On the Weekend of July 13th, the Renegades traveled to Haddonfield, NJ to finish the Beast of the East competition. The Renegades were tied for first place with the NJ Titans at 3 wins a piece. The winners of these games would determine who the best team on the East coast would be. Boston would make this trip without their starting pitcher, Ron Cochran. The Titans would have a full roster and a collection of fans in the stands as the field is very close to their home turf. Would this spell trouble for Boston? Belwo are game write ups and links to the live feeds.
Renegades put quick hurt on titans 13-6 in just 3 innings!
The New Jersey Titans were coming into this game with a lot of momentum and a lot of confidence with a big win in Chicago over the Chicago Comets. Much of the league thought the Titans may be better than the Renegades. Haddonfield, NJ would the the site of the second leg of the Beast of the East. The field conditions would be much less than optimal with fast low cut grass, giant bald spots and a gulley in deep left field that led to a fence.
The Titans would win the coin toss and elect to be the home team. Jamie Dickerson and Peter Connolly would split time with Dickerson taking the first 4 hitters in the line up and Connolly pitching to Yee and Zucarello. Boston would strike fast and the Titans would struggle with the combination of the Boston speed and the field conditions. Thaxton would score on a pop up off the top of his bat, McCormick would score on a grounder to third, Dias would blast a grounder to the left side on his 2nd pitch and Larry Haile would score on a fly ball up the middle. Eight pitches by Dickerson produced 4 runs. Connolly trotted out and kept the mojo alive as Zuccarello hit the first pitch up the middle for a run and then Joe Yee lined a shot down the ride side. Six up, six in and the top of the order turned over. Thaxton would ground a ball to the left side but he took 2 steps to first as he thought first base rang before he corrected and ran to third but Randy George made the stop with the extra time. McCormick and Dias would end the inning with strike outs, Dias on 7 pitches. Bad base running would be a trend in the first as Titan, Lamont Bordley would miss third to lead off the game and Rob Dias would stop him deep behind first base. Boston would put its Hogwood shift into place and leave Thaxton on an island on the right side. Hogwood would hit a shot down the right side and Thaxton would make an amazing diving stop angling back to the first baseline. After one, Boston had the momentum on both sides of the ball.
In the 2nd, Larry Haile and Joe Yee would score on pop flies up the middle and Thaxton would go opposite field to push the score to 9-0. The Titans bottom of the order struggled and struck out twice and the Renegades smelled blood. Keeping the pressure on, Boston would send 7 batters to the plate in the third with Connolly getting a solid opposite field liner from Zuccarello and Joe Yee while Dickerson plated runs with Thaxton and a smash off the bat of Rob Dias. If the Defense could hold, the 12 run rule would be in effect. Lamont Bordley would strike out in the bottom of the third. Hogwood would get a ball through the shift and it was 13-1. Christian Thaxton would stop Marvin Morgan and Boston would have the 12 run rule which meant the defense would have to hold the Titan defense for 9 outs without hitting. The Titans would score one in the 4th. In the 5th, they would plate two but Boston’s Joe Buizon who came in for defense would make his first defensive stop since 2013 off the bat of Scott Hogwood. Thaxton and Justen Proctor would make stops in the 6th and Boston would win 13-6 on a 3 inning 12 run rule win. It would mark just the 20th time in team history the Renegades would 12 run an opponent, but the 11th time since 2016. With tie breakers in play, Boston would have a commanding lead as they let up 1 run per inning to the 4+ runs per inning the Titans allowed.
The Live stream was cut out and is in two parts:
Boston kicks dirt on the Lightning 15-6
Dirt was a theme. Players found dirt in odd places after this game because the field was 80% dirt with almost no grass. Boston would trot out a lineup of 6 batters who did not start in the first game. Peter Connolly would toe the rubber for all 6 hitters to start this game. Rookie, David Sanchez got things started with a hard grounder on the first pitch of the game. Lightning, Dan Johnson hit the dirt and made a brilliant stop. Boston then would begin to struggle. Quintanilla and Buizon would strike out on 8 pitches, 7 of them misses. Justen Proctor would then get Boston on the board with a grounder up the middle in the second frame. Boston continued to struggle at the plate as Connolly couldn’t find the bats of Luis Soto and Sanchez. They struck out on 9 pitches; 7 swings and misses.
At this point in the game, Boston had struck out 4 times and the Lightning 3. A very slow start. Andre Foster and rookie, Cody Kirchner hit weak grounders that Justen Proctor gobbled up in the bottom of the second.. Struggles continued for Boston as Connolly was lost with Quintanilla and Devenish as they each picked up their second whiff of the game in the third. On a slightly positive note, Joe Buizon put his first ball into play since 2013 but Sherlock Washington stopped him in left center. Weissman was looking for ways to kick start the offense and get Connolly his confidence back. Before he could pull the trigger, Lightning lead off hitter, Casey Bahn led off the bottom of the third with a grounder to the right side that eluded Guy Zuccarello. David Sanchez would hit the dirt in his first career defensive play but would come up empty as Casey Bahn scored raising his hands in victory. Game tied at 1-1.
