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2017 NBBA World Series game summaries Day 4

The 2017 NBBA World Series game summaries Day 4 in Wellington, Florida for the Boston Renegades are below. Boston would be in the losers bracket and would run up against a tough opponent, the defending champion, Indy Thunder.  The Thunder were coming off a tough day as they played three games the previous day.

Game 6: Indy Bruises the Renegades in many ways again 19-9

Joe Yee represented the Renegades in this game when he was hit twice in the head in the same inning of this game. He got banged up, bruised and battered, much like the Reengades

The Indy Thunder were upset by the San Antonio Jets and were forced to play three games on Thursday.  The Renegades were the more rested team for sure.  This time, Joe McCormick would be in the lineup and the Gades were excited to show what they could do.  It started badly for Boston when Eric Rodriguez tagged the first pitch of the contest into deep center field for a run.  The only highlight of the inning for Boston was a pop up off the bat of Gerald Dycus.  Justen Proctor made an amazing play while laying on his back and finding the ball with his back on the ground and got the ball up to beat the speedy Dycus.  the Thunder plated 5 runs in the inning, the most runs boston had let up in an inning all week.  Boston would answer though.  Thaxton would lead off with a run scoring grounder.  With two out Rob “Diaz” Dias stepped into the box (it became a running joke for the rest of the day that this Diaz character whom the Indy coach, Darnell Booker called him, was a better hitter than Dias).  Dias laced a line drive to the right side for a run and then Justen Proctor hit a hard ball off the diving hands of Eric Rodriguez.  As Erod scrambled to the ball in foul territory, he conceded when he heard the lumbering footsteps of Proctor.  After one, it looked like a game as Indy led just 5-3. Corey white and Adam Rodenbeck would score in the second on grounders that could have been stopped.  But the damage was limited.  In the bottom of the second, Boston would tie the game with run scoring by Christian Thaxton and Larry Haile.  The third inning would be a nightmare.  Gerald Dycus led off with a bomb that Joe McCormick made an amazing play on, just a second to late.  Buhler would score on a shallow pop fly that landed between Proctor, Zuccarello and Yee with all of them thinking the other would take it.  Corey White then hit a grounder down the third base line and Joe Yee could not get to it.  Then Boston appeared to catch a break as the next two betters would strike out.  With 4 in and 2 outs, Eric Rodriguez tagged a fly ball to third base that hit Joe Yee on the side of the head on the fly. Yee wobbled but the run scored.  After a short break, he stayed in the game.  Dycus then scored again on a ball hit inside 100 feet and 6 runs were in for Indy.  Buhler then hit a bomb and things looked bad for Boston as the Indy Thunder were on a roll.  Corey White stepped up and this time Joe yee laid out and had the ball lined up.  Sadly, the ball hit him square in the face and the run scored. Bryan Grillo quickly called for help as blood was streaming from Yee’s face. He was hit twice in the head within just 4 batters.  This time, he was taken out on a golf cart to be tended to.  By the time the inning ended, Boston had let up 12 runs.  It was 19-5.  At this point, Weissman asked the starters what they wanted to do.  Play it out…or get ready for the 5/6 game.  The shell shocked team stood for a moment when Guy Zuccarello caught rage and encouraged the team to keep going.    Thaxton and Haile would score in the third but could not prevent the 12 run rule.  At this point, the game became a circus of substitutions.  The best moments came in the 6th, when Luis Soto plated a run on a fly ball down down the right side for his second run of the World Series.  “Hot Tub” Thayer also rocked a hard grounder to the left side through the defense and it looked like he would score but he missed the base and was put out to end the game.  It was the only missed base the Renegades had all series.  Overall, for the two teams, 26 players played in this contest.  There are no records kept for these things, but this is surely close to an NBBA record for most players playing in a game.  The Thunder would move to the next round to play Colorado with the winner of that game going to the finals (Indy would eventually win against Colorado).  Boston was shipped across the park to play in the 5/6 game against the Indy Edge.

Game 7: Renegades take care of business and earn the 5 seed 14-7

2017 World Series team for the Boston Renegades team picture

Team photo taken at the end of the World Series of the 21 Renegades representing the team. Not shown is Melissa Hoyt who left the squad on Wednesday

The last time these teams faced off was in Chicago, when then Edge trounced the Renegades.  They entered this match with common wins over New Jersey and Austin and a common loss to the Colorado Storm.  The Edge would sit a few of their starters in this contest.  In fact, they would strike out twice in the first inning to set the tone.  Thaxton would score and Joe McCormick would plate runs for Boston to get the party started and after one it was 2-0.  The Edge would fare better in the second as they plated three runs before Joe McCormick would help end the inning with a diving stop at first base off the bat of Jonathan Boggs.  Boston would answer with three runs of their own in the bottom of the frame with Thaxton, McCormick and Dias scoring runs.  McCormick scored his runs on fly balls down the right side, which was a new thing for him using a different hand path in his swing.  In the third inning, Frank Porter would hit a line drive just by Justen Proctor’s out stretched hands and then bounced off Thaxton ‘s hands for a run.  That would be all for them in the 3rd.  McCormick was on his way to his best game of the week plated his third run.  Shawn Devenish also showed some speed as he legged out a hit and after three, Boston led 7-4.  The 4th inning was not kind to the Edge, Boggs and Trejo would each strike out and Gregory would be stopped by Justen.  As the team came to the bench, Weissman was waiting for them and encouraging them to focus.  The result was their best inning of the game.  Devenish legged out a run again.  Thaxton had a rare one pitch at bat lofting a bomb into left. Haile regained his stroke with a fly into left.  Rob Dias also scored on a grounder up the middle.  After 4 it was 11-4.  Weissman was thinking about subs but the Edge scored three times in the 5th to pull the game within 4 runs.  With one out, Thaxton, Haile and McCormick lofted bombs into left field for runs.  That would seal this game.  The Edge would throw up a goose egg in the 6th.  Boston would win 14-7 behind 4 run games from Thaxton and McCormick and 6 defensive stops by Proctor.  The 2017 season may not have ended up the way the team had wanted but it would end with a 13-4 record and it’s third top 5 finish in the past three seasons.

