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Ron Cochran

Baseball Hall of Fame Weekend – a Beep Baseball Bash!

Dreams of The Baseball Hall of Fame

Writtten by Rob Weissman

As a kid, I studied baseball cards and the baseball encyclopedia.  I played Strat-o-Matic baseball and even played video games while keeping score and tracking my own fake stats.  A baseball geek would be a way to describe my past present and surely my future.  At one point in life, I could open to any page of the baseball encyclopedia and I could give information on at least one player from that page.  I could intelligently debate with anyone about the merits of a player making the Baseball Hall of Fame.  I was serious about this! It helped me collect baseball cards of players who I thought would be good investments.  After all, in the 80’s, I had cards worth over $500 each with this research (and luck).

My baseball career started off great. Early in my little league career the coaches voted me to all-star teams in Farm and Minor Leagues as a first-baseman who could jump and get all the bad throws from young kids.  As I got a little bigger,  my game seemed to peek.

When I was 13, my heart broke when I received the news I was cut from the team.  That experience made me work harder.  I never got cut again from travel ball. Getting on base and playing with heart was my ticket to making the team.  Learning to play other positions  also helped make me a more marketable player.  Hitting never came easy.  As I know now, my mechanics were long.  However, I peppered the parking lots with foul balls and drew walks.  Sadly. I could not make my Junior High team or my High School team.  My Hall of Fame dreams were over….so I thought.

Our Documentary plays at the Hall

In 2013, a documentary I starred in played at the Baseball Hall of Fame Film Festival and holy crap, did that feel amazing.  People came to watch a film about our team.  People stopped us to talk about the film all weekend.  I felt like we had accomplished something special. We had helped a lot of people along the way.

My Father

On the way home from the 2015 World Series in Rochester, the Hall asked us stop to do a presentation.  Personally, it was bittersweet.  Just the day before, while sitting at the Championship game, I got a call that will live with me forever.  My dad was unconscious in an ambulance.  He passed away before making it to the hospital.

As a young boy, my dad told me stories of his professional baseball career.  I only half believed him.  After all, most kids idolize their Billy Williams Topps Baseball Card with the Cubsdad and who would think they would lie to them, at the age of like 7 or 8. This story got real for me in school.  I told my friend, Bob Sundberg this story of my dad’s baseball career. With energy and clarity, Bob quickly claimed he thought he had my dad’s baseball card.  This suddenly seemed real to me.

After a short time, we discovered this card was not Bill Weissman, but soon to be hall of famer, Billy Williams.  A joke from my dad turned into anxious excitement from this kid. It was even funnier that this story lived on for so long till we actually found the baseball card.

Seeing Bobby Doerr get inducted as part of the class of 1986 with my father was memorable.  It was exciting to see a Red Sox get into the Hall.  The flight home may have been more memorable  My dad was a pilot in those days and flew a small 4 seater Cesna with one propeller. Flying home, we hit major storms with lightning screaming by our plane.  The turbulence were so bad,  my head hit the ceiling before I buckled in.  If you think flying is scary, you would not have survived that flight.

Working with the Hall in 2015 & 2017

Back to 2015 – As I sat and watched Bryan Grillo and Guy Zuccarello talk to the Hall of Fame crowd.  I sat with pride in what we have done.  I had hopes my dad was watching.  It was exciting to give these two giant baseball fans the chance to feel what I felt in 2013.  Bryan and Guy deserved to have their own Hall of Fame moments.

I also had a chance to help someone I did not know from Texas.  Brandon Chesser, of the Austin Blackhawks was with us because I helped get his name into the Hall of Fame.  His shirt, gloves, blindfold and picture were on display at the Hall of Fame.  How cool was it that I helped make a dream come true for him?

Rob donates a bat used by Christian Thaxton to Shirley Tyler of the National Baseball Hall of Fame to represent his record batting average at the World Series

In 2017, I went back to Cooperstown and donated a Renegade’s bat used by Christian Thaxton.  Thax had set a league record, batting .897 at the World Series.  Cooperstown wanted his bat.  I brought this bat in person to the Baseball Hall of Fame Film festival.  The same festival we appeared in during the fall of 2013.  I handed the bat to Shirley Tyler with beaming pride.

