Boston struggles out of the gate in Long Island and goes 2-1

Fire snap 7 game losing streak to the Renegades winning 13-12

Weissman warned the team that these Fire were hungry.  They opened against the Renegades in Rochester last year and Boston struggled to put them away.  The Fire went on to take 10th in the World Series last year, their best showing since 2008.  They had already played 4 games on the season and were geared up for this game.  Boston is always ready but the rust would show for sure.

Drew Crook, Mike Koenig and Christian Thaxton

Drew Crook and Mike Koenig saw their first game as a Renegade and Thaxton paced the offense with a 5 run game

The game was played on a thick grass but a very hard surface that would cause balls to bounce all over the place.  The bases were very hard to hear and this would throw the Renegades off their game.  The Fire struck first blood scoring three times in the 1st inning, with the killer being a hit off the bat of Paul Boucher.  Thaxton plated a run on a bomb to left to lead off for the Renegades but then Dias was put out by Mike Coughlin in which he took a step to the wrong base and Joe McCormick and Larry Haile  struck out on 8 straight swings and misses.

The Fire pushed a Mike Coughlin run across in the second on a ball he hit to the vacated third base line.  Boston came roaring back in the bottom of the second with a 5 run inning with Shawn Devenish scoring on a pop up down the 3rd base line. Joe Buizon lofted a fly ball up the middle and Thaxton hit a hard grounder into left for 3 straight runs.  Joe McCormick would get a knock  and Shawn Devenish would finish off the inning  with a laser into left center.  Boston had taken a 6-4 lead!

The third inning looked like the Boston defense was waking up as Proctor stopped Boucher, McCormick stopped Kirchner on a grounder up the middle and after John Margist beat Buizon on a pop up, Proctor  stopped Coughlin.  Boston led off the third with Thaxton plating his third run before both Rob Dias and Joe McCormick were stopped up front by Mike Coughlin.  Larry Haile fouled off three straight pitches before hitting a liner up the middle to give Boston a crooked number for the frame.  Philly found some luck when Shawn Devenish lined a ball off John Margist which bounced to Mike Coughlin for a stop and an all Coughlin inning.  Boston led 8-5.

In the 4th inning, Justin Rhines led off with a pop up to Dias that was a bang-bang play and Rhines speed was awarded the run.  The Boston defense clamped down as McCormick stopped Tawam in the 2nd layer up the middle of the field.  Buizon stopped Boucher at third base in the 2nd layer and Dias stopped Kirchner.  It was 8-6.  Boston went to it’s bench and at first glance this looked like a great move.  David Sanchez came in for Buizon and on the first pitch blasted a ball into deep left for a run.  It was called back because the ball was dead  Sanchez fouled off two more and then went down swinging to kick off his 2019 season.  Thaxton plated his 4th run of the game on a ball that bounced off the hands of John Margist at third base.  Rob Dias grounded out to Coughlin on another ball in which he ran to the wrong base at first and lost by a step.  Joe McCormick  lost his mechanics and went down swinging on 4 pitches.  Boston had a 9-6 lead.  The complacency would set it soon.

Things would soon take a turn for the worst for the Renegades.  John Margist would hit a line drive down the right side.  Guy Zucarello had a small chance and it got by him as the right shortie, Joe McCormick ranged over and missed the ball in right field.  Next, Coughlin hit a laser into center field that bounced off Rob Dias’s leg and got away from him as Coughlin scored.  Rhines (4 swings and missed) and Muneer Tawam would strike out on 8 pitches which brought Paul Boucher to the plate.  Boston knew he was going to go down the third base line and moved Joe McCormick over to third for this hitter.  Boucher hit the ball at McCormick but Joe lost track of where the line was and over ran it into foul territory and Boucher scored a huge game tying run as the Fire bench exploded with excitement.  Zuccarello would put an end to it as he stopped Cody Kirchner to stop the bleeding down the first base line.  The score was tied at nine.  Boston would then do something they would not do in any other inning of the day, they would put up a gigantic bagel for the inning.

Larry Haile led off the inning with a grounder that went about 55 feet up the middle of the field and was stopped by Mike Coughlin and then controversy started because someone in the Philly defense called time in the middle of the pitch.  Time was not awarded.  There was a lot of debate and in the end, the out was awarded.  Devenish whiffed on 4 pitches and Joe Yee would face his cousin, Peter Connolly and be stopped by Coughlin on a weak grounder to the right side.  The score would be tied heading into the last frame.

