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2018 World Series Day #4 game recaps

A bid for a top 4 finish falls short to the Jets 11-8

World Series photo of the team

Team photo of Your 2018 World Series Renegade team

Friday morning and the Renegades were just one of six teams still alive with hopes of a World Series title.  This was only the 5th year in team history this had ever happened, but it was the 5th consecutive time.  The Renegades opponent would be the San Antonio Jets.  The Jets entered this tournament as a team many felt would be in the finals.  They came in as the three seed but were knocked off during the week by the Bayou City Heat.  These teams had only played once historically as the Jets started their franchise in 2016.  Boston won that contest by a big margin.  Make no mistake, this jets team is run by a bunch of guys who have rings while playing for the Austin Blackhawks.  Boston would need to be on their game to face this big challenge

To lead off the game for the Jets,  Zach Arambula hit a grounder down the third base line.  Bryan Grillo groaned out the call giving Joe Yee a hint the ball was down the line.  Yee laid out too soon and did not track the ball well.  San Antonio was on the board and Boston was off to a tough start.  Axel Cox  brought his rings from Austin to the plate and whiffed for the first out.  David Crystal Smith worked the count to three strikes and then lofted a high fly ball which bounced of Shawn Devenish’s chest in left field.  Devenish could not corral it and San Antonio led 2-0.  Aaron Almanza then lofted a high fly ball down the third base line bouncing right near Joe Yee, but Yee hit the ground to early and the ball got away from him for a run.  The Almanza connection brought Rene to the plate and he lofted a deep fly into left field where Shawn Devenish made a nice play for the second out.  A great play for Shawn who had worked so hard on his defense since his rookie campaign in 2016.  Ricky Ruzika then hit a line drive to the right side off the chest of Rob Dias who was playing on the Right Shorty position,  Dias kept cool and picked up the ball in plenty of time for the out.  A rocky start to the inning ended with two great plays.   The Jets led 3-0.

For Boston, Christian Thaxton led off the inning with a hard ground ball bouncing of the left front man, Isaiah Wilcox.  As Thaxton raced toward first, Zach Arambula crept up from his left center position to pick up the ball in time for a big  Jets out.  Rob Dias then lined the 2nd pitch he saw to the right side and raced toward first base.  Axel Cox ranged to his right but Dias was too quick and put the Gades on the board.  Looking to the tie the game, McCormick laced the second pitch he saw into left center.  Zach Arambula ranged over and made a great play to nail Joe for a big out.  Joe Yee would then strike out to end the Renegade’s inning.  The defense of Arambula and Joe Yee would be a difference in this first inning.  The Jets led 3-1 after a full frame.

In the second inning, the Jets would be back at the top of the order.  Zach Arambula could not get going here and led off with a rare strike out, a gift for the Renegades.  Number two hitter, Axel Cox hit a hard grounder up the left side that eluded Justen Proctor and rolled out to the rover spot where Shawn Devenish laid out for his 2nd stop of the game.  Boston had a chance to get out of the inning unscathed.  Smith came up and hit another deep ball to left field right at Devenish.  Shawn had it lined up but when he hit the ground, his arms got pinned under his body like T-Rex, and these little arms could not grab the ball in time.  He made a great play to line it up, but he used poor mechanics and that would hurt. The pain continued.  On a fly ball  down the third baseline off the bat of Aaron Almanza,  Joe Yee hit the ground too early and could not pick the ball cleanly.  Rene Almanza would hit another line drive that would bounce of Rob dias’ hulking chest.  That “chest” made the stop.  The Jets were now up 5-1.  Boston had lined up 4 of the 5 plays but was playing too tight on defense.

Shawn Devenish led of the 2nd inning and with two strikes hit a weak grounder to Ricky Ruzika at the right shorty spot for a room service out.  Larry Haile came off the bench to pinch hit for Joe Buizon and hit the first pitch he saw down the third base line.  Haile raced down the third base line as Wilcox raced back to the line  Wilcox gave way to Almanza and that hesitation would be enough for this perfectly placed tweener to plate a Renegade run.  Back to the top of the order and Christian Thaxton dug in at the plate.  Down to his last strike, Thaxton laced a bomb into left to bring the Renegades back to a 2 run deficit.  Next, Rob Dias smoked a line drive up the middle, but Zach Arambula was in the right place at the right time and the ball kicked off his shin.  He was able to recover and put Rob out for the second out of the inning.  Isiah Wilcox would end the inning by making a nice play on a weak pop up to the left side off the bat of Joe McCormick.  The Jet’s defense was making more plays than the Renegades.

Leading of the third inning would be the six-hole hitter, Ricky Ruzika.  Ruzika who blasted on to the beepball scene in 2016 had not been practicing as often in 2018 and was not hitting during the series.  He led off the inning with a strike out.  Zach Arambula then hit a worm bunrer down the third base line.  Justen Proctor made a great play running back toward the line and gobbled it up for his first stop of the game.  Again, the Renegades had a chance for a 1-2-3 inning.  Axel Cox stood in the way of this goal.  With two strikes he hit a 40 foot dribbler to the 40 foot arc.  Justen Proctor raced in to the line and could not hear it.  Cox plated a gifted run.  On the very next pitch, Bryan Grillo called a short ball and Proctor raced in as the ball rolled past him.  He had to put on the brakes and run backwards.  The bad call cost the team a run and Smith had his 3rd run of the game.  Aaron Alamanza decided to pick on Justen Proctor again and hit a weak grounder to him.  The ball kicked off Proctor’s body.  He made a nice play to get to his feet and chase it down, but he could not hear it in the grass and the Jets had 3 straight runs off one of the best defenders in the game.  For the 3rd straight inning, Rob Dias would stop the bleeding and make a nice stop on a fly ball to the right side.  The Jets were up 8-3 against a shaky Renegade effort.