Shirley and I spoke and she wanted to do a program with our team.  The seed was planted.  While at this film festival, I learned of an Author Series.  I quickly reached out to David Wanczyk to gauge his interest.  It was off the charts!  Of course, at this time, his book was not done.

Our trip to the Hall in 2018!

Beep Started it all

As the calendar changed to 2018, Dave’s book was becoming a reality.  It debuted in April, just as the buys of summer were coming Picture of the cover of the Book Beepback from Spring Training.  Shortly after there, Wanzcyk told me his book was accepted to the Author Series.  I was on the phone with Shirley Tyler.  We developed a program to tie that Author series into a day of beep baseball at the Hall of Fame!

I wrote a lot about this program in the summer and won‘t rehash it.  Instead, let me talk about the experience.  When the chips fell, ten Renegades made the trek. Joe Yee likes baseball, he can’t tell you stats, but likes the game.  He likes adventures even more and this was an adventure for him.  Rob Thayer missed the 2018 World Series due to an injury that could have resulted in the loss of a toe.  There wasn’t anything stopping him from making this trip. Rookie, David Sanchez is possibly the biggest baseball fan amongst the players and was excited to see the Hall for the first time.  Christian Thaxton played junior college baseball and was motivated to go as his bat was now in Cooperstown.

Excited to share it with this group

For the Renegade coaches, I was so excited to go with this group.  I grew up with Ron Cochran and Jason Lenicheck.  I was looking

Group picture of 12 of us at the Baseball Hall of Fame

Picture of the Renegades and Rochester Pioneers at the Hall of Fame

forward to going to this baseball mecca with guys I grew up playing with.  Bryan Grillo was also with us, my partner in crime with Red Sox season tickets and one of the fathers of beep baseball in the New England area.  On the other hand, Hunter and Teigan Weissman came along as well.  What a thrill it was to take my nephews.  They are both big baseball fans and I was anxious to show them things I knew they had never known.

We also got some help from the Rochester Pioneers.  Since they are the closest team to the Hall, I invited them.  Coach Mike Fisher and player Helen Jones came down to participate.  Also in attendance was the NBBA PR chair, Darnell Booker.  He brought with him NBBA lifer and current San Antonio Jet, Dave Benney.  These self-proclaimed baseball junkies had never been to the Hall and were so excited to be a part of it.  I was so happy to get some help, and to give them an opportunity to feel as special as I did in 2013.

My hopes and dreams

Here were my personal goals for the weekend.  I wanted everyone who came to have a part in the program and to feel special.  I wanted to share this time with my friends and my nephews and give my nephews a time they would never forget.  Getting to see  Christian Thaxton experience seeing his bat in Cooperstown would be amazing.

Anyone who knows me or sees me volunteering for the Renegades knows I go into project management mode.  I get in the zone.  It’s a pure mix of adrenaline and excitement mixed with a desire to market the sport and grow our team’s resources.  I always have an eye to the future hoped this could help us in many ways tell our story.  Over the past few years I have learned this “mode” brings me stress.  I need to breathe.  I promised myself to have mindful moments. and to sit back and enjoy what others were doing.

Daily Line up from the Baseball Hall of Fame

Daily Line up given out at the entry of the Hall of Fame to let patrons know about events that day

Here we go!

The day started off with my nephews and I lugging equipment to the Hall’s loading dock.  Like a little kid, I was so excited to be able to see the back halls of this legendary place.  Heck, I was more excited than Hunter and Teigan.  We met up with Shirley soon at the learning center.  While there, she got us some help to set up the room.  She also handed me little placards they made for us.  Let me back track.

