We have reached our last honoree of our first ever John Crawford moments for the 2022 season. We started this journey honoring Fran Regan for his amazing transformation of Drew Crook’s health. We then honored Dana Vermilya for her efforts helping Rob “Hot Tub” Thayer drop many medications, drop significant weight and become a healthier version of himself. Next, we honored Peter Connolly for stepping up as a pitcher, caller and volunteer when we had an injury. Our last honoree of 2022 is Gina Devenish. Gina has steadily taken on more every year she has been a Renegade. This year, not only did she take on more, she excelled at everything she did. For that, she demonstrated that same “WOW” that John Crawford did for us back in 2012 in Ames Iowa. As we explore Gina’s incredible contribution, we must make sure to say that every Renegade volunteer has made a difference. We have coaches who have been with us for 20 years and we some who completed their first season. All of them should take pride in their accomplishments and we are grateful for their contributions, time and effort.
Gina Devenish became a Renegade in the 2017 season. Every year she has been with the team, she has grown into more roles and taken on more responsibility. 2022 was no exception as she took on many new things that helped the team and may have gone unnoticed. The point of these John Crawford moments is to recognize those who went above and beyond and stepped up when help was needed.
Starting in the off season, Gina got things kicked off by owning our paperwork. No small feat, she did our annual check to verify 40 people were still planning to be an active Renegade. She validated everyone’s contact information, shirt sizes and documented this to help us book flights and get t-shirt orders. This work is important as many Renegades change shirt sizes or move. Additionally, it’s common to have turnover as people leave for college, need time off or have other priorities. This grunt work is so appreciated allowing others to focus on coaching and planning.
Gina Devenish – Social Media Queen- John Crawford Moments
As the season started, Gina continued where she picked up in 2021 owning our social media platforms. She wanted to start a Renegades TikTok Chanel and she grew it to over 800 followers and over 30,000 likes. Gina was so creative and often grabbed video footage of the team during practice to promote the sport worldwide. While doing this, she maintained Instagram (another Gina creation) and cross posted her material across all of our platforms.
This was her most popular video that got over 185,000 views (not a typo)
@abc.bostonrenegades All about that base, bout that base, no treble #associationofblindcitizens #beepbaseball #baseball #sports #fyp #allaboutthatbass ♬ All About That Bass – Meghan Trainor
Gina Devenish – Need a ride and some lunch?
Gina is a constant presence at scheduled practices. Short of the head coach, attended more practices (17) than any other coach during the 2022 season. That attendance meant Joe McCormick could get plenty of rides to practice. Since Joe just became a dad, Gina stepped up and helped him with rides. Joe expresses how much this meant to him, “Gina made a strong impact on my Renegade experience the last couple of seasons off the field by giving me rides to and from practice each week. With one kid at home and another on the way during the season it wouldn’t have been easy for me to make the almost hour long commute to and from practice each way, but that wasn’t an issue thanks to Gina. Not only did Gina drive me too and from practice, she would also bring along lunch for us to eat on the car ride home. I wouldn’t have been able to make nearly as many practices as I attended without Gina being a member of the Renegades.
Gina Devenish – Calling & Scoring – more John Crawford moments!
Both of those accomplishments were off the field stuff but Gina’s role at practice also has grown. Historically, Gina would be one of the primary batting practice catchers. However, in 2021 she learned to call and in 2022 her calling skills became important, especially on Wednesday night practices when the team often had less volunteers available. Entering 2022, she called in only one career game (an exhibition against Rochester) but this year we needed her to take more innings. She worked hard at her craft.
Always wanting to do more and try new things, Gina asked to learn to be the team’s official score keeper. She felt it was a natural tie to doing the live streams and providing info to the viewers. Never having scored a baseball game before, Gina learned the ropes. As most NBBA scorekeepers would admit, scoring a Renegade game is one of the hardest in the league. With constant pitching changes, the most substitutions in the sport and lots of action, the scoresheet fills up quickly. Gina learned the ropes and improved every game she did adding this skill to her repertoire.
Unexpected – next “Wo-man” up
Gina got her chance to call a game unexpectedly and unplanned in Philly. After a great win over the fire, our all-time leader in games called, Bryan Grillo got hurt in a celebration. He was unable to call our third and final game of the day. This caused us to change our plans. Peter Connolly shifted over to the left side for the first time in his career. Gina Devenish now had her first Beast of the East game against the Long Island Bombers. Joe McCormick, who had a huge tournament (2nd on the team with 8 defensive stops on this weekend) had this to say, “One of the many coach phrases that coach Rob loves to use is “Next man up”, and there was no better case of this than this year with Gina stepping in to call. Throughout the year she practiced her calling and made big strides from the previous year. It was huge to get her out there in the field. One really important thing for players is being able to not have to make too many adjustments between callers such that we can play uniformly, and Gina worked hard this year to step up her calling by increasing her speed at which she delivered her calls and improved her clarity of the call, both of which helped to make her a significantly better caller.”
Bombers game builds confidence
The Bombers have three hitters in their lineup who hit from the left side. So, Gina had to be on her toes. The Renegades came out flat in this game. A let down game after a long day in wet weather. The Renegade offense went flat and could not build a decent lead. This meant every call made on defense was crucial. Gina delivered. With the 8-4 victory, she earned her second career win and the right to call in the World Series.
