For the second time in new England’s history, four blind baseball teams converged in Massachusetts. This time the Woburn Host Lions were behind the event and they did a spectacular job. not only did they get the hotels set up, paint the fields, get sponsors, run a food truck and provide all the volunteers, they found a way to donate money to all the teams in attendance with the winner of the Beas of the east getting $500.
Boston, NJ Lightning ,Long Island and Pennslyvania pose for a picture together before the games begin (Photo by Frank DiMaura)
Rob Dias (Pictured) and Joe McCormick would pace the Renegade offense with three runs a piece (Picture by Adam Glanzman)
Boston would start the day off against the PA Wolfpack. A team they beat by just two runs in the previous game. Uncertain who would be in this roster before the game, the Wolfpack actually looked better than before with the return of John Margist to their line up and shockingly, Scott Hogwood was playing after his injury just two weeks prior. The difference in this match would be Ron Cochran’s presence on the mound. To start the game, Boston would lose the coin toss and be the visiting team, on their own field. The first inning of this game was action packed, as was the same case in the first meeting of these two teams. Joe McCormick would score the first run of the game on the 6th pitch of the at bat. Larry Haile would then hit a deep fly ball into left to plate the second run for the Gades. With one out Rob Dias would hit a bomb into deep left but he hit it so hard the ball broke and the play had to be done over/ He then promptly (on the first pitch) plated a run on a weak line drive to the right side. Aqil Sajjad would plate the team’s 4th run of the inning to help turn the line up over and get back to the top. Joe McCormick would then miss a base on a sure run to end the frame (Earning the pink blindfold for missing the base). In the bottom half, Hogwood and Margist would both plate runs to make it a 4-2 game. In the top of the 2nd inning, Larry Haile and Ron Cochran would face each other. The result would be a weak grounder up the middle for a Mike Coughlin defensive stop. The significance was this was the 3,000th hitter Ron had faced in his career as a pitcher since he started pitching in 2006 for the Renegades. Not much of a highlight, but a remarkable test of endurance for this pitcher and team. Dias would score in this farm to give Boston a 5-2 lead and they would never look back. McCormick and Rob Dias would each go on to plate two more runs and Pennsylvania would not be able to make contact. After 4 innings, Boston led 10-2 and started to pinch hit for all the starters. The bench was unproductive as they struck out in 5 of the 7 trips to the plate off of Jamie Dickerson and Dan Cotter. With one out in the Bottom of the 6th inning, the Renegades led comfortably by the score of 10-2 and the Wolfpack bats had struck out 16 times. Boston defense did not have a single stop. With the top of the order up, Coach Weissman yelled out to Evan Silver to make a play…and that he did on a smash up the gut by Mike Couglin. the final out would be on a weak grounder to the left side gobbled up by Guy Zucarello. Boston was now 4-0 in the Beast of the east…while the Wolfpack dropped to 1-3. On the other field, the Bombers crushed New Jersey 13-0 and these two teams would prepare to square off next
Joe McCormick screams after scoring as he is fired up. This would be his 100th run of his Renegade career. He Larry Haile and Christian Thaxton would ace the way with three runs each in this match (Photo by Adam Glanzman)
The Renegades and The Bombers have been a rivalry since the start. The Bombers won the 1st seven games in a row from 2002-2007 until the Renegades finally broke the curse. The Renegades entered this match with an 8 game streak of their own and a 16-11 lifetime record. The fans were starting to arrive in anticipation of the best game of the tournament. Long Island had a stronger sorer than two weeks prior as they had their two best defensive players on the field in Boston lost the coin toss again and was visiting team. Joe McCormick led off the game and scored on a fly ball to the left side. This was a milestone run for Mac as it represented his 100th run of his career and he became just the 6th player in Renegade history to score 100 runs. Larry Haile and Rob Dias would also plate runs in this frame to give the Renegades a great start and a 3-0 lead entering the bottom of the inning. The Long Island line up featured some changes as switch otter Alex Barrera was in the lad off spot and Joe Dejesus was batting in the two hole. Right out of the gate they went down on a stop by Guy Zuccarello and Joe McCormick. Two batters into this game and the Renegades had as many defensive stops as they had in the entire previous game. The Renegade second inning was not good, McCormick went down swinging on four pitches. Haile