A week before the trip, I started to come up with ideas of what we could show in the learning center.  I pulled from my talks with museum curator, Tom shieber in 2014. He told me how they tell a story through artifacts.  Late at night, I would hammer out small stories about our artifacts.  On this day, my little notes, came to life with Hall of Fame placards!

Leading off:  Grillo, Thaxton and Yee!

Huge lines were forming at the ticket office as they only had one ticket taker.  While this was happening, the hall was making announcements of our 10:00 program in the bullpen theater.  Bryan Grillo was the master of ceremonies for us there.  He had worked hard the night before to pull his presentation together with the notes from Joe Yee and Christian Thaxton.  We had a slide presentation queued up and ready to go from John Lykowski to show while they spoke.  The crowd was small, we had a few Mets fans there who stayed for the whole talk.  That did not ruin the experience for our gang.  They spoke eloquently and beamed with pride. Hunter caught the whole thing live on facebook live:

Batting Second:  Learning Center what a show!

Next up, was the Learning Center, which we would open at 11:00.  Darnell Booker, Bryan Grillo and Teigan Weissman did an amazing job inviting people into the learning center.  This room is very close to the entrance of the Hall.  Coaches and players stood in the learning center eagerly waiting the opportunity to tell their stories, explain the game and show off our artifacts.  We had over 20 artifacts to show people including obvious choices like a ball and a base.  We had Darnell’s championship ring from 2017 (we did not want his 2016 ring representing the defeat of the Renegades on display), we had marked out the distance from the mound to home on the floor, we had videos playing and so much more.  It was a huge hit.  We gave out close to 400 brochures to people in a few hours!  It was the highlight of the program.  Here is a link that will take you to a photo album showing most of the artifacts we had in the Learning center

Batting Third: David Wanczyk

At 1:00, it was time for David Wanczyk to take center stage.  In the bullpen theater, he read from his book.  He told stories about the game, talked about the history of different versions of baseball for the blind dating back over 100 years ago.  He also told the story of Ethan Johnston of the Colorado Storm.  That story is one of the most meaningful stories in the league.  You can watch his reading in our video below:

Something meaningful happened here for me.  The desk brought out for Dave to autograph his book on was familiar.  My father Stacks of "Beep" books sitting atop furniture made from my Father's factory at the Baseball Hall of Fameowned a furniture manufacturing business in Fitchburg, Mass.  In 1994, he bought a company from upstate, New York called Library Bureau.  In fact, I worked for this company till 2000.  Dave’s novels were neatly stacked on one of his tables from the Tecktonic line.  Not only are some of these pages telling stories of our squad and things I may have said, it also had a touching tribute to my late father.  Wow, this book, on his table in Cooperstown!  Chills went through my body.  In some Devine way, my dad was connected to this proud moment of my life.

Two patrons who fell in love with our sport kindly asked me for my autograph.  Wow, who am I to autograph a book in the Hall of Fame?  What an honor that was, I just hope people could read my handwriting.

Batting fourth – Come try the game!

At 2:00, we took the game outdoors to do a demo.  The closer to the museum we would be, the more people would get involved.  We did not have a big space at all. Dave Benney demonstrated how to defend a ball.  In a wet grass, he threw himself on the ground and muddied up his jeans.  Ron Cochran encouraged the group to give it a try.  Jason came up with a strange way to show them how to find a ball and walk to a base.  It gave people a sense of what its like to do these somewhat easy tasks in a very hard manner.  Everyone who was brave enough to try it, came away with a smile

While this was going on, we had re-opened the learning center as a way to feed people to the demo.  We probably kept this center open 90 minutes longer than planned due to the feedback and excitement from people who came into the room.

After the demo was over, eventually, Christian Thaxton, Ron Cochran and I went to the second floor to see Christian’s bat on display.  I will write more about that experience in another blog because that was totally mind-blowing for me.

