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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

Game Summaries from Beast of the East

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

 

Renegades Rain bombs on the Lightning 15-2

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

Beast of the east champs again, as boston downs long island 15-3

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

Before the Rain delay

After the Rain delay

Renegades go through some Growing Pains in Bolingbrook and finish 5th

For the first time since 2014, the Renegades came to The Bolingbrook tournament.  This is the biggest non World Series tournament of the 2017 season and had some of the top teams in the league competing.  Boston would bring a green team to this set of games, as Jamie Dickerson would own the mound for Boston, having only pitched in some Beast of the East action.  On the defensive side of the ball, Boston brought two callers with limited and no experience in Ben Coiner (6 games experience) and Joe Bourque (0 games experience). Boston would also be without three starters from their 2016 season in Guy Zuccarello, Joe McCormick and Rob Dias.  The mantra for the weekend would be getting this squad some experience and learning together.  In addition to this, we would be up against some tough weather conditions with winds over 20 mph all day and gusts over 30mph at times.  It got so bad that our canopies would get destroyed leaving us to bake in the high 80-degree temps.  Let’s get to the Bolingbrook game results!

Game #4 Comets rally in the 5th to win 13-10

Bolingbrook game results - heroes of Game 1

Thaxton scored three runs while Larry and Shawn each scored a pair in this match against the Comets

The Chicago comets would be the first opponent of the weekend.  Boston owned a one game-winning streak over the comets as Boston bettered the Comets in the 2016 World Series for the first time in this rivalries history.  Christian Thaxton would make his 2017 debut and go down swinging without contact on 4 straight pitches.  Boston would go down 1-2-3 with 2 strikeouts in the first inning.  Nick Lopez would also struggle at the start as the Comet’s pitcher.  Through 2 innings Chicago held a 2-0 lead and each pitcher had 3 strikeouts.  Thaxton would lead off the third with a bomb over the head of the Comet Left fielder and then Shawn Devenish would score on a grounder up the gut to put Boston on the board.  In the Bottom of the 3rd the Comets would tack on two runs but their strikeouts were adding up as they now tallied five and Jamie Dickerson had more contacts than Nick Lopez.  The 4th inning was a good one for Boston.  Justen Proctor hit a shot up the middle and Coach Rob could be heard saying it was his best hit…EVAH!  That sparked a rally.  Thaxton then launched another ball to the moon into left field.  With one out, the L Train then hit a grounder to the right side for another Renegade score.  Joe Yee would cap the inning with one of his best hits as he blasted a shot into left field.  The Renegades had a 6-4 lead. Joe Quintanilla would make a stop to start the bottom of the 4th inning.  That brought up Big G who would hit a grounder up the middle that looked like an easy out.  The Renegade defense had multiple chances at it, but came up empty.  Juan Gonzalez would strike out.  The Comets then went to their bench.  Bernardo Barrera was 0-2 with two whiffs so they called rookie Frank Muso to the plate. Muso laced a pitch into right center and the Comets were tied up and excited that their rookie gave them a shot in the arm.  After 4 innings the Comets and Renegades were locked at six.  In the Fifth, the Renegades could not keep the Thaxton magic alive as he went down on 4 pitches.  Devenish and Quintanilla would plate runs and give the Renegades an 8-6 lead and a lot of hope. That hope would not last long Richie Schultz led off with a weak ball to the right side.  Thanh Huynh and Joe Yee could not get it time and Schultz had his first run of the game.  This would signify what would lie ahead in this inning.  The Comets would send 10 hitters to the plate and score 7 runs.  Many of these hits would elude the Renegade defense.  Five of the six Renegades would have multiple chances on defense and come up empty on defense.  It would go down as one of the worst innings in Renegade history.  Only 13 innings in Renegade history were worse than this.  The Comets had done it to Boston for the 4th time of those 13 forgettable innings.  Boston would put up some fight and score two in the top of the 6th but coach Weissman pulled Shawn Devenish in this inning as he felt tightness in his leg in this game running to third.  Though it was a loss, the Renegades were happy with how this team played.  A Few stops on defense was the difference in this match.

