Beast of the East – Leg two in Philly
Boston came into the Beast of the East in 2nd place with a 2-1 record and the Philly Fire were 3-0. Boston would need to beat the Fire by more than three runs to win the title. However, it also needed to take care of business against the New Jersey Titans and the Long Island Bombers.
Boston downs a different Titans team 11-3
On a day that we expected to be all rain, somehow, the rain held off and this game actually started very close to on time. Maybe it was Coach Rob’s yellow pants. Maybe it was the fact that this day was in memory of the late Greg Gontaryk. Either way, the rain held off and Beepball commenced.
The Titans entered this game with a very different roster from two weeks prior as their top three hitters were missing due to family obligations. They had to pull in some players who had left their team to go play for other teams during the 2022 season to fill out their roster that included Randy George and Marvin Morgan. The first inning of this game started off in good fashion for both teams. The Titans put balls in play in each of the first three at bats but for the Renegades, three different defensive players made stops as Joe McCormick made the first on the right side, Rob Dias made a nice diving play on the left side and Shayne Cantan pulled in a fly ball at third base.
In the Bottom half of the first, Boston would get the bats going, sending six hitters to the plate and five of them put the ball in play. Devenish, McCormick, Cantan all plated runs for the Renegades to give a 3-0 lead.
The second inning was not kind to the Titans as they sent three batters up and all of them went down on strikes. In the bottom half of the inning, Boston would send 7 hitters to the plate with just one whiff. Devenish and McCormick both scored on grounders to the left side. Shayne Cantan scored on a grounder up the middle and David Sanchez plated a run on a grounder. For the Titans, all 4 defensive stops were made by Randy George. After two, Boston held a commanding 7-0 lead.
The 3rd inning was another 1-2-3 inning as the Titans top three hitters went down with a strike out and two outs made by Rob Dias. As often happens in baseball, make some nice plays and you find yourself leading off the inning. Dias launched the second pitch he saw on a deep fly to left to lead off the inning. Joe McCormick then laced a line drive into left field. Shayne then laced a shot into left, but the run was called back because the base did not go off in time and since he had no base to run to, his line sent him into the Titans bench. For safety he was stopped and he came back to the plate. A strikeout ensued. After this play, the bases were changed out. Sanchez gave his all, fouling off three straight pitches before he also struck out. That brought Joe Yee off the bench for his first appearance of the year. Yee laced a line drive down the third base line. George ranged back behind the base to make the out. After three innings, the Renegades led 9-0
The 4th inning would again, not be kind to the Titans as they would go down 1-2-3 on strike outs and that would be 12 straight outs for the Titans for the first 12 hitters. Boston would continue bringing in players at this point as Luis Soto entered the game for his first appearance of the day. On the third pitch he saw off the hands of Peter Connolly he lofted a fly ball into right field for a run. Chris Kimball pinch hit next and was put out by who else, Randy George, on the first pitch he saw. McCormick froze the defense with a short pop fly near the 40 foot arc on a big swing and scored on a pop up slide on the third base line for his 4th run of the game. Ivan Rodriguez would then be called on to hit and go down on swings. Sanchez would continue the trend with his third whiff of the day as Rob and Peter struggled to find his target. Boston led this game 11-0. Boston failed to get this game into the 12 run rule, but the bright side was it would allow more players to get into the game and get a chance to hit, which was the desired outcome.
In the 5th, The Titans led off with two more strike outs by Damien Gonzalez and Randy George for 14 consecutive outs , nine of them by strike out. John Cruz, a rookie, lofted a deep fly into left field at Rob Thayer who entered the game on defense. Thayer lost his balance moving to his left and fell to the ground, he crawled to the ball but came up with it right after Cruz hit the base. This would be all the Titans would get in the inning as they closed the gap to 11-1.
In the bottom of the 5th, confusion would begin for the Renegades as the team had a hard time keeping up with all the substitutions. Joe Yee led off the inning with a grounder to Randy George. Chris Kimball stepped up to the plate next and lofted a ball up the middle and flew down the line to score. Here is where the confusion started. Tom Albertson brought the issue to Coach Rob’s attention and the Renegades had batted out of order. Rob Thayer’s spot in the lineup was skipped, the run was taken off the board, Thayer was awarded a strike out and Kimball came back to the plate to hit in his official spot. Kimball then hit the third pitch of this official at bat to who else, Randy George for the first 1-2-3 inning the Renegades were put down in all game. Boston led 11-1 after five innings.