For more game summaries from the world Series

Day #1 vs Seattle and Long Island

Day #2 vs Long Island

Day #3 vs Austin and Colorado

 

2017 NBBA World Series game summaries Day 3

The 2017 NBBA World Series game summaries Day 3 in Wellington, Florida for the Boston Renegades are below. The Renegades advanced to the round of the top 8 teams who had zero losses.  This round would brin gthe first 8:30 start to the team.  This mean getting up super early and having to deal with a wet dew on the grass which the team had not seen all week.  The team knew that if it could win the 1st game, it would only have to play two games on the day.  The first game would be a must win game

2017 NBBA World Series game summaries day 3 for the Boston Renegades

Larry Haile plated 4 runs, Justen Proctor made 6 stops, Joe McCormick plated a pair and made three stops on defense, Guy scored three and made a pair of stops on defense,Joe Yee scored a pair, Rob Dias plated 1 run and made three stops on defense and Thaxton tied a career best with 6 runs scored

Game 4: Boston takes down Blackhawks again 18-7

Eight teams remained without a loss.  The winner of this match would only have to play two games on the day.  These two teams faced off in chicago in June.  Boston won that game in a close contest.  Neither team was at full strength at that time.  Austin was missing their lead off hitter, Mike Finn and a new addition to their team in Greg Roberts as well as some much needed depth to their bench.  Boston was missing three starters (McCormick, Dias and Zuccarello) as well as their number one pitcher, Ron Cochran.   The day would start off with umpire trouble.  Before the first pitch of the game was even thrown, Christian Thaxton was warned for touching his blindfold. An honest mistake, but Weissman looked up from his stool and asked the umpire what the penalty would be.  The answer was automatic ejection if he touched it again. Message received in deep fear from Weissman and Thaxton.  There was no intent behind that other than it being super hot out and sweat building up.  On the 5th pitch, Thaxton lofted a fly ball up the middle for a run. Joe McCormick then would strike out on the 6th pitch he swung at.  This bought Larry Haile to the plate.  He dribbled a ball down the third base line which brought Darious Sterling racing to the line.  A scary moment occurred when Sterling raced in front of Haile into foul ground to track the ball.  Haile was out but more importantly, no-one was injured. Sterling would then make a great play on a fly ball to nail Dias on a bang-bang play to end the inning.  Mike finn started the game off for Austin and lace a hard grounder to the right side to Rob Dias.  Everyone could hear the crack of the ball slamming into his chest.  Dias made the stop and was not hurt saying his chest hair cushioned the blow. Brandon Chesser would score on a bomb into left which brought the not so fleet of foot, Mariano Reynoso to the plate.  Reynoso hit a dribbler and raced to the base as Justen Proctor raced in.  99 out of 100 times, Proctor wins this race…but on this day, Reynoso had the speed and got the run to give Austin a 2-1 lead.  Hibner was trying to pick on the right side and Greg Roberts made the last out on a ball that McCormick stopped (his second stop of the inning). All three put outs came on the right side of the defense.  In the second after a Zuccarello whiff on 4 pitches, Joe Yee hit his first pitch on the ground right at Sterling but it got a lucky bounce and went over him and Yee scored.  The last time Yee scored against Austin, he broke his hand, this time he ended healthy!  Thaxton scored on another pop fly to give Boston a 3-2 lead.  McCormick scored on the 6th pitch he saw on a grounder to the right side to make it 4-2.  After a Larry Haile strikeout where he fouled off 4 pitches, Rob Dias came to the plate.  He hit a hard grounder up the middle that got away from Finn.  As Finn scrambled, Dias hit the base and the bang-bang went to Austin.  In the bottom of the second, Proctor nabbed Sterling to start the inning and then Finn hit a fly ball to the right side that Dias tried to stop on his knees.  The ball rolled under him and Finn was safe.  The number two hitter, Puryear struggled and struck out.  This brought the big bat of Brnadon Chesser to the plate.  He hit a weak grounder that Justen ate up like a pizza on Friday night.  It was quick and easy.  Sadly, for Boston, first base flickered and Chesser was awarded a new chance.  This is the rule, as bad as it is.  Even though the late base had no impact on this play, Chesser got another chance.  This time, he hit a grounder up the middle and Guy Zuccarello laid out for the stop.  He jumped for joy and Boston laughed as their all-time leader on defense made his first stop of the year for the Renegades in their 13th game of the season. Heading into the third inning, Guy Zuccarello would lead off the inning for the 2nd time of the game and be stopped by Finn up the middle.  Yee stepped to the dish and in the first pitch smoked a grounder to the left side for his second run of the game.   Thaxton followed his lead and also hit the first pitch on the ground down the third base line, for his third run if the game.  Haile would get on the board for the first time this game to push the score to 7-3.  Rob Dias was making an ugly trend as he lofted a fly to the right center of the field which Finn picked up on a bang-bang play to end the inning, the third straight inning, Dias made the last out.  In the bottom of the third, Thaxton made a nice play in the third layer of the defense to stop Reynoso. Proctor then stopped Roberts.  Hoping for a 1-2-3, boston needed to get the number 6 hitter, the speedy, Sterling.  This time, the ball went off Proctor and he could not get to it in time as Sterling scored.  Finn tacked on a run and after three Boston clung to a 7-5 lead.   Zuccarello would lead off again in the 4th (his third straight inning) and started making comments that he felt like Thaxton leading off so many innings. This time, he would hit a fly ball up the middle with some spin.  That spin was enough to elude Finn and Guy was on the board.  Thaxton would hit a fly ball to the right side and score with ease for his 4th of the game and with two out, Haile would score on a grounder up the middle to make the game 10-5 as Boston was keeping a constant pressure on Austin and getting contributions on offense from everyone, but Rob Dias ended the 4th inning in a row with a strike out.  The Austin 4th is where the wheels started to fall off.  Brandon Chesser scored on another bomb into left but Hibner struck out Reynoso, Roberts hit a dribbler to Proctor and Sterling also whiffed.  Two of Hibner’s three whiffs on the game came in this inning at a point where Austin needed something from the bottom half of the order.  In the 5th, our new lead-off hitter, Guy Zucarello scored his second run of the game on a grounder up the middle, Thaxton plated his 5th run of the contest on a fly ball up the gut to make it 12-6 Boston.  McCormick who had been quiet most of the game then hit a quality fly ball to the right side but Reynoso would make a great and lucky play as he dropped and landed on the ball to nab Joe. L-train Haile would then loft a deep fly into left to give Boston it’s 4th consecutive inning of three runs.  In form, Dias would end the inning as his frustration grew.  Hibner got a lead off run from Finn to start the 5th, but that would be all as Boston flashed leather with Proctor, McCormick and Dias making plays to end the inning. After five, Boston led 13-7 but never felt comfortable because Tim Hibner can lead any attack back and had his team as the home team.  Boston came to the bench and put a huddle together with a “we are farmers” chant in a cry for insurance runs.  Their cry was answered with the biggest inning of the game. Zuccarello led off for the 5th time and scored for the third time.  Thaxton plated his 6th run of the game on a bomb to center over everyone. McCormick plated his second run on a fly to center.  Haile scored on a grounder up the middle and Rob Dias came to the plate for the first time all game with less than two outs. Without the pressure, he scored his only run of the game and when he hit the bag, he actually smiled and laughed as he cried “finally” to his bench.  Boston had a 5 run inning. The nail was in the coffin.  Austin would go down 1-2-3 in the 6th with Proctor and Zuccarello making stops to seal the victory.  Boston would stay on the field and take on their rival, the Colorado Storm in a battle of two teams which were among the final four without a loss.  Austin would head to the losers bracket for a tough match up against the Chicago Comets.  The 6 run attack from Thaxton would tie a team record that he set in 2016 against the Pennsylvania Wolfpack.

