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Melissa Hoyt

Boston starts the 2018 season 4-0 in Rochester

Boston starts the 2018 season 4-0 in Rochester with three wins in 2018 Beast of the East play and another win in a game vs the Rochester Pioneers.  On a weekend where the New Jersey Lightning pulled out of the tournament with less than a month’s notice it left a field of just five teams heading to Rochester.  Any team set to play the Lightning would now have a win by forfeit.   To help Philly and the Titans save money, they only played two games.  To help Rochester, the host, Boston played an additional game to give the hosts three games.

Beast of the East standings after 1 leg

After one leg of the Beast of the East the standings would look like this

Rank Team Record Runs allowed Defensive innings Runs/Inning
1 Boston 3-0 11 18 .61
2 NJ Titans 3-0 (1 forfeit win) 10 12 .83
3 Long Island 1-2 22 15 1.47
4 Philly 1-2 (1 forfeit win) 22 11 2.0
5 Rochester 1-2 (1 forfeit win) 23 10 2.3
6 NJ Lightning 0-3 (3 forfeits) n/a n/a n/a
  1. Boston 3-0
  2. NJ Titans 3-0
  3. Long Island 1-2
  4. Philly 1-2
  5. Rochester 1-2
  6. NJ Lightning 3 forfeits

 

The tie breakers we have in place for the tournament look at the following:

  1. Winner = best record of the 6 games
  2. Tie breaker #1 head to head
  3. Tie breaker #2 Lowest defensive runs allowed per inning in head to head
  4. Tie breaker #3 head to head in previous season including World Series (voided if players who play in this game are not on the Team’s home grown roster examples: Dan Kelly, Steve Guerra, Frank Fazio)
  5. Tie breaker #4 Lowest defensive runs allowed in per inning entire beast of east
  6. If three way tie….its the best record amongst games played in that three teams…then use the same tie breakers as above

 

Renegades open the season with a fresh lineup and beat Rochester 10-1

Peter Connolly, David Sanchez and Melissa Hoyt were the stars of this match

Peter Connolly picked up his first start and win. David Sanchez became the first Renegade to score on the first pitch he saw and Melissa Hoyt scored her first career run and 2nd career defensive stop

To open the 2018 season, the Renegades played its first ever evening game.  This contest was supposed to be an exhibition game but with rain in the forecast, we switched this to an official Beast of the East match.  Most of the team arrived about 2 hours before game time and it was a rushed pace to get ready for opening pitch.

Rochester’s, Leah Werner led off the season and hit a looper to the 40 foot arc.  Rob Dias struggled a bit to find the ball but retired her for the only action of the top half of the inning.  In the bottom of the first, Peter Connolly toed the rubber and his first two pitches were drilled.  Rob Dias slugged a shot into deep left for the first run.  Rookie David Sanchez then became the first player to score on the first pitch thrown to him and only the 2nd Renegade in team history to score in his first at bat.  After a Luis Soto strike out and a missed base by Aqil Sajjad, Hot Tub Thayer scored on a grounder to the right side to give Boston a 3-0 lead.  Moving to the second, Guy Zuccarello corralled a ball off the bat of O’Brien for the only defensive stop of the frame.  Rob Dias led off the 2nd with another hard hit ball that went by the defense as he ran by the base, fell on his rear and still recovered to score.  Aqil Sajjad would plate a run on a line drive up the middle of the field to make it 5-0, Boston.  With one down in the 3rd inning, Kyrstin Smith hit a hard grounder up the middle of the field that eluded Zuccarello and Dias.  Melissa Hoyt came up from her spot at midfield and made her 2nd defensive stop of her career to the cheers of her teammates.  In the bottom of the third, Joe Yee hit a laser that looked like it would hit Smith in the head at her spot at Right Shortie…but it thankfully did not brain her, but instead hit her in the arm.  She felt that stinger but did not give up on the ball, but Yee beat her on a bang-bang play to the base.  The next batter, Luis Soto then hit a dribbler to Smith on the right side, but Soto was too quick and Boston lead 7-0.  Some action in the top of the 4th almost lead to Rochester’s first run when Zach Kolbuc hit a hard grounder to the left side that got by Proctor and Thayer.  Kolbuc took a bad line out of the box and his bench stopped the play before injury.  by default, Rob Thayer earned his second career stop on defense. In the bottom of the 4th, Rochester made some noise when their DF, Nikita Bell  made her first career stop off the bat of Rob Thayer.  Fast forward to the bottom of the 5th Aqil Sajjad re-entered the game after leaving due to a blindfold problem and scored on a ball hit up the middle.  Luis Soto then hit a high fly up the middle for his 2nd run of the contest.  The real fun was to come.  Melissa Hoyt came to the plate and hit a grounder to the left side that got by Leah Werner.  Werner had no backside protection and as she crawled backwards looking for the ball, Hoyt raced to first and on a bang-bang play, she scored her first ever career run.  Melissa became the first female Renegade to score a run in a game since 200!  Rookie, Daisy Russell also hit a ball to the left side that Werner struggled to hear.  Knowing that Werner was struggling, Smith slid across the field and while Russell was giving it her all down the bases.  It was fun for all to see, but Rochester won that battle.

