Indy Thunder “C” Team rolls over Renegade “A” Team in 12-run contest 15-7
On a Hot and humid morning in Philly, The Boston Renegades would face off against the Indy Thunder for the very first time in an East Coast tournament. The Indy thunder were filling in for a lack of commitment from East coast teams in this odd COVID year. They would bring with them a very limited squad with just one player from their starting lineup and many players who had limited playing time during the World Series. Coach Weissman was calling this their C team due to its lack of starters and the pitcher being forced to hit. “a”, “B” or “C” – any team with the world’s best pitcher on the mound and whom practices close to 90 times a year is going to be a formidable opponent. Boston would have their starting battery in Weissman and Cochran. Peter Connolly would be available to pitch to a few hitters. Defensively, Bryan Grillo would man the left side calling and the plan for the Renegades was to work in other callers into the games on the right side (Connolly, Ward, Teigan Weissman). For game one Grillo would start with Peter Connolly making his debut on the right side.
Boston got off to a tough start on this early morning that started at the hotel when a rookie was still in bed as the entire team was loaded on the bus waiting. That slow start would carry over into play. Joe McCormick who had a great start to the season In Woburn, saw 6 pitches and struck out to lead off the game as Boston lost the coin toss and was the visiting team. Shawn Devenish scored. Rob Dias hit a ball, missed third base and then scored, but his run was taken away due to a dead ball. He would then hit a grounder to Adam Rodenbeck for the 2nd out. Next, David Sanchez would get his first at-bat of the year. On the 6th pitch he saw off Peter Connolly, he lined a shot to the right side hitting Clint Woodard in the leg while he was standing there. A lucky hop for the Thunder stole a run from Sanchez. Boston would need more than a single digit to beat this Thunder team. It was a slow start to the day for sure.
The Thunder would also start slow. Zach Buehler would hit a grounder down by third base. Rob Dias would range back to nab it in plenty of time on the first pitch of the inning. Ikram would strike out on 4 swings and misses and a take in his first ever at-bat against the Renegades. Then the flood gates would open which would become a theme for the game. Rodenbeck hit a line drive to the right side which Shayne Cantan would lay out for. The ball hit him in the hands, but he could not pick it up in time. Ed Brown then lifted a fly ball to the left side of the defense. Dias dropped back on it a few steps but could not find the handle and Indy now had the lead on two balls that hit off the Renegade’s bodies. The next hitter would cause some confusion for the Renegades as Jarred Woodard, one of the top pitchers in the league would come to the plate. Woodard was filling in for the Thunder because they only traveled with 7 players, 5 who were healthy enough to play every game. He would prove to be a two-way threat (Shohei Ohtoni comes to mind). He hit a grounder to the left side by Dias, Rodriguez and into the hands of McCormick a split second after he scored. Joe Higdon would strike out to end the inning. The Thunder held a 3-1 lead.
Luis Soto would enter the game to replace the fielder, Luis Rodriguez in a Luis-Luis exchange. He would go down on 4 straight pitches to start off the inning. The second straight inning starting with a whiff for the Gades. Shayne Cantan would also go down on strikes but was showing promise with an improved swing through his hard work to get better. Joe McCormick then got three strikes on him and hit a grounder into left field. He would be stopped by Para-Olympian goal ball player – Zach Buehler. A team cannot go two innings with just one run against any Indy Thunder team. And this would prove costly.
Zach Buehler would lead off the 2nd inning for the Thunder. He hit a grounder to Rob Dias, The ball hit Dias in the legs and bounced straight up into the air. Buehler’s speed would get him to the base before Dias could find the handle. Dias would make sure to get the next player as Ikram hit a ball down the third base line. Dias would pick that ball up for the out in what was becoming a busy game for the left shorty. Adam Rodenbeck then hit a grounder up the middle of the field, Shawn Devenish never got fully down on the ball and could not find the handle either and another run would score. Ed Brown then hit a line drive to the left side through the defense which was shifted to play on the other side of the field. Boston really had no chance on this ball as Brown would make it 6 runs for the Thunder. The sighted Woodard would then loft a fly ball over the right side of the defense for another bomb that the Renegade defense would have no chance on and he would fly down the line to score. Higdon would whiff for a second time giving the defense a break. Buehler then hit a bomb to left field where Joe McCormick would pick it up on two bounces and make a great play. This did stir up some controversy as the Thunder claimed he did not have it away from his body. There was no appeal and the Thunder led 7-1 after two.