Game 5: Boston loses a heart breaker in world war 4 to storm 8-6
Three of the last four contests between these teams had been decided by a run.  Two of them in walk off fashion.  Why should this game be different with a top 3 seed on the line? Both teams entered the game as part of the final four teams left undefeated in the week.  This time, the colorado bench was very deep as they recruited four familiar faces from Philly.  Two of them, John Margist and Mike Coughlin would draw the start. The coin toss would go for Colorado and both teams knew the game could very well come down to whom hit last.  Thaxton would lead off the game with a towering fly ball to center field.  The ball would come down straight on top of Demetrius Morrow’s head.  He was shocked, but it did not stop him from trying to find the ball.  Thaxton would score wth ease.  Morrow would be fine, in fact, he would be more than fine.  More to come on that soon.  In the bottom of the inning, John Margist would tag a shot to third and it would hit Joe Yee in the chest.  Yee scrambled to make the play and in the process tweaked a muscle in his back.  The out was recorded, but Yee was forced to leave the game with tightness in his back.  Both teams had defensive players hurt in the first inning.  Ethan johnston then lofted a fly ball to the right side which was short.  As Dias approached it, he kicked a goal by booting the ball about 50 feet.  After one, colorado led 2-1.  Thaxton got it back for Boston in the 2nd but that would be it for the Gades.  In the bottom of the frame, Margist scored a run on a shot down the line.  Joe McCormick made a great play to stop Ethan Johnston on a high fly ball to right center. Mike Malloy would then score on a shallow pop fly to the right side that Dias could not grab in time.  Weissman called time out to remind his team how to play these types of fly balls.  Chad Sumner would then hit a ball to Thaxton but the base flickered and even though it had zero impact on the play, it was a do over.  He then hit a ball down the third base line again, but Justen Proctor would range back to the base to pick the ball and stop the bleeding.  After two it was 4-2, Colorado.  The Third inning was awful.  Boston would throw up a goose egg for just the 2nd time all week.  To this point, Morrow was eating up everything hit his way up the middle of the field.  He had 3 stops and his teammate Johnston had 4.  Colorado would extend the lead in the third when Mike Coughlin would connect in a ball to center field, which bounced off Guy Zuccarello and Shayne Cantan picked up but lost the bang bang call and a run was score.  Johnston would also get the best of Zuccarello as a ball glanced off him as he was diving to his right.  Colorado led 6-2.  Thaxton would plate his third run of the game and to this point accounted for all the Renegade offense.  Joe McCormick was at the plate and had 3 strikes on him when controversy started.  For the third year in a row, a major issue occurred with the umps.  McCormick lofted a bomb into right field for what looked to be a run but in a split second, head umpire, Mike Woodard called him out for being out of the batters box.  A very long discussion incurred.  It was wrong of him to call the play dead before it was finished.  It was wrong of him to call the player out without warning.  Woodard would not budge in this and told Weissman he tried to warn him before the pitch was thrown.  No protest was filed and a sure run was taken off the board.  Weissman was fuming.  He urged his team to overcome the adveristy. Larry Haile answered the call and on the first pitch he saw, he drilled it down the third base line for a run.  The team was fired up.  Dias then hit the first pitch on a fly up the middle but this time Morrow was there and the rally would end.  Colorado led 6-4 but both teams knew Woodard stole at least one run from the Renegades.  For the 3rd straight year, Colorado would have the umps in their back pocket.  Maybe it has to do with the umps love for the Storm?  Colorado would go down 1-2-3 in the 4th as Zucarello stopped Coughlin this time and Proctor stopped Biggins.  Just as we thought momentum had swung the Renegades way, we ran into a case of the “Ethan Johnston’s”. Devenish would ground out to him.  Zuccarello would then hit a hard fly ball that Johnston would grab but the back breaker was when Christian Thaxton rocked a hard grounder to him, which bounced away from him, Johnston scrambled for it and picked it up in time to nab Thaxton.  It was the first time all week a team put Thaxton out on a ball he hit and it came at a rough time For the Renegades.  In the Bottom of the 5th, John Margist would lift a fly ball up the right middle.  Dias would drift backwards to the middle but was looking for Guy to make the play when he suddenly heard the ball beeping near his own feet.  At that time he went from a standing position right to the ground and picked it clean without searching for it like someone with sight right before Margist hit the bag.  Johnston would then step to the plate and hit a grounder to the left side. Proctor ranged to his right, dove and took the ball off his forehead.  He would be ok with a small scratch.  Mike Malloy would make a statement with a bomb into left field. Colorado led 8-4 and Boston had to dig deep.  McCormick led off the inning with a grounder to the right side, away from Johnston and Morrow, but to no avail as Margist stopped him.  Larry Haile laced a shot down the third base line for his second run of the game.  Rob Dias hit a squirter to the right side that eluded Mike Coughlin and it was 8-6. Looking for some magic, Weissman re -entered Joe Yee who had been getting treatment from Mike Marciello all game.  If he or Guy Zuccarello could score a run, it would get Thaxton back to the plate.  Yee found Morrow for an out. Zuccarello hit a ball that looked like it could slide by Coughlin…but not this time.  Ball game.  Colorado would advance to play Taiwan as the only two undefeated teams.  Boston took a hard loss made worse by a crazy umpire call.  It would not be the end of the Renegades chances to get back to the finals, but the road would be much harder and longer.