The bottom of the third inning would start with Joe Yee.  In a comic moment, Yee fouled the ball to the Renegade bench and coach, Jason Lenicheck caught it on the fly.  He then fired it over the head of Ron Cochran into the San Antonio bench, much like he did as a third baseman for Acton Boxboro High School.  Joe Yee then grounded a ball up the middle where Zach Arambula stopped him for the first out.  Shawn Devenish had no answer as he struck out.  Weissman gambled next.  Joe Buizon had hurt his hamstring against the Blind Jays on day one of the Series after scoring three times.  Buizon had told him he was ready to go and Weissman rolled the dice looking to get something going  down by 5 runs.  That gamble failed.  Buizon went down on 4 straight pitches.  Boston had a donut for the inning.

The Jets had a chance to put some distance between them and Boston and extend their five run lead.  They would start the inning by pinch-hitting for struggling Ricky Ruzika.  Will Lopez would get his first at-bat against the Renegades in his career.  Lopez,  a rookie in 2017 was hurt much of that campaign.  He wasted little time and on the second pitch hit a weak ball up the middle of the field.  Proctor ranged to his left and stopped it but could not pick it up.  A disturbing trend.  Zach Arambula delivered on the first pitch he saw.  Cox then hit a grounder up the left side that alluded both Proctor and Devenish.  At the start of the inning, Weissman had moved Joe McCormick over to third base.  David Smith hit a grounder past Proctor’s left.  McCormick ranged way to his left and made a big stop for the Renegades to pick up Justen.  Aaron Almanza then hit the first pitch he saw down the third base line.  Proctor raced to the line and as he went to the ground, the ball got tangled up in his legs and he pinned it and made the play.  Proctor was all smiles and never lost his cool.  Rene Alamnza then lofted the first pitch he saw to the right side.  Rob Dias tried to line it up and as he was making the play, Almanza missed first base.  Dias had the last out of the inning for the 4th inning in a row.

Weissman asked the team if they were done.  Haile led the team in a big cheer and Thaxton stepped to the plate.  On the third pitch, Thaxton hit a grounder down the third base line and scored for the second time.  The ball hugged the baseline and the defense could not pick the ball cleanly.  Rob Dias hit a shot into left center.  Zach Arambula was there again for a big stop taking the ball away from the Renegades.  Joe McCormick laced a weak line drive off the back of Ron Cochran on the first pitch that was headed to Arambula.  On the next pitch, he hit a weak grounder up the middle of the field and Wilcox made the play easily.  Larry Haile was looking to extend the inning as he was entering the game as a pinch hitter for Joe Yee.   Haile hit a line drive to the right side and on a bang-bang play, the umpire ruled in favor of Rene Almanza who ranged to make this play near the line.  Boston hit the ball well, but had just one run to show for it.  After four innings, the Jets held a commanding 11-4 lead.

In the 5th inning, The Jet’s brought back Ricky Ruzika who had been pinch hit for.  He would lead off the inning with a strike out.  That trend followed when Zach Arambula also struck out.  For the first time all game, Boston would get a 1-2-3 inning when Shawn Devenish made a nice play deep in the defense off the bat of Axel Cox.  For the first time, Boston had some momentum.  As things sometimes work in baseball, if you make a nice play on defense, you lead off the inning.

Lead off the inning is exactly what Shawn Devenish did.  The Renegades were down to their final 6 outs and down 7 runs.  That is scary math for sure.  Devenish would work the count deep as he would miss the first two pitches and then foul off three straight before lofting a pop fly  about 60 feet to the left side.  His new-found speed beat out the play.  This brought the experiment, Joe Buizon back to the plate.  Could he run was the question.  On the 2nd pitch, he hit a pop fly that traveled about 42 feet with back spin.  Ruzika raced in and struggled to find it.  Buizon was not running well and then resorted to poor base running technique when he flopped before the base.  Weissman was regretting letting him hit as he had not seen him run before the game.  Buizon was gutting it out, but his leg was just to injured.  He was playing with all heart at this time.  Thaxton then rolled his wrists over and hit a grounder to the left side and beat it out for his third run of the contest.  It was just the 2nd time in the game they had put up a crooked number in an inning.  Rob Dias was on fire.  He had three at bats leading up to this one and had seen just 4 pitches that resulted in three quality hits.  He stayed hot and hit a bouncer to the left side.  It got by Wilcox in the front but Arambula dove in head first on this ball and stopped Dias.  The Jets ran off the field..but there were only two outs.  The Jets influenced the Renegade battery and Weissman and Cochran limped to the bench.  When the confusion resolved, McCormick crushed the ball by the entire defense in right center.  Haile would get close as he crushed a ball down the third base line which would have been a run but it rolled foul by just a few inches.  He then struck out to end the inning.  Boston had pulled the game to a 4 run deficit and trailed 11-7.  They really needed a solid 6th inning of defense.