Boston would eventually win this game 10-1.  It was a fun contest to see so many player contribute to a victory and to see 2nd year pitcher, Peter Connolly perform so well as the team hit .400 against him.  This would mark the 19th time in Renegade history Boston would hold it’s opponents under one run.  It would also mark the first time Rochester had scored against the Renegades defense.

 

Boston puts out the fire 9-3

On a morning that rained during warm-ups, all the teams wondered if the games would be played to completion.  With rain in the forecast, coach Rob put on his bright yellow rain pants and the games would start on-time as the rain stopped about 15 minutes before first pitch.  Ron Cochran would make his season debut in this game toeing the mound.  Philly is looking to get to their first World Series since 2008 and had a revamped line up with three rookies in it.

John Margist and Mike Coughlin (who played on the Colorado team which beat Boston in the  2017 World Series) struck out to start the game.  Rookie Justin Rhines in his duct taped goggles, bright green cleats and shorts launched a fly ball up the middle of the field to test the Boston defense.   Joe McCormick was there to steal this rookie’s first hit of Beast of the East play.  The Boston bats would get hot out of the gate….but there was some rust to be found.  Christian Thaxton led off the game and on the 4th pitch he blasted it into left field.  Thaxton flew down the 3rd base line but missed the base.  By the time he could correct himself, Gina Natoli picked up the ball for the first out.  On the 6th pitch to  Joe McCormick, he lofted a fly into left for a run.  This run moved McCormick into 2nd place all time in Renegade history ahead of Joe Quintanilla. Rob Dias smacked his second pitch into left for the second run. Larry Haile hit a grounder that eluded the Fire’s defense and Guy Zuccarello also scored to give Boston a 4 run lead as Thaxton made two outs to end the inning.  Zucarello’s run was the 1,500th allowed by Ron Cochran in his career.  The strike out for Thaxton would mark Cochran’s 4,000th batter faced in his career. Fast forward to the third inning and lead off hitter, John Margist got on the board with a ball hit to the right side that Rob Dias could not pick up in time.  Boston answered with their lead off man, Thaxton scoring on a high fly ball up the middle to make the score 5-1.  Boston would keep a commanding lead in this game as only John Margist would score for Philly and his teammates would strike out 10 times in their 17 trips to the plate.  For Boston, Rob Dias would pace the offense with three runs and lead the defense with three stops.  Joe McCormick and Christian Thaxton would each have two runs and a stop on defense as well.  Thaxton’s second run of the game pushed him into 5th place all time in Gade history in runs scored with 124 as he passed Wrong Way Buizon.  Thaxton accomplished this in just about three seasons of play! With the rain pants on their coach, the Renegades would play a rain free game. Though Boston won, their bats were a bit rusty and the inconsistencies in the swings lead to 9 strikeouts.

 

Boston wins 15th straight vs Long Island

Justen Proctor, Shawn Devenish and Christian Thaxton

Justen Proctor paced the way with 5 stops on Defense, Shawn Devenish made 2 stops (his best defensive game ever) and Thaxton paced the offense with 4 runs

Since the inception of the Beast of the Eat, the top two teams have been Boston and Long Island.  These games are always some of the best games to test the Renegades defense.  After, the inconsistent swings in the philly game, it would be a test to see if the focus would improve for Boston.