For more game summaries of the World Series

Day #1 vs Seattle and Long Island

Day #2 vs Long Island

Day #3 vs Austin and Colorado

Day #4 vs Indy Thunder and Indy Edge

2017 NBBA World Series game summaries Day 2

The 2017 NBBA World Series game summaries Day 2 in Wellington, Florida for the Boston Renegades are below. Based on our performance on day one, the Renegades came out of the round robin as the #2 seed overall and received a bye in the first round of games.  We would play the winner of the Rochester Pioneer and Long Island Bombers.  Since we played both teams this season, the Bombers were the heavy favorite and would win that contest with a score of 8-1.

World Series heroes of game three vs Long Island - Rob Dias, Rob Thayer, Guy Zuccarello and Christian Thaxton

Rob Dias scpred 4 runs and made 2 stops on defense. Thayer scored a huge run for the team. Zuccarello made his 1st stop of the season and Thaxton scored 5 times though he ended his 20 at bat streak where he scored in 20 consecutive plate appearances

Game 3: Renegades get on track downing Long Island 20-8
Traveling all the way to Florida and two of our first three opponents are east coast rivals.  In fact, our last game was against these same Long Island Bombers in Woburn. These Bombers looked different though.  On the mound was James Scorentino and in their lineup was their two new rookies, Derrek Anderson and Mike Zampella.  Two streaks would end in this game.  We lost our first coin toss after winning 5 straight. Christian Thaxton would lead off and launch a bomb into left for a loud run.  But Joe Dejesus would lay out and stop Joe McCormick and Matt Puvogel would stop a grounder up the middle from Larry Haile.  Shawn Devenish struck out and it was a quiet first inning.  Long island started hot. Joe Dejesus lofted a high fly ball that landed in the coffin corner on the right side to lead off with a run.  Mike Zampella hit a grounder to the left side that eluded the defense and Pasquale Agnone would hit a bomb over everyone down the third baseline as long island jumped out early.  The Boston bats would wake up.  Rob Dias would hit a laser into left.  Then with one out, Thaxton, McCormick and Haile would tag the first pitch they saw with three solid shots to give Boston a 5-3 lead.  Controversy would ensue.  Shawn Devenish stood at the plate with 3 strikes on him, when the home plate umpire called a phantom strike because he felt Shawn was taking too long. Weissman and Cochran almost lost their minds.  In fact, Shawn was doing a nice thing by not being ready because a golf cart was idling right behind home plate.  Ron Cochran was visibly angered because the umpire did not even check his watch.  He simply claimed we were taking too long.  At this point, Ron called out, “that doesn’t make you a metronome”, at which point he threw his glove to the bench thinking the inning was over when it was just the second out.  Rob Dias would come up next and after being rushed, hit a weak grounder that skipped by Megan Fink and Boston led 6-3.  Weissman had been talking about how important it was for the team to get tough under adversity.  This would be a test, Defensively, it looked like they may not pass the test as Zampella hit a laser into right center for a run and Pasquale Agnone hit a slow roller up the middle of the field that Guy Zuccarello would field in time, but the ump ruled against boston again and the score was 6-5.  The team pulled together and focused. Boston would then come up and launch a hit parade in the third.  All six players would plate a run in this frame to lead off the inning with Thaxton, McCormick and Haile squaring the ball up very well.  When Justen Proctor scored the 6th run of the inning, Long Island called time out and took Matt Puvogel off the field for a back injury.  The 7th batter of the inning was Christian Thaxton and he would strike out.  This ended the longest hitting streak in Renegade history at 20 straight runs scored.  Larry Haile would be the only Renegade to score twice in the inning.  The score was now 13-5.  A 12 run rule was desired to get out of the heat, which was clearly effecting three of the Renegade players on the bench.  The Bomber’s third inning did not go well for them as they went down 1-2-3. In the 4th, Dias, Proctor, Thaxton and McCormick would score consecutive runs to start the inning and give Boston a 12 run lead at 17-5.  Since Long Island was the home team, if they scored just one run in the bottom of the frame, the game would continue.  