The Renegades were playing looser and more confident.  David Smith would leadoff the inning with three runs on the game.  Smith and Aron Almanza would represent 6 of the 11 Jet runs,  Smith hit the first pitch up the gut of the defense.  This time Joe Buizon (who re-entered for defense in this inning) made a tremendous stop on a bouncer for a big out.  Aaron Almanza and Rene Almanza would strike out giving Kevin Sibson seven strike outs in the game as the Jets went down on their second donut inning of the game.  They left the door open for the Renegades to come back.

The winner of this game would advance to the next round.  The loser would be eliminated.  Boston would have their 5-6-1 spots in the line up to start the inning and would need 4 runs to tie.  It was do-able for sure.  Boston had been hitting the ball better than the Jets. The key difference in this game was the play of Zach Arambula on defense who had six stops on defense in left center at this point of the game.  On Boston’s side, Justen Proctor was just 2-10 while playing defense at Left Shorty.

It would be an uphill battle for sure.  The 5/6 spots in the order were just 2-6 on the day.  Could Devenish light a fire for the Renegade offense as he did on defense all day?  He hit a hard bouncer up the left side that bounced over Wilcox.  Zach Arambula stole the show in this game with his defensive play. Arambula who had his best game of the tourney in this match ranged way to his right to make a nice stop.  Joe Yee re-entered the game for the hobbled Buizon and hit a dribbler to Wilcox.  Isiah misplayed it as it slowly rolled away from him as he was on the ground.  Yee took a perfect line down the third baseline and scored.  Christian Thaxton was next up and gave the Renegade bench a ton of hope.    On the first pitch, he hit a grounder right to Wilconx.  Isiah made the play like a hockey goalie on his knees.  A dangerous attempt for sure, but the out as made.  It was a huge out for the Jets.  Rob Dias was on fire and was next up.  He stayed hot and fouled off the first pitch he saw.  That was 6 pitches from Cochran in his 5 trips to the plate.  He made contact on every one of them.  Something happened, Maybe San Antonio Voodoo?  Cochran and Dias would suddenly lose it.  Three straight pitches and no contact.  A strike out, the game was over.  Boston was eliminated.

It was not a good defensive effort for the Renegades.  Boston actually may have hit better than the Jets, but the Jets defense was much improved, especially in left center.  The Jets would go on to play the Indy Edge next, and beat them.  They would eventually lose to the Bayou City Heat and finish 3rd in the World Series.  Boston would walk across the field to play the Austin Blackhawks.  An Austin team with many ties to the Jets as pitcher Kevin Sibson’s brother, Wayne was still playing with Austin.

Boston vs Austin for 5th place and Boston makes a statement

Hunter Weissman was the team intern in 2018, learning a lot to help with his sports management degree. He was your eyes and voice for all the live streams in 2018

Austin has more rings than any team in league history.  Boston is the only team that has ever risen from the doormat of the league to the top by using only players from their region.  Ron Cochran expressed his distaste for consolation games, which in some way, this game represented.   Joe Quintanilla was quick to state, the season is so short, every game counts.   Tornado sirens tore through the complex just before the Renegades found the field.   When the hour delay was over without damage, both teams would trot out their starting line ups and the battle was on.

Austin won the coin toss and chose home team.  Before the game, Christian Thaxton and Weissman decided to have Thaxton switch back to a metal bat.  Combine that with the fact, he felt the best had felt since his concussion 2 weeks prior and you could see Christian was almost back to himself.  On the second pitch of the game, Thaxton hit a bomb into left and scored.  Time was called.  The ball was dead and Thaxton had to return to the plate.  It was the first dead ball the Renegades hit all week.  On the very next pitch, Thaxton hit a rainbow into deep left for a score.  After a Dias strike out and a McCormick dribbler to the Austin left shorty, Darius Sterling, Larry Haile came to the plate. He hit a line drive into left that looked like a run, but deep man Brandon Chesser stopped him.  This had a similar feeling to the previous game when Zach Arambula of the San Antonio Jets killed Boston making grabs in left center.

In the Bottom of the first, Boston would catch a break as the Blackhawks lead off hitter struck out to start the game.  Boston was loose and that may have contributed to some of their best defense of the week, a sweet feeling after the stinker they played just an hour earlier.  Austin pitcher, Tim Hibner tried to test the right side of the defense in this inning and came up empty as Rob Dias stopped Steve Puryear at the right shorty spot.  Mike Finn then went to the right side and was stopped by first basemen, Joe McCormick.  boston led 1-0 and won the first inning.

Shawn Devenish led off the second with a line drive up the middle, but Like Haile in the previous inning was stopped on a nice play deep in the defense by Mike Finn.  Joe Yee came into the game to hit for Joe Buizon and scored on a grounder up the middle that Finn could not find.  Thaxton then waving his metal bat hit a pop fly to the right side and flew down the line for his second run of the game,  Rob Dias then tagged a laser into right for his first run of the game.  The ball seemed to be jumping off the Renegade bats!  Joe McCormick was stopped on a weak fly to the right side by Jamie Sibson.  Guy Zuccarello was up next, he had entered for defense when Haile made the last out of the 1st inning.  On the 5th pitch he saw he hit a pop fly to the third base line and he beat out the defense.  Boston was up 5-0

Austin had their 4-5-6 hitters up.  Justen Proctor stopped Greg Roberts.  Next, Joe Yee, playing third base, made a nice grab to stop  Mariano Reynoso.  Darius Sterling struck out.  Boston had the momentum for sure!