Batting 5th – The Documentary

Dino Vasile on the “big Screen” in the Bullpen Theater at the National Baseball Hall of Fame

The amazing program wrapped up at 7:00 with a showing of our documentary.  I wish I could say the theater was full of eager Beepball fans.  Sadly, the only people there were the beep ballers.  Shirley had set my expectations this could happen because the museum was still open.  If you have ever been to the bullpen theater here, it’s not in the most central location.  It’s very off to the side, but is a hidden treasure of the Hall!  Sitting there, watching the film I had to sit and be mindful.  “Our story is in Cooperstown playing in a theater!”  We spent an entire day bringing this sport, its stories and our players to baseball fans from around the country.  I’m not sure I could ever have dreamt this up.

Closing thoughts

Logo for the Baseball Hall of FameAs I sat and narrated this movie to Dave Benney, I saw how young I looked in 2005.  I saw how raw of a coach I was.  High strung was surely a word to describe me.  The passion I have today burned so bright in those days of 2005.  Memories of the Billy Williams moment came to mind. I thought of all those baseball games I played with Ron Cochran and Jason Lenicheck in the 80’s raced past my eyes.  I just could not believe  my dream of being in the major leagues had turned to this.  I’m a coach of a baseball team for the blind with my friends and family.  We have helped change people’s lives and brought people together.  We were sitting in the National baseball Hall of fame and I’m beaming with pride, holding back tears of joy.  I’m one proud coach at this moment.  Though we are not hall of famers, we have a movie and now a book and a bat in the hall of fame.  Wow!

The Acton Beacon featured the Renegades

Three Acton-Boxboro grads from 1988 – Ace, Ron and Rob

The Acton Beacon featured the Renegades in their paper on Thursday, August 30th.  The Beacon is both a print and online resource that serves both the Acton and Boxborough community.  They are part of the Wicked-Local community and the story got picked up by a few other towns in their on-line papers as well.

Acton is an important part of the Renegades history.  Three volunteers with a combined 45 years of volunteering for this organization hailed from Acton in the 1980’s.  Rob Weissman, Ron Cochran and Jason Lenicheck all grew up on the little league fields of Acton playing with and against each other.  They played for years into and past High School as well.  Baseball has been a big part of their friendship.  “Being able to coach/Volunteer with my lifelong friends has made this experience so enjoyable”, Weissman said.  “When life finds a way to keep us all busy, we still find time to volunteer together.  It becomes something which is more than volunteering, It’s an opportunity to hang out with our friends”.

The Hall Calls

These three guys all had less than mediocre baseball careers.  Weissman and Cochran played a ton of summer ball, but could not make the High School team in the highly competitive Acton-Boxboro sports community.  Lenicheck did play some High School ball as an all-hit, error prone 3rd baseman.  Nobody who ever played with them would ever think the National Baseball Hall of Fame would want them to put on a program for the day at the Hall of Fame.  Though their baseball careers never took off, the skills they learned has made a far bigger impact on many lives.

As Ron and Jason were unavailable for the interview, Joe Yee, one of the people impacted by these three guys, pinch hit and helped talk about the game, their impact and what the sport of Beep Baseball meant to him.

Ron and Rob were also part of something special that happened at the Hall of Fame.  One of their players, Christian Thaxton has his bat on display in Cooperstown as Christian set the league record hitting .897 in the 2017 World Series.  In Beep baseball, the Pitcher and catcher are part of a team working with (as opposed to against) the hitter.  In Beep baseball, the Pitcher and catcher are on the same team.  Ron did an amazing job of grooving pitch after pitch in Christian’s wheel house.  Weissman sat behind the dish and identified and set a target for Cochran to trust as well as making sure Thaxton was set up in the batters box in the right spot.  All three of these guys worked together to communicate on timing and adjustments.  All three of them were damn proud to see Thaxton’s bat enshrined in Cooperstown!