Game #5 Renegades clip the Scrappers 7-5

Bolingbrook game results - heroes of Game 2

Justen Proctor led the team with 4 stops on defense while Christian Thaxton scored twice to pace the Offense in this contest

In the first match up since 2012, the Renegades took on the Cleveland Scrappers next.    These teams played ten straight years from 2003 to 2012 but none since.  Cleveland has been in a rebuilding mode.  Their bench was thin and their line up had two rookies but one long-term veteran in 62-year-old Wilbert turner.  On the mound would be another Wiley veteran, Kevin Barrett.  Boston would start fast as Thaxton scored on a high pop up to the left side.  The best hit of the inning belonged to Shawn Devenish who hit a shot into left field where Jeff Dell made a nice play.  For the Boston defense the story would be the work of the front men.  Both Justen Proctor and Thanh Huynh would make stops for the Renegades in the first.  The 2nd was a bad inning.  Dickerson would throw 12 pitches and Joe Yee, Justen Proctor and Thaxton could not even earn a foul tip.   The Scrappers could not take advantage in their half of the inning as Christian Keeley and Steve Miller would whiff before Thanh Huynh would stop the infamous, Wilbert Turner.  In the third inning, Larry Haile would plate a run on a grounder to the left side and with one out Joe Quintanilla would hit a ball down the first base line that hugged the line for Boston’s second run of the frame.  Joe Yee would hit a laser into right field and Boston would hold a 4-0 lead. Cleveland had no answer in their frame as Barrett set Stanley Griffin and Jeff dell down on strikes.  Devenish would plate the only Renegade run in the 4th inning on a laser down the third base line to put Boston up 5-0.  Cleveland would wake up in the bottom of fourth.  Christian Keeley got the scoring started with a hard shot into right field that eluded Joe Yee.  Turner would then score on a similar hit. Up next, Jeff Dell scored the third run of the frame for the Scrappers on a ball which Larry Haile and Joe Quintanilla could not grab.  The Scrappers made it 5-3.  In the fifth, Justen Proctor answered the challenge and scored on a grounder down the third base line that Stanley Griffin could not get to on the 5th pitch he saw.  Thaxton then hit the first pitch for a run scoring grounder that rolled past Jeff Dell in left field.  Boston now led 7-3.  In the Bottom of the 5th, Cleveland had no answer and after Thanh Huynh made his third stop of the game off the bat of Christian Keeley, Steve Miller and Turner would strike out.  With a chance to put their foots on the throat of the Scrappers, Boston struggled.  14 pitches, 13 swings and just 4 foul balls and Yee, Proctor and Thaxton would strike out off Jamie Dickerson.  Justen Proctor would stop Stanley Griffin for his game leading 5 stops to start the 6th inning.  Jeff Dell would hit a pop fly up the middle, which Aqil Sajjad could not find in time to make it 7-4 and give Cleveland hope.  Rookie, Antonio Dobyne would strike out for the 2nd time in the game.  Christian Keeley would then hit a pop fly down the first base line.  Thanh Huynh broke to the line but the ball got by him and the Scrappers were now down just 7-5.  Rookie, Steve Miller was looming for some Abracadabra and for the first time put a ball into play.  Weissman had moved Thaxton and Yee mid game and this time, Thaxton laid out and made the play to close out the win.  Boston would now be 1-1 on the day and would break for lunch with the hungry Indy Edge awaiting them for the last game of the day.

Game #6 Indy Edge have something to prove to the league mercy Ruling Gades 18-5

Bolingbrook game results - heroes of the weekend

Coaches Jamie Dickerson, Ben Coiner, Joe Bourque and Aaron Proctor formed one of the youngest coaching staffs in Gade history (not pictured – Rob Weissman)