The Titan offense would start to wake up in the 6th inning. Marvin Morgan, who was picked up to fill out the Titan line-up card won an offensive all-star award at the ’21 World Series, would lead off the inning with a grounder to Rob Dias. After Kathryn Jedynak struck out, Damien Gonzalez came to the dish. He lofted a fly ball up the middle of the field between Rob Dias and Chris Kimball. Kimball was slow to the ball and waited for Dias to pick it up. That hesitation was the difference. Initially, Gonzalez was called out. After a contested call, the run was allowed and the score was now 11-2. Randy George came up next and lofted a fly ball down the first base line. Elana Regan dove to the ground, then had to regain her balance and she picked up the ball right as George reached the base. The call on the field was an out but the Titans contested the call. After a quick discussion, the run was awarded to the Titans as Regan just missed her first career stop. Cruz would end the game with a whiff.
Boston defeats the Philly Fire 12-10
The much anticipated game between Philly and Boston would take place next. By the beast of the East rules, teams are not supposed to fly people in from other cities to take play away from Local players. Philly decided that they did not lie this rule and flew in Nick Silver from St. Louis to play for them. This is the second year in a row, they have played players from other teams to try to beat the Renegades and stack up their team. This is common practice in the league, but the Beast of the East has tried to promote local players over this practice.
The rain continued to hold off and the Renegades would be the visiting team in this match. The last matchup between the two teams was won by Philly 15-12. Boston would need to win by more than 3 runs to win the beast of the east title. Ron Cochran would be facing 5 of the 6 hitters in the starting lineup with Peter Connolly facing Shayne Cantan. Pat Krause would be pitching for the Fire.
Shawn Devenish would lead off the game hitting the second pitch he saw in strange fashion as he “Doble hit” the ball off his bat and drove a fly ball into deep left field to get the team going. Rob Dias would hit there straight foul balls including a bomb into left that went foul but would go down swinging on the 4th pitch. McCormick would hit a hard grounder to the left side that Case Krause would have bounce off him, Mac’s speed was too much for Krause to recover it and the Renegades had their second run. Peter Connolly came to the mound to pitch to Shayne Cantan. they had a hard foul ball down the left side but would go down on strikes after three straight fouls balls and a whiff (just like Dias). That brought Ron back to the mound to face Drew Crook. Drew hit a rocket foul down the third base line again, as timing was an issue for the Renegades in this inning. He then lofted the 2nd pitch he saw into deep left sending Justin Rhines running to his right and angling back to the 170 arc. Rhines would make the play of the game on the run off Crook.
Justin Rhines would lead off the game for Philly. On the first pitch he saw, he hit a flare to the right side and stood in the batter’s box. Maybe he did not hear the base, maybe he thought it was foul. Either way, McCormick came sliding in and made the play before Rhines could get to the 40 foot arc. John Margist would then hit a grounder to the right side and McCormick made another nice play sliding to make the stop. Tyler Rodriguez would strike out to end the inning as Boston led 2-0
This brought Luis Rodriguez to the plate as the designated hitter for his first appearance of the game. Rodriguez did not see much action at the plate in the first leg of the Beast of the East because he was reworking his swing. His new swing felt more comfortable and he earned this start. Facing Cochran, he hit a line drive up the middle that landed between three Fire players for a big run out of the six spot in the lineup. Shawn Devenish stayed hot roping a deep foul ball before lofting a fly ball into the center of the Fire defense by everyone for his second run of the game and the second of the inning. Rob Dias then hit two more foul balls before hitting a grounder up the middle, Krause dove at it and it bounced off him, he bobbled the ball, giving Dias time to score. McCormick kept the trend alive with 2 more foul balls (another close call) before hitting a line drive into left field for the 4th run of the inning. That would be all for Boston as Cantan grounded out to Krause and Joe Yee (who entered to play defense for Crook) would hit a lazy pop to Tyler Rodriguez on the first pitch he saw of the game off his cousin, Peter Connolly. Luis Rodriguez would also ground out to Tyler Rodriguez to end the inning. This would be the most runs the Renegades would score in an inning of this game, as they plated 4 runs. This gave Boston a 6-0 lead after one and a half innings.