also whiffed on 6 pitches and Christian Thaxton was put out on a weak ball to Matt Puvogel. Long Island had a chance but the bottom half of their order would be stopped by Rob Dias and Guy Zuccarello. With the score 3-0 Boston was unable to add any offense in the 3rd inning as Rob Dias, Evan Silver and Aqil Sajjad were put out by Jose Dejuses, Matt Puvogel and Chris Dejesus. Long Island would strike in the 3rd inning. With one out, Jose Dejesus would hit a ball down the 3rd base line. Since Boston was playing a shift, that slot was wide open. Guy Zuacrello was left all alone on that side and Dejesus beat Guy by a split second on a bang-bang play and the score was 3-1. McCormick would clamp down the rest of the inning making stops and heading to the 4th inning Boston clung to a 3-1 lead. The Fourth inning would be huge and historical as well. Joe McCormick, Larry Haile and Christian Thaxton would score to start the inning on bombs into left field to start off the inning. With two outs, Aqil Sajjad would score on a weak hit ball off Dan Cotter and the onslaught would continue. Aqil’s run allowed the top of the order to get up again and they did better than the first time through the line up as McCormick, Haile, Thaxton and Dias would plate 4 runs in a row to give the Renegades an 8 run inning. The most the Renegades had ever scored in an inning against Long Island and the first tint whey had scored this amount in an inning ever. (their most was 11 against Stockton in 2007). Long Island was mentally defeated at this point and the score was 11-1. The game would end in a fun way for Boston as Joe Yee was brought into the game as a replacement for Evan silver and made the final two out of the game. These two stops equaled his entire output from the 2014 season. Boston was now 5-0 in the Beast of the East, pushing Long Island to 3-2. On the other field, New Jersey had upset Pennsylvania in a 3-2 win. The Renegades had clinched the Beast of the East for the 5th straight time.
Guy Zuccarello flexes his muscle after leading the team with three runs and breaking two balls (Photo By Rob Weissman)
The temperatures were rising into the 90’s on this hot day and the teams were slowed down by the lunch break. New Jersey and Boston were facing the dreaded lunch coma as they tried to get ready for this game. New Jersey entered this match off their first win of the year in Beast of the East play and would for the 3rd time the Renegades would lose the coin toss and be visiting team. For the 3rd time, they would strike first as Joe McCormick and Guy Zucarello would plate runs to start off the game. For Jersey, they would be sporting a new pitcher than in the previous game as Richard Whitten would take the mound for the Lightning. He would strike out the 1st three batters he faced. In the second inning with one out, McCormick, Thaxton and Zuccarello would go 1-2-3 to give the Renegades a comfortable 5-0 lead. This was comforting since the Lightning had only scored 10 runs in their 5 games. In the 3rd inning Thaxton would plate his 2nd run of the game on a bomb into left field when Zucarello strode to the plate in what would be an epic at bat. The first pitch resulted in a ground ball into the NJ defense where he was put out…but the base was late to turn on and he had a fresh count. On the 2nd pitch he hit a line drive up the middle and scored…but the ball was dead on contact. He faced a new count for the 2nd time. On the third pitch he hit a fly ball up the middle and scored…but the defense clued dead ball again and sure enough Guy had killed two balls on two pitches. On the 4th pitch of the at bat (after a late base and two dead balls,) he hit a line drive up the right side and scored a run, his third opt the game, the 12th time he had scored that many runs in a game in his career. With Dan Cotter not feeling well, Ron Cochran pitched to most of the line up in this game. They all made contact, but not enough solid contact and Jersey’s , Casey Bahn quietly made 10 defensive stops for the Lightning. The Lightning would plate their only run in the bottom of the 6th inning. Overall, the Lightning struck out 16 times in this slow paced game as the Renegades rolled 8-1 playing a lot of players who had not received a lot of playing time in the earlier games including starts by Luis Soto and Rob Thayer (their first starts of the year). On the other field, the Wolfpack bats woke up and upset the Long Island Bombers 9-4. Boston would go on to win the Beast of the East in sweep fashion and the Woburn Host Lions would cut them a $500 check for their efforts as a donation.
The 2015 Final standings were as follows
The scores of the games were as follows
||Bos 6-5 WBos 11-1 W
||Bos 6-4 WBos 10-2 W
||Bos 13-2 WBos 8-1 W
||Bos 6-5 LBos 11-1 L
||LI 15- 4 WPA 9-4 L
||LI 9-2 WLI 13-0 W
||Bos 6-4 LBos 10-2 L
||LI 15-4 LPA 9-4 W
||PA 3-2 WNJ 3-2 L
||Bos 13-2 LBos 8-1 L
||LI 9-2 LLI 13-0 L
||PA 3-2 LNJ 3-2 W