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2016

2016 NBBA World Series Statistical breakdown – Strength of Schedule

SABR Cartoon

For the past two years, we have written about the NBBA World Series statistical breakdown of Strength of Schedule.  The Renegades have an analytical side.  We break down much of the game into stats.  It helps us baseline, set goals and improve.  In 2014, we brought the concept of Strength of Schedule to the forefront.  At first, a few teams thought it was non sense.  Reality is its food for thought.  As the league continues to grow, we need to help it improve.  This past season may have been one of the most exciting beepball seasons ever.  As in March madness, people fill out their brackets to see who they think will win.  How many people would have picked the Indy Thunder over the Renegades in the championship game?  Bet you didn’t have that filled out!  The more discussion and thought we put into theses things, the better our league will become.  With teamwork, communication, marketing and public relations will come great opportunity.  Let’s move this league into the next level of competitive sports and get organized.

 

2016 Roster Changes

As we did the past two years, we have tried to come up with a method to measure the strength of each team’s schedule.  This can be a telling story on how hard a World Series schedule each team has.  Currently, the way the league seeds teams is to look at their finish in the prior year’s World Series.  Keep in mind, this is all that is done to seed.   If a roster is completely overhauled – the team does not move up or down the rankings.  Here is where it gets ugly.  If a team did not attend the previous year’s series, they are seeded in the order they got their registration fee into the league.  All of these teams are placed at the bottom of the brackets with no insight into who is on those teams.  This can produce a ton of problems for teams trying to play for a seed.  We discussed that in 2015 there was 24 teams BUT only 16 teams returned from the 2014 World Series.  This meant we had 8 teams playing in the World Series who were not seeded.  This was less of an issue in 2016 because the World Series contracted a bit to 20 teams.  Though before the World Series started there was already drama in the seeding. Have a seat and grab your popcorn as we look at some of the drama…

  • #17 Indy Edge – There was a lot of drama in Indy in the off season.  The RHI E-xtreme lost their sponsor and had to rename their team.  There was some shuffling around but 6 players on the roster from 2015 returned.  With the Indy shuffle, they also picked up some players from the Indy Thunder and the Indy Knights. The Edge also picked up two players from the New Jersey Lightning  So, the NBBA seeding policy looks at this as a new team name though they had just one new player in the league.  By the time they got to the World Series, they did have a rookie pitcher (who did great)..but to start the year, they were planning to go with the Indy Knights pitcher who took the Knights to a .375 batting average in 2015.  This was no #17 seed?
  • #18 San Antonio Jets – What do you get when you take the starting pitcher off the recent two time World Champs (Kevin Sibson), surround him with two of their young starting players (Zac Arambula and Axel Cox), add in a player who had won a title for them (Richie Flores), sprinkle in two long time players with a lot of success in the league (Dave Benney and Jason Ackiss).  Then add in some of the most exicting rookies in the league with Ricky Ruzika and the Almanza cousins.  You get a powerhouse offense.  Some people were saying they would be contending for a championship…but they were seeded 18th!
  • #19 Iowa Reapers – Ok…Iowa probably deserved this seed or something close to it.  They had won two games in the 2014 World Series against the Athens Timberwolves.  They did not play in 2015’s World Series.  With the mindset of seeding new teams at the bottom of the league…this felt ok.
  • #20 Seattle South King Sluggers – This truly felt right for them.  Seattle had never played in a World Series before and this was a big step for them.  Not one of their players on the roster had ever played in a World Series.  This was the true meaning of a new team.

Every year, teams seem to shuffle their rosters and 2016 was no exception.  Here are the rosters with the most turnover

  • #1 Austin Blackhawks – Austin remained the number one seed despite losing their pitcher and two starters.  Arumbala and Cox represented 31% of the runs scored in 2015.  All of these three left for the start of the Jets.  Austin replaced Kevin with Tim Hibner at pitcher (Tim won a few World Series with the Dawgs) and many consider him one of the top pitchers in the game.  Austin also recruited Chance Cranford, a former world Champion with the Dawgs).  But to give the Blackhawks a one seed with this team may have been a stretch because they simply lacked the depth and speed they had in the past.
  • #3 Bayou City Heat – They lost a .500 hitter in John Kibodeaux and their leader in defensive stops, Greg Gontaryk.  In their place, they picked up three players from the Colorado Storm and two players from the Long Island Bombers.  This is a lot of turnover for a top team
  • #4 Colorado Storm – Colorado Entered this tournament without two starters from the previous year in Doug Biggins and Mike Malloy as well as the loss of John Parker.  This trio represented 28% of the Storm’s 2015 offense and 39% of it’s defensive stops not made by the human Vacuum, Ethan Johnston.  Colorado returned Chad Sumner which helped the cause but he could not replace the results of three players by himself.
  • #6 Indy Thunder – With the demise of the Extreme, they picked up a few of their players.  This included Clint Woodard (who was 2nd on the RHI E-xtreme in defensive stops in 2015), Kyle Lewis (who hit .,533 in limited time with the Extreme) and Ed Brown(who hit .649 and led the Knights in runs).  But they also had picked up a few very exciting rookies that had been lighting up local tournaments in Gerald Dycus and Zach Buhler.  It should also be noted that Darnell Booker took a different role which allowed one of the top pitchers in the game to pitch.  this pitcher had won a title with the Kansas All-stars and his name is Jarred Woodard.  This team looked stacked going into the Series but remained a 6 seed.  If Vegas had odds on a champion, it was a sure money bet the Thunder had the best odds.
  • #9 Lone Star Road Runners – They lost their team leader in defensive stops (Richie Flores).  Flores also gave them 12 runs of offense in 2015.  Lone star also lost PJ Navarro and Marlon Stover.  This is a whopping 57% of their offensive production from the 2015 team.  With this loss and lack of proven replacements, they should have been knocked down a few seeds.

Which teams were impacted by the improper seeding?

With the break up of the RHI E-xtreme, Taiwan not returning and Austin losing players, it felt like for the first time in years there was a lot of parity in the league.  In past years, the blatant mis-seeding had wrecked havoc on a few teams.  The Indy Thunder and Long Island Bombers were last years victim of the mis-seeding    This year in the end, the teams most impacted by the seeding were the Austin Blackhawks, the Minnesota Millers and the Southwest Slammers.

Why?  Austin had to face San Antonio as their 2nd round opponent.   If you believed they deserved the #1 seed, they should not have been playing the Jets this early in the dance.  For the first time in years, Austin found its way to the loser’s bracket on Thursday morning.  Minnesota and Southwest were two teams impacted in a different way.  Both these teams earned a two seed in their bracket based on last year’s play.  However, they both got bumped to the three seed after pool play was over because the Edge and Jets earned the two seed over them.  At face value, this seems fare…BUT.  One could argue that Minnesota and the Slammers earned their two seed more than the Lonestar Roadrunners and Atlanta Eclipse.  The end result of this mis-seeding forced both the Slammers and Millers to have to play 10 games (no other team played more than 9 games).  Their 1-2 records on day one forced them to play at 9:00am on Tuesday.  With proper seeding, this would not have happened to them.  In the end it may not have made a huge difference but it did force both these teams to play three games on three consecutive days  in a row.  This is a grueling sport to be forced to do this.  It would take its toll on most teams in this league.

Let’s get to the Strength of Schedule stats

With all of this in mind, let’s look at the Strength of Schedule of the teams that played in the 2016 World Series.  The math is simple.  What we do is look at the final ranking of each team and add those rankings up.  Then we divide that sum by the total amount of games played.  This comes up with a figure that represents the average seed of the team they faced.  So for example, The Boston Renegades played 9 games against the following teams San Antonio Jets (5) + BCS Outlaws (16) + Minnesota Millers (9) + Southwest (11) + Chicago (8)+ Colorado (3) + Indy Thunder (1) +  Colorado (3) + Indy Thunder (1).  This equates to a score of 57 and we divide that by 9 games to get 6.3.  This means the average seed of a Renegade Opponent would be ranked 6th in the league.

Please note this Strength of Schedule score does not take into account the amount of games played.  A team playing 9-10 games is forced to play 3 games on multiple days of the World Series- and this can take a huge toll on a team.  Last year, the Taiwan Home Run were so mis-seeded they had to play what was possibly a World Series record of 12 games.  This year six teams played 7 games. six teams played 8 games, six teams played 9 games and The Southwest Slammers and Minnesota Millers were forced to play 10 games each.

SOS Rank WS finish Team Games Record SOS
1 2 Boston 9 7-2 6.33
2 3 Colorado 9 6-3 6.78
3 5 San Antonio 9 5-3 7.00
4 7 Indy Edge 8 6-2 8.00
T-5th 8 Chicago 8 4-4 9.50
T-5th 1 Indy Thunder 8 8-0 9.50
7 6 Austin 9 6-3 9.67
8 12 Lone Star 8 3-5 9.75
9 4 Bayou City 9 7-2 9.89
10 13 NJ Titans 7 3-4 10.29
11 10 Atlanta 8 4-4 10.38
12 11 Southwest 10 5-5 10.50
13 9 Minnesota 10 6-4 10.80
14 16 BCS 9 2-7 10.89
15 14 Tyler 7 2-5 11.71
16 15 Arizona 9 3-6 11.89
17 17 Iowa 7 2-5 12.29
18 18 Seattle 7 1-6 12.43
19 20 Athens 7 0-7 13.71
20 19 Rochester 7 2-5 13.86

As the Renegades climb the NBBA ladder, Boston has now played the toughest schedule in two of the past three years at the World Series (8th hardest in 2015).  That says a lot for how far this team has come in its ability to manage a tournament and improve its play on the field.

Unlike last year where the quantity of games played was so varied (mostly due to the mis-seeding). Beyond the Millers and Slammers all teams played between 7-9 games.    Some key findings from looking at SOS (Strength of Schedule) include:

  • The Renegades made the title game and their only losses on the year came against the Indy Thunder.  They had quality wins over San Antonio, Chicago and Colorado, twice.
  • Colorado had a very tough road as well.  Even tougher when you recall they lost three players from their 2015 roster.  Two of their three losses came at the hands of the Renegades.  The other was on day one, to the Indy Edge.
  • Once again, the Bayou City Heat had an easy schedule. Four of their 9 games were against teams who finished 12th or higher.  They entered the dance seeded 2nd and finished in the 4 spot.  The best seed they played was Colorado and they lost to them twice.  They had “easy” wins over Iowa (17th), NJ Titans (13th) and Lone star, twice- (12th).
  • Minnesota which had a very tough year in 2015 had an easier time this year if you look strictly at strength of schedule.  Though they played 10 games, 7 of them were against opponents who finished 10th or higher.
  • The Indy Edge, which entered as a 17 seed, finished 7th but had the 4th hardest road to get there.  It would be expected their road would be hard based on the fact they were mis-seeded.  They actually beat the three seed (Colorado) in the round robin.  However, they lost to the Thunder (1) and Austin (6) – the former champs to knock them out of contention.  They were a scary team to have to face for sure.
  • The Indy Thunder had an easy first two days as their first four opponents finished 20th, 19th, 8th and 13th

In Conclusion

What makes the NBBA unique is that many games are played throughout the year.  Sadly, there is not an easy way (and cost effective way) for the league to track the progress of the teams…YET.  Maybe with experience and finances this could change in the future.  For now, we have to play with the World Series stats.  Its the only thing we have for the Beep baseball seam heads who like stats.  We come together for one glorious week to play ball.   In 2016, we saw a lot of parity in the league. To start the year, we saw two top teams break apart as Austin and RHI had some significant changes.  We also witnessed for the first time since 198o, two teams who had never been in a title game face off against each other with the Thunder beating the Renegades.  As we look toward 2017, we hope we can make some changes to the way we seed.  Heck, we can expect the Taiwan Home Run to be back..are we really going to seed them 21st again?  I hope we have learned from this and the fact it hurts other teams just as much as it hurts them.  Lets work toward seeding things correctly.  And yes, this writer has a proposal for that.  However, thats a story for another time

2016 NBBA All Rookie Teams

Story by Rob Weissman

One critcal part of beep baseball is the development of rookies.  We want to encourage as many new players as we can to play this game. Opportunity must be made available for them to play.  The league is very proud of its growth over the years, as it should be.  Moving the World Series around the country has helped spring up multiple teams in Georgia (Atlanta Eclipse, Athens Timberwolves, Columbus Midnight Stars).  Iowa brought us the Reapers.  Rochester, NY gave us the Pioneers.  These teams have added so much depth and helped fill out the league.  Most of these teams are filled with players who had never played the game before.  The world series brought awareness to their cities and opportunity for their visually impaired population.

The opportunity we still have as a league is growing the existing programs.  Rosters seem to change a lot.  Heck, even new teams will pop up. The things is these new teams are rarely filled with new players.  Often times, they are the same players just playing in a different jersey.  A perfect example of this is the Indy Edge which the league considers a new team.  No disrespect to the Edge, but they listed 16 players on their roster.  Two of those players came from the New Jersey Lightning.  Only one player on the roster had never appeared in an NBBA World Series, Chris Dunleavy. Is this is really a new team and is the league truly growing?

It would be great if we can track how many new players are joining each year (Steve Guerra is starting to track this…applauds to him for sure).  That metric would be telling.  How many of them are on new teams (The entire Seattle roster were rookies this year). Vs how many are on existing teams.  to grow our great sport, we need to do more in our local communities to get players involved.  This should be the goal over trying to win a ring.  A goal to win a ring by filling your roster with players that grew up in your system.

The 2016 Championship game between the Renegades and the Indy Thunder may have not been the best game ever.  Heck, Boston got 12 runned. But it was a symbol.  A symbol that a team can win without free agents.  A team can win by growing their roster.  Yes, Boston and Indy got there taking different routes.  The Thunder’s players have played on many teams including Chicago, Kansas and even other Indy teams.  It is believed that everyone on that roster comes from Indy.  Look at the Renegades.  Every player on that roster has played 100% of their games in a Renegade uniform and has grown up in the Boston system.  Each team on that field despite the slight differences mentioned above got there for one main reason.  Rookies!

