By the time Rob Dias could come up on it, Coughlin had scored to tie the game.  Coughlin lives for beep baseball and beating the Renegades is one of his passions. He had given his team a 3-3 tie.  Hogwood and Randy George would go down on strikes to end the top of the 4th.  In the bottom of the 4th, the Boston bats showed some life and the possibility the lack of warm ups were starting to wear off.  Zuccarello hit the 2nd pitch of the at bat up the middle and was stopped by Randy George.  Rob Dias weakly grounded up the middle to George and then Joe Quintanilla hit a hard shot to left center on his first swing but Mike Coughlin would go a long way and lay out to make a nice stop to end the threat.  After four innings, Boston and Philly were knotted at three.  Philly went down on strikes in the 5th as Dom Natoli racked up 13 strikeouts to this point.  In the bottom of the 5th, Shawn Devenish led off the inning with a weak ground ball to the left side and this time corrected his base running woes to score.  He giggled that he could score on such a short hit but be stopped on his blast earlier.  Boston now had a 4-3 lead.  Yee and Proctor would continue to struggle, racking up a scorecard that looked like the K-K-K.  Zuccarello would end the inning with a grounder to the left side that Randy George gobbled up for his game leading 4 stops.  Going into the 6th, Coughlin had a chance to be a hero and he blasted a shot into right center field that looked like a sure run.  Joe Quintanilla ranged to his right at the rover spot and laid out for the ball making a great play and stopped Coughlin from tying the game!  Q made the biggest put of the game on defense and the team was fired up.  Next up the mighty Scott Hogwood went down swinging.  With two out and three strikes, Randy George was at the plate.  He had been 0-3 on the day with three whiffs.  Coach Weissman had flashbacks to 2016 in a similar situation with the same player.  George then lofted a fly ball down the 3rd base line.  The ball landed in front of Joe Yee.  Yee committed to early and hit the ground.  George raced to the base and beet the crawling Yee to the ball to tie the game at four.  It was the same thing he did last year to send the game into extra innings.  Going into the bottom of the 6th inning the game was tied at four.  Rob Dias led off with a 4-pitch strike out and Joe Quintanilla strode to the plate.  On his third swing, he hit a grounder to the right middle of the field, which Philly could not get in time as it died between their layers.  Q was safe and walked off to give the Renegades an exciting victory.  It was the 2nd time in q’s career he had walked off on Philly, the last time was in Boston in 2008.  It was an ugly game.  Philly struck out 15 times.  Boston struck out 10 times.  Boston made just three stops on defense.  Guy Zuccarello paced the team with 2 runs while Justen Proctor made two stops.  Joe Quintanilla was the hero of this game on both sides of the ball though with two clutch plays in the 6th inning.

 

Game #2 Boston Spanks the Bombers 14-3

Luis Soto scored a circus run in this contest while Peter Connolly became the 10th volunteer to pitch in Renegade history (we also scored on him)

Game two of the season brought the Long Island Bombers to the field to compete for the 31st time in team history. This storied rivalry was all Long Island in the start. As they reeled off seven straight wins from 2002-2007 before the curse was broken. Boston is currently riding an 11 game win streak at the moment before this match up. Coming into this game was a surprise that Long Island squeaked by Rochester in game one by a 2-1 score. Added to the line-up in this game was Larry Haile to lead off for the Renegades. Getting his first appearance of the season he lit a fire for the team by lacing a line drive down into left field to set the tone. The lack of accuracy in the previous game seemed to be a thing of the past quickly. In just 6 total swings by four different batters, Boston raced out to a four-run lead as Zuccarello, Quintanilla and Devenish scored 4 straight times. Haile would tack on his 2nd run of the inning and after the first half of the 1st inning Boston held a five run advantage and was feeling very good. On defense Justen Proctor would make a stop on the leadoff hitter. Alex Barrera would then be involved in a strange play in which h hit a grounder to third base and raced to first. Joe Yee struggled a bit to find the ball and booted it away from himself. Alex dove at first base and fell short. As he attempted to regroup and get to the bag Yee, beat him to the ball on a bang-bang play. Proctor would make the next stop to end the first inning. After just one inning of play, Boston had matched their offensive and defensive output of the previous game! Joe Quintanilla would keep his torrid start to the season alive with his 2nd run of the game to lead off the 2nd inning on a pop fly to the left side. The Long Island defense was truly struggling. They would right the ship as Alex Barrera (1) and Matt Puvogel (2) would make stops to get them out of the inning. It would be the only inning they would make three stops on defense the whole game. On defense for Boston, it would become the Justen Proctor show. Every Boston defensive out from the second inning on was either by the way of a strike out (Long Island ended with 8 of these) or a stop by Justen (he would finish the game with 9). Boston cruised from here and started to get their bench in the game in the third inning. Fast-forward to the top of the 5th inning and Boston held a 9-2 lead. Luis Soto would lead off the inning with a grounder up the right side into no mans land in front of Edgar Erickson. Soto raced to first base and missed it. He then screeched to a halt and changed directions to hit the base again…and missed it for the 2nd time. As he was bout to make a third attempt at it a roar came from the Long Island bench to “keep playing”. As Edgar picked up the ball, Soto found the base. He would be called safe because the Long Island bench cannot give verbal direction. Soto would have his first run of the season on a totally botched play but would not be given the pink blindfold because he scored! Justen Proctor followed this up with his first run of the year. Then Aqil Sajjad got into the fun with his 2nd run of the game. This would be Aqil’s first multi-run game since game #2 of the 2015 season!  In the top of the 6th, Weissman went to the bullpen and brought in Peter Connolly.  Peter became the 10th pitcher in team history to throw a pitch in a game.  After striking out the first two batters he faced (Sajjad and Thayer), Larry Haile cam to the plate and scored a run.  this run moved Peter ahead of Justin Manjourides for 9th place all-time in runs allowed by our pitchers (Justin never had a runner score against him). Boston would cruise to a 14-3 victory led by Larry Haile scoring 4 runs and Guy Zuccarello scoring three times. Quintanilla and Sajjad would also score a pair. This game would go down in the history books at the biggest Renegade lopsided victory over the Bombers in the 31 game history with an 11 run victory. Justen’s 9 stops on defense were also the most he had ever made in a 6 inning game (he has been involved in three extra inning games where he has made 10-11 stops). This game was caught on facebook live:

 

Game #3 First ever Match up against Boston and Rochester as Renegades prevail 4-0