The third inning would be a statement inning for Boston.   Larry Haile re-entered the game as Weissman was looking for some offense, and on 6 pitches, he struck out.  Back to the top as Thaxton was feeling hot.  He hit a bomb into left field which Chesser could not coral in time.  Rob Dias then scored on a grounder up the middle after hitting Cochran on the first pitch.  Joe McCormick lofted a fly ball to the right side for his first run and the top of the order went 1-2-3 with runs, something these guys pay attention to and celebrate.  Joe Quintanilla was brought off the bench on a hunch by Weissman to attack the right side.  Attack it he did, but the wheels fell off when he was running and he was stopped by Jamie Sibson on a play he would have scored on in previous years when he was younger and quicker and lighter.  Shawn Devenish joined the fun with a line drive into right, by everyone for the 4th run of the inning to bring the score to 9-1 as Boston was on the brink of something special.  Larry Haile then hit his second pitch into right field on a line and a 12 run game was in sight.  Thaxton, Dias and McCormick got the ball in the air for their second 1-2-3 run scoring trip through the same inning.  Boston led 13-0 and if they could hold Austin would put the game into a 12 run mercy rule.

Brandon Chesser started off the inning with a ball that got by Joe McCormick and Shawn Devenish on the right side.  If Austin could score one more run, the mercy rule would be avoided.  Justen Proctor had something to say about that as he stopped Puryear and Finn.  Ed Manning struck out in a pinch hit appearance for Greg Roberts.  Boston had 12-runned Austin for the first time ever in just three innings.

Now Boston had to play defense as Austin had 9 outs to work with.  Austin was capable of coming back and Weissman knew it.  They are a team that knows how to put the ball into play.  The Renegades would need to “flash the leather”!

In the 4th, Proctor would stop Reynoso.  Dias would stop the speedy Sterling and Dias would also get Brandon Chesser, their best hitter.  Tim Hibner kept aiming for the Renegade right side.  He would come up empty.  Dias did the damage in the 4th.  In the 5th, Hibner got it by Dias, but McCormick was the hero.  Joe Mac ate up Puryear and Finn before Proctor stopped Manning.  Now the attention turned to getting players playing time as both teams had huge rosters.  Soto went on to the field to play defense for Devenish.  Austin would go to the bench for the next three hitters.  Justen would make two stops in this frame and ball game!  Boston would get its 4th straight (and only four) top 5 finishes.

This game marked the 4th win by the Renegades by the 12-run rule in 2018. The Blackhawk coaches stood in shock and amazement at how well the Renegades hit.  Mike Maguire of Austin said the team had not hit like that since 2016 and wondered out loud why they were taking it out on Austin.  He may have been close in that statement.  The exact same thing could be said of the Boston coaches, only their surprise was that it took this long to show it.  For the game, Boston hit .591.  The Renegades have only hit .571 or higher 16 times ever in a game, but it was the 5th time in 2018.  On defense, it marked the 2nd time in the week Boston made 14 stops as the opponent only struck out 4 times.  Boston has only accomplished this feat 18 times in a 6 inning game ever!  In addition to this, Boston stopped 93.3% of the balls hit into play (14/15), which statistically is only the 9th best percentage.  However, it’s the highest percentage with so many balls in play.

The week’s defensive effort would rank the Renegades 2nd in the league in defense for the World Series behind only the Indy Thunder.  If that defense had played an average game vs San Antonio, the team could have had a top three finish.  The Renegades are an elite team in the NBBA.  After the game, the team had a long talk.  All the players could taste what had happened.  They knew they did not play well vs San Antonio.  They know they could have done better.  The talk turned to 2019 and the players seemed unified at working harder and getting faster.  Time will tell, but this team is a special team for sure.

Three major injuries kept one of their best defenders (Thaxton) off the field.  These injuries also kept Thaxton’s bat quiet early in the week and ended the season offensively for Sanchez and Buizon.  For a Renegade team to overcome this shows heart, grit and determination.  Only one team in this league other than Boston could overcome that, the World Champion Indy Thunder.  Be proud of your 2018 Boston Renegades!

To read more about the World Series, see our other posts

2018 World Series Day #3 game recaps

Boston taken to the Edge and mercy ruled for first time in 2018:  23-8

WS picture taken by John Lykowski Jr

David Sanchez puts a ball in play vs the Edge

A lot of league wide hot stove debates included the potential World Series fortune of these two franchises.  Their stories are very different.  On one hand, there is the Renegades where every single player and coach has grown up in the Renegade system.  A team with a former MVP on both sides of the ball (Guy Zuccarello and Christian Thaxton)  One of the all time top home-grown programs with a team that seems to improve every year.  A team who only played on the East Coast this year where the league always underestimates the level of ball in this region.