The Indy Edge were a team in transition in 2016 due to infernal turmoil. It started with was some issues when they did not renew their team and lost their three seed, which they owned as the RHI Extreme.  Jarred Woodard left them in 2016 to pitch for the Thunder; this team took on a new look.  Then after some debate in the league office as to why they could not retain the RHI seed (they finished 3rd in 2015)…they walked away from their new pitcher, Lindsay Woodard and went with teenager, Kyle Kennedy.  The Edge would have a good World Series in 2016 as they had to climb from a seed that put them at the bottom of the league.  In the end, they finished 7th.  A very good showing for this team of veteran players and a rookie pitcher.  In a show of disrespect, the Edge were talking some smack on social media about how poorly the Renegades played in the title game.  They came into this 2017 match up looking to make a statement that they were a top tier team.  Kyle Kennedy impressed right out of the gate.  In the top of the first inning, Kennedy threw just 11 pitches.  They key was he faced 8 batters and only one hitter swung and missed…at just one pitch.  The Edge held a 4-0 lead.  Boston would answer.  Christian Thaxton scored on a hard grounder to the right side while Joe Yee would score on a grounder down the third base line and Aqil Sajjad would plate a run on a tweener that Marc Morris could not corral.   In the top of the second, Proctor would stop Chris Dunleavy and Joe Yee would make two stops against Brian Christian and Pete Trejo.  Larry Haile would be the only Renegade to score in the bottom of the second because Danny Foppiano would make two nice stops, one of them on a dead ball off the bat of Justen Proctor.   The Edge bats would heat up and Danny Foppiano would plate a pair of runs to pace the Edge offense to a five run inning as Aqil Sajjad and Joe Yee would have some struggles in the field.  Weissman was visibly upset at the play of Sajjad and would talk to him about how to lay out for a ball during this inning.  In the Renegades minds, this game was about getting experience for this green team.  On the other side of the field, the Edge were looking to burry the Renegades.   At this point, the Boston bats would go dark.  Marc Morris would stop Sajjad this time…and then Dickerson would struggle and strike out the next 5 batters over the next two frames.  Good news happened in the 4th inning.  The Renegades defense set the Edge down 1-2-3 as Proctor made two stops and Aqil Sajjad listened to his coach and made a diving stop on a ball off the bat of Brian Christian.  Around this time, the Edge started to complain to the ump.  Though they were up 10-4 in what looked like a lop-sided game, they were complaining about Dickerson’s cadence.  Weissman ignored them.  Dickerson toing the rubber was struggling to find consistency with his pitches and the result was bunches of strikeouts.  He was not cheating in any way.  The Edge complained he was telling the players when to swing the bat.  Nothing could have been further from the truth. Dickerson laughed it off saying “if I was cheating I sure am not doing a good job since we are missing so often” The Edge were simply looking for every edge they could get and tried to rattle Dickerson.  Things took a turn for the worst in the 5th inning.  The Edge would plate eight runs in this frame with Foppiano and Marc Morris each plating a pair in this inning.  The Edge had put up 18 runs and instituted the 12 run rule.  The Boston Renegades truly were getting a test.  As the 12 run rule was started, a few of the Edge were still complaining to the umpire about Dickerson as they showed poor sportsmanship.  Boston would get the hammer in this game and lose 18-5.  Kyle Kennedy would pitch a gem.  He would strike out just one batter.  His 3% strike out ratio was the best performance of any pitcher against the Renegades since 2009 when Darnell Booker achieved the same while pitching for the Indy Thunder.  This game was a big learning moment.  Luis Soto played the whole game at Rover on defense.  He saw more action on defense in this game than in his entire career.  He almost scored on a ball earlier in the game as well.   Aqil Sajjad played the whole game at Midfield and though he stopped just one ball in 9 tries, he showed promise that he understood how to lay out for the ball.  Coiner and Bourque each saw a ton of game action and improved their calling.  Than Huynh was filling in at Right shorty, a position he hates…but he was improving all day long.  Joe Yee and Justen Proctor were both working on their mechanics at the plate and though they were a combined 1-7 in this game, they showed promise of being able to make an impact.  Boston would be ok.  They were hot…very hot (as they were also the only team of the 8 teams without a canopy for this game due to the fact the winds damaged most of the canopies and there were no extras left).  They would need to regroup and prepare for the Austin Blackhawks in the morning.

Game #7 Renegades down Austin 9-7 to take 5th

Bolingbrook game results - heroes of Game 4

Thaxton plated 2 runs and made 2 stops on defense. Justen scored one and had a game leading 8 stops on defense. Larry scored three runs with two big stops in left field while Joe Yee delivered the go ahead run while breaking his finger