After finishing the 31st game ever against Long Island, Boston trekked across the field to face the Rochester Pioneers for the first time in history. This team got started in 2015 and joined the Beast of the East for the first time this season. They had lost to Long Island 2-1 and then lost to the host New Jersey Lightning 5-3. Their team captain was calling this game the Boston Massacre before it ever started. Though neither team was too worried about who would win this contest, the Renegades were more worried about the fact that some giant trees were standing out at about 155 feet away. This would be one of the most challenging fields the Renegades would ever step foot on. Left field was up hill. Right field was down hill. A giant tree stood in dead left field and another one in Right center. Much of the 150-foot line was filled with roots and divots. Not the best place to play a game for sure. In addition to this, the bases were some of the weakest beeping bases we have ever used. The field next to us would have their third base sound off and it would be louder than our first base. Any stiff wind that blew would make it impossible to hear the base. Weissman instructed all hitters to stay at home until they heard the base. No guessing at the direction to run. Both teams were at the same disadvantage. Earlier that morning, Coach Rob promised that Boston would go easy on Rochester and would not play many of the big bats in this game. Rochester would win the coin toss and in fashion would choose to hit first (a common practice of the Renegades in the early days when playing some of the better teams in the league) Larry Haile and Aqil Sajjad would score runs to give Boston a two run first inning. Rochester would send 7 batters to the plate before journeyman; Tony Santiago would put their first ball into play (Stopped by Justen Proctor). In the bottom of the 3rd after Luis Soto plated a run to give Boston a 3-0 lead, Rob Thayer would come to the plate. After a loud Rub-a-dub-dub call. Tub would be looking for his first hit and would it a weak grounder to the left side but because the bases were so hard to hear, he chased the ball into the field. As he lumbered into the field, Leah Werner of Rochester could not hear the ball and stood her ground. Thayer was so deep into the field and was about to make a left turn to the base when for some reason, the new ump called “foul”. There was no fear of collision as Werner and Thayer were not moving quickly; But Thayer was so in the wrong here. It was not a foul ball and Thayer was likely able to get to the base without interference. In the end, it was ruled a foul ball and he later struck out for the 4th time on the day. In the bottom of the fourth inning, Peter Connolly would take the mound again for the 2nd time today. Joe Quintanilla would score a run against him for Peter’s 2nd run is his career as a pitcher! Following him would be Joe Yee. For the 2nd time in history, Boston would have a family member pitching in a game against another family member. The only time this has happened was in 2012 when Joe Duggan faced his son in Haddonfield, NJ (they hooked up for a run). This time it was two cousins, Peter Connolly and Joe Yee. Sadly, the result was a strike out. The game would be a victory for Boston, as the Renegades would win 4-0. Rochester would strike out 16 times. The funniest moment of the game may have been a mistake by their captain, Kirstyn Smith when she took strike four in her final at-bat. In beep baseball, you are allowed one take. The 2nd take is a strike. She had forgotten the count and took a called strike 4. Score that as the first ever backwards K in the scorebook in the first ever game against these teams. To see the game live watch our facebook live stream:

Joe Quintanilla named to the Cambridge Athletic Hall of Fame

On April 29th, Joe Quintanilla was named to the Cambridge Athletic Hall of Fame.  “Q”,  who owns the Renegade record for most games played entered got his start in sports long before he started playing ball in 2000.  Q’s roots as an athlete started long before the Renegades.  He ran 11 different seasons as a member of the cross country and indoor/outdoor track teams before graduating high school in 1994.  Joe Also ran the Boston Marathon, ran as part of Boston College and made the 1996 Paralympics team in Atlanta as a representative of the United States.  Congrats.  You are not an Average Joe!

Thanks to Chris Cavallerano, we have a copy of this video on our youtube channel

 

Attached is a picture of his article in the program that the Hall of Fame published for that night

Joe Quintanilla's Hall of Fame article from the April 29th induction ceremony

 

 

The Renegades have athletes with a story and Inspiration!

The Renegades have athletes with a story and Inspiration!  Watching a beep baseball game you will be amazed at what you can see.  You will see a high level of competitive spirit.  You will see athletes running top speed and swinging for the fences.  You will also see defensive players throwing their bodies on the ground trying to make a key defensive stop.  You will see coaches creating strategy and helping players improve their game.  It is just an impressive sport to watch.  It is inspiring!

Then you look closer and see these athletes are all wearing blindfolds and many of them can’t see at all.  Now the game is even more impressive.  The level of trust they have in each other to fly around at top speed not knowing what is in front of them.  How amazing their hearing must be to track a ball rolling on a huge field or hear a base buzzing in tough windy conditions.  It is inspiring!

It’s impressive and it’s fun to watch.  But there is so much you don’t see that makes the Boston Renegades and so many of the other teams in this league even more impressive.  First, let’s start with coaching.  Most coaches teach by showing someone.  “Watch me and do what I do”. That is often how most sports are coached at the start.  How do you teach someone to hit a ball that has never seen a swing before?  Creativity, verbal communication, the sense of touch all become critical to the success of a coaching staff.  Often times what we see, is not what the players hear.  That perception alone can lead to some interesting coaching moments!

Go a tad further and you begin to realize, the Renegades have been at this since 2002.  It took years to learn how to coach this sport effectively and we are still learning every day.  The coaches of the Renegades have made a huge difference in these players skills.  However, this is not the most impressive thing about the sport either.

The most impressive thing that sets this sport apart from even the highest levels of sport is the stories.  Each and every player in this league has a story.  They do not represent the average blind person.  Not even close.  Many people who lose their sight would have no desire to have a ball hit at them or run full speed into a buzzing base.  Many of them actually lose a desire to even stay in shape.  A beep baseball player has normally overcome so much more than most other athletes.  They have overcome so many obstacles to even play the sport.  They are truly inspirational and many of them would make amazing mentors at how to overcome adversity.

Since 2002, roughly 50 players have tried to play in a game for the Renegades.  Each and everyone of them is unique and has a story to tell.  For brevity, let’s talk about a few of the current Renegades and what they have accomplished on and off the field and what makes them truly an inspirational athlete:

Joe Quintanilla

Joe Q crashes into a base in 2005

On the field – Joe has played in more games (181) than any other Renegade in team history.  He is the only Renegade in team history to play at least one game in every season the team has existed.  With age, he has moved from the lead-off hitter in 2003 to more of a role player in 2016.  However, he has never let a big moment scare him.  He delivered big time in the 2016 world series coming off the bench for his injured teammate and coming up with two giant hits at the end of the game to help us get into extra innings and eventually win.  This 2 run performance sent us to the championship game for the first time in team history.