On the other hand is the Indy Edge, a new team name, but not many new players.  Lots of aging veteran players from Indy trying to get a ring.  They surround them-self with one of the most under rated pitchers in the game, a kid who grew up with the sport in Kyle Kennedy.  They also recruit from all over the country with players from New Jersey, Florida, Arizona, California and Kansas representing this team.  The Edge have three players who have won rings for other teams.  They have former MVP’s on both sides of the ball, who won them playing for other teams.  The Edge have a hall of fame roster made up of some of the all time greats of the game.  The Edge also had a rookie who was burning things up on both sides of the ball.  These teams were built very differently.

The Edge were pounding their opponents all week.  They were 12 running many of their opponents.  They slaughtered Cleveland 14-2, Seattle 12-0 and the Comets 21-7.  All of those games were won in a mercy rule fashion.  They also beat St Louis 21-13 on the first day of round robin.  Many expected the Renegades to be their first test.  Few gave the Renegades a chance.  The combined scores of the Edge games were 69-22. The combined Renegade scores were 32-7.

After playing on a slow field vs BCS, Boston needed to prepare for a faster track.  The Renegade hope involved the management of injuries to Sanchez, Thaxton and Buizon.  Were they healthy enough  to make a difference in this match.  Boston won the coin toss and was confident in its strategy.  It knew where Indy was going to attack.  It just needed to stop them.  Lupe Perez (former MVP for Austin) struck out to start things off.  Justen Proctor stopped rookie Sensation, Nick Mulherin.  Mark Morris got the team on the board with a run of his own.  Proctor would close the inning stopping Danny Foppiano (rings with Kansas and West Coast). A great start for Boston.

Back in the lineup and more confident was Thaxton whom-lofted the first pitch he saw into the air for a run. With one out, Rob Dias crushed a ball into left for the 2nd Gade run. That brought David Sanchez up who was pinch-hitting for Guy Zuccarello in the first inning.  Sanchez launched a bomb into deep left to show why he is one of the most exciting 2018 Rookies.  The score was 3-1 Boston.

The second inning was not kind to the Renegade defense.  Tobey Gregory who owned the Renegades while playing for the Thunder in the 2016 title game scored to lead off the inning.  With one out, stopped by Rob Dias, Lupe Perez came to the plate.  Drama would soon ensue.  Every year since 2015, there is a call that goes against the Renegades.

In 2014, Against Bayou City there was a huge debate on the legality of re-entering Seth Clark into the game.  The scorekeeper could not tell us when Clark left the game and we had marked down on our sheets that he was ineligible to return for a few outs.  Despite the fact we had it documented and the scorekeeper did not, he was allowed to enter illegally, and scored.  The Renegades lost this game by a few runs.

In 2015, Colorado entered a player into the game illegally and when Coach Weissman called them on it, there was no penalty.  Colorado won that game by one run.  In 2016, Weissman’s issues with Colorado continued in the semi-final game.  On this play, Larry Haile scored a run and Colorado complained.  At the start of the inning, Weissman told the scorekeeper Haile would pinch hit.  the scorekeeper confirmed this knowledge.  After the run scored  Weissman was told he had not followed the right protocol.  The run was taken off the board after a long debate.  Boston won that game by one run in extra innings.  In 2017, against Colorado, the umpire called Joe McCormick out of the batters box as soon as he made contact killing a Renegade Rally.  boston lost that game 4-2.  Boston had not faced Colorado in 2018, but the Drama would be vs the Edge.

Lupe Perez lofted a bomb down the third base line that landed about 150 feet down the line and one foot foul. The umpire called a fair ball.  Ron Cochran was convinced the umpire did not know the rule and challenged Weissman to ask.  Coach Rob approached the ump and asked if the ball had landed in fair or foul territory.  The answer given was the ball landed in foul territory,  but it passed the bag in fair territory.  An argument was just beginning as the Renegade defensive players all took a knee.  The ump was defiant that he knew the rules and that was a fair ball.  Boston protested on the spot verbally but nobody collected the money.  Cochran went to the rule book with the umpire and the two conferred for a few minutes.  After a conference, Cochran walked past Weissman and stated, “the ump read the rule book to me, and the rule says its fair.  I don’t believe it…but i don’t have my reading glasses.”  He sauntered back to the bench.  Weissman went to the rule book and asked where the rule was and started to read it as play resumed.  As Mulherin was swinging the bat, Weissman found the rule was read incorrectly.  Mulherin scored and the argument continued.  Weissman underlined a key word that said “NOT” to the umpire who had missed that word.  He had made the wrong call.  It was a foul ball.  Boston was adamant this needed to be corrected and stated they had protested it before.

It was not the Edge’s turn to gripe.  Another play had occurred after the one in question and this was what the Edge argued.   They did not want to turn back the play despite acknowledging the umpire made a mistake.  The Edge additionally complained about how the “rules” of handling a protest were not followed because the money was not collected at the time of the initial protest.  A call was made to the head umpire.  Play was stalled for nearly 15 minutes.  The edge knew the rule, they knew the umpire ruled incorrectly and they were willing to protest the game if the game was rolled back to that point in time.  The head umpire tried to reason and look for sportsmanship.  No compliance from the Edge.  Boston would be screwed for the 5th year in a row on a bad call where everyone on the field knew the wrong thing happened.  The umpire felt awful and even stated he did not want this pressure and would not ump again.   No volunteer should ever be put into that situation.  This was the travesty of the situation.   The Edge lack of sportsmanship and thirst for rings was clearly shown here.  Weissman was heard saying, he was done being a nice guy for future games.  The team works too hard to get screwed like this every year.