John Margist would lead off the 6th inning  and after two strikes asked to change his bat.  After he took a pitch, he lofted a fly ball into left by the diving Joe Yee at third and Shawn Devenish in deep left.  Coughlin would then hit a dribbler up the middle that went into the Bermuda triangle between Proctor (LS), Buizon (RS) and Dias (MF) for a run.  Rhines then grounded a ball up the left middle and Proctor laid out to make the stop.  Tawam would step up 0-4 on the day.  Tawam and Boucher were two guys the Renegades needed to get out to help them walk off in the 6th.  With the Renegades top of the order up in the bottom of the 6th, these would be huge hitters.  Tawam would hit a ball up the middle of the field and be stopped by Joe McCormick and a late base would be awarded after Tawam fell down.  the Renegade bench did not hear Tawam call for this late base, but it was awarded.  Tawam would return to the plate.  He would then hit a 50 foot dribbler that fooled the Boston callers as Dias and Proctor thought it was hit harder than it was.  Proctor crawled forward looking for it and Tawam scored a HUGE run to make it 12-9 and his first run of the game.  Boucher then hit a weak ball to the left side and on a bang bang play Proctor appeared to make the play before Boucher reached first.  Because there was not enough umpires, there was little to review and the game was 13-9 Fire.  Kirchner would go down on swings.  Margist would then get stopped on a line drive off the chest of Buizon playing the right short position.   Boston was down big going into their last at bat of the day.  It was the top of the order which at this point had Thaxton with 4 runs, Dias 0-4 and McCormick 1-4.  The bats needed to wake up.

Thaxton would swing and miss on the first two pitches and foul off the third before lacing a hard grounder into left center.  13-10.  Rob Dias who had been stopped by Coughlin three times and had run two bad bases would hit the first pitch he saw…to Coughlin again for an out, his 8th stop of the game.  Joe McCormick who was battling his swing demons in this game needed to dig deep and focus on his mechanics.  With two strikes, he laced a line drive into left for a loud run making it 13-11. As the live feed cut out (Hunter’s Phone over heated) the Facebook live crowd was left wondering what was going on. Joe Buizon came back into the game, re-entering the game in which he had exited early to rest his legs.  With two strikes, he hit a grounder down the first base line and scored his 2nd run of the game and a 13-12 game.  Boston was down one with just one out.  Shawn Devenish would be up next and the entire Boston bench was unsure who Weissman would have hit in the last spot as both Joe Yee and David Sanchez were swinging the bat.    Devenish took a mighty cut and on the 2nd pitch hit a grounder to the left side that was gobbled up by Coughlin for his 9th stop of the game.  Down to the last out and down a run, Weissman turned to Joe Yee which also brought Peter Connolly to the mound.  A tough spot for Connolly for sure.  Weissman just felt more confident with Yee because he had more experience running bases.  On the 2nd pitch, Yee got one he liked and laced a hard grounder to the right side past the 2nd layer.  Yee raced to first base and missed it.  As he slammed on the brakes with his aching shins, Justin Rhines pricked up the ball to end the rally and the game.  Philly had defeated the Renegades 13-12.  they had broken a 7 game losing streak to the Renegades.  A huge win in a season where the World Series seeds are awarded on merit of the 2019 season…not just the 2018 finish.  the Fire were fired up for sure and the Renegades awaited the Titans

Renegades walk off in a slug fest and beat Titans 22-21

Larry Haile, Joe McCormick, Joe Buizon and Christian Thaxton

Haile, McCormick, Buizon and Thaxton all had big games against the Titans. Thaxton and Buizon had 5 run games each! first time in team history two players scored 5 runs in a game@

After a gut wrenching loss, the Titans came into this game with something to prove to the league.  The Renegades came in with a target on their back.  Boston had one game played in 2019 and the Titans had played nine.  Their pitcher, Greg Rutz was much improved.  

Lead off hitter, Zack Turner has seen a lot of improvement from his rookie year and gives the Titans a fast powerful lead off hitter.  He struck out to start this contest.  Alfonso Harrell hit a grounder down the right side which eluded Guy Zuccarello and Joe Buizon over ran for the first run of the game.  Randy George scored on a grounder to the right side.  Scott Hogwood then launched a bomb into deep left that Shawn Devenish almost stopped but it was hit too far.  Lamont Bordley hit a line drive up the middle that bounced off Rob Dias’ shins and he could not recover to beat the speedy Bordley.  Guy Zuccarello would get the defense going by making a stop on a short grounder down the first base line off the bat of a former NFL prospect, Marvin Morgan.  This brought the top of the lineup back up and Turner hit a grounder to third that bounced over a laid out Joe McCcormick.  Alfonso Harrell stopped the bleeding for the Renegades when he whiffed on 6 pitches.  Boston would start this game down 5-0.