Shawn Devenish would lead off the third frame by hitting a dribbler to the right side, He burned down the third base line as Ikram bobbled the ball and could not make the play. It would be Shawn’s second run and sadly, only the second run for the Boston offense. Dias would hit a first pitch grounder right to Rodenbeck for a room service out. David Sanchez would go down on strikes off Peter Connolly. Joe Yee would then come off the bench to hit in his first at-bat of the season after suffering a knee injury in late July that derailed his season. He would hit a hard grounder to the left side and take off toward first. His line took him to the bench in what we call a banana line. Zach Buehler would make the play in left field just before Yee hit first base. The Renegades had trouble running bases in Woburn, and that continued for Yee in his first at bat. It was Indy 7 and Shawn Devenish 2 after three innings.
In the bottom of the third, Ikram led off with a grounder up the middle of the right side. Shayne dove but came up empty. Shawn did not get to the ground and it bounced off him, He bobbled it and Ikram scored. Rodenbeck hit a scorching line drive to the right side. Cantan never went down for the ball and it would be an easy run for the speedy Rodenbeck. Ed Brown lofted a line drive to the right side, Devenish dove and missed, McCormick also had a chance but came up empty. Woodard would then hit a hard grounder to the left side by the diving Rodriguez and McCormick as that was 4 straight runs for the Thunder. Higdon would keep things going as he put the ball in play for the first time past a diving Guy Zuccarello and into the hands of Shayne Cantan for the first Renegade out on the right side of the defense. Buehler then hit a bomb to the right side which Boston had no chance on for his second run and the 12th run for the Thunder offense. Ikram hit a high fly to the right side near the first base line. Zuccarello ranged to the line but the ball went speaker down and needed to be replaced. Guy could not hear the ball and it was another run for the Thunder. Rodenbeck then hit a grounder right at Devenish, Shawn had the ball in time and then dropped it.
Weissman would call a time out to get caller, Bryan Grillo a rest and enter Teigan Weissman into the game for his first ever game action as a caller. Ed Brown hit a grounder into the Bermuda Triangle. Dias and Shawn would both go for the ball and fumble for it while both coming up empty, Shawn would get hit in the head but would be good enough to play. Indy was up by 12 and the 12-run rule was invoked for the first time against Boston in 2021. Jarred Woodard would finally be stopped in this game by a diving Rob Dias on Teigan Weissman’s first ever call – which was one of the few things to celebrate in this game. Higdon would whiff- making 4 of the 9 outs for this Thunder team. That would be it for the Renegades. All that was left was trying to get their game on track for Philly at this point.
In the fourth when the pressure was off, Boston would score five times as Shayne Cantan scored a pair and found his groove with a fly ball and a hard liner, Devenish hit a blast into left and Joe Mac and Luis Soto also plated runs to find their groove. Boston would sub in players the rest of the way and have nothing to show for it. The Indy Thunder’s bench would easily defeat the Renegades in this match where Boston could just not find the handle in the field or get past a slow start to the morning. It may have been enough to wake up the offense though.
The loss meant nothing to the Beast of the East, but the hope was it would be a wakeup call because the season was going to come down to the very next game against the hosts.
Renegades Lose the Beast of the East for the first time ever, 21-16
This was the match up we had been preparing for in this tournament. The Fire also loaded up their roster and picked up the best player off the Titans roster making their starting lineup half from the fire and half from the Titans. This would be a great test for the Renegades.
Boston would score off three weak grounders to start off the game as McCormick, Devenish and Dias all scored based on some speed and some struggles the Philly defense was having. Then Shayne Cantan hit a hard shot into left field and Luis Soto hit a fly ball to right field to make it 5-0. After David Sanchez grounded out to John Margist, Joe McCormick scored on another line drive into left field for his second run of the inning. Rob Dias scored on a coffin corner to the left side and that would be all the scoring for Boston as they left the first inning with six runs to start the game.
In the bottom of the first, the Renegade would start to struggle as Shawn Devenish did not use his fundamentals allowing Scott Hogwood to score. Jeff Rhines kicked in a run on a dribbler up the middle which Rob Dias charged and rolled by him and Devenish was slow to get in the air due to Rhines speed. That would be it for Philly as they had 3 whiffs and scored on their only two balls in play. The shaky Renegade defense did not exude confidence.
In the second, After a Krause stop of Joe Yee, Boston would score three straight as McCormick scored on a bang-bang play on a short fly ball, Devenish scored on a line drive into deep left and Dias also scored on a pop up to the left side. That pushed the Renegade lead to 10-2.