Ron Cochran would throw a total of 7 pitches in the first inning to four batters. Christian Thaxton would score on a line shot directly over the head of Megan Fink.  McCormick, Dias and Haile would then be stopped by Alex Barrera on the right side, Chris Dejesus on the right side and Megan Fink on the left side.  Long Island would tie the game at one when Alex Barerea hit a lazy pop fly to the right side where Joe Yee and Justen Proctor would have a miscommunication allowing the run to score.  In the second, Peter Connolly would step in to face his cousin, Joe Yee and on a 45 foot dribbler to the left side, Yee would leg out a tough run. Guy Zuccarello then hit a line drive to the right side for a run.  Thaxton scored on a pop fly off the end of his bat and McCormick would also score on a high fly ball to put Boston ahead 5-1.Aas the bottom of the second started, Long Island’s pitcher, James Sciortino questioned the distance of the line for the pitchers mound.  He found out for the first inning, he was throwing from 30 feet and from the wrong line.  Moving up ten feet made an immediate impact as every hitter in the lineup in the second inning would put the ball into play.  Pasquale Agnone  lined a shot off his pitchers hip that sent him sprawling to the ground.  Sciortino dusted himslef off and Pasquale hit a ball down the 3rd baseline for a run.  Fink would score on a ball hit up the middle where the Boston defense struggled with communication.  Chris Dejesus would plate the 4th run of the game before Joe McCormick and Justen Proctor would make stops to end the inning.  Boston would lead 5-4 heading into the third.  Cochran would get on a good run in the 3rd as Zuccarello, Thaxton and Haile would score.  Joe Yee would also score on a ball hit into no mans land up the middle of the Long Island defense.  Boston lead 9-4.  The bottom of the third was a goose egg for the Bombers as it was all Justen Proctor making all the defensive stops of the inning.  Boston was alive now and the swings were looking more polished.  The Renegades sent 10 hitters to the plate and plated 7 runs in the frame.  McCormick and Dias plated a pair in the inning.  Thaxton scored on a high fly ball while David Sanchez and Joe Quintanilla came off the bench for base hits.  If Boston could hold Long Island, the 12 run rule would be invoked in just the 4th inning. Joe McCormick made a nice play deep in the middle of the defense off the bat of Chris Dejesus on a ball that went under Zucarrello for the first out.  After an Alex Barrera strikeout, John Gilroy laced a grounder down the first base line.  Newly inserted, Shawn Devenish ranged to his left and made the stop.  That put the game into the 12 run rule.  Long Island would scratch a few runs off the board once the mercy rule came into play but Boston was too much on this afternoon, winning 16-7 with Boston only hitting for 4 innings.  A highlite in the 12 run rule was the evolvement of Shawn Devenish who would make another stop, giving him 2 for the game and 3 for his career.

 

Boston Prevails in an Exhibition match vs Rochester 6-0

Luis Soto

Luis Soto was the player of the game leading all Renegades with two runs scored

The weather had held out and we had no rain, but the team was suffering looking at Coach Rob’s rain pants.  Those magical pants helped keep the fields dry for the day!  This game would not count against the Beast of the East standings as it was previously agreed to make the Friday night game the game of record as both teams thought this game was in jeopardy of not getting played.  The game would take after a short lunch break and Peter Connolly would get the call to start the game.  Rochester chose to be the visiting team with hopes of scoring first. In this game they would have their lead-off hitter, Brian Harrington in the line up.  Harrington would get things started with a grounder that Justen Proctor would eat up.  That would be the only ball out into play for the first 8 hitters of the game.  Rochester and Boston would strike out 7 straight times as both teams suffered the lunch break coma and struggled with the odd field that had home plate much lower than the pitcher’s mound.  As the media sat near the Renegades on-deck circle, Coach Weissman asked them to have patience and that it would get better.  That promise deleivered in the bottom of the second as Luis Soto would score on a fly ball to left center and Justen Proctor would hit a wrist rolling grounder to third base for a run.  The funny thing is both of those hits made the video from the news who was watching.  In the top of the 3rd inning, Christian Thaxton would record a defensive stop while playing right shorty, a Position he has been working on and learning.  In the bottom of the 3rd inning Aqil Sajjad, Luis Soto and Shawn Devenish plated runs which would give Boston a commanding 5-0 lead.  In the 4th we had a scare as Zach Kolbuc hit a high fly to the right side and raced off toward third base.  The Boston bench got nervous as his path was so far out of the base line and he was heading on to the pavement and toward the bathrooms.  A yell of stop killed the play.  After a talk about safety, the Rochester coaches agreed it was the best thing to have done and Aqil Sajjad was credited with a defensive stop.  Joe Quintanilla would score the only other run of this game as Boston would cruise to a 6-0 victory in a game that had 21 strike outs.  It would mark just the 7th time the Renegades would shut out an opponent in team history.

 

Scores of All games

Friday night
Rochester 1 at Boston 10

Saturday 9:00
Rochester 0 at long island 13
Philly 3 at boston 9

Saturday 11:30
Titans 13 at philly 4
Boston 16 at long island 7 ( 4 inning 12 run rule)

Saturday 2:00
Long island 6 at Titans 7

New jersey lightning have forfeited their games.

Leader Boards

Runs Scored

Rank Player Team Runs At Bats
1. Dias, Rob Boston 7 11
2. Thaxton, Christian Boston 6 9
3. Margist, John Philly 5 8
4. McCormick, Joe Boston 5 9
5. Dejesus, Chris Long Island 5 11
6. Barerra, Alex Long Island 4 7
7. George, Randy NJ Titans 4 8
7. Hogwood, Scott NJ Titans 4 8
8  Turner, Zak NJ Titans 4 9

Defensive Stops

Rank Player Team Stops Games
1. George, Randy NJ Titans 8 2
2. Proctor, Justen Boston 8 3
3. Smith, Kirstyn Rochester 7 2
4. Coughlin, Mike Philly 6 2
5. Dias, Rob Boston 6 3
5. Fink, Megan Long Island 6 3
7. Natoli, Gina Philly 5 2
8. Dejesus, Chris Long Island 5 3
8. Dejesus, Joe Long Island 5 3

Top 10 moments of the 2017 Renegade Season

Every season is full of exciting moments but here is a list of Coach Rob’s top 10 moments of the 2017 Renegade season.  Before we get into this list, keep in mind, this is just one point of view.  There are so many great things that happen throughout the year.  I’m sure each and every Renegade has different moments they want to remember.  One key thing here is we try to focus on memorable events, overcoming adversity, funny moments and positive experiences.  Even though there were a few questionable umpire moments this year, we choose not to focus on them and instead focus on what we can control.  As we count down toward the final days of 2017 and enter 2018, we will add the top moments until we reach number one.  Check Facebook or check back on this page every few days for updates!