McCormick continues, “Having the real game experience really boosted her confidence and allowed her to parlay that into her continued calling at the world series.” On day one of the Series, Gina became just the third female caller to call in a game since 2003 (Brenda St. Germaine 2003 & Laura Ward 2011). She called two games on day one of the series against the Braille Bandits and the Long Island Bombers. We won both of those games with ease. Gina improved her record to 4-0 as a caller. This was important to growing our depth at this valuable position. Her efforts also gave rest to Bryan Grillo who was still not 100% from his injury in Philly. Gina’s efforts kept our older callers off their feet for a few games saving them for later in the week.
Renegade Live streams
Gina also grew in other areas that she normally contributes too. Gina is always willing to drive as she drove to Long Island, Philly and in Texas all week long. For the second season, she took over our Facebook live feeds to help our fans follow the live action. For Joe McCormick this is important because his family wants to watch the games and keep up to date. Mac says, “One of Gina’s most important roles throughout the year was her dedication to the live stream, with various family members at home wanting to follow the action, Gina was able to provide commentary that helped everyone stay up to date. And even selfishly the tournament I had to miss this season, I was able to still follow along with the action and see my teammates play, including one of my favorite moments when Elana Regan scored her first run.”
She also caught countless batting practices throughout the season. There is so much Gina does to help the team stay organized that’s it’s impossible to keep track of it all here. It does include helping with lunch plans, food shopping, making sandwiches and so much more.
Raising money and awareness – Big John Crawford Moments!
Gina’s biggest single contribution came in August when her season long plans as a Salisbury lion came to life. A charitable exhibition game against the Salisbury
fire fighters. She took our concept of a charity game to another level. She worked with members of the Salisbury community, Lions, Firefighters for months to plan this event. The game included a PA announcer, local television broadcast of the game (SCTV), photographers, food and beer trucks, t-shirts for both the Gades and the firefighters and hundreds of spectators to watch the game. She also planned every detail of the event which often includes field permits, painting the field, planning the equipment, getting bodies up to Salisbury and making sure things ran smoothly. It went off perfectly and everyone had a good time watching this event. It was our second biggest fundraiser of the year netting us over $2,000 to help us with travel expenses. SCTV put a highlight reel together of the day which is fun to relive. It can be viewed here: Our own Chris Kimball helps with color commentary and SCTV does a nice job of explaining the action and making it fun!
Meaningful Game for Melissa
For our players it gave some of them an opportunity to get additional playing time. Melissa Hoyt, was available for just three games this year. She states, “As a player from a personal perspective that game provided a chance to play an extra game especially after missing some. We had a great turnout and people being able to try out the game was a big hit as well. Certainly anyone I talked to enjoyed either playing or getting to try to hit and expressed appreciation for what we do. Anytime we can expose others to our sport is great as is the possibility of future events. The team benefitting from the generosity of donation isn’t to be understated either.”
Two rookie perspectives
Elana Regan had her first opportunity to participate in a charity game and we used it to get her experience on defense. “The Salisbury charity game was my first as a Renegade player. Going to a charity game was one of my first introductions to the team when I was 12 or 13, so I was incredibly excited to participate as a player. This game would have never come to together without the significant support and effort of Gina. At this charity game, I was able to play more shorty and build my skills, and it was the first time my mother got to see me play so that was a very special moment for me.”
Chris Kimball also participated in his first charity game. “This game was an impressive feat and a great success, especially considering many events take years to find the level of success the game had. It accomplished a lot including helping the firefighters fundraise to get the sauna they needed, helping the Renegades fundraise, and creating awareness for beep baseball. Personally, as somebody who often takes sports seriously, it was great for me to have the opportunity to sit with a few of the local broadcasters and enjoy the game from a relaxed spectator’s perspective rather than from the more stressful perspective of the competitor. It was great to see both the Renegades’ usual upbeat team spirit and the firefighters’ willingness to give beep baseball a try. I can’t imagine how much time and effort went into planning such an impactful inaugural event that had as much success as this and I think it would be fair to say those benefited from the event greatly appreciated the opportunity to participate.”
Our John Crawford Moment Honoree
To say Gina is a key cog to make this team run is an understatement. She has a can-do attitude and is willing to do what it takes to help the team and always gives things
her all. She has been a pioneer for the team and is always willing to learn new things to make her knowledge of the sport better and to advocate for our athletes at all times! She also brings her own style to things which is loved. Gina is known for making sure her vans have food and do things differently on trips. Elana Regan says, “In a sport that can be male dominant it’s nice to have the support of a fellow woman. I can’t wait to get back to practice this year, and maybe have that show tune sing along in your van on the way to tournaments.” Shayne Cantan calls her “The queen of the Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich, social media, and an absolute workaholic.” That’s a funny way to spin some of the things she does but the workaholic part is so true. We can all depend on her to get things done when we most need it! This is the definition of a John Crawford moment.
Want to support Gina?
If you are a friend or family member or inspired what Gina has done, you can support her efforts by making a donation to the team. Just click this donate button and make the donation in honor of Gina and her incredible work with her John Crawford moments!