The Edge would score three more times in this inning and after one and a half , the score was 7-3.  In the bottom of the second, Boston showed little quit.  Thaxton, Dias and Haile all scored on well struck balls to bring the score back to a one run game.  At this time, it felt like that one run awarded on the foul ball would really hurt.

The third inning was a nightmare for Boston.  Even though the defense knew the ball was going to the left side, they could not stop it.  McCormick had 5 chances at balls on defense and came up empty.  Buizon had 4 chances and came up empty.  Proctor even had a pair and came up empty.  Mulherin and Foppiano each plated a pair in the inning to lead the Edge to an 8 run inning.  Boston had a whimper for an answer as only  Rob Dias would score.  It was 15-7.

The Edge put the hammer down in the 4th as Foppiano and Morris each plated a pair, leading the Edge to another 8 run inning.  Dias and Proctor led the Renegades in failed chances on defense this inning.  Larry Haile, Joe McCormick and Joey Buizon also struggled.  The 12 run rule would soon be in effect as the score was 23-7.  David Sanchez re-entered the game to lead off the 4th for Boston.  He came up limping after hitting third base and that was going to be the beginning of the end of his World Series.  Proctor and Thaxton were stopped in deep left by the rookie sensation, Nick Mulherin.  Boston had been mercy ruled.  This was the 4th time the team had been 12-runned since 2014, and the 2nd time against the Edge.

Boston would empty the bench and prepare to reload.  This loss was not the end of their week.  However, this loss would force the team to play three games on this day.  The final score was 23-8.  It was the 3rd worst loss in run differential in team history behind the 17 runs it lost to the 2008 West Coast Dawgs (which featured Mazareigos, Foppiano and Perez).  It was also the third most runs ever allowed by the Renegades behind the 27 runs scored by the Bayou City Heat (which featured Tanner Gers who played a tiny role in this 2018 blow out.  For just the 2nd time in our history a team scored 8 or more runs in an inning twice in the game.

Bottom line here was the Renegades were not ready.  The coaching staff knew where the defense needed to play.  The defense could not make plays.  The defense struggled to adapt to the speed of this field.  The offense was not clicking.  Even though there was a huge delay for a bad call, that play had nothing to do with the outcome of this game.  Eventually, the Edge would meet their match.  Their injuries built up over the week and they would lose to the San Antonio Jets 19-17 to take 4th place. Their rookie sensation would make the league forget about Christian Thaxton.  Mulherin would lead the league in 2018 hitting .706 in his rookie year.  The home-grown team would have to pick up their heads.  The Minnesota Millers were waiting, and they were hungry to knock off the limping Renegades.  Boston packed up the gear and trekked across the soccer complex.

It’s not miller time, Renegades wake up and win 17-7

World Series photo of Shawn, Mac and Thax, heroes of this game

Shawn, Joe Mac and Thaxton each scored 4 runs a piece

Both teams came into this game facing elimination.  While Minnesota was working its way through the losers bracket.  They had just eliminated the hopes of the East Coast New Jersey Titans.  On the other hand, Boston was reeling after getting mauled by the Edge.   Boston came into this match with a lifetime 4-0 record vs the Millers, the last time they faced was in 2016.

The Renegades came into this game extremely sluggish.  Thaxton struck out on 4 pitches and then Rob Dias was put out easily by Evan Van Duyne.  Joe McCormick then got things started with a run scoring pop fly up the middle of the field.  Larry Haile hit a laser up the middle and Boston was up 2-0.  It could have been more if not for a nice play made by Steve Guerra off the bat of Shawn Devenish in deep right field.  The Millers got one back in the bottom of the first when speedster, Josh Xiong scored the Millers lone run.  Joe McCormick made a play in deep left and Joe Buizon made a play up the middle.  This would begin to set the tone.  Boston would just start to prove it had more defensive depth beyond their former all-star, Justen Proctor.

Boston got some bad news in the 2nd inning when they sent up David Sanchez to hit for the injured Joe Buizon.  The plan entering this game was to play a platoon in the 6 hole of the lineup because Buizon was nursing a hamstring injury.  Sanchez hit the first pitch  but his running looked awful and slow.  Weissman wanted to know why he looked slower than his own grandmother.  Sanchez was hurt and tried to play through it without being upfront about his injury.  Dr. Marciello would soon deem Sanchez to be out for the World Series with a potential back injury.  A crushing blow to the team and the Rookie for the Renegades.   The next time through the order, Thaxton and Dias would plate runs on well struck balls.  Evan Van Duyne would then make his second stop of the inning.  Boston would lead 4-1.  Van Duyne had 3 stops in 2 innings.

For the Millers, Matt McCoy would lead off  the second with a run that eluded the right side.  Larry Haile would check in with a stop on Chris Peterson at first base.  Evan Van Duyne then scored to make it 4-3.  Justen Proctor then checked in with his first stop of the game at left shorty and McCormick made his second stop in left field off the bat of Todd Paulson.  Through 2 innings, Boston had stops by 4 different players on defense.