Weissman had Joe McCormick ready to go into the game and removed Zuccarello in case his bat was needed to get Connolly going. Zuccarello would need to wait for six outs before he could enter the lineup. With a tie score in the top of the 4th, Justen Proctor would lead off and score on a grounder to the right side making it 2-1. Looking to get Connolly some mojo, Weissman took Joe Yee off the bench to hit for Luis Soto. Yee scored on the 2nd pitch he saw. Sanchez then scored and the Renegades swagger was back. In between innings, adjustments were being made and Connolly suggested to Quintanilla to switch to hit off Dickerson as he was struggling to find Q’s bat. Without any bp of Jamie, Q put it in play but was put out in center by Washington. Buizon scored on a dribbler for his first run of the season. Proctor, Yee and Sanchez all scored for the 2nd time of the inning and Quintanilla scored off Dickerson. Boston now led 9-1 and the game looked like the tables had turned. The Renegades would end up winning the game easily after a slow start 15-6. Justen Proctor was the hero of the game scoring 5 times in 5 trips to the plate and making 6 of the 7 defensive stops for the Renegades. It was Justen’s first 5 run game of his career. Boston was now 5-0 and would play the 4-1 Titans for a game to determine 1st place.
Boston is the Beast of the East for the 8th time downing the Titans 21-13
For the 3rd time during the weekend, Boston lost the coin toss would be the visiting team. Weissman smirked and said to Titan Coach, Steve Rutch with a smile “how did that work out for you last game?” Things started similarly as Boston plated 3 straight runs on 5 pitches thrown by Dickerson to Thaxton, McCormick and Dias. Connolly would get a run from Yee and then Dickerson scored with Thaxton, McCormick and Dias again. Boston plated 7 runs in the fist inning, one of their best first innings in team history. The Titans would get a run from Scott Hogwood and some good defense by Christian Thaxton and Justen Proctor would shut down the threat. In the 2nd, Thaxton and McCormick would loft deep shots into left to pull the Gades ahead 9-1. The Titans had no answer as Alfonso Harrell and Zach Turner each whiffed.
The Boston third was a turning point. Haile, Sanchez (in for Joe Yee who needed to get his aching shins a rest) and Zuccarello all struck out. Like a vulture that could taste blood, the Titans caught fire. A combination of a hot pitcher, speed, bad defensive calls, poor mechanics, fast fields and a lapse in concentration resulted in one of the Renegades worst innings in years as the Titans put 10 runs on the board to go ahead 11-1 after three. Through all these plays, the Titans 20+ fans were making things a loud and emotional environment. This was just the 6th time in team history an opponent had scored 10 or more runs in an inning. The Renegades had never won in this situation. Weissman never wavered and even told his team how important this moment was. The key was to see how the team would respond.
Respond they did. In the 4th, Thaxton and McCormick hit shots into left. Dias hit a ball that Zach Turner could not pick up and Larry Haile scored on a grounder up the middle. Thaxton scored his 5th run of the game in the same inning and Boston now lead 14-11 after three and a half. The Titans had no response as they went down 1-2-3 with two strikeouts and a weak hit grounder to Rob Dias to close out the fourth inning. Peddle to the medal in the 5th. Larry Haile got things started with a run when Peter Connolly came to the mound to face Buizon in an important at bat. With a full count, Buizon responded with a fly ball and a run as the Renegades erupted. Zuccarello connected with Connolly for his only run of the game. At the end of the 5th inning Boston had reached 19 offensive runs. The Titans put up back to back scores from Turner and Bordley before Justen Proctor made two nice defensive stops to end the threat in the 5th. Buizon plated his second run of the game on a grounder that hugged the third base line all the way into the gulley in deep left. Thaxton then scored a Renegade record 7th run of the game. Boston had scored 21 runs, its largest output of the year and only the 3rd time it had plated 20 runs in a game in team history. The Renegades would win 21-13.
The Titans would score 10 of their 13 runs in one inning of play. Thaxton paced the offense with 7 runs. McCormick and Dias each plated 4 runs. Proctor led the defense with 5 stops. Boston won its 8th game straight and 8th Beast of the East title and started 2018 with a 7-0 record. A total team effort from the Renegades, its coaches, pitchers and callers (Bryan Grillo and Aaron Proctor). For the first time in team history, Boston weathered a 10 run inning on defense and came back to win. In fact, Boston lost 15 straight games prior to this when letting up 8 or more runs in an inning. That resolve will be something to build on for the upcoming World Series
The Champs and the Standings
|2||NJ Titans||4||2 (1 win by forfeit)||(1 win by forfeit)|
|3||Long Island Bombers||4||2|
|4||Philly Fire||2||4||(1 win by forfeit)|
|5||Rochester Pioneers||1||5||(1 win by forfeit)|
|6||New Jersey Lightning||1||5||(3 forfeits)|