For past top 10 moments articles see these posts

#10 Soto makes his first ever stop on defense

Ben Coiner escorts Luis Soto into the field against New Jersey

Ben Coiner (Spotter) escorts Luis Soto out into the field against the New Jersey Lightning in Woburn where Soto would make his first ever defensive stop

We always celebrate firsts on the Renegades.  For most players, earning their first defensive stop is harder than scoring their first run.  Luis Soto has been playing with the Renegades since 2015.  At this point in his career he had played in 16 games.  Soto had a tough year in 2016 as he was plagued with doubt and a lack of confidence in his game.  That was erased late in that season but 2017 brought other physical challenges for him.  The entire year he was plagued with an issue that caused him to be either dizzy or light headed whenever he dropped his chin.  This made practicing and playing very hard for him.  Despite this challenge, he really improved his game and would have his best year ever as a Renegade.  So many practices, we would see him making plays on defense in our deep rover position.  He even came close to making some plays earlier in the year in Chicago.  Our number 10 moment would come against the New Jersey Lightning.  With two out in the top of the 6th inning and a 15-2 lead, Dan Johnson of the Lightning hit a ball into left center field.  For the Lightning, this looked to be their 3rd run of the game and a back-to-back scoring opportunity for the first time all day.  As Johnson sprinted to the base, Soto backed up Joe Quintanilla and laid out.  He picked up the ball for the out and ended the contest.  His first ever put out ended the game.  Seeing him get this out after all of the emotional and physical battles he had over the past two seasons was a great coaching joy.

#9 Devenish is not just a DH

Second year player, Shawn Devenish saw some action in the field in his rookie campaign of 2016.  Sadly, most of it consisted of him turning his back to home plate running after deep drives into left field during the World Series. In beep baseball, this often spells out “run” for the offense.

A shot of Devenish from the outfield during his game against the NJ Lightning

A picture of Shawn playing defense against the NJ Lightning a few innings before he made his first stop on defense

Shawn plays with tenacity and he works hard at his craft.  He is not afraid to throw his body to the ground and he has shown some skills on defense.  He played some innings this year in the field at the corners.  As with our number 10 memorable moment of 2017, this is about celebrating Shawn’s first defensive out. Heck, this could have been the first time since 2002 we had two players make their first defensive stop on the same day.

Shawn saw his action in the last game of the Beast of the East as he was playing third base against the Long Island Bombers.  It was the top of the second inning and Boston was ahead 3-2 with two outs.  Long Island brought their lead off hitter to the plate in Joe Dejesus.  Our defense went into an over shift for this hitter, a shift we actually call the “Dejesus shift”.  Devenish found himself (the third baseman) playing in right field.  The scouting report paid off and Dejesus laced a ball down the first base line past the diving stop of Christian Thaxton.  Devenish laid out in a modified superman just as he has been taught.  The ball hit him near his ankles but since he was in a slight cup shape, the ball rolled right up his body and into his hands.  This was no small feat as Dejesus is one of the fastest players on the East coast.  Shawn’s sure hands picked the ball clean and Joe was out as the Renegades ended the threat.  Boston fed off this play and the momentum it provided helped carry over to the offense as the Renegades plated 9 runs in the bottom of the 2nd inning to build a 10 run lead.  It was great to see Shawn make a big play in a big moment.  It was better to see him make the play in a shift with perfect mechanics.  As we always say to players…you won’t forget your first.

Joe Yee is pictured here after the game with ice on his broken finger

#8 Yee – haw redeems himself against Austin

In Bolingbrook, the Renegades were playing for 5th place against the Austin Blackhawks.  After coming off a championship run in 2016, much of the league was surprised to hear the team was playing this poorly.  However, many of them did not know that short of coach Weissman, all of the Renegade volunteer staff was green.  We had our number two pitcher and our number 4 and 6 callers on the field.  Heck, Joe Bourque was calling his first set of games, ever.  In addition to this, Boston had three starters not make the trip as Joe McCormick, Guy Zuccarello and Rob Dias were unavailable.  Knowing this, it was great for the team to be competing at this level.

We faced the Austin Blackhawks who were also 1-2 on the weekend.  In the first inning of this game Boston jumped ahead 2-0 when Joe yee laced a hard grounder up the middle that looked like a sure third run of the inning, but he ran by third base and missed it to end the rally. Yee was upset as he put on the pink blind fold. After 4 innings, Boston clung to a 5-4 lead and that missed base was haunting the Renegades like a missed extra point often haunts a football team.