In the third, Boston would continue to put up crooked numbers.  Shawn Devenish scored on a pop up to the right side.  Joe Yee would strike out.  Thaxton would score on a grounder up the middle.  Dias would strike out for the second out.  McCormick hit a line drive into left and Haile would strike out.  Though Boston plated three runs, it also whiffed three times.  The team was getting contributions, but just could not find momentum.  Boston led 7-3 but the Millers felt they were in this game.

In the bottom of the third, Minnesota continued to pressure the Boston defense.  Justen Proctor made his 2nd stop of the game off the bat of Riley Schmitz.  Matt McCoy would score another run on the right side of the Boston defense.  Joey Buizon stopped Chris Peterson for an out.  Lead off hitter, Evan Van Duyne then struck out for the 2nd time in the game, a dagger for the Millers.  Boston led 7-4.

Shawn Devenish was the sole offensive highlight for the Renegades in the 4th as he plated a run.  Guy Zuccarello, Thaxton and Dias all helped Van Duyne become an All Star to end the inning.  Evan Van Duyne had 6 stops through 4 innings.  Between him and the Renegades having 4 strike outs, the game was going the way the Millers wanted.  Boston clung to an 8-4 lead.  The momentum was shifting.

The Millers caught fire as Josh Xiong, Todd Paulson and Riley Schmitz plated runs to start off the 4th.  This time, the defense was able to stop McCoy as Zuccarello was cheating toward the line to make the stop.  Proctor stopped pinch hitter, Pat Lemke.  This brought the top of the order up.  They Delivered.  Van Duyne plated a run and then Josh Xiong plated his third run of the game.  The Millers led 9-8.

Weissman called his team together.  He encouraged them to wake up and get their energy level going.  Two innings remained and their season was now on the line.  They had found energy to come back vs the Titans two weeks earlier.  This time, Joe McCormick started things off with a 4 pitch strike out without making contact.  The team did not waver or panic.  Larry Haile then fouled off 4 pitches before scoring on a line drive up the middle.  Shawn Devenish kept up his seeing eye single magic when his hit eluded the Miller right side of the defense again for his third run of the game.  Joe Yee then struck out for the second time of the game and the second whiff of the inning.  This turned over the order.  Good things happened.  Thaxton, Dias and McCormick scored as the 1-2-3 punch.  Boston had its best inning of the game, plating 5 runs.  The score was now 13-8.

It was like the air came out of the Millers.  They had the lead but now their team lacked the energy.  Boston was playing with spunk it had not shown all week.  The bottom half of the miller lineup had no answer as Proctor and Dias made stops.  It was the first donut inning of the game.  Boston could smell blood in the water.  Again, the team came to Weissman who was proud of the turn in energy.  A cheer for insurance cried out!  “WE ARE FARMERS!”

That call for Farmers insurance was answered.  Devenish led off the 6th with another ball to the right side.  It would be the first time in his career, he would score 4 runs in a game!  After Zuccarello was put out by Van Duyne again, the order turned over.  On just 7 pitches, Cochran hooked up Thaxton, Dias and McCormick with their second 1-2-3 scoring inning.  That was the nail in the coffin.  Boston had 17 runs.

In the end, Boston had too much depth.  Offensively,the Renegades had scored 17 or more times in a game  for just the 14th time in team history.  Christian Thaxton, Shawn Devenish and Joe McCormick paced the way with 4 runs each.  Five Renegade hitters scored a pair or more!  That’s a great contribution!  Defensively, six different players made stops.  Proctor would pace the team with six. however, Rob Dias, Joe McCormick and Joe Buizon all had a pair of stops as well.  Comparing this to the millers, Evan Van Duyne had 7 stops but the rest of his team had just 3.  It was not enough.  Even though Miller pitcher, Dan Elliason pitched his heart out, only striking out 4…the Boston defense was too good.  Boston made 14 defensive stops in a six inning game for just the 17th time!  The Millers were eliminated and sent to the 9-12 bracket.  Boston would then get a surprise as they soon learned the Tyler Tigers had upset the Chicago Comets.

Renegades take it to Tyler  20-3

World Series picture of all the players

Total Team effort vs Tyler 11 players on the team scored at least one run!

There was a lot of noise in the adjacent field as the Tyler Tigers upset the Chicago Comets.  Tyler was assured their best ever World Series finish.  In a weird and awful schedule move…Boston, Tyler and Chicago were forced to move fields, despite Boston being the highest seed.  During this time, Coach Weissman grabbed his mentor, JT Herzog and asked what had happened and what to expect.  The mentor shared some info with the mentee and the Gades were off to play Tyler for the first time since 2015.  A Team they had not lost to since 2003. Weissman kept saying he felt like a student taking a test without a lot of preparation, as this Tyler team did not have a lot of history against the renegades.  Boston owned a 7-1 lifetime record vs the Tigers.