The article can be read here:  The article also appeared in the Watertown Tab and the Wicked Local Braintree paper! We have it in PDF as well

Picture of the print version of the article from the front page of the Beacon sports page - in color

 

 

2018 World Series Day #4 game recaps

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

World Series photo of the team

Team photo of Your 2018 World Series Renegade team

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2018 World Series Day #3 game recaps

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

WS picture taken by John Lykowski Jr

David Sanchez puts a ball in play vs the Edge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Renegades take it to Tyler  20-3

World Series picture of all the players

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Boston starts the 2018 season 4-0 in Rochester

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

Beast of the East standings after 1 leg

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Boston puts out the fire 9-3

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

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

 

Boston wins 15th straight vs Long Island

Justen Proctor, Shawn Devenish and Christian Thaxton

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

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

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

 

Boston Prevails in an Exhibition match vs Rochester 6-0

Luis Soto

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

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

 

Scores of All games

Friday night
Rochester 1 at Boston 10

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

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

Saturday 2:00
Long island 6 at Titans 7

New jersey lightning have forfeited their games.

Leader Boards

Runs Scored

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

Defensive Stops

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

Renegades show how we bring Ability to the word disability

21st Century Learning Conference at Nipmuc

Picture of Rob Weissman, Guy Zuccarello, Joe Yee, Hunter Weissman, Ron Cochran, David Sanchez and Rob Thayer

6 Renegades come to suppor Ron at his High School and were given Nipmuc Athletic shirts as a gift from their Sports Director

On June 13th, six Renegades traveled to Nipmuc High School in Upton MA to participate in an annual even called the 21st Century Learning Conference.  These full-day events held on the Upton Campus create opportunities for students to learn from business, collegiate and community partners.  During this event these partners create learning experiences students may not otherwise access while in High School.  Exploring Disability was a request from the students.  Beth Hennessy, a teacher at the school and program coordinator is also a Lion.  She knew about the Renegades and knew that her colleague, Ron Cochran did much more than teach AP math. He is s pitcher of the Boston Renegades.  She knew they could show students about ability within a disability.

Our role in the event

The eventual goal was for Ron Cochran and the Renegades to teach two groups of  roughly 3o students about putting the word “ability” in disability.   We were a little nervous.  After all, what if Ron flunked some of these kids?  Would they want to get back at him?  Of course, things were fine as apparently, Ron is pretty popular in school and many of the kids wanted the chance to do something athletic. Head coach Rob Weissman along with coach Hunter Weissman, players David Sanchez, Robert Thayer, Joe Yee, and Guy Zuccarello taught the kids the basics of hitting, fielding, and base running.

We hosted two sets of roughly 30 students who were from all four classes (Freshman to Seniors). Hitting is the sexy part of the game and Ron Cochran pitched dead balls to the kids wearing blindfolds. Joe and Hunter helped set the students in the batter’s box and taught them how to listen to the pitcher and adjust their swing. Sanchez and Thayer taught the basics of base running.  The students had a blast and laughed at each other as they tackled the base and timed each other on this 100 foot dash in the dark. The third station was hosted by Guy Zuccarello.  He talked to the students about the anatomy of the game told them  his personal story of vision loss and what the game meant to him.

Message Received – there is ability within a disability

ability within a disability

The Renegades with the 2nd set of students in the afternoon session

Everyone had a great time, but the most important part was to give back to the community.  One message we sent was that no matter who you are, you can do anything you put your mind to. That is also what Beepball is all about. It is doing something incredible that no one thought possible for these people to do. The Renegades strive to put ability within a disability.  Those kids walked out of school on that spring day with an experience they won’t forget.

The World’s first ever book about beep baseball features the Boston Renegades!

The World’s first ever book about beep baseball features the Boston Renegades!  Author David Wanczyk published a book about beepball, which he first became interested in during the title game of the 2012 season.  He caught the fever and then decided to follow the sport intensely for the 2013, 2014 and 2015 seasons. Dave spent a lot of time with the Renegades in the hotel, on the bench, on the phone and around the World Series.  He even spent time at the McCormick household.