As we have done in past years, we have spent this space looking at who the top rookies are.  This is not official.  There is no real award given out and our definition of a rookie is soley based on one person’s knowledge of the league.  Since we only have world series stats to look at, a rookie is merely defined as someone who Rob Weissman does not think has ever played in a World Series in previous years.  This may have a level of error in it.

As the league does, we will use the same metrics to name the all star teams.  Offense will use batting average and defense will use stops per game (a metric that is horrific in so many ways …but worse for rookies).   why is the defensive metric bad for rookies?  Its very hard to teach a rookie defense and even harder to put them up front in the defense where all the stops are made.  These defensive stats will only tell part of the story.  Each player on this list should be applauded.  Equally important, the teams who recruited them and coached them should take pride as well.
Let’s start with the defensive all stars this year.  It was hard to find players who put up big numbers here.  Again, many rookies take time before earning the trust of their team to go up front on the point to lead the defense.

All Rookie Defense Team

Defensivley all we can use to rank the players is defensive stops…and compare their stops to how many their team made.  There is a theme here in that all of these players played on teams in the 2nd half of the league.  Atlanta finished 10th and had player make the list.  This is no knock on any player, it makes a point that its very hard for a top tier team to break a rookie into the defense.  Defense takes time to learn.

Name Team Team finish Games played Stops Avg
Jesus Baeza BCS 16th 9 38 4.2
Ricky Kim Seattle 18th 7 19 2.7
Carnell Walker Atlanta 10th 8 18 2.3
Bryan Duarte Arizona 15th 9 8 .89
Brian Harrington Rochester 19th 7 5 .71
John Margist Southwest 11th 10 6 .60

Kudos to all of these players.  A special kudos to the first three players on this list because its so hard to make a lot of stops on defense as a rookie.  Defense is the hardest thing to learn

  • Baeza was the only player we played against on this list.  Jesus was responsible for 51% of the BCS Outlaws defensive stops.  Baeza made 4 stops against the Renegades which became common ground for him.  He made 4 or more stops in 6 of the 9 games he played in.  His best game was a 9 stop effort against the Bayou City Heat.  Baeza led BCS in stops in every game they played during the week.  He and Crystal Stark (from last years defensive all star rookie team) counted for 73% of the stops for BCS
  • Ricky Kim is on a team full of Rookies as this was Seattle’s first World Series ever.  Kim has played for Seattle for three years prior to this, but they had never played in an official NBBA event before against experienced teams.  Kim stopped 59% of the balls for the Seattle defense.  He made 4 stops in four of the seven games Seattle played in.  He led the team in stops in 5 of the 6 games Seattle played (they played one game in which the team never made a put out against Atlanta)
  • Carnell Walker was an exciting young prospect for the up and coming Atlanta Eclipse. Walker was 2nd on the Eclipse with 18 stops behind the vacuum of Isaiah Wilcox (who led the league with 53 stops).  Walker’s best game was against the BCS outlaws when he made 6 stops.  He also had a 3 stop game against Tyler.  Walker was one of the best two way rookies in the league as he also scored 11 times and hit .344 just missing that list on offense.
  • Bryan Duarte was aa Arizona Phenom and finished 2nd on the Phenoms with 8 stops.  His best effort was a three stop game against the Southwest Slammers in the first game of the World Series.  He had 4 games without a stop as well which goes to show you how hard it is to get rookies playing time on defense
  • Brian Harrington is 5th on this list with just 5 stops.  He was third on the Rochester Pioneer team in stops.  His best game was a 2 stop performance against the BCS Outlaws
  • John Margist makes the list with a mere 6 stops…though he led all rookies in games played with 10.  Margist did not show much defense all week until the 10th game.  In that last game he had three stops (50% of his total for the week) against the Lonestar Roadrunners.

All Rookie Offense Team

Offensively, we can look at batting average and strike outs to get a feel of how well the rooks are doing

Name Team Team Finish Runs At bats Strike outs Average
Gerald Dycus Indy 1st 23 34 3 .676
Zach Buhler Indy 1st 19 31 4 .613
John Margist Southwest 11th 22 45 13 .489
Ricky Ruzica San Antonio 5th 17 36 6 .472
Eddie Culp Iowa 17th 10 24 9 .417
Todd Paulson Minnesota 9th 9 24 9 .375
Shawn Devenish BOSTON 2nd 12 34 8 .353
  • Gerald Dycus was not only the class of the Rookies, he was one of the top hitters in the league.  Dycus finished with the third best batting average in the league during the week.  Only five players in the league scored more times than Dycus on the series.  This rookie has speed and power to all fields.  He is dangerous .  He scored a hat trick in 7 of the 8 games he played.  He will be a force in this league for years to come.  As a rookie he only struck out 9% of the time.  We played against Dycus twice and he went 6-11 against the Renegades and did not strike out.
  • Zach Buhler is the second player on this list and the second rookie from the Indy Thunder.  Its not hard to see how they won the title with these two rooks.  Buhler hit a mere .613 which was good enough for 6th in the league and only 2nd behind his teammate amongst all rookies.  Buhler is incredibly fast and has power to boot.  He is another tough out.  Buhler also had a hat trick in 5 of the 7 games he played in.  Buhler played against the Renegades and was 6-10 with just one whiff.
  • John Margist is this years Hideki Matsui.  We know he is no rookie to Beepball as he plays for the Philly Fire.  But we have to be fair and put him on this list because we believe this was his first World Series.  John had a big tournament t0 put him on the map in Chicago this year.  But The Renegades knew he could hit before that.  Only 3 players in the league had more At-bats than John.  He either led or tied the Slammers in most runs scored in a game for them in 7 of the 10 games they played. He scored three runs in a game 5 times during the week.  His strike out rate is high (29%) but keep in mind he lives in Philly and did not work with this team much during the year.  Margist was 3-4 against the Renegades with just 1 strike out.  He was responsible for 3 of the 4 runs the Slammers scored on the Renegades.
  • Ricky Ruzika should be no surprise to this list based on the fact he is young and played baseball. Ruzika has a sweet swing and some power.  He had his best game against the Austin Blackhawks when he scored four runs in a game (an unofficially may have been one of two rookies to accomplish that feat this season).  He also had a trifecta against Lonestar. Ricky played his first World Series game against the Renegades and was 2-5 with 2 strike outs.  It was the only game he struck out twice in all week.
  • Eddie Culp was a surprise to this list for sure.  Iowa was putting up some runs for the first time ever this season.  Culp was a big part of that.  Eddie represented 25% of the Reaper offense with his 10 runs as he was second on the Reapers in runs scored.  He scored a pair against Bayou City, Southwest, NJ Titans and the Rochester Pioneers.  Though we did not see him play, his stats show he was a huge help to the Reaper offense.
  • Todd Paulson scored his first career run against the Renegades and it was a nice moment for him that we enjoyed.   Paulson did not see a lot of playing time early but as his big bat got hot, he earned more playing time.  He was just 1-4 on the first day of the Series in three games.  He then had a 4 run game against Seattle(we believe he and Ruzika were the only rookie to do this in the series).  Paulson may not be the fleetest of foot but he has some good pop in his bat.
  • Yes.  Thats 6 players…..BUT, this is a Renegade web site and we are going to play homage to the 7th best batting average in the league because its our award and this rookie helped us get into the Title game.  That made three rookies in the title game!
    • Shawn Devenish.  Shawn got off to a shaky start with the Renegades this year as he sprained his wrist in the 2nd game of his career.  All year, he was bothered by a bum wrist.  When he squared up the ball…he could hit it as far if not further than any rookie on this list.  Shawn’s 12 runs were 5th most amongst all rookies in the league and he did this playing against the hardest schedule in the league (thats an article for another time).  Devenish had multi run games against San Antonio, Minnesota, Chicago and the Indy Thunder.  Those are some of the top teams in the league.  He also scored the game tying run against the Colorado Storm in the 6th inning that forced the game to go into extra innings.  Putting a rookie in that spot after he was 0-4 with a missed base was an amazing way for his him to show his mental toughness.  He deserved to be on this list…especially since we played against 5 of the 6 guys on the list and he deserves to be mentioned amongst the best rookie hitters in the league!

Shaen Devenish hitting a base is Boston's rep on the NBBA Rookie teamAfter having a Renegade Rookie lead the league in hitting the past two years (Rob Dias and Christian Thaxton), We added Shawn Devenish to the mix this year.  Though he did not lead the league, he did make a major contribution and scored the 5th most runs of any rookie at the series.  Shawn found the Renegades when he was just looking for some sports to play for the blind.  He found our web site on Google.  Shawn came out and played in a charity game with the team in September of 2015 and was super excited.  He was sold even though he was not 100% sure where he would live.  He was going to have a long commute wherever he was.  We were unsure if that commute would be a barrier to him playing.  Shawn filled out the CAF grant and we knew he was serious.  He then made the trek to almost every practice despite being nearly a 2 hour round trip ride.

Coach Weissman knew pretty quickly that we had a special player because Shawn was very coachable from the start.  His knowledge of hitting even passed some of the veterans when the players were quizzed about their mechanics as he aced his “test”.  Devenish worked hard, had fun and was a great teammate from the start even though he bolted right after each practice.  His first game, he was the lead off hitter and the rover in the defense against the New Jersey Lightning and he scored in his 2nd at-bat of the game to the delight of his teammates.  In his second game he scored again against the Long Island Bombers but also hurt his wrist going over third base.  He tried to play through it and every swing he had left him with a grimace on his face.  The medical team pulled him out and he was done playing at that time.  We determined Shawn needed to rest his wrist and we shut him down for a short time.  Every practice, we taped him up and we held our breathe to see how he would do in Philly.

He told the team he felt fine, but we taped him anyway and he again played in the first two games of the Philly tournament.  We moved him up in the line up and in his 3rd game, the first game of the Philly tourney.  The result, he scored three runs (which were critical since the game went 8 innings).  He followed that up scoring one more run against Long Island before it was decided his wrist had enough and we shut him down again.  He was sore after playing.  We had just over two weeks to get him ready for the World Series.

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Coach. Dr. Mike Marciello was one of the medical staff to keep Shawn on the field. He is shown here wrapping Shawn up before a game. Yuki, Peg and Lisa all helped him stay on the field with tape and exercises through the summer

Thankfully, we have an amazing medical team and they were able to help him strengthen the wrist and wrapped him every practice.  Shawn had no limits on him at the World Series though we kept a watchful eye on him.  We know he was never at 100% the whole season.  We found out that he loves to play and is willing to play through pain.  Shawn was a critical part of our success this season and was surely one of the most impressive offensive rookies in the game in 2016.

Introducing rookies to the game is one of the most exciting parts of being a coach.  Each year some of the most memorable moments for the Renegade coaching staff involves watching a new player succeed at the game.  We celebrate their first runs and first defensive outs.  Developing new talent is hard.  Its not only hard to teach them, its even harder to recruit players because the blind community is a small population.

Rookies are imperative to the long term success of the team.  When we looked at the roster the Renegades brought to the World Series.  39% of the roster joined the Renegades in the past three seasons.  The Renegades are one of the few teams that have this dynamic.  Not only has it helped improve our culture and our game, its has helped so many people learn and enjoy the game which leads to more opportunity for the blind community to play ball!

To see the previous NBBA All Rookie team rosters click the links below

 

 

Camp Vision visited the Renegades

Just before the 2016 World Series Camp Vision visited the Renegades for a clinic to learn about the sport.  While the team practiced about 20 kids with visual impairments from western Mass came to see what beepball and the Renegades were all about.  Coach Kara Peters joined former players, JJ Ward, Joe Buizon, Aqil Sajjad and Ben Rubenstein in a demonstration of the game.  We taught them a little about running bases, defense and hitting.  The kids also got a chance to see the team practice at full speed.  Its always exciting for our players to give back to the blind community.  Maybe some day, one of these kids becomes a Renegade or a player in our league.  Either way, they have had a chance to experience playing the sport and we hope this helps see what is possible

Kara and Ben teach a camper how to set up at the plate

Kara and Ben teach a camper how to set up at the plate

A camper shows no fear going after the base

A camper shows no fear going after the base

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JJ gives words of wisdom to a young camper before he hits

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Aqil demonstrates how we play defense to the campers

A camper fields a ball while Ben and JJ look on and provide feedback/encouragement

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A group shot of the Renegades (JJ Ward, Aqil Sajjad, Kara Peters, Ben Rubenstein and Joe Buizon) with Camp Vision campers and volunteers

Watch the 2016 NBBA Championship Game

The Boston Renegades had a dream run in 2016 making the NBBA 2016 Championship game.  The team challenged for the national championship as it roared through the World Series brackets to make the Championship game.  Heading into this game the Renegades were 13-1 on the season.  Their only loss was to the hands of the Indy Thunder who beat them the previous day by the score of 14-8.  This would be the first ever appearance in a title game for both the Indy Thunder and the Boston Renegades.

The Thunder came into this game 7-0 for the week while Boston was 7-1.  The story for the Renegades heading into this game was the loss of Joe McCormick.  Joe, an emotional leader and all around star player was lost for the season in the first match up against the Thunder.  He was lost in a collision on defense which left him in the hospital with multiple fractures in his face.  Could the Renegades pick him up?

The NBBA 2016 Championship game streamed live on the internet and a few weeks after the series was over the video was compiled and a high quality broadcast was put on Vimeo.  Many thanks to Graham Mathenia for his hard work with all of the video shooting and compiling.  Also many thanks to Kevin Sibson and Dave Benney for providing a fun and educational broadcast of the game as these two played Play by play and color commentators.