Weissman would hope the energy of the Miller game would carry over.  Thaxton led off the game with a run scoring ground ball.  Rob Dias would strike out on 4 pitches, Joe McCormick struck out on 5 pitches and then Larry Haile finished the trifecta with a whiff of his own on 4 pitches.  Not what Weissman wanted as he went to the bench cursing under his breath.  Things were not much better fo Tyler as their first two hitters struck out.  With two outs, Larry Reed came to the plate.  He had worked a lot with the Renegades early in Weissman’s career as the two teams started around the same time.  He hit a ball into the middle of the Renegade defense and Buizon, Dias and Proctor came up empty.  Game tied 1-1

In the second with one out, Weissman went to the bench to hit for Buizon and brought in Joe Yee.  Yee who was in the midst of his best season ever did not have a ton of success off Cochran.  He had been hitting against his cousin, Peter Connolly who had departed the team the day before.  In this at-bat, Cochran and Yee were in synch with a line drive up the gut of the Tigers defense.  This Tiger defense was set up to take away the lines.  That strategy worked against the Comets, but would soon be an issue against Boston.  Soon is the key word, but at this time, Boston limped into the bottom of the second with a 2-1 lead.  The bottom of the second started off with a nice stop at third base by Shawn Devenish who was gaining confidence in his defense.  Julius Artis struck out.  Lead off hitter, Ron Jordan (who was later honored for homering in 2017) struck out for the 2nd time of the game and the inning ended in a whimper.

Boston was aching to explode.  The party started when McCormick scored on a grounder up the middle.  The L-Train hammered a line drive into left for his first run of the game.   After a Devenish strike out (in which he hit Cochran with a bouncer that resulted in a “no pitch”). Guy Zuccarello got his first at bat in the rotational 6 spot as Yee and Buizon were unable to hit.  He hit the first pitch up the middle by Larry Reed for the 3rd run of the frame. Thaxton then scored on a pop fly down the 3rd base line and beat it out.  Rob Dias joined the fun with a line drive by everyone into right field.  Joe McCormick then scored his 2nd run of the game with a bomb into left field.  When the dust settled, Boston put up 6 runs in the frame and now led 8-1.

Tyler had no answer in the bottom of the third as Jason Gainey joined Ron Jordan atop of the order with two whiffs in two attempts.  Guy Zuccarello made a play on Larry Reed on a ball hit up the middle taking away a ball similar to the one he scored on in the first when Buizon was manning this position.  Derrick Loyd, the tallest player in the league at 6-8 struck out to end things for Tyler.

Like sharks sensing blood, the Renegades were ready to pounce on their prey.  Joe Smolka stopped both Zuccarello and Thaxton on grounders to the left side.  Rob Dias kept his cool and got one by Smolka to begin a rally.   McCormick hit a laser into right field.  At this time, Weissman chose to re-enter Joe Yee into the game to get some defense on the field and get Haile some rest.  Yee grounded  a ball up the middle and scored.  Shawn Devenish got on the board with a grounder to right field.  Zuccarello then played his second run of the inning.  Boston had now scored 11 runs in the past two innings and led 13-1.

Weissman had a quandary as Christian Thaxton was due up.  The game was now at a 12 run differential and if Tyler did not score, the Renegades would not hit for the rest of the game.  After playing three games in one day, it would be great to get the team back to the hotel.  Unsure of what the team wanted, Weissman looked to the bench for guidance.  Both Joe McCormick and Christian Thaxton quickly said….”Get everyone in, now!”  Off the bench popped Luis Soto who fouled off 4 straight pitches before striking out.   Aqil Sajjad also entered the game on defense.

Facing a 12-run deficit, Tyler would bring Carlos Black off the bench and Zuccarello stopped him cold.  Julius Artis then got a ball into play to the right side but Joe McCormick, playing at right shorty stopped him.  Ron Jordan and Jason Gainey, sitting at the top of the order finally got going helping prevent a 12 run mercy rule.  It was 13-3.

The Renegades would now cut loose.  Entering the game for Rob Dias would be Aqil Sajjad.  He scored on a line drive up the middle for his first run since day one of the Series.  Despite a 14-3 lead, The Renegade noise  level could make one think it was a close game.  This is Renegade culture.  We root for our teammates hard so that everyone succee

McCormick then scored his 4th run of the match as he had stayed in the lineup, but moved to Dias’ Right shorty spot in the previous inning.  Joe Yee scored on a grounder to the left side for his third run of the contest.  Joe Quintanilla came into hit for Devenish.  On the third pitch he saw, he tagged a line drive into right and scored his only run of the 2018 World Series.  After a Zuccarello strike out, Luis Soto got a second chance to contribute.  He hit a grounder up the middle and plated his first 2018 World Series run and the team energy was at an all week high.  Aqil Sajjad then scored his second run of the inning.  After Rosie Reed stopped Joe McCormick, Joe Yee plated his second run of the inning and 4th run of the game.  It would be his first career 4-run game!  Boston had plated twenty runs.  In team history the Renegades had scored 20 or more in a game for just the 7th time.

Tyler was exhausted.  You could see it in their body language,  on their bench and in their faces.  Five of their next six hitter struck out.  A team that had just defeated Chicago had nothing in the tank for the Renegades.  Tyler was off to the 7/8 seed game, and would eventually take 8th place.  That would be their best ever finish in a World Series.

For the Renegades, this game would be record-setting.  It broke a team record that stood since 2012.  This 17 run win differential eclipsed a 16 run differential over a team who played in one tournament from York, PA.  For Weissman, he praised his teams selflessness and was so excited to see his starting lineup rally to get their teammates into the game.  Seeing Sajjad, Quintanilla, Soto and Sajjad score in that 5th inning was a highlite of the year for sure.  The team chemistry  makes the Renegades special.  everyone pulls for each other.

 

To read more about the World Series, see our other posts

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