With one out, Alex Barrera would hit a slow roller to the right side which Joe Mac could not find and that would be enough to avoid the 12 run rule.  In to the 5th, Weissman decided to empty the bench.  Luis Soto was scheduled to hit for Thaxton, but missed his chance due to proper hydration taking him away.  Thaxton would score his 5th run of the game.  Joe Yee would hit a slow roller and beat it out but the noise would come when Rob Thayer stepped up.  Weissman thought something was off, as Rob had been troubled by the heat all day.  “Tub” (Rob Thayer’s nickname) was having trouble lining up at the plate.  On the first pitch he saw, he hit a hard smash down the third baseline and hit first base.  Long Island called dead ball.  After a few minutes in deep left field, it was determined it was a run for Thayer.  Boston had scored it’s 20th run of the game.  This time, Long Island had no answer and after 5 innings the game entered the 12 run rule.  Boston would advance to the next round and at the same time deal a loss to Long Island sending them to the losers bracket to play Toronto.

For more game summaries of the World Series

Day #1 vs Seattle and Long Island

Day #2 vs Long Island

Day #3 vs Austin and Colorado

Day #4 vs Indy Thunder and Indy Edge

 

2017 NBBA World Series game summaries Day 1

The 2017 NBBA World Series game summaries Day 1 in Wellington, Florida for the Boston Renegades are below.  We were fortunate to have a bye in the morning due to the fact there was 6 brackets and just 22 teams.  The games would begin around 11:30

Game 1: upstart Seattle no match for Renegades

2017 NBBA World Series game summaries Day 1 - Lisa Andrews, Rob Dias, Justen Proctor and Peg Bailey

isa Andrews and Peg Bailey both made their World Series debuts as coaches. Justen Proctor paced the offense with three runs (as a designated hitter) and Rob Dias plated a run with three stops on defense

Seattle was making it’s second world series appearance ever. They had been doing an amazing job growing and marketing the sport in the northwest. They were fired up to play Boston after losing to New jersey. They struck early as Dino Sanchez and Bob Miller took advantage of the defense and scored back to back runs to start off the game. Aqil Sajjad was really struggling with the fast grass and missed both plays. Shayne Cantan would get the Renegades off the field with a stop off the bat in the 3rd layer of the defense off mike Walker who hit a ball up the middle to end the inning. The story of this game would be the inability for Seattle to make a play on defense. Boson put 4 balls in play in the first and scored on three of them with McCormick, Devenish and Proctor scoring to take the lead. In the second inning, Aqil Sajjad would improve as he stopped both Sanchez and Miller. Than Huynh would get the other stop for the inning. The upstart Seattle team was putting the pressure on by getting the ball in play. Boston would score on all four balls put in play in the 2nd off the bats of Yee, Sajjad, Proctor and Shayne Cantan and the score was now 7-2. Travis Pruett led off the 3rd for Seattle and dribbled a ball down the first base line. Thanh Huynh raced over to get it, but Pruett was speeding down the line in fair territory. Somehow a collision was avoided, likely due to the keen ears of Huynh. Shayne Cantan would make his second stop of the game this inning off the bat of Walker in deep left field. Boston would get six more in the third on seven balls hit into play. Shawn Devenish, Yee, Proctor, Cantan, Luis Soto and Rob Dias all plated runs. After 3 innings Boston led easily 13-2. Confusion would ensue in the 4th inning when Weissman could not figure out the Seattle batting order. After Cochran and Weissman discussed the issue with the Seattle coach and scorekeeper, Seattle was nailed for batting out of order. The storm clouds were coming in the bottom of the 4th. Because of the weather, Weissman wanted the game to get into the 12 run rule to end it quicker. With one out, Christian Thaxton made his series debut and hit a high pop to the right side to give Boston a 12 run lead. In this inning, Thanh Huynh and Melissa Hoyt would get their only at bats of the series which would both end in strike outs. After 4 innings, the game was in the 12 run rule. Seattle would eventually plate two runs in the 6th and the game would end before the lightning whistles blew.  Seattle impressed with just 9 strike outs and some players with good speed. For Boston, the highlight was the bat of Justen Proctor (3 runs), the return of his brother Shayne making two stops and scoring a pair and a first World Series run for Luis Soto.