Scott Hogwood stepped to the plate and hit a hard grounder to the left side under a diving Rob Dias, but right to Joe Yee for the first out of the inning. That brought the out of towner, Silver to the plate. Silver, was one of the top players for the Indy Edge in the previous year. He hit a line drive up the left side past a diving Joe Yee right to Chris Kimball who was just too slow to pick up the ball to beat the speedy silver. The first run of the Fire’s game went to the player in question for beast of the east eligibility. On a full count, Krause lofted a fly ball to the right side. Shayne Cantan picked it up right as Krause hit the bag. the call was contested, but Krause was awarded the run. Rhines would then loft a line drive into left field with three strikes on him that Kimball lined up and bobbled. Rhines was safe by a hair. Margist hit a line drive into left field at Kimball again, the same result occurred as Margist hit the base a hair before Kimball picked up the ball Philly scored four straight on bang-bang plays. Tyler Rodriguez would hit a weak grounder up the middle that Rob Dias would stop for the second out. Hogwood would get the best hit of the inning on a deep drive to center that rolled up near the fence which was about 200 feet away as the defense had to stop Kimball from running into the fence. Silver would whiff to end the inning. The Fire plated 5 runs (this would also be their best offensive inning. Four of those 5 runs, the Renegades were right on the ball defensively. After two innings, the Fire felt good and were down just 6-5.
Devenish led off, hitting the first pitch on the ground to the left side, Krause over ran it but was able to get the ball up right before Devenish hit third base. Dias then hit a grounder to Krause in room service fashion for the second out. McCormick hit a grounder to the left side at Krause again, Krause hit the ground too early and picked up the ball as McCormick hit first base. Krause ran off the field thinking the play was over. The call was contested and the run was awarded to Boston. Cantan would whiff for Boston in a weak offensive effort by the Renegades. But they scored for the third inning straight and held a 2 run lead heading into the bottom of the third.
Casey Krause would lead off with a grounder to Rob Dias who laid out to make the stop right at him. Rhines lofted a flare to the right side that McCormick over ran, as he tried to go back to make the play, Rhines would score as he is just too quick. Margist would then get the second no doubter of the game as he hit a fly ball down the right field line that landed on the paint that he could have walked to the base on. Dias made a nice diving stop to his right off Tyler Rodriguez and then another nice play in which he slightly over ran a ball off the bat of Hogwood, but had enough time to collect himself and change directions to make the play. The game as tied at 7 after three innings. Krause and Dias each had three stops on the field for each of the teams.
Drew Crook reentered the game to hit for Yee. He hit another grounder to Krause who was being tested for sure. Luis Rodriguez would hit the second pitch he saw on a line drive off Cochran’s shoulder. He then lofted a lazy liner to the left side that got past Krause. Rodriguez would score down the first base line for his second run of the game. Devenish would then hit a weak grounder down the third base line. Krause flew to the ball and made the play with ease. Dias then would it another room service ball for Krause. Krause had 4 shots at a ball, made three stops and Luis Rodriguez’s run gave the Gades an 8-7 lead heading into the bottom of the 4th.
The out of towner, Silver led off the inning with a lazy line drive to the left side past the diving Dias and into the hands of Shawn Devenish. The call was contested and the run was awarded. The out of towner had scored two runs and this would surely make it hard for the Renegades to win this tie breaker in this close game. After Krause Whiffed, Rhines came back to the plate. He lofted a fly ball up the middle that Devenish dove at and picked up just after Rhines hit the base. Margist hit a grounder up the middle, past the diving Dias and it fell short of Shawn and Philly led 10-8 for their biggest lead of the match. Tyler Rodriguez would loft a fly ball up the middle of the field. He was initially called safe, but after a contested call, Joe McCormick was awarded the stop. Hogwood would whiff to end the inning.
Joe McCormick would step into the box as the drizzle started up again. He would hit a dribbler down the left side. Who else but Krause would slid over to make the play, he over slid it a bit, but McCormick slid into the base too early and he was out. Shayne Cantan and Peter would struggle to make contact as they swung and missed on 4 straight balls and 7 of the last 8. Cantan would strike out for the third time as the rest of the team had just one. Peter was clearly struggling and was apologetic but he would keep his head in the game as he was not only pitching to a few hitters, he was calling an amazing game on the right side of the defense. Drew Crook, who had been subbed in and out of the game as much as possible to allow Yee to play defense was back at the plate. He would hit the third pitch of the game into deep center field to the fence where the Philly team was stopped and Crook scored easily for the biggest hit of the year for the Renegades. Luis Rodriguez then hit the first pitch he saw hard down the right side past a diving Tyler and Silver hit the ground too early and could not recover for his third run of the game and tied this game up at 10-10.. Shawn Devenish then hit Cochran in the shins off a hop (2nd time Ron had been hit on the day). He then hit a hard grounder down the third base line that Krause made a great effort on but it went by him and Devenish scored running to third base for an 11-10 lead. Krause would get Dias easily on a room service ball to end the inning. Three huge runs for the Renegades all started by Crook and Rodriguez at the bottom of the Renegade order, showed the depth of the lineup.
The fifth inning was all Rob Dias. He would make a stop on Silver running in and to his right for the first stop. He would get a stop on a bang-bang play on a ball he charged that went under his shoulder and he recovered just in time. Then Rhines would hit a weak grounder up the middle that Dias would make moving to his left as McCormick slid in right behind him to back him up. A huge 1-2-3 inning to protect the one running lead.
Joe McCormick was leading off for the Renegades and he was hot 3-4 on the day. He hit a grounder down the third base line, Krause made a great play ranging to his tight and angling back behind the base to make the stop. . That brought the struggling duo of Connolly and Cantan to the plate, trying to figure it out, they connected on the first pitch on a line drive to the right side that fell between Tyler and Silver as Cantan scored a huge insurance run. Crook hit a weak grounder to Krause for the second out of the inning and came up limping. Tyler stopped Luis to end the inning. Boston held a 12-10 lead heading into the 6th. The Beast of the east title would not be something in the minds of the Renegades as they knew the tie breaker was lost at this point. It was all about winning the game.
Philly would have their 2-3-4 hitters up. Margist had scored three straight times, but Tyler and Hogwood were a combined 1-8 on the day. They key was to get Margist out. He hit a hard grounder up the middle that kicked off a Diving Rob Dias’ legs and on a hop, Shawn Devenish caught it in his stomach on his knees for the biggest out of the game for the Renegades and Shawn’s first stop. It came at a timely moment and surely put some water on the Fire’s flame. Rodriguez then hit a fly ball that just cleared the 40 foot arc. Dias slid hard and made the play but Rodriguez was called safe. After a contested call, the run was over turned. Hogwood would end the game with a strike out and the Renegades would win 12-10.
A big win for the Renegades even though the Beast of the East was lost on a tie breaker, Every Renegade knows, that Silver being in the lineup is against the rules of the tournament. In celebration of this game, Bryan Grillo who may have had one of his finest games calling came up lame and pulled a calf muscle. He would be unable to call the last game of the day. Shawn Devenish, Joe McCormick and Luis Rodriguez paced the Renegade offense with 3 runs each. Rob Dias paced the defense with 8 stops!
Boston gives the Bombers hope but wins 8-4
After a big win over Philly, the Renegades moved fields for the third time of the day as a drizzle started up again when the game started. Boston won the coin toss again. Boston would make some changes coaching wise in this game as Peter Connolly shifted to call the left side and Gina Devenish would get her second start calling the right side of the defense.
Joe Dejesus would lead off and hit a grounder down the first base line, McCormick ranged to the line and made the play for the stop. Long Island would finish the inning with two whiffs. Boston would not fare much better in their half of the inning. Shawn Devenish would hit a room service grounder that Casey Bahn dropped to the ground on and the ball hit him perfectly for the out. Rob Dias and McCormick both struck out (This would be Mac’s first and only strike out on the day). No score after one inning.
Pasquale Agnone led off the inning with a dribbler to the left side. Dias ranged over and “stop” was called by Weissman. Confusion ensued because nobody else saw a pending collision as Weissman had a bad angle. Admitting his mistake, Weissman quickly awarded the run to Long Island as they had their first lead of the game. Bahn would lace a liner down the third base line again, as Dias ranged far to his right for the stop. Meghan Fink hit a lazy line drive that feel a few steps in front of Dias to his right again. It could have been an all Dias inning, if not for Weissman’s nervousness. Back to the top of the order, Dejesus grounded a ball to the right side that McCormick stopped. Long Island led 1-0 after one and a half.
Connolly would start off the bottom of the second facing his cousin, Joe Yee. It would result in a 4 pitch strike out. Peter stayed on the bump to face David Sanchez. He would hit the third ball up the middle stopped by Meghan Fink. Ron Cochran came back to the mound to face Chris Kimball. Kimball laced a line drive down the third base line where nobody was, he flew down the first base line to tie the game up. Devenish then laced a line drive into deep left. Joe Dejesus moved to his left and dropped to the ground and stopped the ball with the play of the game defensively. The game was tied after two innings 1-1.