After playing three games in high winds, the weather was much calmer on this morning.  The Austin Blackhawks would finish their bracket with just one win over Minnesota and losses against the Indy Thunder and Colorado Storm.  This Blackhawk team looked very different from their world championship team of 2015.  On the mound was former world champ of the West Coast Dawgs, Tim Hibner.  This game started very oddly and ended in an odd way as well.  Thaxton led off this game by hitting a grounder into left field.  He felt the base was late and the umpires did not know how to handle this rule and did not agree the base was late.  Shawn Devenish then hit a dribbler to the left side but Darius Sterling could not find it because the speaker went down into the grass.  With one out, Justen Proctor also scored on a weak dribbler to Sterling with the speaker in the ground.  One of the best hits of the inning came off the bat of Joe Yee who laced a shot into left but he missed third base and was put out by Brandon Chesser.  After all of this controversy, the blackhawks came to bat.  Steve Puryear led off with a deep drive to left but Larry Haile made a stop in deep left for a big out that would set the defensive tone.  Brandon Chesser would plate a run before the Justen Proctor show would begin as he made two stops to end the inning.  Shawn Devenish would score his second run of the game in another dinker to the left side and then Larry Haile would score in a bang-bang play which had the Austin spotters upset with the call.  Boston would lead 4-0.  In the Bottom of the 2nd, Larry Haile would make another great stop in left field to shut out Austin.  The Boston bats were quiet in the third inning with only Joe Quintanilla managing to put a dribbler to the right side into play.  The bottom of the third inning was Thaxton time (and not the offensive kind).  He made back-to-back stops at first base against Brandon Chesser and even more impressive stop against Mariano Reynoso.  Ed Manning closed out the inning for Austin by hitting a weak ball to the left side and then standing at the plate without running while Proctor easily made a play.  His coaches stood there dumbfounded as Weissman giggled about thoughts of how many times a Renegade had done this in the past.  For Boston, the strikeouts would start to pile up.  Larry Haile would score the team’s only run in the 4th but Dickerson would strike out Devenish, Proctor and Yee for his 6th, 7th and 8th strikeout of the game.  Austin got a spark in the bottom of the 4th as Faith Penn scored on a ball up the middle, which Quintanilla could not grab in time.  Austin would feed off this like vultures circling road kill.  Darius Sterling then plated a run.  Thanh Huynh would stop Puryear but Chesser would score again and the score was now down to a 5-3 Boston lead.  Huynh and Proctor would close out the inning for the Gade defense.  Weissman went to the bench in the 5th and brought in Aqil Sajjad to hit for Quintanilla.  On paper, this move did not appear to pan out as Aqil struck out.  However, part of the move was to give Dickerson back-to -back targets in similar spots.  Quintanilla’s target is one of the higher ones on the team.  The result of this was Thaxton hitting a hard grounder into left for a big run.  Larry Haile plated an insurance run and Boston would head into the bottom of the 5th up 7-4.  Penn and Sterling would lead off the bottom of the frame with strikeouts.  They were only the 2nd and 3rd of the game for Hibner.  The top of the order would come up.  Puryear, Chesser and Reynoso would score with two outs and tie the game up.  Two of these runs would score on balls close to Thaxton and Yee, which were just off their fingertips.  Close calls do not matter and Austin had tied the game at seven.  Joe Yee would lead off the 6th and hit a first pitch grounder up the middle and he jetted toward third.  After missing the base in the first, he was determined and he plowed right into the base for the go ahead run.  He was not getting up though.  We feared he may have broken a finger the way he landed and the way he was flinching in pain.  Yee went to the bench a hero and uncertain of his health.  Sajjad would strike out again making Weissman look foolish on paper…. BUT…on Dickerson’s 5th pitch to Thaxton, he would score a big run to give the Renegades a 9-7 lead.  Yee would play defense in the 6th despite his hand (which would later be diagnosed as an evulsion fracture). Penn would lead off the bottom of the 6th for Austin and this time would be denied by Justen Proctor.  Speedster Sterling would come up next and hit a weak pop down the 3rd baseline.  Proctor ranged to his right and hit the ground.  As he hit the ground, the ball one hopped and landed in his hands, while he was laying on his back.  An amazing play that shocked Austin.  Boston was fired up and one out away.  Lead off hitter, Steve Puryear who had put three of his four balls into play- all of them deep, had just one run to show for it because of Larry Haile.  As the count went deep, the pressure mounted and Hibner struck him out.  Boston held on to win an exciting game and finish in 5th place.  An exciting win and a confidence builder for this inexperienced crew.  Justen Proctor would finish with 8 stops on defense and as a team; the Renegades would have 14 defensive stops.  On a day when the bats did not have much, the gloves came up big.  Proctor would go on to make the defensive all-star team with 23 stops on the weekend.  He finished second to Stanley Griffin of Cleveland.  He was the first Renegade defender since Dino Vasile to make a defensive all star team in Bolingbrook and joined Darren Black as Renegades earning this achievement.

 

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:

Weissman interviewed by IBM about volunteerism

IBM logoIBM recently interviewed Rob Weissman, a 13 year employee of IBM about his work with the Boston Renegades.  IBM has supported the Renegades through Weissman’s involvement over the year to the tune of $18,000 in community grants.  The article was posted internal but they have cerated a PDF for us to share with our fans and can be read here:  IBM PDF

Rob Weissman catching during the title game of the 2016 World Series. Photo by John Lykowski

Rob Weissman catching during the title game of the 2016 World Series. Photo by John Lykowski

2016 NBBA All Rookie Teams

Story by Rob Weissman

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

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

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

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

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

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

All Rookie Defense Team

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

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

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

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

All Rookie Offense Team

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

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

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

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

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

2LA_0518

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Local Belmont Paper writes story about Guy Zuccarello!

Guy Zuccarello flexes his muscle but its his actions and leadership that helps this team!The 2016 season has ended and we had it was historic!  Doug Hastings has had a story on his plate for years to write about a special resident of Belmont, Guy Zuccarello.  After a few years he finally got around to writing it and the story was bigger than he had originally thought.  The story appeared in Wicked local tonight and features quotes from both Guy and his coach, Rob Weissman.  It really is a nice read about what Guy means to the Boston Renegades.  Give it a read on Belmont Wicked Local!