2017 NBBA World Series game summaries Day 1 -Joe Yee, Justen Proctor and Christian Thaxton

(left to right) Joe Yee made 3 stops on defense and scored a run. Justen Proctor paced the defense with 5 stops. Christian Thaxton scored 4 times and made 4 stops on defense in the third layer!

Game 2: Boston hangs on to beat the Titans 8-4
The last time these teams met up, Boston crushed the hopes of the Titans early. This time, the Titan line up looked different as they inserted players from North Carolina and Iowa on to the line up card.  The game was delayed for roughly two hours due to lightning. but when the bells rang, the teams cheered that it was time to play ball. Lamont Bordley would lead off for the Titans in a strange way. He hit a laser into right center but the base would be blatantly late..and it looked like Bordley would be safe anyway…But Joe McCormick made a diving stop ranging far to his left to make a stop as Bordley missed the base. Sadly, the play was called back due to the late base. Bordley then hit a grounder which eluded Aqil Sajjad at third base but Christian Thaxton ranged a long way to make the stop because Bordley missed the base a second time. Deshawn Widener would get the Titans on the board with a run scoring hit down the left side and that would be all for New Jersey in the first. Boston started fast with Christian Thaxton leading off with a fly ball up the middle but then both McCormick and Haile would strike out swinging. Guy Zuccarello would end the frame with a ground out stopped by Iowa’s own, John Patterson. Weissman made a change right away and inserted Thanh Huynh at third base. He had a chance on a ball hit to start the inning by Rich Koppenjan, but Thanh dove out of the way of it and Thaxton stopped him in the third layer. This was Thaxton’s third stop of the game at the rover or third layer position. Rob Dias led off and lofted a fly ball that landed at about 100 feet. Three Titans players converged and collided but Patterson made the stop, pulling th ball out of the mix o tangled bodies and scrambling hands. Joe Yee entered the contest but struck out. Thaxton then hit a little piggy )a slang we have for a ball that is hit so hard it squeals) that bounced off Alfonso Harell for a run. Joe McCormick made some nice adjustments to his swing and also scored to put Boston up 3-1. the Boston D would be tested. Proctor would record the first out of the inning when Deshawn Widener would hit another ball into,left. this time it was in the air. Joe yee made the play of the game backing up on the ball, laying out and stopping it in his glove hand for a huge out. In the top of the 4th, after two strike outs, the Titans struck again. Lamont Bordley hit a high fly ball that bounced and Rob Dias almost caught it in a bounce but instead it ricocheted off him for a run. Alfonso Harrell then lofted a ball into left for a run and the Titans had tied it at 3-3. their energy was amazing and you could see their confidence budding. The score would not be tied for long. Thaxton and McCormick would go back-to- back for the second time in the game to give Boston a 5-3 lead. McCormick was pumped and yelling words of encouragement to his teammates as he ran in from scoring at third. The Titans would go down 1-2-3 in the 5th with stops by Thaxton on deep left and Proctor in the front of the defense. Boston huddled looking for insurance. Leading off was Joe Yee. Weissman asked him to relax his shoulders with two strikes. On the 5th pitch, Yee lofted a fly ball into left and scored as the bench erupted. Thaxton would come to the plate and right before the 7th pitch of the at-bat, the Titans would ask for a new ball. Thaxton felt it was bush league designed to throw the pitcher off. Instead of complaining, Cochran and Thaxton bore down and Thaxton laced a shot up the middle of the field that was hit so hard it ricocheted off the Titans defense for a run. Larry Haile would score his first world series run on a grounder up the middle and Boston led 8-3. Bordley scored again to lead off the 6th. Joe Yee would seal this game up as he made back-to-back stops on balls off the bats of Alfonso Harrell and Deshawn Widener. Proctor would close out the match with his 5th stop of the game. It was a banner game for Thaxton (4 runs and 4 stops in the deep layer of the defense) and for Joe Yee who played his best defense since 2015. Their confidence grew and this would only pay dividends later in the week.

For more game summaries of the World Series

Day #1 vs Seattle and Long Island

Day #2 vs Long Island

Day #3 vs Austin and Colorado

Day #4 vs Indy Thunder and Indy Edge

The Renegades have athletes with a story and Inspiration!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joe Quintanilla

Joe Q crashes into a base in 2005

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

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

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

Christian Thaxton

 

Thaxton races toward third base in 2015

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

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

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

Joe McCormick

 

Joe McCormick showing his excitement after scoring a run

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

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

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

 

 

Larry Haile

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

Aqil Sajjad

Aqil takes a rip in 2010

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

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

Top 10 Renegade moments of 2016

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

#10 Soto finds his Rhythm

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

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

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

 

#9 The Knock out Punch

Mac and Than at the Banquet

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

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

#8 Feeling after the San Antonio Game

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

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

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

Team photo of the Renegades in Philly

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

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

#6 Lucas Lectures the team About Hard Work

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

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

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

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

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

#4 The student finally beat the Teacher

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

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

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

 

Rob Dias at the plate

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

#3  Dias Gets His 2nd Career Walk-Off

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

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

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

Renegades pre-game for the National Anthem

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

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

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

#1 The Amazing Comeback

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

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

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

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

Joe McCormick is Not Your Average Joe

During the month of May, Not Your Average Joe’s in Watertown is running a promotion to help the Boston Renegades.  If you dine there on a Sunday in May the Boston Renegades will received 15% of your check (excluding tax, Tip and booze) if you give them a copy of this flyer (or show it to them on your phone).  Please let us know your interest and share our Facebook event with friends

Not Your Average Joe's coupon

  As many Renegade fans know we have had many players on our roster over the years named Joe…and they are definitely Not Your Average Joe.