 

If you want to read along with the coaches thoughts on NBBA 2016 Championship game, here is a read of how Coach Weissman viewed the game that may be a good spoiler for this video.  Either way, the Renegades were excited to make this game.  Boston made this game doing it differently than any other team in the league.  A unique team that works hard to stay together as a unit to support each other on and off the field.

Coach Weissman started off the day making sure the players really took some time to enjoy themselves.  Relish in the fact the team was playing in the title game and was one of two teams left standing during the 2016 World Series.  It was something to be proud of.  Much like when the Red Sox won in 2004.  That team won it for every other player who had ever played for the Club that went 86 years without a championship.  We needed to recognize what we had accomplished since the team started playing competitively in 2002.  Weissman wanted the players to take some time and enjoy the atmosphere.  However, when the opening ceremonies were over, it was just another game.

The Indy Thunder brought with them an army.  It’s hard to say exactly how many people they brought but they listed 45 players and volunteers in the program.  Boston is one of the biggest programs in the world, but we could not afford to bring our entire staff (nor did they have the time off to spend a week in Iowa).  As the Indy Thunder was announced the fans began to cheer…but somewhere around their 20th person, they stopped paying attention….and by the time the Renegades were announced, people just wanted to watch the game.  There was only a smattering of applause for the Renegades as they took the line and the league struggled to pronounce many of the names in the process.  The coin toss was held and this time the Renegades would lose and would be the visiting team.  On the bench for the Renegades was Joe McCormick who missed the fireworks after being taken to the hospital in an ambulance the day before.  Our medical staff cleared Than Hunyh to play if and only if he would allow them to tape his leg.  And tape him they did.  Mike Marciello made a brace out of tape that allowed Thanh to move around without a limp and he would be part of this game despite the pain he was in.  On the other side of the ball, Miguel Tello was taking reps for the Thunder in pre game workouts and he would also be in the starting line-up as he was recovering from an injury that pulled him from the previous match up. Kyle Lewis was not starting for the Thunder but rumor was he was available if he was needed.

Though the Thunder was the faster team and a healthier team and had much greater depth than the Renegades.  They were also less experienced in big games and had never played in front of large crowds (other than their own army).  The key would be to get off to a good start and make sure the defense was playing on all cylinders.  Larry Haile was going to have to play a lot of defense in this game and we were going to try and Keep Thanh Huynh on the field as much as we could but rotating a Joe in (either Quintanilla or Yee) to see who could get hot at the plate.  For Indy, the key player missing in their line up was Kyle Lewis.  He made a huge stop on the Renegades in deep center field and also would end up on the all-offensive all-star team.  In his place was Tobey Gregory.  Could Tobey step up?

Christian Thaxton led off the game with newfound confidence as he scored just one time in the previous game.  In Thaxton style, he worked the count to 4 strikes with three foul balls and then hit a pop fly to the right side to start the game off. Miguel Tello had no chance and Boston was on the board.  Rob Dias hammered the 2nd pitch down the left field line to the “oohs” and “aaahs” of the crowd but it was foul.  He then fisted a weak pop up into the center field that Tello scampered over to put him down.  Larry Haile then hit a fly ball about 115 feet into left field that Eric Rodriguez got down to early on for the Gades second run of the inning.  Devenish would strike out (after hitting the pitcher) and Quintanilla would hit a pop fly that Tello would grab to end the frame.  Boston felt good about its start…but had hoped for just one more run to turn the line up over.

In the bottom of the first inning, it was time to see if the Renegade defense was going to be able to pull it together.  With leadoff hitter, Eric Rodriguez striking out, the Renegades felt good.  Gerald Dycus hit a hard grounder up the middle.  Zuccarello ran by the ball.  Larry Haile dove at it and as the ball rolled by Haile’s arms Gerald, Dycus hit the base.  The ball was dead and it would have to be done over.  He then hit the ball much better into right center where Thaxton dove at it…but it deflected off him for the first run of the Thunders game.  This brought Tobey Gregory to the plate.  He did not play in their first game yesterday.  Boston had scouting on Gregory and moved Thaxton from deep right center to the first base side.  Like the scouting read, Gregory hit a room service ball 100 feet right at Thaxton.  Christian went down and the ball landed 2 inches short of hitting him right in the gut.  Thaxton could not hear it or bring it into his body in time and Gregory scored on a Christmas present.  Zach Buhler then hit a ball up the right middle of the field past Guy Zuccarello into the hands of a diving Thaxton who made this play diving to his right for the 2nd out of the inning.  The Thunder had tied the score.  Tyler Rodriguez worked a full count then hit a fly ball to the left side which Justen Proctor charged.  As he ran in on the ball, he heard it go over his head.  As he put the breaks on he slipped and fell backwards.  Rodriguez had given the Thunder the lead with Proctor on his ass.  Rodenbeck drilled the first pitch he saw on a line to the third base side where Thanh Hunyh laid out and made a nice play to end the inning.

Heading into the second, both teams were settling into the match.  Guy Zuccarello, who is one of the hardest players in team history to strike out, led off with a 4-pitch whiff to start the inning.  Thaxton stepped to the plate and on the first pitch, hit a high fly up the middle of the field that was about 80 feet out, but when the ball landed, it had some spin and Eric Rodriguez was unable to make a play to catch the speed of Thaxton.  Rob Dias then blasted a shot into left field that left the fans “oooo’ing” for a run.  Larry Haile had a chance to keep the foot on the pedal but his swing path changed slightly and he and his battery could not connect as he whiffed on 4 straight pitches for the 2nd out of the inning.  This brought, the rookie, Devenish to the plate.  On the first pitch, he blasted a shot into left field that Adam Rodenbeck chased after.  The ball hugged the third baseline but well after the base it rolled into foul territory making it near impossible for Rodenbeck to get.  Joe Yee would ground out on a ball up the middle to Rodriguez to end a big inning for Boston and the Gades would lead 5-3.

The bottom of the second would be a tough inning for the Renegades as Christmas would come early for the Thunder.  Eric Rodriguez would not be denied this time as he lofted a fly ball into right center toward Thaxton.  The ball bounced in front of him but Thaxton was unable to keep it in front of him and Erod scored.  Gerald Dycus then hit a bomb into right center, again toward Thaxton, who made a diving stab but the ball bounced by him to tie the game.  This brought Gregory to the plate. This time he hit a grounder to Justen Proctor.  Justen went down to his knees (Weissman sat on the bench with a pained expression watching this) but misread the ball as it rolled by him.  Joe Yee was slow to the ground (and in his mind, he had better of heard Weissman yelling “where is the Jabba”) and it rolled under him and Gregory had two Christmas presents on the day.  This should have been the first out of the inning.  Zach Buhler then hit a ground ball up the middle.  Proctor never laid out for the ball.  Zuccarello slid to his right and dove on the ball.  When Guy could get his hands on the ball, Buhler was at the base.  Another gift from Boston.  At this time, Bryan Grillo had enough and called a time out for the defense.  This may have been Grillo’s 2nd time-out he had ever called.  He wanted to make sure everyone was all right.  The score was 7-5 Indy with no outs…but Boston had gift-wrapped the last two balls and this is something you can’t do with a team like the Thunder at the plate.  Tyler Rodriguez was next and he hit a high fly down the third baseline.  Proctor hustled over and touched the ball when it was in foul territory killing the play.  He made a great effort and actually picked it up before the speedy Tyler reached the base, but nonetheless, it was foul.  Rodriguez would then strike out.  Adam Rodenbeck stepped into the box.  The Renegades slid Thaxton over to protect the line and right on queue, Rodenbeck hit it down the line and it looked like an out.  However, Thaxton was unaware of how far he was from the line.  He laid out too early and the ball squirted by him for a run to turn the lineup over to the top again.  Rodriguez stepped to the plate and fouled it off down each line.  He then hit a nice line drive to the third baseman, Joe Yee.  Yee was late to the ground and it slid by him out to Larry Haile.  Haile looked awkward trying to go to the ground  Haile almost looked like a chicken who had been shot and was running away and Rodriguez had his 2nd run of the inning.  The game was getting away from the Renegades.  To this point, Indy had struck out twice, scored 9 times and Boston had only made 2 defensive stops.  Just when it looked like it could go on forever, Dycus hit a weak grounder to the right side.  Dias scrambled in and picked it up as Dycus missed the base, then Dycus dropped to give push ups.  He was likely out despite the missed base.  Tobey Gregory, then hit a grounder to the left side.  Proctor laid out but hit the ground to early and the ball rolled by his feet.  This time Joe Yee picked it up for the out.  After two innings Boston was now down 9-5.  Sadly, the two gifts to Gregory and Buhler led to 4 runs for Indy, which was the difference in this game.

Boston never quits.  leading off the third was Zuccarello.  He lofted a fly ball up the left side that was about 95 feet and made it past the short man.  Tyler Rodriguez slid over to pick up the ball but it kicked off his shins just as Guy was taking a bad line to third.  That bad line cost a run (he was already wearing the pink blindfold for a missed base on the previous day).  Thaxton, then hit a weak grounder down the third baseline that rolled about 90 feet, it was a foot race between him and Rodriguez.  Thaxton won.  It was now 9-6.  Rob Dias then lifted a lazy fly ball up the middle.  Miguel Tello raced to the middle of the field, taking an angle backwards and on two hops picked up the ball, right before Dias reached the base for a great defensive play.  Larry Haile then laced a hard grounder down the right side.  At about 110 feet, Tobey Gregory laid out and the ball hit him right in the box for another splendid defensive play and the Boston comeback was squandered.  Indy’s defense was looking much better on this day.  After three, Boston needed a quick defensive inning.

The Christmas gifts of the first and second innings that led to 5 runs for Indy were the difference.  The Indy defense was playing much better than the Renegades.  This was the main difference.  Woodard was getting extra time and was finding a groove.  The third inning had a different feel all together.  Zach Buhler led off with a fly ball up the middle. Zuccarello went back on the ball, circled it and got in front of it.  Just as he got to the ball, Buhler scored on a bang-bang play.  It would have nabbed many hitters but Buhler is fast and tough to get when the ball is in the air out at 115 feet.  Tyler Rodriguez hit a fly ball to left.  Thanh Hunyh over ran the ball, but Larry Haile was backing him up.  Haile hit the ground and as he was getting his mitts on the ball, the speedy Rodriguez slapped the base for another Thunder run on a bang-bang play.  This brought up Rodenbeck who hit another hard grounder to Thaxton.  Christian went down too early and the ball went by him.  Thunder 12 and Boston 6 with no outs.  Eric Rodriguez then lofted a fly ball to Proctor.  A foot race ensued and just before Proctor got the ball off the ground, Eric was in.  The third Indy run on a split second play due to the speed of the Thunder.  The speedy Dycus then hit a fly ball to right center.  Thaxton had one chance on it, but when he dove, he laid out on his stomach and the ball rolled over his legs.  A nice play to get there but a lack of fundamentals here made it impossible to get Dycus.  Tobey Gregory then hit a grounder up the middle.  Zuccarello over ran it but Haile was there to back him up.  Again, as Haile gets his hands on the ball, Gregory scores on another bang-bang play.  Boston was showing no quit, but the Thunder were blazing the lines this inning as they were like sharks smelling blood. Buhler came to the plate for the 2nd time in the inning after the Thunder had scored 6 straight runs.  He hit a hard grounder to the left side.  Proctor was late to the ground, But Thanh Hunyh was there to make the bleeding stop for Boston.  When the play was made, it was found Thanh made the out on a broken ball that had no beep.  The second time Boston made a play on a dead ball this week.  Tyler Rodriguez then hit a high fly ball to the center of the field.  Dias and Proctor converged and Dias was able to pick it up on two bounces for the second straight stop. Adam Rodenbeck was next and on the first pitch hit a line drive to left center toward Larry Haile, but Haile over ran it for the 7th run of the Indy inning.  Rodriguez then hit his 2nd pitch on the ground to the left side which Thanh Hunyh dove to his right for and as he dove to the ground his momentum took him onto his back and the ball hit him near his hip for the out.  Boston escaped the inning and after three it was 16-6.  Boston did not give up but this inning was the inning of the bang-bang play and the speed of the Thunder was making it very hard for Boston.

Boston was down 10 and staring at a possible 12 run rule.  They needed a few runs from the bottom half of the order which was just 1-6 on the day.  Shawn Devenish would lead off. He had that only run.  For Indy, they started the inning by bringing Ed Brown in on defense to replace Tyler Rodriguez.  Devenish hit the first pitch he saw off the bottom of his bat up the left center side of the field, which was where Tyler had been playing. This time rookie Zach Buhler was there.  It did not matter, Tyler’s brother Eric made a nice play angling back on the ball to stop it.  Joe Quintanilla came back in to pinch hit for Thanh.  Quintanilla hit a line drive up the middle of the field, but the ball did not travel far and Eric had time to run back and easily get in front of it as he made the play around 80 feet.  This brought Zuccarello up for the last chance for the bottom half of the order to try and score a run.  First pitch swinging, he and Cochran hit a weak grounder to the right.  Miguel Tello was there in a split second to pick up the ball and Boston threw up a donut for the first time and Boston was now done 16-6 after three innings.  All Indy needed to do was score two runs in the bottom of the inning, they could force the 12 run rule. This is the beep baseball equivalent to a mercy rule.

Indy would send up their 2-3-4 hitters.  Gerald Dycus led off the inning crushing a 130-foot fly ball down the first baseline but it was just foul.  In the end it was a long strike.  His next pitch was a ball off the bottom of his bat and Dias lined it up easily for the first out and three of the last four hitters had been stopped by the Boston defense.  Tobey Gregory was next and was 3-4 on the day with two gift-wrapped runs.  He fouled a few balls off to the right side.  He then lifted a high fly ball to the center of the field at about 55 feet.  Dias backed up on it and Proctor waited for Dias.  Neither could get it in time and Gregory scored another run on a ball that could have been an out.  Zach Buhler then lifted a high fly ball to about 115 feet of the middle of the field.  Zuccarello made a dive at it…but the ball went over him and Buhler scored easily to force the 12 run rule.  Since Indy was the home team, they would finish the inning.  Ed Brown in his first at bat lifted a short pop fly to the center of the field and on a hop, Justen Proctor finally made his first stop of the game for the 2nd out.  Rodenbeck would then hit the second pitch of his at-bat on the ground up the middle.  Guy Zuccarello was on it and it rolled right into his chest.