In 2013, Joe Q sports his uniform from the 1996 Paraolympics

Inspiration– Joe lost his sight as a kid and he never let that stop him.  At that time, he would never play ball like his idol, Jim Rice.  Instead, he took to running.  He became a huge part of his high school running program.  He even ran competitively in college.  He was so good at distance running that he made the paraolympic team as a marathon runner in the Olympic games in Atlanta in 1996.  Joe is always ready to talk distance running.  He has helped his friends prepare for their first marathon and he has helped make blind runners in Boston feel special by being one of the minds behind the Blindfold challenge, a 5K race for people to run or try to run with a blindfold on.  On aril 29th, Joe will be inducted into the Cambridge Athletic Hall of fame for his feats at Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School as a member of the Cross country, indoor and outdoor track teams.  For more about Q, see an article on him in the Rochester Post in 2010

Christian Thaxton

 

Thaxton races toward third base in 2015

On the field– Thaxton burst into the scene in 2015 when he joined the Renegades in Mid season.  Though he was injured the day before the world series, he still managed to hit a team record .719 in his rookie year at the world series.  He followed that up hitting .651 in the 2017 series.  Both seasons, he was named to the league all star game for offense.  Many would argue, he is the best pure hitter in the league today after only playing two seasons.  He has home run power and lights out speed.  His teammates sit on the bench quietly when he comes to the plate to watch the “show” and listen to him make the beep ball squeal like a little piggy when he sends it deep into left field.  What makes him even more valuable is his investment in his teammates and he works hard with the coaches and players to teach them how to swing with better mechanics.

Christian (middle) shows off his 2016 all star award with his pitcher, Ron Cochran and catcher, Rob Weissman

Off the field – Christian was born to play baseball.  It’s in his families blood.  He grew up a baseball stud in Oklahoma.  He even played  junior college baseball at Redwoods Community College in 2012.  That is when he found out he had a rare eye disease called Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy.  As you would imagine, hearing the news you would be legally blind would be painful.  Christian went through some very rough times.  In 2015, his healing was on the way and he decided to come to Boston.  His attitude is amazing.  He has not only learned how to live with this disease, but he has done it in a city he was not familiar with, far away from his family and support system who is still in Oklahoma.  Christian is now enrolled at Umass and is working to complete his college degree.  All of this within three years of being told he would go blind.  Truly someone who looks at the positives in life, has faith and does the right thing!

Joe McCormick

 

Joe McCormick showing his excitement after scoring a run

On the field – Joe McCormick busted on to the Renegades scene in 2012 and has become one of the best two way players in team history.  Mac was named to the league offensive all star squad in 2013 when he hit .600 at the World series.  At the time, he was only the second Renegade to ever make an offensive league all star.  In team history, Mac ranks third all-time with 158 runs scored (in just 5 years of play) and 5th in defensive stops (121).  In fact, he is just one of three players in team history to break the century mark in both categories.  He is also only one of three players with a career batting average over .500 as he ranks 2nd all-time with a .541 batting average.

Joe Mac proudly holds the Beast of the East trophy which he has helped win 4 times

Off the field – Joe began to lose his sight in his senior year of high school to Leber’s Hereditary Optical Neuropathy.  Like a hitter taking a called third strike, he quickly accepted it and never slowed down.  Instead, he just figured it out.  He was accepted to and attended Harvard University the following year and he graduated in 2014 with a degree in Computer Science.  Never letting anything slow him down he plans to wed his high school sweetheart in the spring of 2017.  For more info on Mac, check out this amazing article in the Boston Globe from 2014

 

 

Larry Haile

 

Larry Hailes tumbles over a base in Philly, 2017. He was safe!

On the field – Larry joined the team in 2006 and at that time had zero confidence in his ability to play the sport.  He had no idea how to swing a bat but he loved to run.   He did not let that bother him.  He worked and he learned.  We helped simplify his approach and the rest is history.   He is now the all time leader in Renegade history in runs scored with 233 (only player in history that has eclipsed 200) and he is 5th all-time with a career .431 Batting Average

Larry is one of 4 players who have been part of all 6 Beast of the East Championship runs!

Off the field – Larry lost his sight as a kid.  He competed in the Maryland area at track as part of the school for the blind.  But what makes Larry’s story amazing is his mobility.  Larry has a passion for public transportation.  In fact, when the team travels, he often times spends his nights taking a tour of the city in his own.  YES! On his own.  He does not let his lack of vision stop him.  He wears a gps around his neck and off he goes.  Larry has traveled the world by himself to far off places like Japan.  His knowledge of public transportation is so amazing that he helps our new players learn how to ride the train and the bus.  He even can pretty much help anyone quickly figure out how to get from point a to point b using the subway and busses with just his memory.  For more about Larry, check him out on Chronicle in 2012

 

 

Aqil Sajjad

Aqil takes a rip in 2010

On the field – Aqil had never played baseball before.  The closest he had come was playing cricket as a kid in Pakistan.  In a short time, he became a steady presence on the Renegade roster and during the first few years of his career, he led the team in games played and was one of the hardest players to strike out (he ranks as the 6th toughest player to strike out in team history at 19.7%).  Aqil is 100% self made as we have taught him everything he knows including how to run which was difficult since had never run before playing with the team.  While attending Harvard, he had a two bedroom apartment.  One of those rooms was dedicated to his beepball swing which after tens of thousands of practice swings he had crafted one of the most repeatable swings on the team.

Off the field – Aqil has no sight and has not had any since he was a teenager in Pakistan.  That has never stopped him.  In fact, in 2014, he The Renegades have a theoretical Physicist that could be on the big bang theory. Of course his "big bang" was the walk off hit he had against New Jersey last weekend! How can he do physics without his sight? He is WICKED SMAHT!graduated Harvard university with his PHD in theoretical particle physics.  That topic is hard enough for most people but Aqil had to learn how to do all of these equations without the use of sight.  He is currently working at Perkins school for the blind on a project to help blind people do math while he ponders his next scientific achievement.  for more about Aqil, check out a page we created for him with many of his articles

We need your help! Looking for volunteers to help with two events

We need your help!  We are looking for volunteers to help us with two events.  If you have a few hours to spare, we have two events where we need some help to make the event a success.

Beep Baseball Tournament – Looking for Volunteers: Umpires needed

The Woburn Host Lions are hosting six teams in the regions biggest beep baseball tournament in history.  We will have 6 teams competing to be crowned the best team on the east coast.  We will be running three different games at the same time and need at least 15 volunteers to make this work for three different time slots.  Come be a part of history and watch some of the regions most inspiring athletes! (Please note we play in many weather conditions including drizzle, showers and sometimes rain.)