Things were looking up when Marvin Morgan hit a grounder to the left side and Rob Dias stopped it with perfect mechanics. Then the wheels would start to come off. Margist hit a high fly ball in front of Shawn. Devenish did not line it up on the second bounce and it got past him. McCormick picked it up right as Margist hit the base. Scott Hogwood would then hit a bomb into left field passed a diving McCormick. The scary moment here was Shayne Cantan was stopped a millisecond from running into a telephone poll that was about 190 feet from home plate. Thankfully the Renegades asked the Fire to move a set of bleachers before the game that could have come into play. Thankfully everyone was safe though Cantan was really close to getting seriously hurt.
After the scare, Zach Tuner hit a dribbler down the left side. Dias got down on his knees and in his effort to reach out for the ball, pushed it away from his self. With Turner’s speed, that was the only chance he would have. Rhines would then hit another weak grounder up the middle, Dias ran in on it and the ball squirted by him as he over ran it. Four Philly runs on just one solid hit. Boston would end the inning on a nice play by Shayne Cantan on a fly ball that Shayne picked up on two bounces. After two innings it was a 10-6 lead for Boston but the Renegade defense was looking shaky.
Boston had a bad third inning. Luis Soto struck out as he was pushing himself too hard and losing his swing. Sanchez hit a pop up and took a bad base and was put out and McCormick struck out. That was a Renegade donut. No room for donuts in a big offensive game.
The bottom of the third would be Boston’s worst inning on defense during the season. That’s how things tend to go after a donut. Margist would lead off with a fly ball hit right at Luis Rodriguez. Luis was slow to the ground and it went right under him. This was the 5th error for the Renegades in this game. After a Hogwood strike out, Turner hit a hard grounder into left center. McCormick laid out perfectly to make the play for the 2nd out of the inning. Rhines hit a weak grounder to the right side. Zuccarello hit the ground the and it went through his hands. Krause then hit a nice fly ball to the middle of the field that got past Devenish. Marvin Morgan then hit a high fly ball right at Rob Dias. It landed with some crazy spin Dias had one chance at it but bobbled it and Morgan scored. Margist would score on a 40 foot ball that Dias got to a hair after Margist hit first base. Scott Hogwood would then go opposite field; Zuccarello did not have enough speed to get to it as he was left on an island and six runs were in for Philly. Turner (in his second at bat of the inning) then hit a grounder down the left Side. Dias chased it and kicked it with his knees as Turner scored on the 5th Renegade error of the inning. Weissman called a defense and changed the lineup brining McCormick in from Rover to left shorty moving Dias to first base. Cantan was also moved to Mid field as Devenish moved to rover. Rhines would test the shift right away and hit a ball up the middle that Cantan would over pursue for a run. Krause then lofted a fly ball to the right side that Dias would pick up right as Krause hit the base. That was nine runs in with Five Renegade errors. Morgan would hit a grounder up the middle and Shayne Cantan made the play to stop the bleeding. Philly was up 15-10.
Leading off the 4th, Devenish hit the first pitch he saw on a short fly up the middle and he won a foot race against Krause to lead off the inning as the Renegades showed no quit. Dias scored on a bobble to the right side. Cantan finally made solid contact during the inning but was stopped by Jeff Rhines in left field as the coaching staff wondered what was happening to Shayne’s base running as his form looked off. Chris Kimball would pinch hit for Soto and on one pitch hit a weak grounder to Krause. That brought Joe Yee to the plate and Peter Connolly back to the mound. Yee hit a grounder to the right side and was able to score to turn over the order. McCormick and Devenish would then plate runs to tie the game at 15.
The defensive changes would kick in right out of the gate in the bottom of the fourth as Margist hit a grounder that McCormick laid out for on his spot for the first out. Hogwood then laced a hard grounder down the 3rd base line which Shawn Devenish dove for and stopped right near the foul line for the 2nd out of the inning in deep left field. The Renegades would get a chance at a 1-2-3 when Turner grounded a bouncer up the middle where McCormick threw his feet at the ball and Shayne Cantan got on his knees and bobbled it instead of laying out. The fire had a 16-15 lead and that would be all they would get as Zuccarello got his first out on a ball hit by Rhines.
Shayne Cantan would lead off for the Renegades but nobody had talked to him about his base running form. He would be put out on a bang-bang play and his base running clearly was showing something was wrong. Kimball and Sanchez would also be stopped and the Renegade had no answer in this 16-15 game.