For Boston, they would need to score 12 runs to force Indy to have to come to the plate.  Boston had just 6 outs remaining in its season.  Leading off for the Renegades was Christian Thaxton. In a nice move by Indy, they inserted Clint Woodard into the game.  Clint had played in 5 title games but had never won.  Thaxton crushed the first pitch to left field that looked like it could be close to a home run but when the play was over, the ball was dead.  Thaxton knocked the beep out of the ball.  By rule, Thaxton would have to do it again.  He then hit a hard grounder to Eric Rodriguez, which bounced off him, but he was able to pick it up for the out. In essence Thaxton was punished for hitting the first ball too well.  Rob Dias was 1-2 on the day hit the 2nd pitch down the left side.  Rodriguez angled back toward the line and got in front of it for the 2nd out of the 5th.  Larry Haile then hit a 43 footer and Eric Rodriguez easily beat Larry and made the out before Larry could get half way down the line.  Three more outs would remain for the Renegades.

In the 6th, the bottom half of the renegade line-up would remain.  Devenish hit a hard grounder up the middle.  Eric Rodriguez angled to his left and made a diving stop of the ball that hit him in the armpit.  Rodriguez had made 4 stops in a row.  Off the bench for Boston, would come Tim Syphers.  Syphers lifted a fly ball foul down the third base line on the 2nd pitch.  He then hit an 80-foot grounder up the middle where Rodriguez and Tello converged as Tello picked it up easily.  To this point Eric Rodriguez would have 7 stops and Tello 5.  Hot Tub Thayer would be the last Renegade up and he would go down swinging to end the game and the dream for Boston.  The Thunder were the better team on this day.  Though the Boston defense gave away too many runs, which led to longer innings, the power and speed of the Thunder was too tough.  Boston was unable to get enough of it hits by the two front men of Indy.  The Thunder celebrated their first ever championship.  As they danced on the field, Weissman pulled his team off the bench and asked them to listen to Indy celebrate and implored them to keep their heads up and use the moment to fuel their off season work outs.  Boston did not have enough on this day but had its best ever season in team history finishing second in the league with a 13-2 record and their only two losses falling to the champion.  It was an amazing season. We walked off the field with our heads held high and our sights set on returning to this game in the future

World Series Game Summaries – Day 5 (Championship game)

Boston Makes the Title Game for the First Time in History and loses to The Thunder

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Coach Weissman and Coach Booker were caught on camera on Day three of the World Series. At this time both squads were undefeated and they held up the number one sign. It would be a precursor to the 2016 title game

Coach Weissman started off the day making sure the players really took some time to enjoy themselves.  Relish in the fact the team was playing in the title game and was one of two teams left standing during the 2016 World Series.  It was something to be proud of.  Much like when the Red Sox won in 2004.  That team won it for every other player who had ever played for the Club that went 86 years without a championship.  We needed to recognize what we had accomplished since the team started playing competitively in 2002.  Weissman wanted the players to take some time and enjoy the atmosphere.  However, when the opening ceremonies were over, it was just another game.

The Indy Thunder brought with them an army.  It’s hard to say exactly how many people they brought but they listed 45 players and volunteers in the program.  Boston is one of the biggest programs in the world, but we could not afford to bring our entire staff (nor did they have the time off to spend a week in Iowa).  As the Indy Thunder was announced the fans began to cheer…but somewhere around their 20th person, they stopped paying attention….and by the time the Renegades were announced, people just wanted to watch the game.  There was only a smattering of applause for the Renegades as they took the line and the league struggled to pronounce many of the names in the process.  The coin toss was held and this time the Renegades would lose and would be the visiting team.  On the bench for the Renegades was Joe McCormick who missed the fireworks after being taken to the hospital in an ambulance the day before.  Our medical staff cleared Than Hunyh to play if and only if he would allow them to tape his leg.  And tape him they did.  Mike Marciello made a brace out of tape that allowed Thanh to move around without a limp and he would be part of this game despite the pain he was in.  On the other side of the ball, Miguel Tello was taking reps for the Thunder in pre game workouts and he would also be in the starting line-up as he was recovering from an injury that pulled him from the previous match up. Kyle Lewis was not starting for the Thunder but rumor was he was available if he was needed.

Though the Thunder was the faster team and a healthier team and had much greater depth than the Renegades.  They were also less experienced in big games and had never played in front of large crowds (other than their own army).  The key would be to get off to a good start and make sure the defense was playing on all cylinders.  Larry Haile was going to have to play a lot of defense in this game and we were going to try and Keep Thanh Huynh on the field as much as we could but rotating a Joe in (either Quintanilla or Yee) to see who could get hot at the plate.  For Indy, the key player missing in their line up was Kyle Lewis.  He made a huge stop on the Renegades in deep center field and also would end up on the all-offensive all-star team.  In his place was Tobey Gregory.  Could Tobey step up?

Christian Thaxton led off the game with newfound confidence as he scored just one time in the previous game.  In Thaxton style, he worked the count to 4 strikes with three foul balls and then hit a pop fly to the right side to start the game off. Miguel Tello had no chance and Boston was on the board.  Rob Dias hammered the 2nd pitch down the left field line to the “oohs” and “aaahs” of the crowd but it was foul.  He then fisted a weak pop up into the center field that Tello scampered over to put him down.  Larry Haile then hit a fly ball about 115 feet into left field that Eric Rodriguez got down to early on for the Gades second run of the inning.  Devenish would strike out (after hitting the pitcher) and Quintanilla would hit a pop fly that Tello would grab to end the frame.  Boston felt good about its start…but had hoped for just one more run to turn the line up over.

In the bottom of the first inning, it was time to see if the Renegade defense was going to be able to pull it together.  With leadoff hitter, Eric Rodriguez striking out, the Renegades felt good.  Gerald Dycus hit a hard grounder up the middle.  Zuccarello ran by the ball.  Larry Haile dove at it and as the ball rolled by Haile’s arms Gerald, Dycus hit the base.  The ball was dead and it would have to be done over.  He then hit the ball much better into right center where Thaxton dove at it…but it deflected off him for the first run of the Thunders game.  This brought Tobey Gregory to the plate.  He did not play in their first game yesterday.  Boston had scouting on Gregory and moved Thaxton from deep right center to the first base side.  Like the scouting read, Gregory hit a room service ball 100 feet right at Thaxton.  Christian went down and the ball landed 2 inches short of hitting him right in the gut.  Thaxton could not hear it or bring it into his body in time and Gregory scored on a Christmas present.  Zach Buhler then hit a ball up the right middle of the field past Guy Zuccarello into the hands of a diving Thaxton who made this play diving to his right for the 2nd out of the inning.  The Thunder had tied the score.  Tyler Rodriguez worked a full count then hit a fly ball to the left side which Justen Proctor charged.  As he ran in on the ball, he heard it go over his head.  As he put the breaks on he slipped and fell backwards.  Rodriguez had given the Thunder the lead with Proctor on his ass.  Rodenbeck drilled the first pitch he saw on a line to the third base side where Thanh Hunyh laid out and made a nice play to end the inning.

Heading into the second, both teams were settling into the match.  Guy Zuccarello, who is one of the hardest players in team history to strike out, led off with a 4-pitch whiff to start the inning.  Thaxton stepped to the plate and on the first pitch, hit a high fly up the middle of the field that was about 80 feet out, but when the ball landed, it had some spin and Eric Rodriguez was unable to make a play to catch the speed of Thaxton.  Rob Dias then blasted a shot into left field that left the fans “oooo’ing” for a run.  Larry Haile had a chance to keep the foot on the pedal but his swing path changed slightly and he and his battery could not connect as he whiffed on 4 straight pitches for the 2nd out of the inning.  This brought, the rookie, Devenish to the plate.  On the first pitch, he blasted a shot into left field that Adam Rodenbeck chased after.  The ball hugged the third baseline but well after the base it rolled into foul territory making it near impossible for Rodenbeck to get.  Joe Yee would ground out on a ball up the middle to Rodriguez to end a big inning for Boston and the Gades would lead 5-3.

The bottom of the second would be a tough inning for the Renegades as Christmas would come early for the Thunder.  Eric Rodriguez would not be denied this time as he lofted a fly ball into right center toward Thaxton.  The ball bounced in front of him but Thaxton was unable to keep it in front of him and Erod scored.  Gerald Dycus then hit a bomb into right center, again toward Thaxton, who made a diving stab but the ball bounced by him to tie the game.  This brought Gregory to the plate. This time he hit a grounder to Justen Proctor.  Justen went down to his knees (Weissman sat on the bench with a pained expression watching this) but misread the ball as it rolled by him.  Joe Yee was slow to the ground (and in his mind, he had better of heard Weissman yelling “where is the Jabba”) and it rolled under him and Gregory had two Christmas presents on the day.  This should have been the first out of the inning.  Zach Buhler then hit a ground ball up the middle.  Proctor never laid out for the ball.  Zuccarello slid to his right and dove on the ball.  When Guy could get his hands on the ball, Buhler was at the base.  Another gift from Boston.  At this time, Bryan Grillo had enough and called a time out for the defense.  This may have been Grillo’s 2nd time-out he had ever called.  He wanted to make sure everyone was all right.  The score was 7-5 Indy with no outs…but Boston had gift-wrapped the last two balls and this is something you can’t do with a team like the Thunder at the plate.  Tyler Rodriguez was next and he hit a high fly down the third baseline.  Proctor hustled over and touched the ball when it was in foul territory killing the play.  He made a great effort and actually picked it up before the speedy Tyler reached the base, but nonetheless, it was foul.  Rodriguez would then strike out.  Adam Rodenbeck stepped into the box.  The Renegades slid Thaxton over to protect the line and right on queue, Rodenbeck hit it down the line and it looked like an out.  However, Thaxton was unaware of how far he was from the line.  He laid out too early and the ball squirted by him for a run to turn the lineup over to the top again.  Rodriguez stepped to the plate and fouled it off down each line.  He then hit a nice line drive to the third baseman, Joe Yee.  Yee was late to the ground and it slid by him out to Larry Haile.  Haile looked awkward trying to go to the ground  Haile almost looked like a chicken who had been shot and was running away and Rodriguez had his 2nd run of the inning.  The game was getting away from the Renegades.  To this point, Indy had struck out twice, scored 9 times and Boston had only made 2 defensive stops.  Just when it looked like it could go on forever, Dycus hit a weak grounder to the right side.  Dias scrambled in and picked it up as Dycus missed the base, then Dycus dropped to give push ups.  He was likely out despite the missed base.  Tobey Gregory, then hit a grounder to the left side.  Proctor laid out but hit the ground to early and the ball rolled by his feet.  This time Joe Yee picked it up for the out.  After two innings Boston was now down 9-5.  Sadly, the two gifts to Gregory and Buhler led to 4 runs for Indy, which was the difference in this game.

Boston never quits.  leading off the third was Zuccarello.  He lofted a fly ball up the left side that was about 95 feet and made it past the short man.  Tyler Rodriguez slid over to pick up the ball but it kicked off his shins just as Guy was taking a bad line to third.  That bad line cost a run (he was already wearing the pink blindfold for a missed base on the previous day).  Thaxton, then hit a weak grounder down the third baseline that rolled about 90 feet, it was a foot race between him and Rodriguez.  Thaxton won.  It was now 9-6.  Rob Dias then lifted a lazy fly ball up the middle.  Miguel Tello raced to the middle of the field, taking an angle backwards and on two hops picked up the ball, right before Dias reached the base for a great defensive play.  Larry Haile then laced a hard grounder down the right side.  At about 110 feet, Tobey Gregory laid out and the ball hit him right in the box for another splendid defensive play and the Boston comeback was squandered.  Indy’s defense was looking much better on this day.  After three, Boston needed a quick defensive inning.

The Christmas gifts of the first and second innings that led to 5 runs for Indy were the difference.  The Indy defense was playing much better than the Renegades.  This was the main difference.  Woodard was getting extra time and was finding a groove.  The third inning had a different feel all together.  Zach Buhler led off with a fly ball up the middle. Zuccarello went back on the ball, circled it and got in front of it.  Just as he got to the ball, Buhler scored on a bang-bang play.  It would have nabbed many hitters but Buhler is fast and tough to get when the ball is in the air out at 115 feet.  Tyler Rodriguez hit a fly ball to left.  Thanh Hunyh over ran the ball, but Larry Haile was backing him up.  Haile hit the ground and as he was getting his mitts on the ball, the speedy Rodriguez slapped the base for another Thunder run on a bang-bang play.  This brought up Rodenbeck who hit another hard grounder to Thaxton.  Christian went down too early and the ball went by him.  Thunder 12 and Boston 6 with no outs.  Eric Rodriguez then lofted a fly ball to Proctor.  A foot race ensued and just before Proctor got the ball off the ground, Eric was in.  The third Indy run on a split second play due to the speed of the Thunder.  The speedy Dycus then hit a fly ball to right center.  Thaxton had one chance on it, but when he dove, he laid out on his stomach and the ball rolled over his legs.  A nice play to get there but a lack of fundamentals here made it impossible to get Dycus.  Tobey Gregory then hit a grounder up the middle.  Zuccarello over ran it but Haile was there to back him up.  Again, as Haile gets his hands on the ball, Gregory scores on another bang-bang play.  Boston was showing no quit, but the Thunder were blazing the lines this inning as they were like sharks smelling blood. Buhler came to the plate for the 2nd time in the inning after the Thunder had scored 6 straight runs.  He hit a hard grounder to the left side.  Proctor was late to the ground, But Thanh Hunyh was there to make the bleeding stop for Boston.  When the play was made, it was found Thanh made the out on a broken ball that had no beep.  The second time Boston made a play on a dead ball this week.  Tyler Rodriguez then hit a high fly ball to the center of the field.  Dias and Proctor converged and Dias was able to pick it up on two bounces for the second straight stop. Adam Rodenbeck was next and on the first pitch hit a line drive to left center toward Larry Haile, but Haile over ran it for the 7th run of the Indy inning.  Rodriguez then hit his 2nd pitch on the ground to the left side which Thanh Hunyh dove to his right for and as he dove to the ground his momentum took him onto his back and the ball hit him near his hip for the out.  Boston escaped the inning and after three it was 16-6.  Boston did not give up but this inning was the inning of the bang-bang play and the speed of the Thunder was making it very hard for Boston.