Photo of the 4 teams who competed in Woburn in 2015. We are looking for Volunteers to help with the event in 2017

Photo of the 4 teams who competed in Woburn in 2015. We are looking for Volunteers to help with the event in 2017

When:  Saturday July 8 All day:  time slots for games are roughly 8:40-11:30 am, 11:10 am-1:30 pm and 2:10-4:30 pm

Where:  Joyce Middle School located at 55 Locust street in Woburn

What we are looking for: We need the following roles:

Field umpires – these volunteers will stand in the field and help the home plate umpire make the right decision on when a defensive player has made the stop.  These people must be mobile, have good eye sight and be able to stand on their feet for about 2 hours. This person will be exposed to the sun and or rain

Base umpires – The volunteers will stand in foul territory and help the home plate umpire determine exactly when a base runner touches the base.  They will also make sure the base is set up before the next play so the hitter can hear the buzzer inside the base.   These volunteers need to have good eye sight and the willingness to stand in bad weather conditions.  They can easily be seated in a chair between innings if needed

Base Switch operators – These volunteers will sit behind home plate and be in charge of setting the bases off when the ball is pitched using a switch.  This role merely requires good hearing and the ability to flick a switch consistently at the same time.  This person will also be under a canopy to protect the base switch from the elements and will be seated for the duration of the game

Sign up here: http://tinyurl.com/volunteering-for-home-game

Rock Climbing fundraiser – Looking for Volunteers: Belayers needed!

Central Rock Gym is hosting this event to help us raise money to travel to Chicago and the World Series this year:

A rock climber being belayed. We are looking for volunteers to help us belay in April

When:  Saturday April 22 from 12:30-4:00

Where:  Central Rock Gym, Watertown located at 74 Acton Street, Watertown

What we are looking for: We need help to belay our climbers.  This involves holding the ropes and helping the climbers enjoy the event.  You do not need experience but must be physically able to do the job.  We have a belay class that will start at 12:30 where you will receive training.  This is free and will also help you if you ever want to climb on your own with friends.  The event begins at 1:00 for the climbers.

Sign up here:  http://tinyurl.com/volunteering-for-rock-climbing

 

 

Renegades Announce 2017 Game and Practice Schedule!

It’s that time of year again!  The Boston Renegades start their 16th year of play in the National Beep Ball Association.  We enter the year ranked 2nd in the World after shocking the league finishing the season 13-2 with the only two losses coming to the Champion, Indy Thunder.  In fact, in the past two seasons, the Renegades are 26-4.  It should be an excting season as Boston expects to play its most games since the 2010 season.

June 3:  Lincroft, New Jersey at  Christian Brothers Academy High School located at 850 Newman Springs Road (route 520)

Boston travels to Lincroft for the second time in team history.  In 2015, Boston swept three games there defeating Long Island, the New Jersey Lightning and the PA Wofpack.  Games will begin around 9:00 am and last through roughly 4:30.  There will be six teams in attendance but we will only play three of those teams.  There will be a Random draw in May of who we will play.  Below is a look at how we have fared against the opponents who are in attendance

Team Boston Wins Boston Losses
Long Island 19 11
NJ Lightning 12 2
NJ Titans 1 0
Philly Fire 22 4
Rochester Pioneers 0 0

June 10-11:  Bolingbrok, Illinois at  Bolingbrook Recreation and Aquatic Center located at 200 Lindsey Lane Bolingbrook, IL

Boston Returns to Chicago for the first time since 2013.  Outside of the World Series, this is the biggest event in the league.  Eight teams will be competing over 2 days.  Each team is guaranteed to play four games each.  Three games on Saturday and one game on Sunday. This will be the Renegades 9th trip to Chicago.  The team has not fared well here in the past with a 10-22 record overall.  However, most of these games were played when the Renegades were a newer, inexperienced team.  Will things be different?  We will find out in May who our opponents are. You can be sure these teams will be looking to put a target on our back.  In 2016, Boston walked off twice on Colorado and beat Chicago for the first time in history.   The Indy Thunder also faced us twice in 2016 beating us to win the national championship  Below is a look at our 7 possible opponents and our lifetime record against them with their 2016 National Ranking

Team Boston Wins Boston Losses National Rank out of 20
Austin, Tx 2 4 6th
Chicago Comets 1 10 8th
Cleveland 6 5 Not Ranked
Colorado 5 8 3rd
Indy Edge 0 0 7th
Indy Thunder 4 11 1st
Minnesota 4 0 9th

July 8:  Woburn, Ma at Joyce Middle School located at 55 Locust Street, Woburn

This will be the biggest beep baseball tournament in the history of New England.  Never before has there been 6 teams converged in New England to battle it out for the Beast of the East trophy.  This event will be a continuation of the games played in Lincroft, in early June.  The format is to play the two games against opponents whom we did not play in New Jersey.  This will give every team 5 games.  From there the top seed will face off against the two seed.  Three will play four. Five will play six.  Last year, we had five teams competing but this season, we added the Rochester Pioneers to the mix.  Below shows how these teams fared in Beast of the East competition and the World Series last year.

Team  Wins  Losses National Rank out of 20
Boston 13 2 2nd
Long Island 3 3 Not Ranked
Philly Fire 2 3 Not Ranked
NJ Titans 6 6 13th
NJ Lightning 0 5 Not Ranked
Rochester Pioneers 2 5 19th

The Renegades have been practicing since March and will be back in Watertown, their home since the 2006 season.  For more information on the practice schedule, please see our schedule page.  Also, we will be announcing some local charity games where the Renegades will take on sighted opponents.  Make sure to come out to Woburn this year and see some Beep Ball action!

Touch the top: Rock Climbing with the Renegades at Central Rock Gym Saturday, April 22

Flyer with details about the Renegade rock Climbing event

Have you ever wanted to try Rock Climbing?

Have you ever wanted to support your favorite blind baseball team, the Boston Renegades?  Here is a chance to do both!  Join the Boston Renegades for an afternoon of Rock Climbing at Central Rock Gym in Watertown, Mass on Saturday April 22nd from 1:00-4:00 in the afternoon.  Central Rock Gym is partnering with the Renegades for the third year and is offering you a special price that  is lower than if you walked off the street to climb!  100% of the funds go to the Renegades and 100% of the fun goes to you!

 

Ben Coiner and Jamie Dickerson prepare Aqil Sajjad to climb the wall at Central Rock Gym in 2016

All proceeds from the event go to help fund the Renegades as they travel to the World Series in West Palm Beach Florida to compete against the top teams of beep baseball around the country and chase a dream for a World Championship

Included in your $35 experience are:

  • Free Belaying class at noon before the rock climbing event
  • Climbing Equipment
  • Food & Drink
  • Free belay for visual impaired climbers

Dylan Hedtler-Gaudette scales the wall at Central Rock Gym in 2016

Whether you are a first time rock climber, or have been climbing for years, support the Renegades and climb with them.