On the Radio

Recently, Dave hit the airwaves to promote his new book called Beep Inside the Unseen World of Baseball for the Blind.  On Friday, March 30th David appeared on BYU Radio on a show called Top of mind with Julie Rose.  Julie was a well informed interviewer and talked about the book with Dave for nearly 50 minutes.  Dave even read some passages from the book to give you a flavor of his writing style.  You can listen to that interview here

Buy it on Amazon

The book is available on Amazon for purchase in both hard cover and kindle version and can be purchased here 

Beep and the Renegades

It was an honor to share the sport with Dave.  He became part of our team and got to know many of our athletes and volunteers.   Here is a small quote from the 218 page book.

“…The Renegades spooled off stories about blindness and baseball and let me into their team jokes, their judgements of other players, and their nicknames for each other.  Larry Haile, who travels all over the world to ride on subway systems that intrigue him is “L train”.  Shayne Cantan, who is of Hawaiian descent and had gained weight since his last season, is “Hawaiian Lunch.

I asked “Lunch” and “Train” and the coaches what would constitute success in the series.

I think everyone has a different definition of winning the tournament,” coach Justin Manjourides said.

“Oh, start coaching girls’ softball, for god’s sake,” pitcher Ron Cochran said (Cochran does, it turns out, coach his daughters’ softball teams.)…”

Wanczyk and the Boston Globe

Photo by Dina Rudick/Boston GlobeIn May, 2014, Wanczyk wrote an article about our very own Joe McCormick.  That article appeared in the Globe Magazine.  This article was amazing and did a great job of promoting the book almost four years before it was published.  You can read more about that article here

Who did he talk to from the gades?

Dave interviewed many of the Renegades including: Shayne Cantan, Ron Cochran, Rob Dias, Bryan Grillo, Lisa Klinkenberg, Justin Manjourides, Joe McCormick, Joey O’Neill, Joe Quintanilla, Aqil Sajjad, Sean Sweeney, Rob Thayer, Dino Vasille, Rob Weissman and Guy Zuccarello

He also spent time with some of our fans including Ashley Borders, Sarah Ellen Cochran and Dawn McCormick

Top 10 moments of the 2017 Renegade Season

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

For past top 10 moments articles see these posts

#10 Soto makes his first ever stop on defense

Ben Coiner escorts Luis Soto into the field against New Jersey

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

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

#9 Devenish is not just a DH

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

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

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

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

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

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

#8 Yee – haw redeems himself against Austin

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

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

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

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

#7 Justen makes the World Series all star team

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

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

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

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

#6 Indy knocks out Yee

Boston would face off against the Indy Thunder in the losers bracket on Friday of the World Series as both teams who made the title game in 2016 had been knocked into the loser’s bracket. Boston was beat by colorado and Indy had been upset by San Antonio.  The loser of this game would be eliminated, so it was a huge game for both teams whom had title hopes.  In the 3rd inning of this contest, Joe Yee was playing third base as the Renegades had just let up 4 runs and Indy led 9-3.  With 4 in and 2 outs, Eric Rodriguez tagged a fly ball to third base that hit Joe Yee on the side of the head on the fly. Yee wobbled but the run scored.  After a short break, he stayed in the game. Gerald Dycus then scored again on a ball hit inside 100 feet  six runs were in for Indy.  Zach Buhler then hit a bomb and things looked bad for Boston as the Indy Thunder were on a roll.

Corey White stepped up next and put the ball in play on the ground.  This time Joe yee laid out and had the ball lined up.  Sadly, the ball hit him square in the face and the run scored. Bryan Grillo quickly called for help as blood was streaming from Yee’s face. He was hit twice in the head within just 4 batters.  This time, he was taken out on a golf cart to be tended to.  By the time the inning ended, Boston had let up 12 runs.  It was 19-5.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more about how he broke the record here

Hear Christian on NPR Radio tell is story

#4 Renegades throw out the first pitch at Fenway


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

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

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

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

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

#3 Cooperstown here we come

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

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

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

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

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

#2 The Renegades became media darlings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thaxton is Mic’ed up while he plays

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

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

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

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

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

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

#1 Woburn Host Lions amaze everyone

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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