Boston was down 10 and staring at a possible 12 run rule.  They needed a few runs from the bottom half of the order which was just 1-6 on the day.  Shawn Devenish would lead off. He had that only run.  For Indy, they started the inning by bringing Ed Brown in on defense to replace Tyler Rodriguez.  Devenish hit the first pitch he saw off the bottom of his bat up the left center side of the field, which was where Tyler had been playing. This time rookie Zach Buhler was there.  It did not matter, Tyler’s brother Eric made a nice play angling back on the ball to stop it.  Joe Quintanilla came back in to pinch hit for Thanh.  Quintanilla hit a line drive up the middle of the field, but the ball did not travel far and Eric had time to run back and easily get in front of it as he made the play around 80 feet.  This brought Zuccarello up for the last chance for the bottom half of the order to try and score a run.  First pitch swinging, he and Cochran hit a weak grounder to the right.  Miguel Tello was there in a split second to pick up the ball and Boston threw up a donut for the first time and Boston was now done 16-6 after three innings.  All Indy needed to do was score two runs in the bottom of the inning, they could force the 12 run rule. This is the beep baseball equivalent to a mercy rule.

Indy would send up their 2-3-4 hitters.  Gerald Dycus led off the inning crushing a 130-foot fly ball down the first baseline but it was just foul.  In the end it was a long strike.  His next pitch was a ball off the bottom of his bat and Dias lined it up easily for the first out and three of the last four hitters had been stopped by the Boston defense.  Tobey Gregory was next and was 3-4 on the day with two gift-wrapped runs.  He fouled a few balls off to the right side.  He then lifted a high fly ball to the center of the field at about 55 feet.  Dias backed up on it and Proctor waited for Dias.  Neither could get it in time and Gregory scored another run on a ball that could have been an out.  Zach Buhler then lifted a high fly ball to about 115 feet of the middle of the field.  Zuccarello made a dive at it…but the ball went over him and Buhler scored easily to force the 12 run rule.  Since Indy was the home team, they would finish the inning.  Ed Brown in his first at bat lifted a short pop fly to the center of the field and on a hop, Justen Proctor finally made his first stop of the game for the 2nd out.  Rodenbeck would then hit the second pitch of his at-bat on the ground up the middle.  Guy Zuccarello was on it and it rolled right into his chest.

For Boston, they would need to score 12 runs to force Indy to have to come to the plate.  Boston had just 6 outs remaining in its season.  Leading off for the Renegades was Christian Thaxton. In a nice move by Indy, they inserted Clint Woodard into the game.  Clint had played in 5 title games but had never won.  Thaxton crushed the first pitch to left field that looked like it could be close to a home run but when the play was over, the ball was dead.  Thaxton knocked the beep out of the ball.  By rule, Thaxton would have to do it again.  He then hit a hard grounder to Eric Rodriguez, which bounced off him, but he was able to pick it up for the out. In essence Thaxton was punished for hitting the first ball too well.  Rob Dias was 1-2 on the day hit the 2nd pitch down the left side.  Rodriguez angled back toward the line and got in front of it for the 2nd out of the 5th.  Larry Haile then hit a 43 footer and Eric Rodriguez easily beat Larry and made the out before Larry could get half way down the line.  Three more outs would remain for the Renegades.

In the 6th, the bottom half of the renegade line-up would remain.  Devenish hit a hard grounder up the middle.  Eric Rodriguez angled to his left and made a diving stop of the ball that hit him in the armpit.  Rodriguez had made 4 stops in a row.  Off the bench for Boston, would come Tim Syphers.  Syphers lifted a fly ball foul down the third base line on the 2nd pitch.  He then hit an 80-foot grounder up the middle where Rodriguez and Tello converged as Tello picked it up easily.  To this point Eric Rodriguez would have 7 stops and Tello 5.  Hot Tub Thayer would be the last Renegade up and he would go down swinging to end the game and the dream for Boston.  The Thunder were the better team on this day.  Though the Boston defense gave away too many runs, which led to longer innings, the power and speed of the Thunder was too tough.  Boston was unable to get enough of it hits by the two front men of Indy.  The Thunder celebrated their first ever championship.  As they danced on the field, Weissman pulled his team off the bench and asked them to listen to Indy celebrate and implored them to keep their heads up and use the moment to fuel their off season work outs.  Boston did not have enough on this day but had its best ever season in team history finishing second in the league with a 13-2 record and their only two losses falling to the champion.  It was an amazing season. We walked off the field with our heads held high and our sights set on returning to this game in the future

A shot of the unsung heroes of the week. The Renegade coaches from left to Right Yuki Ara, Bryan Grillo, Ron Cochran, Rob Weissman, Jamie Dickerson and Mike Marciello

A shot of the unsung heroes of the week. The Renegade coaches from left to Right Yuki Ara, Bryan Grillo, Ron Cochran, Rob Weissman, Jamie Dickerson and Mike Marciello

If you would like to watch the game, it is available on-line.  The crew did an amazing job with play-by-play, color commentary, graphics and post production quality edits.  Even if you saw some of the game live that day, the quality of this video has been enhanced and includes the time when the live feed came off-line.  That video can be seen here: https://vimeo.com/179394573

 

Also…If you want to read the game summaries from the previous days at the World Series, see them below

World Series Game Summaries – Day 4

Renegades Win streak comes to a Crashing Halt as Indy Prevails 14-8

Rob Dias and Shawn Devenish had big games...BUT were not happy with the result and the loss of Joe McCormick

Rob Dias and Shawn Devenish had big games…BUT were not happy with anke result and the loss of Joe McCormick

An 11:30 start on a Friday between two teams who had never been to the finals.  NBBA history was about to happen.  The winner of this match would go to the finals while the loser would play again later in the day.  There was a good chance this would be a preview of the finals.  Both teams entered the day 6-0 on the week. Both teams entered this game looking fresh and faster than many of the teams in the league.  Indy had a much easier path. On day one they crushed two teams that would place 19th and 20th.  They slaughtered Athens 21-0 and then wrecked Rochester 24-1.  Their toughest game on day one was against the Comets whom they easily beat 13-1 (The Renegades beat the Comets by just one run).  In double elimination they took down the NJ Titans 13-3, the Indy Edge 9-5 and then beat the San Antonio Jets 20-12.  The Renegades knew this team would be tough to beat as it was infused with a mix of youth and veterans with a championship caliber pitcher in Jarred Woodard.  Their roster also was the biggest of any team in the Series.  Boston would win another coin toss and elect to be the home team.  With three one-run games in their arsenal, this home team advantage gave Boston a sense of confidence. In order to win this game, Boston would have to keep the ball away from the left short man, Eric Rodriguez and its own defense would have to be aggressive and quick.  Many teams had been complaining  about the Thunder’s high level of vision amongst its core of young players. During blindlfold checks, they were all using mind folds and it was clear they were just a super talented team. To lead off the game, Eric Rodriguez hit a hard shot to the right side, Rob Dias laid out a perfect superman and the ball hit him square in the “box” for an immediate out.  A roar went through the Renegade team to make such an aggressive out to start the game.  Rookie Gerald Dykus then scored on a sweet line drive up the middle of the field to give Indy a lead.  Veteran, Kyle Lewis hit a ground ball up the middle which Rob Dias was able to stop for the 2nd out.  Up came another young rising star, Zach Buhler.  Buhler laced a shot into left field for a sure run.  On the play, 3rd baseman Thanh Huynh turned his back to the field and raced after the ball.  Joe McCormick also raced after the ball from the left center position as the players were aggressively trying to make an out.  The run would score but this would be crucial later in the game.  In the bottom of the first, Eric Rodriguez would stop both Christian Thaxton and Joe McCormick on grounders up the middle.  Even though neither of those balls were hit well, both Renegades are tough outs due to their speed.  Erod made the plays with much time to spare.  Rob Dias, the hero of the day before, scorched a ball into left field for the first Renegade run.  Larry Haile was then put out on a close play as Tyler Rodriguez made a stop on a ball hit up the middle of the field.  After one inning, Indy led 2-1.  Justen Proctor would make a nice stop on a pop fly off the bat of Adam Rodenbeck to start the 2nd.  Eric Rodriguez would then hit a similar pop fly to the right side but Dias could not bring it in and Indy went ahead 3-1.  Next, Guy Zuccarello  stopped rookie sensation, Gerald Dykus for the 2nd out.  Lefty, Kyle Lewis, to no surprise of the Renegades hit a line drive into left field that eluded Joe McCromick for a run.  Zach Buhler would strike out and heading into the bottom of the 2nd Indy held a 4-1 lead.  Shawn Devenish laced a shot into center field to lead off the 2nd on the 3rd pitch he saw.  He had been put out just once all year on a ball like this, in the Chicago game when he missed the base.  This time, Kyle Lewis made a diving stop and Devenish was out by a step as the Indy bench roared in applause. Guy Zuccarello would then hit a 42 foot ball to the right side and beat out Miguel Tello for the second Renegade run and show why there is no routine play in beep baseball.  Up stepped Thaxton and as the Indy coach was calling the Thunder to watch for the pull hitter, Thaxton lofted a weak liner to the right side and was put out on a bang-bang play by Adam Rodenbeck.  McCormick would end the inning after being given a second life after a late base call. He would be stopped on a grounder off the bottom of his bat to Erod (his 3rd put out in just two innings).  Indy now led just 4-2.    The Boston defense was gaining confidence and was flying around.  Justen Proctor would stop Tyler Rodriguez on a 50 foot pop fly to start the inning.  Guy Zuccarello would stop Adam Rodenbeck on a grounder up the middle and then Joe McCormick would make an outstanding play on a line drive to left field.  What made it even more outstanding was the ball was dead and not beeping when McCormick hauled it in.  The Renegades defense had pitched a donut and raced to the bench in anticipation.  When Indy took the field in the bottom of the inning, Indy had subbed in long time all-star, Clint Woodard.  Apparently, Tello had been hurt earlier on one of the plays.  Woodard could be Tello’s father and this may have given the Renegades a boost as the speed of Tello appeared to be lost.  Rob Dias hit a ball off the handle of his bat up the middle that got by Erod, but his brother Tyler made the play to start off the third inning.  Larry Haile then hit a line drive down the line into left field to bring the Renegades to within one run.  Because defense was going to be a key factor in this game, Boston had been playing a platoon in the next spot of the line up.  Thanh Huynh had been going in and out to play defense and Joe Yee would make an appearance for this at-bat.  He would be put out on a weak grounder to Erod. Next, Guy Zuccarello would be put out on a nice line drive up the middle to end the inning.  It was 4-3 and this game was turning into a defensive show. Zuccarello would make another nice stop on Gerald Dykus to start the 4th inning but he was unable to coral a high fly ball up the middle off the bat of Kyle Lewis.  Buhler would hit a weak ground ball to Proctor and Tyler Rodrigues would whiff as Indy led 5-3 heading into the bottom of the 4th inning.  Christian Thaxton would lead off the inning and have some trouble with his timing and after fouling off two pitches would strike out on just 4 pitches to start the frame.  Joe McCormick would then hit another ball off the bottom of his bat and for the third time Erod was there to make a stop.  Rob Dias then hit the first pitch he saw into deep left Center field to make it a 5-4 game.  Larry Haile would end the inning with another out to Erod.  Heading to the 5th inning, Cochran had struck out just one hitter while Woodard had racked up 3 strike outs.  The problem was Erod  had made 5 defensive stops and Boston was struggling to keep the top of the order away from him.  Despite McCormick and Thaxton being a combined 0-6, Boston was just one run down and with the home field advantage Boston was confident they would turn it around on offense.  Eric Rodriguez led off the 5th inning with a line shot to right center that Thaxton could not reach and Indy pulled ahead 6-4.  Up stepped Dykus and this was the turning point of the season.  Dykus launched a deep fly into left field much like the ball that Buhler hit in the first inning.  This time McCormick and Hunyh would not be as lucky as the two players slammed into each other in a collision that could be heard on adjacent fields.  Both players were down.  McCormick was on his back dazed while Hunyh was rolling on the ground in pain.  Thankfully, the Renegades had two doctors with them and it was in their hands at this point.  As McCormick did an inventory on his body parts, all of his joints were ok…but he was dizzy.  He was not concussed but his face was beginning to swell and his eye was turning black and blue.  Mike Marciello decided his day was over and needed to check him out more thoroughly.  Huynh was holding his leg as he had been stepped on during the collision.  He would stay in the game for the time being.  The Renegades were clearly shaken up but Weissman implored the team to take a “next man” up attitude.  Into the game came Joe Yee, a player who was fresh and had scored  6 runs during the week.  McCormick went to the bench with Marciello and Yuki Ara to be checked out.  When play continued, Kyle Lewis would score on a pop fly down the 1st base line and Dykus would put it over everyone’s head into left center.  Thanh Hunyh would then make a diving stop on a line drive up the middle of the field to stop Tyler Rodriguez and give the Renegades some hope.  Indy led just 9-4 and Boston was hoping to get the bats going.  It had come from behind multiple times this year and was not going to let the McCormick injury stop them.  While on the bench, McCormick was continuing to struggle and an ambulance call was made.  He would leave the bench during a time out and head to the hospital for a CT scan.  Shawn Devenish would start off the 5th inning with a line drive into left field that Lewis would not get this time but Zuccarello and Thaxton would be stopped by Erod again.  Joe Yee would strike out and the inning was over.  The momentum shifted to Indy.  After an Erod strike out to start off the 6th, they would plate four consecutive runs to push the score to 14-5.  In the bottom of the 6th, Dias and Devenish plated runs.  Weissman turned to Tim Syphers looking for a boost as he hit for Guy Zuccarello.  Syphers was stopped by Rodenbeck.  Thaxton would get on the board for his only run of the game but Joe Yee would ground out to Erod to end it.  Indy won the game 14-8 and would advance to the finals. Eric Rodrigues would tally 9 stops on defense for the game and Thaxton and McCormick would finish the day 1-8.  The Renegades would lose the game, one of their emotional leaders and some of their energy all at the same time.  They needed to dig in deep.  They awaited the winner of the Bayou City Heat and Colorado Storm game which seemed to be taking a long time.  The Renegades were just hoping that game would go extra innings and the teams would wear each other out.  The winner of that game would play Boston and it would be the 3rd game of the day for that team. Advantage Boston!  All Boston needed was one more win to make the finals.  McCormick would not return to the bench this day as he was struggling a bit at the hospital. Boston would see a franchise best 13-game win streak come to an end.