• Challenge yourself and climb with a blindfold
• Create team building experience for your family and friends
• Exercise and have fun and support a great charity!
• A chance to win fun prizes in our raffle
 
 
 
 
 

When

Saturday April 22nd from 1:00-4:00 in the afternoon

Where

Central Rock Gym is located at 74 Acton Street in Watertown, Massachusetts

Pre-registration is required.  Please make sure to sign your waiver form and make your payment here:  Please use this link to sign up.

Would you like to volunteer to help that day?

If you are interested in Volunteering to help us belay:  Please sign up here

Thank You!

A big THANK YOU to our sponsors for this event!

 

Questions

If you have any questions, Please contact us at bostonrenegades@gmail.com

We hope to see you at the top!!!
 

Bowl-a-thon fundraiser for the Renegades on January 28th

Cartoon of a logo for Bowl-a-thon

Come support the Boston Renegades by bringing your friends and family for an afternoon of bowling at our Bowl-a-thon fundraiser.  Thanks to the Woburn Host Lions, we have partnered with the Woburn Bowladrome to host the event.  Proceeds from this event will go to help support the Renegades’ expenses for the 2017 season,  during which we plan to travel to Lincroft, NJ, Bolingbrook, IL and West Palm Beach Florida.  The cost of the event is $35 per person.

Details of the Bowl-a-thon

Where:

Woburn Bowladrome located at 32 Montvale Ave, Woburn, MA  01801

When:

Saturday, January 28th from 12-2 PM.  Registration opens at 11:30am

Your $35 donation includes two frames of Candlepin Bowling, 2 slices of Pizza and a soft drink.  It is also a donation to the team to help us with our travel expenses.  We encourage people to pre-register.  Pre-registration does not cost anything, but it will help us plan for the food and help expedite your process of getting onto a lane on the day of the event.  Please bring cash or a check made out to Association of Blind Citizens.  We are unable to accept credit card payments at this time.

Pre-register for the Bowl-a-thon

You can register for the Bowl-a-thon using either of the methods listed below.   Pre-registration will really help us plan the number of lanes we need and amount of food to purchase.   Teams will be comprised of five individuals.  Team Captains, please list put your team name on the eventbrite pre-registration form.

Do you use Facebook?

We have set up a Facebook event so that you can see who is coming and you can invite people to join us. If you plan to go to the event and are on Facebook, please purchase a ticket by pre-registering on that page.  The Facebook pre-registration will take you to an event we have created on Eventbrite where you can enter your information, what team you may be bowling on, which Renegade you are supporting and truly help us plan better.  The Facebook link is here.

If you don’t use facebook, join us on Eventbrite

If you are not on Facebook, you can go straight to the Eventbrite event to register, here.

Questions?

Please contact  Joe Quintanilla (joeqman@verizon.net), Larry Haile (hailelarry1@icloud.com), or any Boston Renegades team member.

Top 10 Renegade moments of 2016

As we close the book on 2016 and welcome in a New Year, let’s pause and reflect on the Top 10 Renegades moments of 2016.  Each year this team takes steps at improving and 2016 was no exception.  On and off the field we had a lot of fun and a lot of success.  As we have done in previous years, Let’s review the top 10 moments of the season through the eyes of Coach, Rob Weissman.  We will post one post a day for the next 10-12 days…so please check back to remember some of the top moments of the year.

#10 Soto finds his Rhythm

Boston Renegades -Ben Coiner Lifts Luis Soto in the air in celebration

Ben Coiner Lifts Luis Soto into the air after he scored a pair of runs vs the NJ Titans in Long Island

Often times, the things that are memorable happen off the field.  What is great as a coach of the Boston Renegades is seeing hard work off the field pay dividends on the field. Luis Soto entered the year as a third year player.  With his blindness comes problems with his memory which is all due to how he lost his sight as a kid.  When the season started, we took a team stance of the importance on learning the mechanics of hitting.  We asked all the players to explain to the coaches the key mechanics we were focusing on.  From day one, Soto was frustrated and went into a shell.  He was frustrated he could not recall things and was concerned he would not be able to contribute.  I spent many hours on the phone with him in the spring trying to coach him up and show him that athletically he is quick and has raw power.  We talked about the fact, he was in better shape than many guys on the team.  We talked about the main thing holding him back was his confidence.  Coming into the season, soto was a career .056 hitter with just one run in 18 at-bats.  In our first tournament of the year in long island Soto had a great game against the New Jersey Titans.  In his 2nd trip to the plate he hit a ball into the ground which did not go very far but his speed beat the defense and he scored.  The team erupted.  Later, in the same game, he hit a laser into the deep outfield and cruised into the base for his first career multi run game.  He scored more runs in this game than he did in his whole career!  What was so memorable for me here as a coach was two things.  First, it was amazing to see his confidence turn so quickly in that game and to see a smile return to his face where it had not been all year.  Secondly, Lisa Andrews captured a moment on camera that I loved (see the above picture).  First year coach, Ben Coiner was so pumped for Soto that he lifted him into the air.  I was a proud coach at that moment.  Proud of Soto and super proud of the culture on this team to see a first year coach so excited at that moment.  It was priceless and a top 10 moment of my 2016 season.

 

#9 The Knock out Punch

Mac and Than at the Banquet

Thanh and Mac two days after the collision. Mac has a black eye to show for it

Not every moment we have is memorable for a good reason.  Some of the most painful things tend to stay with us, especially in sports.  That happened in our bracket game against the Indy Thunder.  In this game, we had one of the worst injuries in team history.  We entered this game undefeated on the year.  We were facing off against the only other undefeated team at the World Series.  The winner of this game went to the title game while the loser went to the semi finals.  The score was 6-4 and the Indy Thunder was leading going into the top of the 5th inning.  Gerald Dycus hit a laser into left center field that was most likely going to be a run with his blazing speed.  As the ball sailed past Third Baseman, Than Huynh, he turned his back and chased after it.  Joe McCormick was taking an angle to the ball from his left field spot and before anyone could react, the two collided in a loud bang.  Both players went down.  At first, it looked like these two tough guys would shake it off as it looked like Thanh may have gotten the worst of it since he is literally half the size of Joe McCormick.  There was no blood which was a good sign.  When we got to them, Thanh was a little shell shocked but Joe was dizzy.  As Mike Marciello assessed the situation, we saw Joe’s face begin to swell and swell quickly.  His game was over as Mike pulled him.  Thanh on the other hand remained in the game as he was playing on pure adrenaline.   A short time later, we called for an ambulance and Joe was taken to the hospital.  Thanh was later pulled from the game and was limping very badly the rest of the tournament. Thankfully, these two players would eventually heal and be ok.  In the 15 years of playing ball, this went down as the worst in-game injury, and one of the worst injuries we have seen in team history.  In the end, Joe had fractures in his face and sinus cavities.  Thanh had bone bruises to his leg and foot.  This collision changed the outlook of the World Series and helped the Thunder win this game.  Boston showed its resolve by digging deep and winning the semi final game against Colorado without these two players.  The team truly supported each other.  You can be sure that moment will be discussed and a lesson taken from it as the Renegades look to improve in 2017.