Austin would tie the game up 7-7 in the 5th inning.  Joe Yee would find himself leading off the 6th with one thing on his mind.  That thing had nothing to do with hitting and had everything to do with running.  Despite striking out on 9 pitches in his previous two at-bats, he was focused.  On the first pitch from pitcher, Jamie Dickerson, he hit a grounder up the middle and raced toward third again.  This ball was not hit as well as the one in the first inning and he needed speed to score.  It was going to be a bang bang play and Yee plowed straight into the bag scoring the go-ahead run to pull the team ahead 8-7.  The Renegade bench erupted as we knew we had all star, Christian Thaxton coming up to help cushion the lead.  The problem was Weissman knew the way Yee landed was not a good sign.  He was slow in getting up and the medic was called to look at him.  As the inning progressed, Yee was observed and it was determined he had injured a finger on his hand.  Joe was determined and with the aid of tape, took the field for the bottom of the 6th inning at 3rd base.

Boston would go on to win this game 9-7 in a dog fight against one of the best teams in the country.  The mental toughness of Joe Yee would be a big reason this happened.  We would later find upon our return to Boston that he had a fracture in his hand.  This fracture would slow him down for much of the next month as he tried to heal and get ready for the World series.  Scoring that go ahead run after missing a base showed mental toughness.  Going into the field with a broken finger showed his heart and passion and helped propel the team to victory.

#7 Justen makes the World Series all star team

Justen gets some work at practice on his defense (Photo by Ginger DeShaney)

The Boston Renegades have climbed the ranks from the doormat of the league in 2002 to one of the top teams in the league over the past three years.  No other team has done this with 100% home grown talent.  Clearly, we have gotten some great players and athletes which helps.  What people don’t see is the hardwork that our players and coaches put in from February till July every year. Justen is hands down one of the best defenders in team history.  He owns our team record for most stops in a season (77) and even made the league all- star team in 2011.  After losing the title game in 2016, Justen was convinced he could do better.  At one point in the season, he made an effort to thank Bryan Grillo for the drills that were making him better moving to his right and left.  Getting better is what the Renegades are about, always looking to improve in the finer details of the sport.

All of that paid off, sort of.  What makes this memorable was all of the hard work that went into it…both with Justen and the league.  The league has very basic scoring habits. These habits initially robbed Justen of his all star status.  For game one of the World Series against Seattle, Justen was the Designated hitter and never saw time in the field.  When it came time to name the top defenders, Justen’s name was not mentioned because the league initially counted that as a defensive game played.  I jumped into action and after about a month of talks and discussions, the league recognized Justen with an award, placing him 6th in the league with 4.17 stops per game.  To date, the league has not made any announcement about this or even added Justen’s name as an all star on the web site.  We are grateful they un-officialy added him to the team, but they need to fix this officially as well.  This moment was memorable for so many reasons and we credit the hard work of the coaching staff and the dedication and willingness for Justen to work harder even though he is at the top of the league in his craft.

to read more on this achievement, see our post from the fall here:

#6 Indy knocks out Yee

Boston would face off against the Indy Thunder in the losers bracket on Friday of the World Series as both teams who made the title game in 2016 had been knocked into the loser’s bracket. Boston was beat by colorado and Indy had been upset by San Antonio.  The loser of this game would be eliminated, so it was a huge game for both teams whom had title hopes.  In the 3rd inning of this contest, Joe Yee was playing third base as the Renegades had just let up 4 runs and Indy led 9-3.  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. Gerald Dycus then scored again on a ball hit inside 100 feet  six runs were in for Indy.  Zach Buhler then hit a bomb and things looked bad for Boston as the Indy Thunder were on a roll.

Corey White stepped up next and put the ball in play on the ground.  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.

Joe was in the trainers room and when he came out he had ice on his head and gauze shoved up his nostrils.  He had passed concussion protocol.  Though he could not breathe, he badly wanted back in the game.  His cries were ignored by the coach and his Series was claimed “over”.  We could probably count on one hand the amount of times a Renegade player has been hit in the head during a game and poor Joe had it happen twice within 5 minutes.

On Saturday night at the banquet, things got scary.  Joe became suddenly very quiet and as we were boarding our vans, his speech became slurred and he could not move.  We rushed him to the hospital and he was admitted for the night to be watched.  Coach Peg Bailey (registered nurse)  and Mike Marciello (MD) stayed with him to expedite his treatment and make sure he was ok.  He was released the next morning, right before we left the hotels for the airport.  To this day, the doctors don’t truly know why this happened.  For the 3rd time in the team’s 17 year history a player was taken to the hospital during the World Series.  Staying up all night worrying about his health and what to do if he missed the flight was a challenge and something no coach of a baseball team for the blind would ever forget.