Most exciting Renegade game ever!  Renegades come back in 7 innings 11-10 and advance to Finals!

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As the Renegades celebrate their big victory, Spotter Jamie Dickerson’s expression says it all “Let’s GO!”. Our coaching staff is very passionate and this passion drives us every year!

After the loss, the Renegades needed to regroup.  Joe McCormick was not coming back and word from the hospital was he had multiple fractures in his sinus cavity.  He was also going back in for more CT scans as he started to vomit.  The team needed to find strength.  A next man up attitude was critical.  On field 5, the Bayou City Heat battled the Colorado Storm.  The Renegades were awaiting the winner of that match up.  The game was actually taking forever and as we rested, we were all cheering when we would see the teams continue to change sides.  Texts were flying back to us stating the game was going into extra innings.  The longer that game went, the more worn out they would be for our game.  The Renegades had an advantage here because that team would be playing its 3rd game on this day when they came to our field while Boston was playing just its second.  While this game was being played out, coach Weissman was looking for a strategy to play either team.  At the same time, our medical staff declared that Thanh Hunyh was unavailable for this match.  There was some concern that he may have a stress fractures in his shins.  They wanted to wait for his adrenaline to wear off as he was badly limping.  No matter whom we played, the Renegades were down two key players.  It was gut check time.  Joe Yee would be the first to be given a chance to contribute and would get the starting nod for this next match.  Shawn Devenish and Larry Haile would also be moved up in the batting order to take Joe Mac’s spot.  In time, we saw Colorado celebrating a 20-17 victory and the Renegade confidence grew as we had beaten this team yesterday. Boston was forced to make some lineup changes.  We planned to have Larry Haile play the outfield spot but when possible, we wanted to play Joe Quintanilla there as well for defensive reasons so a platoon was planned.  At third, the plan was to give Joe Yee the reps both ways.  Since the Renegades won another coin toss (Rob Dias and Thanh Hunyh were super excited to let us know they won again), we elected to be the home team.  This meant that Joe Quintanilla would draw the start in the outfield on defense.  When the score sheet was turned in, Weissman told the scorekeeper that Haile would hit for Quintanilla when that spot came up in the order.  The Colorado line up also looked slightly different from the previous day.  They had moved Richie Krussel into the lead off spot and Jimmie Burnett would also be in the line-up replacing Rocky Zamora’s bat.

Colorado would start off the game with back-to-back scores by Krussel and Ethan Johnston but then Chad Sumner would strike out, Justen Proctor would stop Morrow on a grounder up the middle and then Mike Jackson would strike out.  A defensive inning that started dreadful for Boston ended well and the team settled in as it came to the plate.  Christian would quickly get the party started with a first pitch pop fly to the right side for a run.  Ethan Johnston would stop Rob Dias on a grounder up the middle and then Shawn Devenish would strike out.  Up to the plate stepped Larry Haile when confusion would ensue.  Haile lofted a fly ball into the center of the field to tie the game up as the Renegade bench exploded.  As Joe Yee was entering the batters box a conference was forming at the scorers table.  Boston was being accused of batting out of order.  Weissman argued and argued and argued that he had given the change before the game had started but he was not being heard.  The head of umpires was called to the field and an argument was looking to be futile.  Weissman argued that in other games scorekeepers had been asking for the subs before they happened.  The inconsistency was a problem and it was unjust to take the run off the board.  Weissman lost and the Renegade run was taken off the board and a strikeout was put in the stats against Joe Quintanilla.  In the 2nd inning, Jimmie Burnett  would hit a pop fly to the left side and be stopped by Proctor.  Justen “JCP” would also stop Richie Krussel.  But Johnston and Sumner would plate runs on a fly ball to left field and a line drive to the first base side to make the game 4-1 Denver heading into the bottom of the 2nd inning.  Boston would have a rough inning.  Joe Yee who had made great improvements in his swing would start off the inning and strike out on 4 pitches.  Zuccarello would hit a grounder to the left side that Johnston would gobble up and then Johnston would nab Thaxton as well and Boston would throw a donut up for the frame.  Colorado would lead off the third with number 5 hitter, Mike Jackson who Rob Dias would stop for the first out.  Jimmie Burnett would then hit a grounder to Proctor for the 2nd out and this time, Krussel would strike out for a 1-2-3 inning.  Jimmie Burnett was injured on the play and off the bench came Willie Clinton to play defense.  Boston would feel the momentum shift quickly.  Rob Dias would line the 3rd pitch he saw into center field for a run.  Devenish hit the 1st pitch into the same area for another run when Joe Quintanilla’s spot would come up again in the line up.  This time so everyone could hear it, Weissman announced with a big smile on his face that Larry Haile was pinch-hitting.  On the 2nd pitch he lofted a fly ball down the 3rd base line to tie the game at 4 a piece.  Joe Yee’s struggles would continue as he struck out on another 4 pitches.  This was important because Cochran and Weissman had talked about Yee’s inconsistent swing between innings and he was going to be on a short leash.  Something had changed in his stance causing the swing paths to change.  After a Zuccarello ground out to Krussel, Thaxton faced a full count.  He then scored on a grounder that eluded Johnston and Boston had its first lead 5-4 after three innings.  That lead would be short-lived as Colorado would plate three straight runs to start off the 4th inning.  Johnston, Sumner and Morrow pushed the Storm to 7 runs but Proctor would stop Jackson, Dias would stop Clinton and Proctor would stop Krussel to finish off the inning.  Bad news for the Renegades in the bottom of the 4th. Devenish hit a pop fly to the left side and would be stopped by Johnston.  Larry Would strike out and then Weissman decided to give Joe Yee another at-bat after trying to get him to stand higher.  The result was his third strike out of the game and after 4 innings Colorado led 7-5.  Ethan Johnston would score on a ground ball to the 1st base line to start the inning for his 4th run of the game.  Rob Dias would stop Chad Sumner and Justen Proctor would stop Morrow before Jackson struck out to end the inning.  Heading to the 5th inning Colorado had an 8-5 lead and their excitement was growing.  Zuccarello would lead off the inning and on the 2nd pitch would ground out to the right side into the arms of Richie Krussel.  Thaxton would lace a bomb into left field for his 3rd run of the game but Dias would come up empty with Ethan Johnston putting him out and Devenish would strike out.  After 5 innings, Boston was down 8-6.  And in the bottom of the inning would have their 4-5-6 hitters coming up.  Leading off the 6th inning was pinch hitter Orlando Dominguez who had been battling a leg injury that left him limping bad.  He would hit a weak grounder to the third baseline that Proctor would pick up.  Krussel would then hit hard grounder up the middle of the field, but Zuccarello would make a huge stop for his first out of the game.  This Brought Ethan Johnston to the plate with a chance to put this game away.  After scoring 4 straight times, Johnston went down swinging.  After 5.5 innings it was 8-6 Colorado.  Boston had to find a way to get a run from the bottom of the order to give Thaxton a chance to hit.  Statistically, the best chance was Larry Haile who really had scored twice in this game but in the books was only 1-2 due to the “batting out of order” rule that was called in the 1st.  When this inning started, Weissman decided that the team would no longer use each player’s calling cards.  Instead we would pay tribute to our fallen hero who was back at the hotel, Joe McCormick.  Before each at-bat, Weissman would scream “Joe Mac” to the teams return cry of “Way Back”.  Though he was not on the field with us, he was in our hearts.  Haile fouled off the first pitch and then flailed three straight times.  Weissman and Cochran were baffled at the change in his swing.  One down and this time the decision was to bring Joe Quintanilla off the bench to hit for Yee.  In typical Joe Q fashion, he took the first pitch.  After three straight swings he faced a full count and hit a line drive up the middle of the field for a run.  The Renegade bench erupted.  Quintanilla had scored the first run of his World Series and picked a great time to do it.  Zuccarello then hit a hard grounder up the middle, which got by Krussel and Johnston but on a bang-ng play was put out by Rocky Zamora for the 2nd out of the inning.  The bottom of the lineup had done its job!  Thaxton stepped into the box with a chance to tie it.  He fouled off the first 2 pitches.  He swung and missed on the 3rd pitch.  He then fouled off another two pitches.  On the 6th pitch he put it into play with a line drive up the middle and raced down the line to tie the game.  Boston’s hopes of another walk of win were in the hands of Rob Dias.  Dias had a walk off hit against the Storm on Thursday.  This time he lofted a pop fly to the right side and Johnston ranged over to make the play.  Boston had tied the game and forced extra innings.  Boston was fired up to have a second life while the Storm was dreading another extra inning contest. Colorado wasted no time.  Chad Sumner gave them a lead with a blast down the first base line.  While this was going on, Weissman went to his video to look at Haile’s last at-bat to see if they could find something to help.  Justen Proctor stopped Demetrious Morrow on a ground ball.  Mike Jaconson who had been scoreless in the game then lofted a fly ball up the middle of the field.  Zuccarello could not bring it in and Colorado led 10-8.  Proctor then would stop Dominguez and Krussel for his 10th and 11th stops of the game.  Boston would need to find 2 runs to keep this game alive. Leading off in the 7th was Shawn Devenish who had been quiet  (1-4 with 2 strike outs).  He started the frame off with a ground out to Krussel.  Up stepped Larry Haile.  Weissman pointed to Cochran to take his lead on the target and on the first pitch they connected on this new target with a fly ball into left field as Haile plated a run to keep the dream alive.  We needed a run from the 5/6 hitters to get the game to Thaxton.  Joe Quintanilla stayed in the game after his big run in the 6th and strode to the plate.  Again he took the first pitch.  He managed to foul a ball off to the right side, swung and missed and fouled another off.  For the 2nd time he faced a full count.  This time he hit a ball down the first base line.  The ball stopped about 105 feet and was not far from the base.  Quintanilla took off and his line out of the box was not good as his momentum took him into fair territory.  Miraculously, the Colorado first baseman raced past the ball into foul territory a split second before Quintanilla raced by the fielder in fair territory.  The miracle was that the Storm fielder never could find the ball and that no umpire yelled stop to kill the play.  Quintanilla was SAFE!  Holy Moly, Quintanilla was SAFE.  The Boston bench went insane as the score was now tied 11-10 with just one out.  Zuccarello would have a chance to walk off.  As he stepped into the box he turned to Weissman and said, “can you believe it we got Christian another chance to hit!”  Weissman quickly asked if Zucarello was forfeiting his at-bat and the two of them had a laugh in a very exciting and tense moment.  Guy then hit another hard grounder up the middle and on another bang-bang play was stopped by Demetrious Morrow.  Up Stepped Christian Thaxton with the game on the line and a chance to walk off.  Thaxton was 4-5 on the day.  Thaxton fouled off the first two pitches and then swung and missed to bring the count to three strikes.  He then fouled off another pitch as both teams waited in anticipation.  With three strikes on him, Cochran delivered the next pitch and the timing was perfect but we caught it slightly off the top off the bat.  A fly ball sailed toward the center of the field as Thaxton dashed down the third base line.  He was SAFE.  Boston had won!  For the second time this week, they had come back to beat the Colorado Storm in extra innings.  For the first time in team history, the Renegades would be playing for the National title!  As the pig pile separated from the third baseline a few key stories were to be remembered.  Justen Proctor made 11 stops in this game to tie his career high against this same team in 2011.  Christian had his first ever walk off hit and paced the team with 5 runs scored.  Joe Quintanilla came off the bench and scored two of the biggest runs in Renegade history.  Joe McCormick was watching from the hotel proud of his teammates.  So many people were happy to get this win…if not to keep their coach out of the insane asylum for the gaff that cost them a run (and maybe more) in the first inning.  Boston would advance to play the only team who had beaten them all year, the Indianapolis Thunder.  See the team celebrate after their walk off win here (Video by Sarah Cochran)

This game was actually captured on a Facebook Live video from a few of the Chicago Comets.  If you would like to see some of that action shot from the 3rd baseline, visit this Facebook link

Also…If you want to read the game summaries from the previous days at the World Series, see them below

World Series Game Summaries – Day 3

Renegades break ten game losing streak and hold off the comets 12-11

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Christian Thaxton paced the offense with 4 runs (and 2 defensive stops), Rob Dias scored three times and made three stops while Thanh Huynh made a huge defensive stop that lit a fire under the team during this game