#8 Feeling after the San Antonio Game

Thaxton scored 5 times, Haile 4 times while Rob Dias had 3 runs and 3 stops and Justen Proctor made three stops to lead the Renegades over the Jets

Before the season started, we spoke about the fact it could be a very special year.  The excitement was there from pre season through the entire year. As the World Series brackets were getting created, it became apparent that we could be the recipient of some poor seeding.  Because the league had a lot of turnover, two new teams were formed with many talented veteran players.  These teams were seeded at the bottom of the brackets.  We were supposed to be playing the 19th seed as our first game at the World Series.  A game in which the strategy would have been to rest some of the starters and get some valuable playing time for the rest of the team.  Instead, we got the upstart San Antonio Jets and one of the top pitchers in the history of the sport.  We had two ways to look at this.  We could have complained at how unfair the system was or  shut up and prove to the world what we can do.  We chose the later.  As the league discussed on social media which teams were going to get beat, The consensus claimed the Jets would beat the Renegades.  What happened?  We decided this was a great opportunity.  If we lost, who cares, it had no effect on the rest of the World Series.  If we won, the confidence would help us all week.  What happened, We came out and played well.  We put up huge numbers and won 20-9.  When the game was over, I overheard a few of the Jets players and coaches saying wow, Boston is for real.  Looking around the Renegade team you could see the confidence in the squad.  It was a special feeling and we knew right there, it looked good to set the team up for an amazing run.  Playing a team who we predicted would finish top 5 in the league and beating them set this season up to be the most special in our 15 year team history.  By the way, the Jets did finish in 5th place!

#7 Eight inning win vs Philly Earns 6th Beast of East Title

Team photo of the Renegades in Philly

Team photo of the team we took to Philly which clinched the Beast of the East title

With 5 teams in the Beast of the East for the first time, the format had changed a little bit. We adjusted things so we would only play each team once and the top three teams would play each other a second time.  We entered the day 3-0 and needed to get a win against Philly.  A win here would surely secure another Beast of the East run as it would help us with many tie breakers.  One major hurdle was they recruited one of the game’s best pitchers, Johnny Walker from Colorado.  Walker has owned the Renegades through history including a walk off win in the 2015 World Series with the Colorado Storm.  To make things worse, the fields were lightning fast.  Almost like a putting green, we knew that putting a ball into play would result in a run the majority of the time.  On the bump for the Renegades was Jamie Dickerson in only his 2nd year as a pitcher.  The game started slow as both teams went scoreless.  The runs would soon come  After three innings, Boston held a 5-3 lead but in the 4th, Philly tied it at six.  Boston pulled ahead in the 5th 9-7 but could not hold the lead as Philly scored in the bottom of the 6th to tie the game and force extra innings.  Both teams scored a pair in the 7th but in the 8th inning Dickerson connected with Christian Thaxton, Rob Dias and Shawn Devenish and the defense held in the bottom of the inning as Boston held on to win 17-15.  It would be 1st of 3 times the Renegades would come back and beat a Johnny Walker team in the 2016 season.  The team was fired up.  This team did all of this while Joe McCormick went through an epc struggle with 6 strike outs in 7 trips to the plate.  He was left in the game because of his power potential and the fact he led both teams in defensive stops with 5.  This win gave the Renegade squad confidence it could play in a tight game, it could win with conributions from players up and down the line-up and it was a huge step for Jamie Dickerson as a pitcher.  We were on his back this weekend as he grows in this league.  For the first time since 2006, we went on a trip relying soley on a 2nd year pitcher.  He delivered big time.

#6 Lucas Lectures the team About Hard Work

Lucas joined the squad in 2015 and in 2016 his voice was a part of our success

Before every practice, the team huddles to discuss a few things.  Before one of our practices we had a discussion about walking the talk.  The team had been talking a lot about winning  world title.  There was a buzz from the start of the season.  I had challenged the players early in the season to see if they were truly working toward that goal.  At this point, the message was i felt they could do way more.  We went around taking turns talking about what players were doing off the field.  There was not enough work going on.  At some point during the talk, 2nd year coach Lucas Schwallie had something to say.  This 17 year old had earned the respect of many of the players with his work in the cages with them.  After being mostly quiet in his rookie campaign, Lucas felt more comfortable this year.  He had the floor and firmly said “Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work”.  He then told us this was from Kevin Durant.  As a coach, I was totally fired up hearing this.  Here was a High school junior telling these guys to work harder and most importantly, they listened.  I was just loving the culture of this team.  Though Lucas did not travel with the team, he was one of the unsung heroes of the season.  He was a steady presence at practice and was our primary hitting instructor for most of the year because of his ability to be at Wednesday practices.  He watched videos, he analyzed swings and gave feedback.  But this moment stood out to me.  Not only did I love the moment, I recognized how special Lucas is and that he will go anywhere he wants to in this world as he gets ready to go to College in the fall of 2017.  We are lucky he found us one day in the streets of Boston when he asked one of our players how a blind guy with a cane was holding a bat.  Just a tremendous, accountable outgoing young man!