#5 Thaxton sets league record for highest Batting Average at a World Series

Weissman, Thaxton and Cochran pose with Christian’s MVP award

Christian played junior college baseball and knows more about a baseball swing than anyone on the Renegade coaching staff.  That said, after the 2016 season, we spoke about one small thing to make him a better hitter for 2017.  That small thing was to trust the pitcher and stop tinkering with his mechanics in game.  The result of this was the best World Series batting Average of any player in league history.

It did not come this easy.  Thaxton got off to a slow start this year as he was not abailable for our trip to New Jersey and in Chicago, he struggled a bit against number two pitcher, Jamie Dickerson.    One funny thing was in Chicago, Eric Rodriguez of Indy batted a perfect 1.000 for the tournament going 21-21.  The entire league marveled at this feat.

Things started to gel for him in Woburn in July at the Home tournament when Cochran and he started to connect.  In fact, Thaxton got red hot.  Starting in our home tournament he was perfect and was 10-10 against the Titans, Lightning and Long Island Bombers.  That hot streak carried over to Wellington, Florida.  He scored 8 more times on the first two days of the series against Seattle, The Titans and Long Island before he struck out.  If you tack on the two runs he scored in his last two at bats vs Austin in Chicago it all added up to  20 straight plate appearances with a run scored, one shy of Rodriguez’s feat in June.

Thaxton was not done.  As the competition heated up he would put another streak together of scoring 11 straight times against Long Island, Austin and Colorado.  That included a tying his own team record of a  6 run game vs the Austin Blackhawks, one of the better defensive teams in the league.  Thaxton would then finish 7-8 vs the Indy thunder and Indy edge.  That made him 27-29 at the World Series which earned him the top hitter award award at the banquet.  I was so wrapped up in trying to determine if he set a league record, that the moment escaped me that he became the 2nd Renegade to ever earn a league MVP award. Guy Zuccarello earned this in defense in Iowa in 2012. Through my own research, I found that John Parker held the league record since 1996.  What a fun ride this was which also earned Christian an interview on a National radio show on NPR called “Its only a game”.

Read more about how he broke the record here

Hear Christian on NPR Radio tell is story

#4 Renegades throw out the first pitch at Fenway


In the winter during a bowlathon, it was suggested to us by Woburn Lion, Bryan Murphy that we should talk to David D’Arcangelo,Rob Dias’ boss at the Massachusetts Office on Disability, who was there supporting the event.  Over a short period of time, the Red Sox reached out to us and invited the team to throw out the first pitch during disability awareness day at Fenway Park.  We needed a fair way to determine who would throw out the first pitch.  The funny thing is throwing is not part of beep baseball and many of our players don’t have the most accurate arms.

After putting names into a hat, James “Thanh” Huynh was selected to throw.  There were two requirements.  The person had to want to do this and the person had to be able to prove they could throw it with some level of accuracy.   After James proved he could throw a strike (video here), he told the team he changed his mind and did not want to attend the event, so he could be with his sick fiance who was in the hospital.  Melissa Hoyt would become the “chosen one”.

Melissa Hoyt holds the ball she threw out for the first pitch at FenwayShe passed her throwing test and was ready for Fenway (video here).  It’s a very cool opportunity to be on the field at Fenway.  We had a great turn out and it was amazing to see everyone’s faces as they stood on the field before the game.  Everyone was having a blast taking in the sights, the feel, the crowd energy and the opportunity.  For me, it was such an awesome way to thank the volunteers for their hard work over the years.  Jamie Dickerson even caught our experience in a live video feed from our facebook page which was memorable and kicked off our facebook live events.

Melissa and I had a talk before the pitch.  We spoke about the fact it was better for her to take something off the throw then throw it hard.  She was more accurate this way.  Throwing is not part of beep baseball.  We drew from a hat and Bryan Grillo and Peg Bailey were chosen to assist her with the throw.  All of these people had a chance to meet Brock Holt on the field.  Brock was pretty amazing and even called Melissa by her name when he gave her the ball for a keeps sake.

It was such an honor for me to give back to the volunteers.  It was also so awesome for us to give Melissa a chance to throw the pitch.  She may not have the beepball stats but she gives it her all and she works hard.  She is an inspiration for people and her story eventually caught fire and ended up in a journal called Mitoaction which can be read here:.  Seeing this player get some love and attention from the media and throwing out the pitch may have made one of her most memorable moments of her 11 year career.  I was so happy to have helped make that happen for her.

#3 Cooperstown here we come

Being a coach of a baseball team for the blind requires a passion for helping others and a passion for baseball.  I have both of these passions.  Working with Christian has been amazing.  He has made everyone on our team better.  When we figured out he had broken the record for highest batting average in league history (modern rules), I wanted to get this some attention.  In moment #5 of this countdown, we quickly discussed his interview on NPR.  That was amazing.  I had the fortune of going to the studio with him.