Joe Mac - "the hardest working man in baseball)

Photo by Dina Rudick/Boston Globe

Joe McCormick was a happy, healthy 17 year old high school senior when he was diagnosed with a rare disease called Lebers Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON). LHON causes rapid sudden central vision loss and within months Joe was legally blind. Before his diagnosis Joe was at the top of his class, the captain of his Robotics team, and the goalie of the varsity soccer team. He was slated to attend MIT in the fall and study mechanical engineering. He loved spending time with his friends and family, and especially his girlfriend, Ashley. One of Joe’s favorite things to do was drive his car. He loved the freedom of being able to just hop in his car and go.

Most people really struggle with vision loss. Joe found a way to accept it.  He told his friends “I may be going blind but I am still one of the luckiest people I know!” He went on to graduate from Harvard University with a degree in computer Science in just 4 years without any delays or extra time to help him with his vision loss.  Today, Joe is a happy, healthy 23 year old with a great job, a wonderful fiancé, and a beautiful new home. He is passionate about Beepball and loves playing the game with his amazing teammates.

On the field he has grown into one of the leaders of the Boston Renegades.  He is Not Your average Joe on the field as he has set a few team records and been named to league all-star teams in his short 4 year career. This High School soccer player turned beep baseball all star got off to a fast start in 2012 and set a team record by hitting .586 in is Rookie year with the Renegades (a 14-year history).  He never gives up and is always trying to make himself better and in 2014, he was named to the League All- star team when he hit .600 at the National World Series in Rochester, Minnesota.  In 2015, he became just the 2nd player in team history to hit .600 for an entire season as he  hit .606.   You will be amazed to see what he can accomplish with his vision loss because he is not your average Joe!

This Joe was also featured in an article in the Boston Globe in May of 2014.  Theses a must read article to see how he overcame the loss of his sight with a can do attitude and what he has been able to accomplish.

If you would like to hear Joe Talk about his experience you can see him on youtube below

 

Not Your Average Joe’s supports the Renegades

During the month of May, Not Your Average Joe’s in Watertown is running a promotion to help the Boston Renegades.  If you dine there on any Sunday in May the Boston Renegades will received 15% of your check (excluding tax, Tip and booze) if you give them a copy of this flyer (or show it to them on your phone).  You can click on the image to make it bigger if needed.

Not Your Average Joe's coupon

As many Renegade fans know we have had many players on our roster over the years named Joe…and they are definitely Not Your Average Joe.  It’s so odd that over the 13 years the Renegades have been playing that 15% of our roster has had players whose names are Joe.  We had to give nicknames to everyone Joe…As calling “Joe” resulted in so many heads turning.  At one point we had 7 Joe’s on our Roster.  Below give you an idea of who we have had and what makes them more than the Average Joe!

 

Renegade What makes them NOT Your Average Joe (and their Nickname)
Joe Bourque

Joe Bourque  (Joe B) with the team from 2013-2014

While attending Boston College, this Joe got involved as a volunteer for the Renegades and did everything we asked of him from working on administration stuff, to catching, hitting grounders and helping the guys.  He became so valuable in such a short period of time that he also rushed back from a vacation in Hawaii and met the team in Rochester, Minnesota for the World Series in 2014 to help the team when they were short on volunteers.  Yes, he cut his trip to Hawaii short to help the team showing how he is not Your Average Joe!

Photo of Joey Buizon

Joe Buizon (Wrong Way) with the team from 2003-2015

Joe lost his sight while he was in High School and battled a lot of anger as he lost his ability to play competitive High School Basketball in the city of Somerville.  In 2003, he joined the Renegades while attending Bridgewater State University and found an outlet for his competitive juices.  He has turned his life around and with a positive attitude has found a job working for the Mass Commission of the blind.  In this job he helps most of the Boston areas college students find internships to help them kick start their careers.  On the field, his passion and the noise he creates running to bases, trash talking with his teammates also makes him a Joe who is not an average Guy!

Photo of Joe Duggan

Joe Duggan (Mr. D) with the team from 2011-2012

Joe Joined the Renegades because his son joined the team.  In our 15-year existence, he is the only father to join the team.  Supporting your kid asperity normal…but Joe stayed with the team when his son left the team!  Also, Joe stayed with the team and pithed while he was struggling through knee replacement surgeries.  Technically speaking Joe also helped us repair all of our bases and equipment because he has the tools and knowledge of electronics to help the Team keep its equipment in working order.  We have hopes he will return to the team in the near future!  Again, Not your average Joe!

Photo of Joey Duggan

Joe Duggan Jr (Hacksaw) with the team from 2009-2012

Joe is not your average Joe.  He seemed like a lost soul in Boston living miles from Foxboro.  For some reason is heart always played with the Packers.  Hacksaw was also always hoping to go barefoot and despised the snow.  What did he do?  He decided to move to North Carolina by himself.  He showed great self-awareness and an outgoing attitude to move to a new state where he did not have a support system in place.  It’s hard for many people to move and start their life over.  Imagine doing that with a visual impairment?  He is not your Average Joe!

Photo of Joe McCormick

Joe McCormick (Mac) with the team from 2011 to 2016

Joe noticed he was losing his sight in High school to a rare disease called Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy.  Most people really struggle with vision loss.  Often times there is years of depression and anger associated with it.  Joe found a way to accept it.  Instead of focusing on all of the negatives of vision loss, he focused his attention on how to adapt his life.  He want on to graduate from Harvard University with a degree in computer Science in just 4 years without any delays or extra time to help him with is vision loss.  On the field he has become an All-Star in the NBBA (National Beep Ball Association) by hitting .600 at the 2014 World Series.  You will be amazed to see what he can accomplish with his vision loss because he is not your average Joe!