#5 – Put it Behind You Rook, We Need You

Shawn Devenish scoring a run in Philly by hand tagging a base. this burned him in our game against Colorado..and he learned from it

It’s the 12th game of the season.  Boston has 11 wins vs zero losses and facing the Colorado Storm.  The same team that knocked the Renegades into the losers bracket in 2015.  The team that wins this game is guaranteed a top 3 finish in the World Series and will be one of just 2 teams still alive without a loss in the winners bracket.  Colorado had just scored 2 runs to take a 6-5 lead heading into the bottom of the 4th inning to retake the lead in a dog fight.   Joe McCormick led off the bottom of the 4th to tie the game.  With one out, Shawn Devenish came to the plate representing the go-ahead run.  On the 3rd pitch, he grounded a ball up the middle deep into left center field and raced to third base.  It looked like a sure run.  But in beepball, nothing is certain.  Devenish raced to the base and threw his right arm out to tag it…and he missed.  As panic struck, he put the brakes on, stumbled and tried to reverse direction.  Colorado’s Rocky Zamora had the ball in the air and Shawn Devenish was out.  He was now 0-3 in this game.   Things felt worse when Guy Zuccarello struck out to end the inning and the game was now 6-6 and we failed to turn over the line up to our top hitter, Christian Thaxton.  Shawn was visibly very upset at his misfortune.  As the team took the field, I took the opportunity to make sure he was looking at things differently.  I calmly approached him (historically, not my strength), put my arm around him and we talked.  We talked about the play.  We talked about how he needed to be more aggressive at hitting the base dead on when it was harder to hear.  We talked about the wrist injury he  suffered earlier in the year which he hurt going over third base in Long Island.  We talked about mental toughness and focusing on the moment.  We then talked about how important he was to the team.  We talked about the fact his presence in the lineup was a big reason we were 11-0.  We talked about the most important play in the game being the next one.  Shawn’s body language changed.  It was a good talk, possibly one of my best ever.  With anticipation, he came to the plate in the 5th inning  and struck out on 4 pitches.  It did not phase him.  I was excited to see that.  We entered the bottom of the 6th inning down 13-9 and staring at the losers bracket.  but the Renegades don’t ever quit.  With one out, Rob Dias, Joe McCormick and Larry Haile plated runs to make it 13-12.  Shawn Devenish came to the plate representing the tying run.  With three strikes, he hit a laser into right center.  As he ran to the base, I watched closely.  He ran with confidence.  This time there would be no hand tag.  He tackled the base.  Game Tied!  He went from feeling like crap to pure joy.  His smile was as big as they get.  The team was fired up and screaming for joy.  Colorado was slumped over in the field and their body language showed that momentum had shifted.  This game was not over.  More importantly, Shawn showed everyone just how coachable he was and that he is a ball player who is able to learn from his mistakes and make his game better.

#4 The student finally beat the Teacher

JT Herzon of the Chicago Comets has been a mentor to Rob Weissman and The Renegades for years

The biggest influence on our Renegade coaching style from outside our organization has been JT Herzog of the Chicago Comets.  When I first started coaching in 2003, JT told me he would be willing to share some ideas with me.  He spent a few hours on the phone with me that off season and in-season after this.  He was always willing to share his ideas on drills, coaching, game management and ways to make the league better.  I soaked up everything he said.  Not only did I know he was a great coach, but he had won a World title in 2003 and he had built the largest program in the country.  Chicago was a model to try and achieve.  Every year, JT would always have kind words for the improvement we had made and encouragement for the players that things were moving in the right direction.  Though the team was having success, it had never beaten Chicago.  Most everyone who follows the Renegades is aware the Long Island Bombers used to own us.  They had a 7 game winning streak before we ever beat them.  What most don’t know is two teams have done more damage to us.  The Kansas All-stars and the Chicago Comets.  The Comets had beaten us 10 straight times including three times in 2013.

As we entered our game against them on Thursday morning, I felt good this game could be different.  We were clicking and confident.  This was our 11th game of the year and we were 10-0 on the season.  For the first time, I looked at their bench and they looked thin.  The days of them having 20 players were over.  The Comets won the coin toss which made me a little nervous and reminded me of a 2009 game which we lost to them in extra innings.  The game started as a dog fight.  The first two innings saw one of their best players go down with a hand injury, another one of their players almost run into our bench and a long friendly debate on how that play should have been called.  After two innings despite this drama, Chicago clung to a 5-4 lead.  Our bats woke up. Boston scored 7 runs in the 3rd and 4th and after 4 innings Boston was ahead 11-6 and the general feeling was this was going to be our game.   Then we struggled in the 5th as Thaxton struck out for the first time all game. Cochran struggled over the final two innings and we scored just once against 4 strike outs. To make things worse, Chicago is well coached and showed no quit.  They battled back.  With just one out in the 6th inning they had pulled the game to a one run deficit.   Mike “Hoodlum” McGlashon would have the first chance to tie it.  I was calmly pacing the sidelines and talking to the defense.  I spoke to them calmly and tried to keep them focused.  He grounded out to Justen Proctor.  That brought up Juan Gonzalez who had scored three times in this contest and was killing us.  I’m not going to lie.  I had a hard time watching him hit….but when contact was made..I knew it was not solid.  Rob Dias raced to make the stop and we held on to win.  The celebration on the field was like we won the Series.  It would be a huge victory this week..and this confidence would carry over in our other games.  I will never forget Guy Zuccarello telling me after this game…that he was shocked that I actually helped keep the team calm during the Comet’s comeback.  Though JT is no longer the head coach on the squad, his influence is still heavily soaked in on that team.  He approached me with a smile and a big congratulations.  We had finally beaten them.  I had finally beaten my mentor.  It only took us 14 years to make it happen!

 

Rob Dias at the plate

Rob Dias takes a hack during the early rounds of the Series. His biggest hit would come against Colorado and in just three seasons he is tied for the all-time lead in walk-off hits with 2

#3  Dias Gets His 2nd Career Walk-Off

Our first match against Colorado is going to make the top 10 list again.  This time, I need to focus on another moment.  In the 5th top moment of the 2016 season, I spoke of the talk with Shawn Devenish.  We spoke about how big it was to see him tie the game.  As the game went extra innings, we took the field for the 7th inning.  The beepball gods must have smiled on us at that moment.  Chad Sumner led off the inning with a strike out.  Then Richie Krussel who had scored 4 times in the contest also struck out.  This marked their 8th whiff of the game.  More amazingly, five of those 8 whiffs came in the last two innings.  Colorado was struggling.  Demtrious Morrow would end the inning with a ball hit up the gut of the defense.  As he lugged his pulled hamstring to the base, Guy Zuccarello made the stop.  The Renegades floated back to the bench they were so high.

Christian Thaxton had an up and down game. He had scored three huge runs but came up empty in the 5th and 6th as he was trying too hard.  Rob Dias started the game 0-4 but had scored to start the 6th inning rally.  He was so pumped to lead off this inning that he told me he was going to end this game.  One pitch and he launched it by everyone into left field.  If he could have seen that hit, he may have done some sort of bat flip and walked to the base.  This is beepball..and as we saw with Shawn, running the base can be hard at times.  Dias sped to first and hit it with ease.  Walk off!  We were off to play Indy.  We were just one of two teams still alive and undefeated.  The sense of accomplishment was amazing.  Sadly we did not have a ton of time to revel in the victory as Indy awaited us.  Seeing Rob’s confidence and watching him hit that blast was awesome.  The team mobbed him at first base.  It was just a magical day.  First holding off the Comets (that moment was #4 on my list…and Rob made the final clinching defensive stop in that match) and now he comes back with the big hit.  In just 3 years of play Rob has 2 walk-off hits (no-one in team history has more).  Dias will go down as one of the biggest clutch hitters in Renegade history.   It’s just too bad it took an encounter with Bryan Grillo in a department store before he came down.  So many lost years he could have been racking up stats and helping this ball club grow.