Certificate from the National Baseball Hall of fame with the lifetime passes for Christian and Coach Rob

I had worked with the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014 to get some Memorabilia from our league into Cooperstown.  They ended up taking the shirt of Austin Blackhawk, Brandon Cheeser along with his fielding gloves and the ball that made the final out of the World Series.  I was so excited to see our league get some recognition at this time.  I felt it was an awesome way to tell the story of our sport by showing the World Champion Austin Blackhawks.

After Thaxton broke the record, I reached out to the Hall of Fame again and asked them if they may be interested in this story.  They jumped at the opportunity and asked me to start filling out some paperwork (see our story here for more details on this wonderful accomplishment).  As a baseball fan, it was so cool to offer and have our idea accepted by the baseball hall of fame.  They took the bat he used to get this streak and all of our score cards along with a photo of him using the bat in Florida.  I had the joy and honor of delivering the bat and paperwork to Cooperstown where it will reside forever.  Yes, Christian Thaxton has memorabilia in the baseball hall of fame!  I just love that he is in there in Renegade colors representing our team.  I have heard from countless other Renegades about how cool it is to have our scoresheets there as each and every player is listed on those sheets. It makes some of our players feel like they have a small piece of Cooperstown as well.

This fall, I had the joy of giving Christian is hall of fame certificate and a lifetime pass to the hall.  I truly hope we will be able to see his bat on display in the future!

#2 The Renegades became media darlings

At the start of the season, we set a goal to get the media to give us some attention especially with the home tournament we had scheduled in june.  We felt this was a great year to get some media and we played with some different ways of pitching stories.  A small group of three of us got together to work on this plan.

We always have four goals with anything we do.  Recruit players, recruit volunteers,raise aweness and raise money to help us with travel expenses and equipment.  We planned to pitch all of this to the media.

The season started and a few things fell into our lap early.  Coach, Ben Coiner had an article written about his role on the team…with a goal of helping us recruit volunteers for our home game.  Then we got some press for Melissa Hoyt for her journey in battling mitochondrial disease.  Those articles were just the beginning

Before our home tournament, we reached out to the Watertown tab.  Scott Souza of the tab came out and wrote an awesome article about our team.  What was even better was this article was picked up by so many local papers in the wicked local circuit.  We saw variations of the article in Bedford, Maynard, Stow, Westfod and Waltham…the word was getting out!

Jonathan Choe of NBC Boston preps us for going Live on Tv

Approaching the home tournament, we knew the Boston Globe would be joining and had interest in doing a piece on the team. This was very exciting to have such a presence at our game.  This was also just the beginning

The morning of our game one of our volunteers started calling the media desks.  The result of his work was probably the best media attention the sport of beep baseball has ever seen in our 17 year existence.  Let me emphasize this, it was the best coverage the sport has ever seen, not just our city.

When game time starts, my focus is on our players and our competition.  All I wanted to do was get players playing time in these games and put players in a position to succeed.  I have to admit, it was hard to ignore what was going on around our bench. Reporters, cameras, microphones, notepads all swarming around our fields.

Thaxton is Mic’ed up while he plays

Yes, the Globe was there as expected.  What we had unexpected was every major TV station in the area and WBZ radio station came to catch the story.  Our volunteer media team was busy at work connecting players to the media, helping conduct interviews mid game.  Microphones were slotted in behind home plate to pick up the action.  Heck, Christian Thaxton even played with a microphone on his belt for a few innings.  Honestly, we could not have drew this up any better.

As the day came to the last game, the skies would open up with torrential rain.  This did not deter the media.  In fact, Guy Zuccarello was interviewed in the rain by Fox25.  NBC Boston also came back to report live from the fields.

I was so proud of our volunteer staff for pulling this together.  It did not stop here.  Scott Souza who helped start the media frenzy, did a follow up article on the squad after the games.  Again, his article was picked up by some of the wicked local press.  We even ended up on the front page of the Daily times Chronicle in Woburn!

After the World Series was over, we achieved something we had pitched for years.  Only a Game is a radio show on NPR.  We had always thought our story would be a good fit for them.  We changed our pitch to them and they loved the story line.  This sent Christian Thaxton to the studio to tell his story in national radio.

To say we got our story out this year is not doing justice to the accomplishment.  We got more media coverage in 2017 than the entire league did for the year.  We got more media coverage than our team has had in the past 16 years combined!  We achieved our goal of awareness…We are hoping it helps us pay dividends for recruiting and fundraising in the 2018 season.  I’m truly grateful for the two guys who made this happen (Bryan Grillo and a volunteer who wants to remain anonymous).

To see a more complete list of the media we got in 2017 see our media page

#1 Woburn Host Lions amaze everyone

Members of all of the teams take a picture with the Woburn Host Lions after getting their checks

Members of the six teams and Lions pose after the Woburn Host Lions gave out shirts and $1,000 checks

This year, we asked the Woburn Host lions if they would be willing to host our 3rd ever beep baseball tournament in New England history.  The kicker was we wanted to expand to 6 teams which we had never done before.  This meant more fields and more volunteers which normally means an expanded level of commitment.