On a cool morning that left a few Renegades shivering, the Renegades took field ten to play the Chicago Comets.  The Comets were instrumental in helping the Renegades grow in the early days.  Their team was a model for the Renegades and these two programs have been two of the biggest programs in the world.  Two top teams made of 100% home grown players.  This game would be played along the road and often times would face delays due to trucks hauling through.  In fact, in the very first inning there was an ambulance delay for a Colorado player who was having a seizure on the next field (he would be ok).  Jamie Dickerson lost the coin toss and Boston would bat first (he was on a 3 game winning streak).  The Renegades were focused, rested and ready to go winning all 4 games they had played. The Comets entered with a 3-1 record with easy wins over Rochester, Athens and Tyler and a huge loss to the Indy Thunder. In the first, Boston had a mix of results with Thaxton leading off on a grounder down the third baseline and a score. But Joe McCormick would swing and miss on 4 straight pitches, which led to some concern. Rob Dias blasted a shot into left for a score but then Larry Haile would go down on 4 swings as well. Shawn Devenish then blasted a shot into center field and the Renegades led 3-0. In this inning, Bernardo Barrera would have to come of the field with a finger injury. This meant Wally Modzierz would come off the bench for the Comets. Chicago would lead off with two powerful lefty hitters in Richie Schultz and Bill Landrum. Boston went into a shift for them but Schultz found a hole as it fell in front of Thaxton for a run. Landrum then scored on a pop fly up the middle of the field that Zuccarello could not pick up in time. After a strike out and a weakly hit ball to Proctor, Juan Gonzalez lifted the tying shot into left field and the game was tied. In the second, the Renegades could only push one run across as Thaxton plated a run on another grounder to the left side and beat it out with his speed. Joe McCormick struck out again without making contact. Thoughts of his 6 strike out performance in Philly crept into the mind of Weissman. This was not the time for this to happen again. Schultz would tie the game in the bottom of the inning on a blast that flew through an over shifted defense. Bill Landrum would then step to the plate and hit a ball down the first baseline. As Thaxton scrambled to find the ball, Landrum took a terrible line and was heading into the Renegade bench area along the first base line. The umpire verbalized the word “stop” and as that happened, Landrum corrected himself and hit the base. A huddle then took place on the first baseline as Herzog, Perry, Cochran and Weissman talked it over with Umpire, Kevin Miller. After a long discussion, it was determined that since stop was called and Landrum corrected his base running on that word, the runner would be called out. This would prove to be a huge out for the Renegades. Thaxton then made a nice play to stop Big Giovanni Francese. But before the inning was over, Mike Mcglashon would plate a run on a grounder through the left side and the Comets led 5-4. The third inning was pivotal. Devenish and Zuccarello plated runs and then Thaxton lifted a bomb into left for three straight runs. Up came Joe McCormick. Before this at-bat, he had a talk with hitting coach, Mike Marciello and Weissman. He was told to stop being blissful and calm and go up there and hit the crap out of the ball. While the rest of the team was playing well and staying calm, we wondered if Mac would benefit from just playing as amped up as he normally does. We told him we were going to give him another chance. This time, he put the ball into play and his confidence was back but he was stopped for an out. Rob Dias scored after this and the Renegades moved ahead 8-5. In the bottom of the frame, Proctor would make a stop on Wally. Then lead off hitter, Schultz came to the dish. He hit a laser down the first baseline into the diving body of Thanh Hunyh who fired up the Renegades with this big stop. With one out in the 4th, Thaxton, McCormick and Dias would score big runs. McCormick was loving his new amped up attitude and he was contributing again on offense. Only Juan Gonzalez would score for Chicago and Boston led 11-6 after four. The fifth inning did not go well for Boston. Zuccarello grounded out to the left side and then Thaxton struck out. Joe McCormick with his newfound confidence then hit a laser into left to give Boston 12 runs. In the bottom of the frame, only Richie Schultz could plate a run as he blasted it by Thanh Huynh. And Chicago piled up two more strikeouts in this inning. Going to the 6th inning Boston led 12-7. Boston had the 4-5-6 hitters up. They were 3-12 on the day. Haile went down on 4 swings. Devenish was put out on a weak grounder to the left side and then Zuccarello struck out. Boston took the field with a five run lead and a lot of excitement and confidence.   Juan Gonzalez led off with his 3rd run of the game on a pop fly to third. Then Bernardo Barrera came in to pinch hit for Wally. Barrera has historically killed the Renegades but this time he would go down on strikes. Schultz would then score on another blast through the shift down the first base line. Landrum would score on a pop fly to the third baseline and Big Giovanni would score on a hit to the right side. The score was now 12-11. The Renegades had to get McGlashon out and he hit a pop fly to the third baseline. Proctor picked it up for a huge stop. Down by a run and with two outs, Juan Gonzalez stepped to the plate looking to tie the game. He was 3-4 on the day. He hit a weak grounder to the right side that Rob Dias gobbled up and the Renegades held on to a tight game to win 12-11. The Renegades exploded in excitement and surrounded Dias on the field. The comets scored four times in the last frame but fell just short. As the team stretched, Weissman thanked his angels for the stop call and poor base running of Bill Landrum in the 2nd inning. Boston would advance and still be alive without a loss. This was the first time ever Boston had made it 5 games deep in the World Series without a loss and they strutted an 11 game win streak into that game.

Boston Comes from behind and Beats Colorado in 7 innings 14-13

Joe McCormick scores one of his 4 runs on the day to help lead the Renegades back from the dead (Photo by John Lykowski)

Joe McCormick scores one of his 4 runs on the day to help lead the Renegades back from the dead (Photo by John Lykowski)

As the Renegades waited for their next opponent,  We were surprised when the Colorado Storm were walking to our field as they had just defeated the Bayou City Heat by the score of 20-12. Colorado had been scoring a lot of runs this week and had just one loss in the round robin brackets to the Indy Edge.  Boston and Colorado always play tight games and this one would be no exception.  The last time these two teams met, Colorado started off hot scoring 8 runs in the first inning and then walking off on Boston in the 6th by the score of 17-16.  This time, the Renegades would win the coin toss.  It would be a slow start for the Renegades as the Storm scored three times in the first inning with some shaky defense.  Boston got off to a bad start on offense as well.  Thaxton struck out.  Rob Dias would come to the plate at this point and before his at-bat began.  A huge crowd noise would interrupt the game.  The PA system from Jack Trice stadium was booming crowd noise.  The noise could be heard all over the complex as every game had to come to a halt.  The Renegades were on field 10, which was closest to the action and on top of the PA system and the road noise, it would be unfair to play in these conditions.  Weissman joked with Denver that The Broncos used similar fake crowd noise to get their noise levels higher at home games as the NFL banter obviously led to deflated footballs.  The games were being played on the Iowa State campus and after about 15 minutes, the stadium was contacted and complied to turn off the noise. Dias would eventually ground out to Morrow and then McCormick struck out as well.  The Renegades were better in the 2nd on defense as Proctor and Dias made stops to start off the inning but Richie Krussell would score on a pop fly and Colorado pulled ahead 4-0.  Larry Haile got the bats going with a pop fly down the first base line to start off the scoring in the second, But Devenish and Zuccarello would each go down on 4 pitches.  Thaxton would plate a run on a pop fly down the third baseline before Dias would strike out on another 4 pitches.  Boston had started the day  with 5 of their 6 outs by the way of a strike out.  A tough start for sure.  The Boston defense settled in during the 3rd inning when they got a break as Mike Jackson missed a base as Christian Thaxton had extra time and made the stop.  Larry Haile would then put out Rocky Zamora and then on fly ball up the middle, Joe McCormick made a nice grab to stop Ethan Johnston.  McCormick would lead off the inning and in a battle would hit the 7th pitch of the at-bat and would leg out a run to make it 6-3.  Haile and Devenish would be stopped and with two outs Guy Zuccarello would hit a grounder to the left side and beat Ethan Johnston to keep the inning alive and turn over the lineup.  Thaxton would launch a bomb into left field to and the Renegades would now lead the game 5-4.   Leading off the 4th inning, Chad Sumner laced a line drive into left field, But McCormick made another tremendous stop to prevent a sure run.  Krussel would score again in the 4th inning on another ball that would travel less than 80 feet to get the Storm on the board.  Morrow then scored on a grounder up the middle.  The storm had pulled ahead  6-5.  In the bottom of the 4th inning, McCormick would leg out another ground ball to tie the score at 6 a piece.  With one out, Shawn Devenish hit a hard grounder up the middle and it looked like the go-ahead run but he would run by third base as Rocky Zamora would make the stop.  Devenish was clearly upset at himself as this rookie was being put into some very meaningful situations.  The 5th inning opened with Orlando Dominguez coming off the bench.  He hit a pop fly that fell in front of Justen Proctor and he took off on a fast limp down the 3rd baseline.  Proctor had him nailed but when he went to pick the ball up with one hand, he dropped it and Dominguez scored.  Johnston would score on a 70-foot fly ball up the middle and then Proctor would stop Sumner for the 1st out.  Krussell would then score on a fly ball to third base, which Larry Haile could not pick up in time and Morrow would score on a grounder up the middle.  While all of this was going on,  Weissman and Cochran were chatting on the bench.  Cochran was saying that maybe the Renegades were just not mentally ready to play at this level quite yet.  This fired Weissman up.  Weissman went to Devenish to pick him up and talk him off the bad base.  They discussed the importance of not hand tagging bases in bad hearing conditions.  They discussed how much Devenish has done for this team.  Devenish began to calm down.  Colorado would plate 5 runs in the 5th and pull ahead 11-6.  Boston would show no quit.  Thaxton would lace a shot up the middle to lead off the inning.  McCormick and Haile would also plate runs and pull the game to an 11-9 deficit heading into the 6th inning.  The Storm would keep the pressure on.  Morrow would score on a pop fly to the right side.  Jackson would plate a run on  90-foot grounder up the middle and it was 13-9.  The bats would fall silent as Dominguez and Johnston struck out to end the 6th inning.  Boston was down 4 runs and had not scored more than three in an inning thought this game.  They believed in themselves and knew they could score at least four to keep this dream alive.  Christian Thaxton was leading off.  Thaxton was over swinging a bit and grounded to third to start the inning.  Rob Dias laced a line drive into center field for the first run on the 1st pitch he saw.  Joe McCormick lofted a high fly ball into left field for the 2nd run and the Renegades were fired up with two bombs in a row.  Larry Haile would lace the 1st pitch into right field for a line drive that went by everyone and with one out the score was 13-12 with rookie Shawn Devenish coming to the plate.  He and Weissman had talked about the importance of keeping his head in the game.  With three strikes he laced a line drive up the middle of the field and took off for the base.  This time he nailed it with his whole body and the ball game was tied.  The rookie had come through and the Renegades had two chances to walk off on the Storm.  The Storm had not seen this firepower from the Renegades all day.  Guy Zuccarello had the first chance and with three strikes, grounded out to Richie Krussel.  Christian Thaxton came up next and he was hitting .704 to this point of the tournament.  The bench was ready to erupt.  Thaxton over swung on his first swing.  He made an adjustment on the next pitch but Ethan Johnston stopped him on an amazing play and the ball game would head into extra innings.  The momentum had shifted and Boston had some extra hop in their step.  Sumner and Krussell  would start off the inning with strikeouts as the Storm had now struck out 4 times in a row.  This brought Demetrius Morrow to the plate.  He put the ball in play and Guy Zuccarello would make a diving stop to put the Storm down 1-2-3 for just the 2nd time all game.  On the first pitch of the bottom of the 7th inning, Rob Dias played the hero as he scored on a grounder to the left side.  The Renegades had done it, they had come from behind to beat the storm.  They celebrated on the field and piled on Rob Dias.  Boston had just won two one run games in a row.  They held off a Comet come back and then they came from behind to beat the Storm.  They had clinched a top 3 seed in the World Series and if they could win one more game would be in the championship game on Saturday.  This comeback showed Cochran this team had what it took to play at this level.  Guy Zuccarello was even heard saying that Weissman did an amazing job keeping the team calm.  The two wins meant that Boston could sleep in again the next day as it looked to face off against the only other undefeated team, the Indy Thunder.