Photo of Joe O'Neill

Joe O’Neill (Scooby) with the team from 2003-2013

If you live in Chelmsford and went to school in the 1980’s you all know Joey O’Neill.  Many people say he is a Chelmsford legend.  Joe has led a very hard life.  He was born with Retinal Blastoma and has had his eyes removed and wears prosthetics.  Joe has had over 30 surgeries in his lifetime and continues to have to face health challenges way beyond what he has with his vision loss.  He has had back surgery, facial reconstruction surgeries and most recently heart surgery that has kept him off the field the past 2 years.  What he has endured is not what the Average Joe would ever go through!

Photo of Joe Quintanilla

Joe Quintanilla (Q) with the team from 2002-2016

This Joe ran cross-country track for Boston College against sighted opponents while being a blind runner.  His extensive running experience took him to the Paralympic games as a runner in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.  His love for running inspired him to create a Boston 5K race called the Vision 5K, a unique fundraiser where blind and sighted individuals compete side-by-side, showcasing the abilities of blind athletes. This Joe is a huge advocate of showing the ability in disability an promoting opportunities for the blind community!  He is not your Average Joe!

Photo of JJ Ward

Joe Ward (JJ) with the team from 2003-2012 & 2015

Nobody who has met this Joe would ever say he is average.  He has a unique ability to talk to anyone, even a tree. Joe lost his sight to Retinitis Pigmentosa and had to make major changes to his life when this happened.  He went from climbing telephone poles for a job to joining a vendor program where he would run is own vendor stand.  There he was in charge of his own business selling food and beverages to the public.  He had to do everything from running the operation, the books, the marketing and the sales to keep his business alive.  All of this without his eye sight.  He is not your average Joe!

Joe Yee

Joe Yee (Yee-Haw) with the team from 2014-2016

Joe Yee is the newest Joe on the team and joined us a 40 something year old rookie.  He had experience with sports as a wrestler back in High School but since he has been blind since a child, he never had an opportunity to play on a team.  When he joined the Renegades one thing he enjoyed was the opportunity to run at 100% speed.  As a blind child, he was always fearful of being able to do this and the sport of Beep baseball has finally given him this chance to run free!  Joe has found a niche for himself as he works at the Harvard Management Company as a Senior Systems Engineer and has been working there for the past 15 years.  He taught himself all the skills to do this job with his visual impairment and that makes him another Joe who is far from average!

 

 

 

The Renegades Speak at SABR

Logo for SABR

The Society of American Baseball Research is an organization made up of baseball statisticians and baseball historians.  Many have heard of this organization through a team called SABR Metrics.  Bill James ( who is now employed by the Red Sox) helped make this group famous.

This year the current president of the Boston chapter, Joanne Hulbert reached out to us and asked if we would like to get involved and we jumped at the opportunity. They set us up as a speaker for their fall meeting in downtown Boston.  Their previous meeting had speakers such as Tommy Harper, Peter Gammons and Sox Skipper John Farrell speaking.  We were asked to follow that act…something that can’t be accomplished…but we accepted the opportunity and was given an hour time slot.

We started the talk off with showing our movie trailer to the audience to give them a feel for the sport.  a few “oos’ and “ahs” came from the crowd.  Coach Rob made them laugh when he  followed the clip saying, “I’m not that mean”.  Joey Buizon took the stage next and talked about his story and talked about our ball, the base and the blindfold.  Joe McCormick then took center stage to discuss his story and the basic rules of the game. Next up was Justin Manjourides who discussed defense…the side of the game that wins championships.  He chatted about how we coach it, the role of the spotters.  Justin was in his element as a statistician himself and he brought with him a few of our charts to explain things to the crowd.  Lastly, Rob presented hitting to the crowd and talked about how the offense works and the roles of the pitcher and catcher.  We had a very long Q&A afterwards and the crowd was clearly very interested and engaging.

We had hopes that some of the SABR members would be interested in getting involved.  Many of them purchased a copy of our film and signed up for our news letter.  To date we have signed one new volunteer from this meeting.  Her name is Yuki Ara.  Yuki is from Japan and a huge baseball fan who resides in Brookline.  Yuki is very excited to take part in our program.  She was a doctor in Japan and is willing to join our medical team.  We also plan to have her work with Lisa Andrews to help the team with the stretching to help minimize injuries.  Yuki is also eager and willing to work on some off the field projects as well.

Joanne has approached us with a bunch of ideas recently and we hope to cultivate this relationship more in the near future.  The SABR members are very well connected to the Boston baseball community.  We think with their involvement some doors could be opened for us with the Red Sox, NESN and maybe more.  The exposure they could help us with could help us draw more coaches, more players and hopefully some sponsors along the way.

We are excited about the opportunity SABR is giving us.  Many of the renegades are true baseball fans and this relationship could benefit both parties well.  SABR day is January 24, 2105 and we hope to have more plans for the future.  SABR is always looking for new members.  If you are interested in joining check out their membership page here.  Or you can just attend the local Boston events and give a $10 donation when you come.

 

Wrong Way shows the crowd the blindfold we use to play the sport

Joe Mac discusses his story and the basic rules of the game

Justin shows the crowd our defensive strategies and the role of the spotter

Rob talks about hitting and how we teach it and the role of the pitcher/Catcher in beep baseball

The Renegades at center stage taking questions