Bryan Murphy and Frank DiMauro of the Lions did a lot of the early planning with us to make sure things would be good.  BJ Callahan became the point man as we got closer to make sure things went off well on game day.  They also had something cooking, other than burgers and dogs that they planned to unveil to us on game day.

As always, the Lions were in force on our big day.  They lined the fields, cooked the food, umpired the games, cleaned up the park, set up canopies, made sure we had shelter when the weather went south.  They helped get the mayor to come as well as some local woburn press.  They had T shirts made with money raised from numerous sponsors (many of them members of the Lions) for all of the teams and gave them out.  They did it all with a smile on a day that started for many near 7:00 am and lasted near 6:00 with sun and rain.

That was not enough.  They wanted to go big.  At the end of the day, with all the team’s present, they announced each team would walk away with $1,000.  They raised $6,000 to give to all of the teams who attended!  Shock was an expression on most of the player’s faces.  I am fortunate enough to have my vision.  The look on some of the out of town teams when this was announced equaled the look of  someone finding out their lottery ticket won.  The level of generosity of all the guys at the Woburn Host Lions is on another level.

I have been in this sport since 2003.  I have only seen one other city give cash to the teams. We must pay homage to the Bolingbrook Lions who have been running the best beepball tournament for years.  That tournament has been running for about 15 years and every year they give money to the 8 teams that come and play over a two day weekend.  I can honestly say that in two years of hosting a tournament, the Woburn Host Lions have proven they are amongst one of the biggest supporters of Beep baseball in the nation.

The fact woburn raised $6,000 and gave each team $1,000 was powerful.  Many of these teams spent over $2,000 to come to Boston…and they got pretty close to half their trip paid for!  The woburn Host Lions do so much for the community.  We are forever grateful for what they have done for our team and the other teams on the East Coast!

So, we have reached number one.  There was plenty of great moments we have discussed, but in my mind the support and generosity of the Woburn Host Lions stands above everything else.  The Association of Blind Citizens and the Renegades are about opportunity.  The fact we have grown this program into a winning program is a tribute to the hard work of the coaches and players. None of this is possible without support.  I am confident that for the six teams in attendance, this moment will stand out as one of their biggest fundraising moments of the year.  In the end, these funds help our athletes compete and play a sport they love.  A sport that does much more for them than just athletics.  To the guys with the Lions, thank you.  To Murph, Frank and BJ…an EXTRA THANK YOU for all the calls and prep work before the event.

We close the book on 2017…and heck its just in time..as later this week, we get to introduce our three rookies to the Renegade way and get bats in their hands.  We hope 2018 brings as good of memories that 2017 brought!  Thanks for following the countdown!

The Renegade Report Podcast & Melissa Hoyt

Our very own Tim Syphers hosts the Renegade Report Podcast

Our very own Tim Syphers hosts the Renegade Report Podcast

Our sixth installment of the Renegade report features Tim Syphers talking with Melissa Hoyt, Our only active female player on our roster at the moment. Melissa joined the squad in the 2007 season and was the 2nd woman to ever play in a game in Renegade history.  She has played with every woman Renegade in team history (we have had 5 who have played in games).  Melissa has multiple health issues that limits her ability to log a lot of playing time but she finds great joy in being part of the team and watching the team grow.  She works hard to educate herself about the game.  In 2001, she made her first world Series after competing for years locally on the East Coast.  In 2015, she set career highs in games played (6) and she ranks 22nd all-time in games played for the Renegades at 20.

To get the podcast started, we have created an account on soundcloud and you can find the podcast here

Please follow Tim and his Journey to tell our stories!

Tim worked with us to develop this podcast to improve his radio skills and to help the team.  If you have a passion you want to pursue whether its journalism, fundraising, project management, design, Public relations…We have plenty of opportunities…just ask us at bostonrenegades@gmail.com and maybe we can partner with you!

If you want more…you can listen to our other pod casts below

Episode 5 – Shayne Cantan – The man we call Hawaiian Punch owns the single season record for most runs, at-bats and batting average when he scored 50 runs and hit .617 in the 2010 season.  He is just one of 2 players to top .600 in a season for the Renegades in a season.

Episode 4 – Jason Lenicheck one of the long time volunteers with the Renegades.  Ace has been with the team since 2004 and has helped shape the culture of the Renegades and coached all facets of the game including hitting and as a defensive caller.

Episode 3 – Christian Thaxton, The rookie sensation from 2015 who took the league by storm and made an all-star team as a rookie

Episode 2 – Larry Haile, the All-time Renegade leader in runs scored and one of the most amazing visually impaired people you will ever meet

Episode 1 – Guy Zuccarello, a former defensive MVP of the World Series and one of the leaders of the Renegades