 

To read about our exciting 2016 World Series…You can read about Day 1 here:

You can also read about day 2 here:

World Series Game Summaries – Day 2

Renegades win 11th straight over Southwest 12-4

Rob Dias picks up the ball and Justen's leg at the same time to make an out against Southwest - Photo by John Lykowski

Rob Dias picks up the ball and Justen’s leg at the same time to make an out against Southwest – Photo by John Lykowski

Earning a morning of rest after winning the previous three pool games pitted the Renegades up against the Southwest Slammers who had to be tired coming out of a tough bracket and then having to get up to play a tight game against the Iowa Reapers in the morning.  Boston was very familiar with this squad as 50% of the line up was from the Philly Fire. Originally the game was scheduled for field 7 but the night before, Bryan Grillo alerted coach Weissman that the field might not be safe. In fact, a Colorado player was hurt on that field the previous day. After much discussion in the morning, the league agreed to move the game to field five. The game would start off with John Margist hitting a routine grounder up the middle, but the ball spun from one zone to the next and the players did not react. John scored on a ball that would not travel more than 90 feet.  Later in that inning, Rob Dias and Justen Proctor would collide on a bang bang play on the left side with Rob Dias picking up the ball and Justen’s leg at the same time for the stop.  The Boston defense looked slightly sluggish to start for sure but escaped with just one run because the Southwest did not have blazing speed.  Boston would jump out quickly as Thaxton, McCormick and Dias would lead off the game with run scoring hits as Thaxton scored on a ball that got by Mike Coughlin on the third base line, McCormick hit a line drive down the first base line and Dias lifted a bomb into deep left field.  Larry Haile would come to the plate and with 2 strikes on him an argument ensued. Catcher, Weissman took a peak at Larry’s footwear and noticed they were different.  Weissman insisted Larry was not in cleats but Haile said he was.  When the at bat was over, Weissman asked Haile to see the soles of his feet and he was in sneakers.  Haile had left his cleats in the hotel. This put Haile on the bench till his cleats could be picked up by Sarah Cochran at the hotel.  Shawn Devenish then lifted a high pop fly up the middle of the field but took one step to third and was put out by Andrew Greene on a bang-bang play…Earning Devenish the pink blindfold.  Zuccarello would then hit a line drive up the middle to give Boston a 4 -1 lead.  To lead off the second Dan Kelley hit a laser down the first base line that caught Boston off guard as it was shifted to protect the middle.  Rob Dias almost ran it down, but the Slammers scored and it was 4-2.  Margist would come up again and this time would hit a hard grounder down the third base line.  As third base buzzed loudly, Justen Proctor called the ball dead and everyone froze in their tracks on the defense.  After the play was over, the ball was faintly beeping and Margist had his 2nd run and the Boston lead was cut to 4-3. This was a pivotal moment for Boston because they would agree for the rest of the week to pursue dead balls (and they would make two plays later in the week on balls that were dead because of this decision) in the bottom of the frame, the Boston bats kept booming as McCormick hit a line drive up the middle of the field, Rob Dias scored on a grounder he beat out, Shawn Devenish blasted a shot to left center and Zuccarello beat out a 40 foot dribbler and Boston led 8-3.  Southwest struck put three in a row in the third and Boston was super confident but began to lose focus.  The highlight of the 3rd inning was Joe Yee who came into play for cleat less Larry Haile.  He hit a 41-foot dribbler and blazed down the first baseline for a run.  This was exciting because Yee had been bothered by shin splints for two seasons and to see him run like the wind was amazing. In the 4th Margist would plate his 3rd run on a weak hit to lead off the inning.  Than Huynh would need a blindfold time out.  Coming out of the time out, he was upset by the fact the umpires needed to check his blindfold since he has two prosthetic eyes.  This fired him up.  On the next hit, Scott Hog wood hit a grounder through the defense that Huynh made a great diving stop between Taxon and McCormick for the out.  This highlight fired up the team has Huynh had worked so hard on defense this season that it was finally clicking for him.  But this would be the last true highlight of the game.  Southwest switched pitchers at the top of the 4th and entered Travis Means.  Means would strike out 7 of the 10 batters he faced.  The Renegades appeared to lose energy and focus for the rest of the way.  Zuccarello and Dias would end the game with three runs each.  Proctor and Dias also had three stops. Combined with Thane’s stop…that was all Boston made.  Offensively, Ron Cochran struggled a bit with his location and players swings and finished with 9 strikeouts in 5 innings.  After the game, Cochran and Weissman addressed the team and encouraged more focus, energy, better food decisions and rest for the team. Chicago would be waiting in the morning.  A performance like this may not be good enough to win that game.  We needed to do better to keep the dream alive.

 

To read about day 1 of the series...click here

World Series Game Summaries – Day 1

Renegades set the tone for the week beating the Jets 20-9

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

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

The NBBA has a process where new teams are just automatically seeded at the bottom of the bracket regardless of who is on that team.  This year, The Renegades were not going to have a true 18 seed.  Instead, they would face off against the former defending world champion pitcher and a few of his players, Kevin Sibson.  Weissman knew this Jets team would be a top 5 team in the World Series before it happened.  The thought process was simple.  Beat the Jets and the team will have beaten a top team and get confidence for the week.  Lose and there is no harm because double elimination had not started…and it would keep the Renegades away from a potential clash with a new rival who owned us the past few years, the Bayou City Heat.  The coaching staff discussed the importance of getting a feel for the field.  We wanted to make sure we gave the defense the best chance to get off to a strong start and these fields would play slower than we had played on all year.  The team was on the fields the night before and again on them early on Tuesday morning.  Weissman would lose the coin toss and Boston would start off the game with the very first pitch to Christian Thaxton being a late base.  After that it took 8 pitches and Boston had two strikeouts.  Rob Dias and Larry Haile would put Boston on the board 2-0.  In the bottom of the frame, Boston learned about the field and found at times it was playing too deep for the speed of Austin.  Axel Cox would lead off for the Jets and hit a ground ball right to Christian Thaxton, but Thaxton was too deep.  By the time the ball got to him, Cox was at the base. Rookie, Ricky Ruzicka would then score on a fly ball that Justen Proctor could not pick up in time and that was a run.  Rene Almanza then hit a hard ball up the left center of the field that ricocheted of Guy Zuccarello, but deep man, Joe McCormick was there to make the stop and the Gades were fired up!  Thaxton would then make a nice play on a ball off the bat of Jason Ackiss and the game was knotted at two a piece.  Leading off the 2nd, Guy Zuccarello scored on a line drive up the middle.  Thaxton scored on a grounder down the third base line and Dias and Haile also plated their second runs of the game on bombs. Guy Zuccarello would then score to make it 7-2 but the centerfield umpire who had no view of the ball, overturned the home plate umpire on a call where Richie Flores made a play facing the home plate umpire.  Despite the fact the home plate ump had a better view, she refused to stick with her original call and the score was 6-2.  Austin would plate two more as Cox and Arumbula would plate runs into right center.  In the third inning, The Boston line up would score three straight as Thaxton, McCormick and Dias went 1-2-3 for one of the few times all week to really fire the Renegades up.  Shawn Devenish also shocked San Antonio with a blast to left center to keep the pressure on.  During the same inning, The bats kept rocking and Thaxton and McCormick plated their 2nd runs of the inning when Rob Dias came to the plate giving them a chance to go 1-2-3 for the second time in the inning. Dias hit a line drive to right center but missed third base.  This was his first missed base of his career and it ended a big 6 run rally.  Boston was pushing toward a 12 run rule and hoping to make it stick.  Cox was the only runner to score for the Jets in the 3rd and after three Boston was up 12-5.  Instead of going for the kill, Boston put up a goose egg in the 4th.  However, the Renegade defense held the Jets to nothing as well as Larry Haile made one stop and Rob Dias made a pair to get the game to the 5th. The missed base seemed to take some steam out of the Renegades, as they would go down 1-2-3 for the second inning in a row.  The Renegades would have confidence.  During this time they were beating themselves with a missed base, 2 strikeouts and two weak grounders to Cox who plays up front.  Richie Flores would score in the bottom of the 5th and the Jets felt some life to start the inning when confusion would start.  Ron Cochran and Rob Weissman were confused at who was up as the Jets had been inserting the Aaron Almanza in and out of the game.  After Aaron Almanza scored to pull the game to 12-7, Cochran approached the umps and Jets coach, Kevin Sibson.  Sibson made a mistake and was caught batting out of order.  This was the 2nd time this season the Renegades had caught a team making this mistake.  Sibson was accountable.  He called time out, huddled his team and told them he had screwed up.  It did not effect him, after the huddle, they plated two more runs for their biggest inning of the game and the score was 12-9 heading into the 6th.  The Jets felt confident being the home team they could stay in this game.  That confidence ended fast.  The Renegades would have their biggest inning of the week and a hit parade would ensue.  Haile scored on a grounder to third.  Devenish scored on a blast into left center, Zuccarelo scored on a short pop up to the left side, Thaxton hit a line drive to left Center.  McCormick scored on a high fly down the first base line to give the Renegades 5 straight runs.  Rob Dias would make the first out of the inning but Haile, Zuccarello and Thaxton would score their second runs of the inning and that would be enough as Boston started to sub in players to rest starters for the long day.  In the end Boston would win 20-9. Christian Thaxton would score 5 times, (just the third time had had plated 5+ runs in a game).  Haile would plate 4 runs in this game (the 10th time he had plated 4+ in a game).  Defensively, Rob Dias and Justen Proctor would each have a hat trick but every starter had at least one. The league was mostly predicting the Jets to win but when this score went up, a shudder went through the ranks that maybe Boston would be for real. As the Jets went through the line shaking hands, a few of them were heard saying how surprised they were that the Boston team was this good.  That would become a theme.  San Antonio and Boston were clearly two of the top 6 teams at this World Series.

 

Boston Stops the Outlaws in first ever game against them 8-1

Joe Yee scored three runs while Justen Proctor scored a run and made 4 stops and Rob Thayer also plated a loud run for the Gades as they beat the Outlaws

Joe Yee scored three runs while Justen Proctor scored a run and made 4 stops and Rob Thayer also plated a loud run for the Gades as they beat the Outlaws

Right from the start, the Outlaws were at a disadvantage.  Very early in their first game there was a collision and one of their top players, Craig Cotton was injured and would be out for this game and would not play for the next day either.  Boston had preached rest for the players and wanted to get all of their players a minimum amount of rest. Only two players from the previous game were in the batting order to start the game.  BCS started the game with two strikeouts and a ground out to Justen Proctor.  But the offense got off to a slow start as only Christian Thaxton scored in the first inning. Both Rob Dias and Tim Syphers struggled to put the ball into play.  Joe Quintanilla was put out on a grounder down the first base line and was put out as Crystal Stark ranged way to her left and on a dead run picked up a ball that was not rolling.  In the second inning, Luis Castillo hit a grounder to the right side where Thanh Hunyh was.  Than charged the ball and then found he did not listen to the call and the ball rolled by him as Castillo scored.  This lesson would be one of the last times all week he would not listen to a call.  Joe Yee led off the third inning for Boston and hit a fly ball into left field for his first run of the season.  Justen Proctor then scored on a grounder to the left side for his only run of the World Series which led to Christian Thaxton plating a run as well and Boston was up 4-1 which would be all they would need.  In the third inning The Renegades removed their DH and put Thanh Hunyh into the line up as well as having Rob Hot Tub Thayer in the game.  This cushion would allow the Renegades to get their game one starters the rest they needed.  Joe Yee would score three runs in this game for a hat trick and gain the confidence of the coaching staff to get more at-bats later in the week.  Tim Syphers and Rob Thayer also scored in this match as the Renegades won easily 8-1.  The BCS offense could not get a hit by the Boston Shorties of Than, Justen Proctor and Joe McCormick who accounted for all 7 defensive stops.  Melissa Hoyt was also in this game as her only World Series appearance.  Hoyt had hurt her knee before the series but still made the trek.  She was taped up and out at first base for a few innings to help the starters rest, playing her role well.  The highlight of this game beyond Yee’s three runs was a shot to right field off the bat of Thayer.  The defense must have lost the ball with the ball laying near a loud first base. No Outlaw ever moved to the ball.  Thayer even missed the base and had time to score since BCS could not hear it near the base.  It would be Rob’s only run of the week because he would pull his hamstring warming up after this game.  The Boston defense only allowed one run in this match. This was just the 17th time in team history the Renegades had allowed as few as one or less runs.  Boston would then be ready to take on the last opponent for the day, the Minnesota Millers.

It’s Miller time as Boston 12 runs Minnesota in 3 innings 14-3

Joe McCormick plated 4 runs while Thaxton plated three runs . They each made 4 stops on defense to lead Boston over Minnesota

Joe McCormick plated 4 runs while Thaxton plated three runs . They each made 4 stops on defense to lead Boston over Minnesota

Boston was feeling good after beating the Jets and then using the BCS game to get many of the players rest to help them stay fresh for the long week.  The Millers were looking to move up the standings and had hopes of showing the league they could do so with a win over the Renegades. Before the game began, Steve Guerra was on the Boston bench talking some smack and having fun.  The only smack down that would happen would be at the fate of the Millers.  The Millers came out hot but the Boston defense would be on for this game. Rob Dias would put out Evan Van Duyne on a bang-bang play to start the game.  Joe McCormick would stop Matt McCoy on a shot into left field and then Guy Zuccarello would stop the speedster, Josh Xiong on a bang-bang play to end the inning.  Thaxton would start the game with a whiff for Boston. Next, Joe McCormick would score on a fly ball off the top of his bat down the third base line for the first Renegade run.  Rob Dias and Shawn Devenish would also score to give Boston a 3 run lead after one. The Millers would throw up a goose egg in the 2nd and Boston would get hot scoring 6 times in the frame highlighted by both Christian Thaxton and Joe McCormick scoring a pair in the inning.  Evan Van Duyne got the Millers on the board in the 3rd inning.  With one out, Josh Xiong lifted a fly ball down the third baseline and raced to the base.  Christian Thaxton made the stop of the game here when he back peddled and lined up the ball and picked it up before the Speedy Xiong hit the base.  The Renegades went crazy and were yelling that Thaxton was no longer a designated hitter.  He then put Riley Schmitz out on a hard grounder down the line to end the inning.  In the third inning, Boston would pour it on again and score five times from five different spots in the line up.  A scary moment happened when Tim Syphers stepped to the plate.  He lifted a fly ball to centerfield but struggled with his line to third base and we had to stop the play in fear of him getting hurt as he ran into the Miller bench.  That would be all for the Millers as Boston would apply the 12 run rule after three innings.  A nice moment happened in the 6th inning when Todd Paulson hit a grounder up the middle that nobody could pick up.  He had to pause after he hit first base because it was the first run of his career.  It was a nice moment when coach Weissman congratulated him and saw the smile on his face.  Some great news in this game was Joe McCormick finding his swing and scoring four times in the game after working hard to understand why his swing was going up the ladder.  After the game was over in the huddle, Guy Zuccarello thanked Tim Syphers for being at the Series.  As on this day his Great Grandfather was being put to rest.  It was a touching moment.  When the stats were tallied Boston hit .609 for this game.  It was just the 6th time in Renegade history the team had hit over .600 and it was the 6th best average in any game in team history.  Boston had clinched the one seed and was most excited it would be allowed to sleep in and have an 11:30 start the next day.

Sullivan & Worcester to play the Renegades on July 13th

For the fourth year in a row the Sullivan & Worcester LLP softball team will take on the Renegades in an exhibition game.  The Renegade have owned these Lawyers on the field for the first three 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 Filippello Field (The Arlington Street side) located at 110 Arlington Street in Watertown, Mass

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