The Boston bats started to come alive at the end of the Philly game which was a good sign.  Christian Thaxton was coming off his 7th career 5+ run game.  He lead off by blasting a line drive into left field by three fielders for his 6th straight run.  Joe McCormick still searching for his swing would take his third pitch down the third base line to make it 5-2.  Rob Dias coming off an O-fer in the last game took the second pitch into deep left for three straight runs.  Larry Haile came into hit for Zuccarello and hit a high short fly to the right side and hustled down the first base line, 5-4.  Devenish grounded out to the left shorty, Randy George.  Buizon hit a hard bouncing grounder down the first base line that eluded two fielders and tied the game 5-5.  The top of the order would end the rally as Thaxton whiffed and McCormick grounded out to George who made a nice diving stop.  Ten combined runs in the first inning.

Randy George hit a line drive to the right side that got by everyone to lead off the 2nd inning.  George has an improved swing and is falling in love with the opposite field.  Hogwood would whiff and Lamont Bordley hit a grounder down the first base line, took a shaky line to third and Buizon ranged to make the play near 110 feet near the first base line.  Marvin Morgan then hit a dribbler up the middle.  Proctor laid out and the ball rolled up and over his body.  McCormick, playing up the middle went into a beach whale and was called safe.  Replays clearly show him out. Turner hit a ball up the middle and on another controversial call was called safe on a ball Devenish appeared to stop.  The titans would lead 8-5 and Rob Dias would stop the bleeding to stop the inning.  

Boston did not have much of an answer as Dias whiffed, Joe Yee (facing his cousin, peter) grounded out weekly, Deveinish scored on a well hit ball and Buizon whiffed.  The Renegades were down 8-6 after two.

In the third, this Defensive mojo continued.  Proctor stopped George, Hogwood whiffed and Bordley scored on a play that Dias and Proctor could not come up with and Morgan whiffed.  9-6 Titans heading into the bottom of the third.  Thaxton led off the bottom of the frame and scored on a baseline hugger down third base line.  Mac whiffed, Dias grounded out to George.  Larry Haile re-entered for Yee and hit a bouncer  down the third base line which George hit the ground to early on to make it 9-8.

The fourth would be the best defensive inning for Boston.  After a Turner whiff, Alfonso Harrell hit a high fly that traveled about 50 feet to the right side, Dias over ran it, proctor over ran it for what would be the only run of the inning.  Dias and Proctor would stop The former Philly Fire transplants, George and Hogwood.  Titans led 10-8.

This turn of events fired up the bats.  Buizon would lead off this inning with a bomb up the middle but this would be followed by a whiff by Thaxton and a stop off the bat of Mccormick by Lamont Bordley.  Rob Dias would the score on a short pop fly to tie the game.  Weissman had a decision to make, he decided to go to Guy Zuccarello over Joe Yee who had some great batting practices.  It would be his first at-bat of the year.  On his second pitch, he hit a pop fly 40 feet and beat out a hit as the team erupted.  Devenish, Buizon would score on well hit balls and Thaxton would hit a ball that landed and took a right turn that is near impossible to field for a combined total of 4 pitches.  That six run inning gave Boston a 14-8 lead, its first lead of the game.

The fifth inning was a nightmare for Boston.  In fact, it was one of the worst innings ever.  Only 30 innings since 2003, the team had allowed 7 or more runs.  It would be a bumpy ride for sure.  Buizon missed a shot to get Bordley.  McCormick had a ball bounce off his body and Morgan scored.  Dias missed an easy ball off Turner’s bat because he did not lay out.  Harrell would then hit a slow grounder down the first base line, Dias would not lay out again, but this time Buizon was waiting for it for a stop.  14-11 Renegades.  George then hit a dribbler up the middle, proctor missed it and Dias ran into the umpire which prevented him from making the stop.  14-12.  The bleeding would impact the umpires as well.  The Renegade defense looked like crap, or as we teased rookie, Drew Crook, a pile of Doo-Doo.  Hogwood would hit a ball up the middle (for a change) and McCormick could not come up with it.  Bordley hit one of the best shots for the Titans on the day.  14-13.  Morgan whiffed and Turner hit a bomb to center that was tough to play. Harrell would whiff to represent two of the three outs in the inning.  The Titans took back the lead 17-14.