#2 We Made the Show and We Did It Our Way

Renegades pre-game for the National Anthem

The Renegades lined up on the 1st Base line before the title game

The night before the Championship game I took some time to reflect.  I did a lot of thinking about how we could win the title game.  But I also got caught up in thoughts about how happy I was to have made the final game.  I thought about all the hard work every past Renegade coach and player had put in.  I thought about how happy they would be for us and themselves to be involved in what we have built.  I truly felt torn about calling everyone to let them know we made it and doing what it takes to prepare to make sure the guys were ready for the big game.  Clearly, I picked the later, but I was equally as excited to make sure every person who had ever supported us or played for us knew we had achieved a goal.  For many of us, this was a goal we had never truly thought about.  Every season, I was quoted as saying, we are not going to the world series with the goal of winning a title.  Most of the league knew this when we booked flights to leave during the title game.  A few times, I even said, I would personally pay for the flights if we ever had to actually play in that title game.  It was not meant as disrespect to the league, it was a way to save the team thousands of dollars.  The first few years of this message, it was often greeted with anger from a few players whose heads were in the clouds about the true reality of how stacked things are against a home grown team.  2016 was the first year in 14 seasons, I told the team, we would take a true shot at the title if people worked hard.

Our team is unique in this league.  We do a lot of stuff differently.  We do a lot of stuff our own way.  Part of it is the culture we have built, part of it is the style we bring to our team as coaches.  At times in recent years, I had always wondered, would we ever get a shot at the big game and what would that feel like.  For me personally, getting there was confirmation that what we have built….though different is very effective.  A we stood in front of the crowd for this game, when they announced our team…I took great pride in what we had built.  My only regret at the time was we just didn’t have enough time to celebrate the success.  Since there is no history book on beep baseball, the game’s stats can be hard to come by.  I know for a fact since 2003 the Renegades were the first team to play in a title game where EVERY player and coach on the roster played 100% of their career in our uniform.  That should be a goal of more teams.  That is the definition of a team.  Though we lost the game, we got there as a team and I believe we did something that may not have happened since the 1970’s.  A rare feat…for a rare team that I was so proud of that week.  This day was validation that the hard work of every coach and player to ever wear the Renegade colors helped us grow to the team we have become today.  It was a very proud moment to be a Renegade.

#1 The Amazing Comeback

The team erupts after Christian Thaxton’s walk-off hit sends us to the title game. Coach, Jamie Dickerson is fired up!

We are playing on the championship field in the semi-finals against Colorado.  Joe McCormick is in the hospital with coach Mike Marciello and Thanh has been relegated to the bench by Mike and Yuki.  We are in the top of the 6th inning and I’m sitting on the bench with Ron looking at the situation. we are down 8-6 and they have their 6-1-2 hitters up.  If we can hold them, we still have a lot of work to do.  We have our 4-5-6 hitters coming up in the last inning and they are a combined  1-9 with 5 strike outs (though one of them was on me due to a gigantic mistake in the first inning).  Somehow we needed to shut them down…and then score just one run from the bottom of our line up to turn the line up over for Christian Thaxton.  Justen made the first defensive out, Guy made the next defensive out and then one of the best two way players, Ethan Johnston who had scored 4 straight times in this game miraculously struck out.  We were still breathing.  Larry Haile represented our best chance for a run and he went down swinging.  We had decided that we were going to hit for Joe Yee who had gone 0-3 with three strike outs.  Joe Quintanilla was the choice.  We just felt he was not going to let the moment get to him and had hopes he could get a knock to right field.  With three strikes on him he tagged a line drive up the middle and scored.  It was the only run he had scored all week.  We were pumped.  And we achieved our goal of making sure the line-up turned over, After Guy was put out on a close play, our lead-off hitter, Christian Thaxton then gave everyone more drama.  On the 6th pitch he saw, he hit a line drive and tied the game.  Our season was still alive.

In the 7th as Ron and I sat on the bench celebrating Quintanilla’s hit we again assessed the situation.  Due up for us was our 3-4-5 hitters.  We knew it would get hard if Colorado scored.  While they batted, I was looking at video and I saw why we had been struggling with Larry.  I showed Ron and we decided to try something different when we pitched to him.  Colorado plated 2 runs.  We now needed 3 runs to win in a game where we had only scored 8 runs in 6 innings.  With one out, Larry came to the plate.  The adjustment was on.  On the first pitch, he hit a pop fly to left and scored.  I was pumped that the analysis we did worked.  It gave us life!  That brought one of the heroes of the 6th inning up.  If either he or Guy could score we could get it back to Thaxton.  Again with three strikes, Quintanilla then hit a grounder up the first base line.  I watched him get out of the box with a horrific line.  He was running in fair territory.  I was just waiting for the umpire to yell “stop”….but then something amazing happened.  The first baseman ran into foul ground looking for the ball.  Q ran by him in fair territory.  The umps said nothing, there was no collision other than Q hitting the base and tying the game.  Holy crap, he tied the game on what sure looked like a play that would be called dead!  Q had scored twice in two at bats.  He had only scored three runs in the entire season before this game!  Thaxton would get his chance to be the hero with two outs and on the 5th pitch he hit a weak pop fly to the right side and jetted down the 3rd baseline and was SAFE!  We came back…again!  We made the title game!  We did it with Joe McCormick in the hospital and Thanh sidelined.  Mac was in our hearts and for the last few innings of that game we changed every player’s calling card to “Joe Mac” …”Way back”. As a way to honor our fallen teammate…and in hopes he was listening to the game on facebook. The fun thing was that no matter how little sight a player had…they all found their way to Thaxton at thirdbase and celebrated.  It was the biggest win in team history.  It was a thrill, it was a surprise, it was a total team effort and  it was an honor.  To see the moment right after Thaxton scored, Sara Cochran caught it on a facebook video here:

Thank you for taking time to read these posts and relive some of these moments with us.  These are the things that drive the passion.  These are the moments we work for.  These are the things that keep our volunteers and players coming back for more each year.  These are things that make us an Exciting team to be a part of!  To relive some of the top 10 moments of the past you can see them here dating back to the 2013 season when we started this tradition: