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Aaron Proctor

Renegades on Fox25

Last season, Fox 25’s Jeff Robinson came down to see the tournament in Woburn.  Shortly after his arrival, the skies turned purple and it poured.  He was able to put a small piece together for the news but felt there was a bigger story to tell.  For the past year, he had stayed in touch with the Renegades.  In July, he made it to a practice as the team was prepping to defend the title in Haddonfield.

Here is a link to the final version that aired on Sunday night on Fox25 Sportswrap

https://www.boston25news.com/sports/baseball-for-the-blind-beep-baseball/796279288

 

 

They aired a teaser video on Fox 25, On Friday, July 20th that we captured in a crude manner here:

 

And to see the Piece he did last year, we have that on our youtube channel:

NESN visits with the Renegades

NESN Sports

NESN has their studio less than a mile from where the Renegades practice.  We have always hoped they could help us spread the word about beep baseball.  This station is the primary station for all things Red Sox and Bruins.  How cool would it be if they  would help us tell our stories?  If we could begin a relationship with them, maybe they could help us get the word on the street.  A word to help us recruit new volunteers and new players.  Help us reach people who never thought they could be part of a team for the blind and visually impaired.  So many Baseball fans watch the Red Sox, Many of them have vision loss and would never dream of playing baseball.  That dream can be a reality…if we could just reach them!

Pulling it Together

Sometimes a story gets hot and you need to ride the wave.  Sometimes its all about reaching the right person at the right time.  With the world’s first ever book about beep baseball doing some book signing events in the area in early June, the author, David Wanczyk had a family member with connections at NESN.  They agreed to come out and do a story on the team.  We had a short window to pull this off and a bunch of coaches and players came down on their lunch break, or took time off of work to put on a demo for NESN to use on their broadcast.  The footage shows many of the Renegades and features coach, Aaron Proctor explaining the game

 

Side fun after the Footage

Since this was thrown together quickly at the last-minute, Rob Weissman was forced into action to pitch.  This 4th string pitcher did not have much confidence he could put balls on the bat for the camera. We even joked about staging the video to make it look like they were hitting him.  In the end Weissman was ON! Most of the players were getting hits.  Even David Wanczyk and the NESN reporter, Shaun Blaney got into the fun

below is a video we made during the practice showing both Dave and Shaun hitting

 

After the day was over, we gave a ball to Shaun and challenged NESN to a game.  We figured the proximity of their studio being so close that maybe we could hook them.  To date, nothing has been scheduled…but stay tuned!

 

Jet Blue has given back to the Renegades

Jet Blue has a program called “Jet Blue for Good” and Jet Blue has given back to the Renegades.  For the 2018 season, Jet Blue will donate six round trip airfare tickets to the Renegades helping the team get to the World Series in Eu Claire, Wisconsin.  This will save the team over $2,000 or about 15% of the World Series budget!   Perfect timing considering they just started flying direct from Boston to Minneapolis!

Jet Blue Community Connection

jet blue logo2018 will mark the second year Jet Blue has been helping the Renegades with airfare and donations.  Jet Blue is a company that believes in giving back to the community and social responsibility.  They have many programs but they also support their employees volunteering initiatives.  All of this is a tribute to the work of Aaron Proctor who has been working with Jetblue for over eight years.

Aaron returned to the Renegades as a volunteer during the 2017 season.  He was a big part of the organization from 2009-2011 and we were excited to get him back on the field this past season.  Jet Blue works with Aaron to track his volunteer time.  The more time Aaron puts in, the more they have donated to the team.  They donated $1,000 to the team in 2016 as well

Aaron – on the field

Aaron has been a huge asset to the squad in 2017 both on and off the field.  On the field, he joined our defensive calling ranks  calling in nine games from the right side in New Jersey, Woburn and the World Series.

To those who don’t know beep ball, this means he led the first base side of our defense which consists of three blind players.  His role is a combination of strategy, safety and in some ways is like an air traffic controller. Strategically he helps the players prepare for the hitter, making sure they are standing in the right spots. When a ball is hit, he quickly yells a number between one and six to designate the location of the ball.  Speed and accuracy are critical to give his team a chance to make the out on the defense.  When he does his job right, the players relax and can move freely with minimal concerns of collisions.

Boston was 9-0 with Aaron calling on the right side.  Not bad for a guy who just started calling this year!  A constant presence at our Sunday practices, Aaron became a key part of our defensive coaching team.  Never shy to give feedback and quick with a sarcastic sense of humor, Aaron fits in well with this squad.

Bring your job to help the team

The Renegades have been fortunate over the past few years to get volunteers who bring their career expertise to the team helping in that role.  We have had personal trainers, physical therapists, nurses, and doctors help us get players in shape and keep them healthy enough to play at a competitive level.  Project managers have been involved running tournaments and organizing events.  Web site administrators have helped us build our web site.  We have even had public relation experts in the fold to help the Renegades get media attention.

Aaron – off the field

Aaron has been a key player in helping the Renegades save money.  He and Justen Proctor took the reigns in organizing all of the travel for the Renegades and became our traveling secretaries.  Since travel is his job, he knows many of the ins and outs.  Aaron helped us book all of our airfare to Chicago and West Palm Beach and worked with the groups department at Jet Blue to accomplish this.

We put Aaron to the test this year and he passed with flying colors.  Arron enabled the Renegades to do something for the first time in 17 years.  We were able to shuttle people in and out of Florida during the World Series as Melissa Hoyt and Jamie Dickerson both spent a few days with the team.  Allowing more Renegades to participate at the World Series was possible because of Aaron Proctor’s hard work.  Anyone that organizes travel for 20+ people knows how much time this can take.

Beyond booking travel, Aaron helped get all of our supplies for all three trips before the team arrived.  This meant he collected funds and shopped for the team so when we landed all of our snacks, drinks and field paint was waiting for us.  Not only that, but he was at the airport with a rental van waiting to pick the team up when it arrived.  He even became the grill master at the World Series where he cooked burgers for the entire team.

Picture of Aaron Proctor and a shirt from Jet Blue that reads "Inspiring Humanity" Jet Blue for Good

Aaron and Jet Blue for good

We can’t thank Aaron enough for all he does for the team.  JetBlue should be proud of the commitment to community that Aaron has made.  Aaron volunteered countless hours organizing trips for the team, attending practices and traveling with the team.  We are grateful for this amazing donation by Jet Blue.  It will allow opportunity for us to bring more players to the World Series. It will help the team compete and grow for the future.

Corporate donations like this are very helpful to a non profit organization.  We thank Jet Blue for the generous giving.  Jet Blue is up for good!  To learn more about Jet Blue’s corporate responsibility go to their web site here

Game Summaries from Beast of the East

Renegades come home and wallop the titans 15-2
For the first time since 2015, the Renegades prepared to play in front of their home crowd.  The Woburn Host Lions would play host to the biggest beep baseball tournament in New England’s history.  The first opponent, the New Jersey Titans.  THe titans came into this match with a 2-1 record in the Beast of the East with a walk-off loss at the hands of the Long Island Bombers.  The titans were fired up at the start and when Deshaun Widener scored in a ball hit to the right side which Larry Haile could not find, he was jumping and rallying his team from the first base bag.  Coach Weissman voiced his displeasure with the defensive play as they had been working this play for the past two weeks in practice.  Next up was Alfonso Harrell who also hit a ball to the right side in similar fashion.  This time the L Train laid out and made the play to the joy of his coach.  WHen Marvin Morgan stepped into the box, many if the Renegade coaches were in awe of how large a man he is.  They were excited to hear he worked out for NFL teams before losing his sight.  Morgan made contact with his big swing and launched a ball i to deep left by a diving Joe McCormick.  The titans led 2-0 and were very pumped.  that lead would be short lived.  christian Thaxton hit a hard line drive up the middle for a run.  Joe McCormick (in his first at bat of the year) then grounded a ball to the left side and nearly missed the base as he grazed it with his foot for the 2nd run. Larry Haile then hit a hard grounder to the right side on the 2nd pitch.  shawn Devenish drilled the first pitch to the left side for a run.  After a two pitch at bat resulted in an out for Rob Dias, Guy Zuccarello stepped to the plate.  He lofted a 41 ft pop up down the first base line and legged out a run.  Thaxton would then hit the first pitch for a pop up to the left side and quickly the Renegades held a 6-2 lead.  THe Titans were feeling the pressure.  Rodriguez and Bordely would stirke out to lead off the 2nd  but when Widener came back to the right side in his at bat…the L train liad out again and made a stop.  Two innings, two stops and a run for Larry…a good start indeed.  Shawn Devenish would lead off the bottom of the 2nd with a blast into left field that went by everyone.  Shawn also ran by the bag.  The ball was hit so far, he had time to stop, tun around and come back to the base and score. Rob Dias then scored on a line drive up the middle to bring Guy Zuccarello to the plate.  Guy hit a line drive into left field but he missed the base and was not as fortunate as Shawn and was put out, earning the pink blindfold.  Thaxton would hit a bomb into left field and Haile would plate another run as well.  With Two out Devenish came back to the plate and hit a weak pop up to the right side and took off for first base.  This time he plowed it over and to the surprise of his coach, he exhibited some speed on this play.  Weissman roared with delight!  After two innings the score was 12-2 and The Titans were done, as they were now very quiet.  In the bottom of the 3rd, Guy Zuccarello hit another hard shot into left and as he approached the base with his shiny new pink blindfold, he slowed up and was put out.  Thaxton would score his 4th run of the game next on a first pitch swing.  Larry Haile would then plate his 3rd run of the contest on a first pitch line drive to the right side when Weissman went to the bench.  Off popped Luis Soto.  Soto hit the 2nd pitch he saw up the middle and scored a run as his team erupted.  then Rob “Hot Tub” Thayer came off the bench.  He hit a weak grounder to the right side that went speaker down and scored.  This may have been the first time that Soto and Thayer had ever scored back-to-back runs in a game.  the Renegade bench was very boisterous and excited.  Stick a fork in the Titans.  When the dust cleared Boston had invoked the 12 run rule. As Boston rotated its defense around to finish the game, the highlight defensive play came in the 6th inning with one out.  Lamont Bordley laced a line drive up the middle and Aqil Sajjad laid out for the stop.  The Titans would be shut out the rest of the way.  For the Renegades, this would go own as one of their best offensive outputs in team history.  The team batting average for the game was .625 (4th highest in history), the Strike out rate was a low 8.3% (only 2 games in history had been better) and the margin of victory was the 2nd most in history.  The game marked just the 14th time the Renegades had invoked a 12 run rule on an opponent (Though the 9th time since 2015).  It was the first time the Renegades had been close to full strength all year with its starters on the field and the team looked excited to be back together

 

Renegades Rain bombs on the Lightning 15-2

The Lightning entered this contest with 1 win against four losses while the Renegades were undefeated in Beast of the East play.  Things got ugly right out of the gate for the Lightning. With one out, Casey Bahn stepped in the batters box.  Weissman and Bryan Grillo instantly looked confused.  Before a pitch was thrown, Weissman informed the Lightning they were hitting our of order.  No penalty would be enforced as the Renegades waived it.  The Lightning would go down in order on strikes. In the bottom of the first, Boston would set some history.  The bats would simply catch fire.  Thaxton led off with a pop up to the center of the field and cruised for a run.  Joe McCormick settled in and laced the first pitch he saw into left field for a run.  Larry Haile hit a 55 foot o pop up to the right side and scored.  Shawn Devenish then hit a grounder up the middle, missed the base and came back and tackled it in time to score the 4th run of the inning.  Then on the very next pitch, Aqil Sajjad hit a grounder to the left side to score the 5th run in a row  That was five consecutive runs on just five pitches from Ron Cochran.  Justen Proctor would strike out to end the streak.  christian Thaxton would come back up again and this time hit a pop up to the right side for the 6th Renegade run and the Lightning were stunned.  Joe McCormick scored his second run of the inning on a grounder up the middle and then the fun would start again.  Larry Haile, Shawn Devenish and Aqil Sajjad would then plate runs.  When we add Joe Macs run in…Cochran threw 4 pitches in a row for 4 more runs.  When the dust settles, the Renegades scored nine runs in the first inning.  This represented the 2nd most runs the team had ever scored in one inning.  Andre Foster would lead off the the Lightning in the 2nd inning and hit a grounder up the middle, but he would miss the base and Aqil Sajjad would make the stop.  The Lightning would go down 1-2-3 to end the 2nd inning.  Boston would start to rotate players in and out and would only score one run in the bottom of the second on a Joe McCormick run.  Sherlock Washington got the Lightning on the board in the 3rd inning and bring the Lightning to a 10-1 deficit but the defense would show up in this inning.  Justen Proctor would make two defensive stops.  Weissman was applauding on the bench because of the hard work they had done at practice was paying off. Proctor made a stop on a ball hit right at him off the bat of Casey Bahn.  He would then make a stop ranging to his left off the bat of Andre Foster.  The bench roared in applause.  Boston would deliver the hammer in the 3rd inning and put this game into the 12 run rule.  Aqil Sajjad led off the frame with a line shot up the center to start things off.  Justen Proctor then hit a laser into left field for the 2nd run of the inning.  With two outs, the team would catch further fire as Rob Thayer hit a well struck ball into left field.  If you ever watch a Renegade game, the loudest cheers happen when Thayer does something.  Joe Quintanilla then came off the bench to score a run to make it 14-1.  Aqil Sajjad then plated his 2nd run of the inning to cap the scoring for the Renegades, his second 4 run game in his career (his last was in 2012 vs Chicago).  Though the game was out of hand and Sherlock Washington would score a run to make it 15-2, one of the most exciting moments of the game would happen with two outs in the 6th inning. Dan Johnson would lace a hard line drive up the middle.  Joe Quintanilla would lay out and it would get by hum…but ranging to his left was Luis Soto to make the stop.  It would be Luis Soto’s first defensive stop in his career, something the Renegades celebrate!  Boston would move to 5-0 in the Beast o the East and would play in the 1/2 seed game.  The Lightning would head to the 5/6 game and play Rochester.  The offensive performance on the day was incredible with a lot of contact and 30 runs in just 6 innings of play with only 5 strike outs.  One more game would be left to win the Beast of the East.

Beast of the east champs again, as boston downs long island 15-2

In Beast of the East play, the Renegades were 5-0 and the Bombers were 4-1 with their only loss to Boston.  For the Bombers to win the Beast of the East, they had to beat Boston by more than 11 runs.  In most minds, the crown was clinched before the game was played.  Long Island would score two runs in the first inning on balls hit into right field.  Joe Dejesus scored first on a ball that bounced away from Christian Thaxton.  Alex Barrera also scored on a ball where the call from Aaron Proctor came out after it was already by Thaxton.  No worries for Boston, they got them back quickly Christian led off with a dribbler to the left side and sprinted to the base for the first run.  Joe McCormick was then put out by Meghan Fink (there is a running joke between Fink and McCormick that she owns him).  Haile scored on a bang bang play on a ball hit down the first base line and Shawn Devenish scored on a tweener that died between the layers.  Four runs on weakly bit balls and Boston led 4-2.  With one out in the top of the second, Joe Dejesus laced a ball down the right field line.  This time, Shawn Devenish laid out, the ball hit him in the ankles and rolled right up to his hands.  It was almost text book and represented the first defensive out Shawn Devenish had made in his career.  Maybe he angered the beep ball gods with this out as the wind started to really pick up and the skies went dark.  Teams took cover and eventually left the fields as thunder storms rolled through.  Roughly 30 minutes later, play would resume with a Chris Dejesus strike out, the 4th whiff in the first two innings for Long Island.  Boston would put the game out of hand in the bottom of the second, sending 12 batters to the plate.  Thaxton would get it started on a bomb into left field..  Joe McCormick would get even with Fink and score on a ball that bounced away from her.  Larry Haile would score on a weak pop up beating Matt Puvogel in a foot race.  Rob Dias would hit a spinning weak flare to the right side that hit the ground and spun away from the defense for the 4th run.  Guy Zuccarello would loft a high fly ball over the third baseman’s head for the 5th run.  Thaxton would then score the second run of the inning on a high pop fly that landed just about 80 feet, and beat it out easily with his speed.  McCormick plated his second run with a hard grounder up the middle.  Joe Quintanilla would be stopped on a nice hit and diving stop by Chris Dejesus on the right side for the 2nd out of the inning.  Shawn Devenish would then leg out a hit that rolled under Megan Fink at 3rd base and Rob Dias would close out the scoring with a line drive to the right side.  It was the Renegades 2nd time on the day it had scored 9 runs in an inning and only the third time in team history.   The score was now 12-2.  the defense would then become the story for the Gades.  Alex Barrera led off the inning with a blast into center field.  Joe McCormick ranged a long way to his left to make a huge stop in center field in the third layer of the defense for the out.  That would get the Gades excited.  In the bottom of the third, Boston would plate three loud runs. Christian Thaxton would hit a bomb into left field that left him giggling as he ran to first.  Joe McCormick hit a hard grounder down the third base line for a run.  With two out, Hot Tub came to the plate and laced what may have been his longest hit ever into right center field for a run and the 12 run rule was invoked.  For the third time on the day, the Renegades would score 15 runs in just three innings.  The defensive highlights for Boston would happen in each inning.  In the 4th, Rookie Derrick Anderson ripped a line drive up the middle that Aqil Sajjad laid out for to stop.  In the 5th, Joe McCormick would rob Alex Barrera again, this time he would nail him going toward the third base line on a deep out in the third layer.  Joe Yee would also make a fine stop on an over shift against Braulio Thorne on the right side in the third layer to end the 5th inning.  In the 6th, the front line made some nice stops.  Justen Proctor stopped Jim Hughes on a grounder toward the third base line which Proctor had to range for to defend.  Joe McCormick also made a fine play ranging deep to his left on the first base line to stop Joe Dejesus.  Boston would win 15-3 and be crowned the Beast of the East for the 7th straight time.  This game also represented the largest margin if victory Boston had ever had over Long Island.

Before the Rain delay

After the Rain delay

Jet Blue donates $1,000 to the Boston Renegades

Aaron Proctor pictured here umpiring a game against the Woburn Lions in 2011Aaron Proctor, joined the Renegades in the 2009 season and was a full time coach during the 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons.  During that time, Aaron donated countless hours as a volunteer on and off the field.  While on the field, Aaron was generally helping us to run base running and defensive drills.  Though he did not have a baseball background he was eager to pitch in and help and was able to work the guys hard.  Off the field, Aaron was always eager to help.  He helped the team edit some coaching videos as well as put together a program that we gave out to people attending our first home tournament in 2010.  He was also a big presence in helping a few of the guys on the teams with rides to and from practice.  During this part of his life, he also started to work with Jet Blue as he had needed a break from his career in being a Pharmacist.

This season, Aaron could not participate as he wanted to because of conflicts with his work schedule.  Though he was unable to be part of the official practices, he made sure that Justen Proctor was there.  He also helped us during some side session work outs leading up to the world Series.  Sometimes, shooting video, sometimes shagging balls, or even calling in defensive drills.  Aaron was also with us for a few days of the World Series to lend a hand on the bench during games.  Aaron has hopes of being more involved with the team in the 2017 season.

For Aaron’s work with the Renegades, Jet Blue awarded him and the team a $1,000 grant through a program called JetBlue For Good.  Jet Blue for good Celebrated Philanthropy Month in November. This commemorative month recognizes philanthropy and those who actively volunteer in their various communities.  We are thankful for their contribution to our program.  For more information on their program and the programs they chose to support please go to Jet Blue for Good 

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