Out of form for Alex Barrera, he came up again from the right side (he normally rotates hitting right and left). Alex hit a high fly to the left side. Dias took a few steps back but it fell far in front of him. By the time he collected himself and raced forward, it was too late and Alex gave the Bombers the 2nd run of the game. This momentum would be followed by three strikeouts in a row by Suarez, Agnone and Bahn. Weissman would huddle the team up quickly after they came off the field to encourage them to dig deep,
Rob Dias, who was struggling with a bum knee on this day would continue his struggle at the plate with a 5 pitch strikeout. Joe McCormick laced the first pitch he saw into right field and scored with ease to tie the game up at two. Yee hit a grounder that Fink ranged far to her right on to stop for the 2nd out of the inning. That brought Sanchez to the plate. David who had an amazing first tournament, was struggling to find his consistent swing. Rob and Peter had talked about moving his target before this at bat. On the 5th pitch to Sanchez, he crushed a fly ball to left field and raced to third. On the play Alex Barrera ran over Meghan Fink like a running back plowing over a cornerback. She didn’t even flinch or need time to collect herself, proving how tough she is. Kimball popped up to Bahn to end the inning. Boston led 3-2.
The K’s would continue for Long Island as Fink and Dejesus would whiff to start the inning for their 6th and 7th strikeouts of the game. Barrera would come up right handed three times in a row (not sure when the last time he has ever done this against us as he is a switch hitter). He hit a deep line drive that hit the fence (around 200 feet away) which was an automatic run on this day to keep the defense safe. This tied up the game for the Bombers. Suarez would end the inning with a pop fly which Dias picked up on a few hops.
Devenish, who led off the game would lead off the inning as the Bombers had held him scoreless. He hit a grounder to the right side and was stopped by Suarez as Devenish had been stopped by three different Bombers. Dias hit a laser into left field. Dejesus was on his horse to his left and dove to make the play close, but Dias was safe on his best hit of the day. McCormick would hit a short pop fly to no man’s land and score the only back-to-back runs for the Renegades in this game. Luis Rodriguez would pinch hit for Yee and hit the first pitch he saw to the right side where he was stopped by Alvin Suarez. That brought David Sanchez to the plate. He roped a shot into left field that rolled near the fence but he stood in the batter’s box for nearly 7 seconds before he started to run. After the play, he mentioned that he thought he heard “Foul” when the spotter called “Five”. That froze him and the Renegades gave up a sure run in a close game. Boston led 5-3 after four innings.
Long Island would continue to struggle to make contact. Agnone and Bahn would each strike out for their second times of the game to start the inning. Fink would hit a grounder up the middle in which both McCormick and Dias would converge on and Mac would pick up easily for the out.
Chris Kimball would come up big again. After missing the first three pitches, he fouled two off and then laced a line drive into the defense and scored with his speed. Devenish then got on the board with a pop fly that alluded Meghan Fink when it hit the ground. this brought up a moment every Renegade was anxious to watch, Mike Marciello’s first at bat of his career. Mike found the team in the newspaper and he became a Renegade coach back in the 2014 season. As time passed, Mike lost more and more of his sight and became legally blind before the 2022 season. He stripped off his coaching shorts to show his baseball pants, stepped into the box to face Peter Connolly. You could hear a pin drop on the Renegade bench with the anticipation. Mike swung and missed, then got a foul tip. He then had a take to calm himself down and find his swing but struck out. Joe McCormick would then hit a hard grounder down the third baseline by everyone for the 8th run of the game. Luis Rodriguez went down on strikes and Rob Thayer would get his 2nd official at bat of the day (his first was called a strike out because we batted out of order against New Jersey). He would strike out to end the inning.
More mental mistakes for the Renegades to start off the 6th inning. Dejesus would hit a hard grounder to the right side. Shayne Cantan missed the play but Melissa Hoyt was there and had the ball in her hands in time when Luis Rodriguez ran into her and knocked the ball loose in a collision. A lack of communication in the field and Hoyt stayed in the game, showing her toughness. Alex Barrera then lofted a slicing liner to the line as Kimball ranged to his left and dove to the line making a perfect lay for the 2nd out. Suarez then lofted a high short ball that McCormick raced in to the 40 foot arc on but the ball landed behind him. Mac had time to find the ball and he made the second out of the inning. Agnone would strike out to end the game for Long Island giving Boston a 5-1 record heading into the World Series.