Boston had an answer.  The Renegades don’t quit.  With one out, Larry Haile would score on a weak grounder up the middle for his third run of the game in three trips. Devenish would strike out, Buizon would stay hot and score on a big fly ball for the 4th time in the game.  Thaxton would go deep into the count and the game would be stopped because the New Jersey Lightning crossed the field after the first pitch to Christian.  He would lace a spinning liner to the right to tie the game at 17.  Joe McCormick would give the team its second lead of the game with a grounder down the line and Boston would lead 18-17

The Titans matched the energy of the Gades.  Again, the Renegade defense would struggle.  With three strikes and on the 6th pitch, Randy George scored on a ball where Justen and Joe McCormick struggled to corral it as it landed between them on the left side.  Hogwood scored on a ball that bounced off Larry Haile who was in at third base for the first time all day (so his bat would be available in the bottom of the frame if needed). Bordley would score for the 5th time getting it by Joe McCormick at the mid field slot.  Turner would score with speed on a fly ball.  21-18.  Dias would stop Harrell and George would strike out for the first time all game.  

Boston would have it’s 4-5-6 hitters up in the 6th. L-train would lead off and after getting a late base call, would lace a liner into right to go a perfect 4-4 in the game.  21-19.  After a third Devenish strike out, Buizon would score his 5th run( and the first time he had a 5 run game since 2006 against columbus) on a high pop that Bordley could not find in time. 21-20 with Thaxton due up.  He would hit the first pitch in the air about 70 feet with a ton of English on it to tie the game.  Joe McCormick took the first pitch to calm down and then hit the second pitch foul hard down the third base line.  With thunder rumbling in the area, he hit a fly ball up the middle, raced down the first base line and Mac had his first ever walk of victory.  Boston got its 1st win of the season in walk off fashion

When this game ended, the 22 runs scored set a team record for the most runs scored ever.  Also, the Renegade defense had never let up 20 or more runs in a game and won.  The 21 runs were the most allowed in a team victory.  

Boston beats the lightning before the thunder rolls 12-1

Luis Soto and Drew Crook

Soto Paced the offense with three runs (his best game ever) and Drew Crook scored the first two runs of his career!

After two long games, a start time that was 40 minutes late and a lunch break we were not supposed to take. The NJ lightning took the field.  They had a bye for the first two rounds and would be playing their first game.  Boston was 1-1 on the day.  At the start if the game, we were asked to play 4 innings.  

The lightning went down 1-2-3 on strike outs in the first.  Because of the inning limit, Boston wanted to get some runs early and started Thaxton and McCormick and Haile.  Thax and McCormick scored and did their job.  That would be the end of their days.  Zuccarello made it 3-0 on a one pitch grounder up the middle.  With two outs, Rookie Drew Crook came to the plate for his first at bat and faced Peter Connolly.  On the very first pitch, Crook would lace a shot into left field and score his first career run.  He became just the third Renegade in history to score in his first at-bat and the second (with David Sanchez) to score on the first pitch he saw.  Boston celebrated.  That would be all the offense needed to win this game.

The Lightning would use three pitchers in this contest and rack up 10 strike outs.  Justen proctor would make 5 stops in defense to lead the team.  In the third innIng, we had another big highlight.  Up 5-0, with one out, Dan Johnson came to the plate and hit a grounder down the third base line.  Luis Soto was there and the ball bounced off him.  He tracked it and picked it up to nab Johnson on a bang-bang play.  Johnson was put and Luis Soto made his first defensive stop in 6 years as a Renegade!  In the bottom of the third, Crook would score his second career run on a pop fly.  

The Jersey defense was relying on Casey Bahn.  He would make 4 of the 5 stops on defense before the Renegades invoked the 12 run rule after three innings.  When the Renegade bats were done hitting, Luis Soto would end the game leading the team with 3 runs scored. David Sanchez, Guy Zuccarello and Drew Crook each had a pair.  The game would be called due to a thunderstorm with two outs in the 6th inning of the 12 run contest.  Boston would head home 2-1 for the first loss in Beast of the East action since 2014 looking up at an undefeated Philly Fire team.

Beast of the East scores and standings

The standings after one leg were

  1. Philly 3-0
  2. Boston 2-1
  3. Titans 1-2
  4. Long Island 0-2
  5. NJ Lightning 0-1


9:00 games

  • Philly 13 Boston 12
  • Titans 19 Long Island 12

11:00 games

  • Boston 22 Titans 21
  • Philly 14 Long Island 6

2:00 games

  • Boston 12 Lightning 1 (12 run rule in the 3rd inning and game stopped with two outs in the 6th due to rain)
  • Philly 6 Titans 5 (4 inning game due to rain)

4:00 Game

  • Long Island vs NJ Lightning – Rained out

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