Philly came up in the bottom of the fifth looking for some insurance. Krause would score on a bomb into right field over the Renegade defense. After a foul ball down the third base line which a “stop” call was called to prevent a collision between Morgan and McCormick avoided any injury, Morgan hit a hard grounder down the first base line for the 2nd run of the inning past the entire Renegade defense again. Margist hit a grounder up the middle, Cantan went feet first at it and it got by him, Rob Dias backed it up but was too late as Margist scored the third consecutive run. Turner went back to the right side as he hit a grounder to Rob Dias who could not get it in time. Rhines would score on another grounder up the left side which McCormick and Cantan could not put a body on. That would be it as the next two batters would strike out. Of the 8 strike outs in the Fire’s game, 3 of them came in this inning.
Down six, the top of the order was ready for the challenge. McCormick would be stopped on a grounder to the left side by Krause for his 7th defensive stop of the game (equaling the entire Renegade defensive output). Devenish would stay hot and hit a deep fly ball for his 5th run of the game. Sadly, Dias and a shoeless Shayne Cantan (he had about 6 blisters on his feet which is why he was running awkwardly) would go down on strike outs.
The Philly Fire brought in three hired guns for this game. Those hired guns would score 9 runs in 18 at-bats and make one stop on defense. The hope is that these hired guns will stay with the Fire and help the team grow. For the first time since the Beast of the East was established, the Renegades would not take the trophy home.
Though the Renegade streak was stopped, it took two teams to beat them. More importantly, it has sparked a fire in the Renegades gut to work harder for the 2022 season.
Due to the heat and some technical problems, the game was caught in three different live streams
Game #7 Boston 12-runs Long Island in two innings 14-3
The pressure was off and the disappointment of losing to Philly was quickly forgotten. Boston was loose and ready to play its last game of the day. Long island was limping into the game after losing both games on the day and every game in Beast of the East play.
Joe McCormick would lead off again and hit a grounder down the third base line for a run. Shawn Devenish would bat next and score on a fly ball down the third base line and the momentum was quickly on the Renegade’s side as it started hot again after the cold start in the morning. Rob Dias was inserted as the DH in this match as he was exhausted. He could not find success and struck out. That brought up Shoeless, Shayne Cantan, who had found new life now that his feet were not in pain anymore. He hit a dribbler up the middle of the field that alluded Casey Bahn and caused Long Island to appeal to the umpire. The appeal was denied and Cantan was on the board. Chris Kimball earned his first career start as the rover and stepped into the plate with his usual deep breathe. Kimball hit the second pitch hard up the middle and nailed his pitcher in the foot for a dead ball. He reset and the very next pitch he hit it up the middle again hitting Ron in the back of the legs. That would be all the contact he would make as he would swing and miss on the next three pitches. Guy Zuccarello was next to the plate and would get his first plate appearance of the weekend. After fouling two pitches off, including the second one which hit third base and knocked it over, Guy scored on a pop fly up the middle and he beat Casey Bahn by a step. Casey Bahn would be involved in the next play as Joe McCormick hit a grounder that kicked off his feet and bounced to the middle of the field for Mac’s second run of the inning. Devenish then took the first pitch he saw to the right side and hit it past Edgar Erickson for his second run of the inning. Up by six, Joe Yee came off the bench to hit and would strike out in a 7 pitch at-bat.
For the Renegades, Joe Mac would get the start at the left short position after starting deep in the first two games. After a lead off first inning Long Island whiff, Mac would stop Matt Puvogel with perfect mechanics on a ball hit right at him. He then would range to his right and make another stop on Casey Bahn.
Up by six in the second, Shayne Cantan hit a grounder up the middle and scored easily. Chris Kimball then lofted a short pop to the right side and on a bang-bang play, he missed third base and was put out as the curse of Renegade bad base running continued to haunt them in 2021. Guy would foul four balls off and then score on a hard grounder down the right side that made it by both layers of the defense on the right side. McCormick continue his dominance against Long Island as he scored on a fly ball that landed on the 40 foot line in front of Casey Bahn. That would be all for Bahn as he was exhausted and called asked out of the game for health reasons. Dan Johnson entered the game for Long Island. Elana Regan strode to the plate and got another chance after her at bat earlier in the day vs Indy which she said she was super nervous for. Regan missed every pitch she swung at but it was a timing issue, not her mechanics. Then the flood gates opened. Yee, Cantan, Kimball, Zuccarello and McCormick scored on a total of 7 pitches off Cochran and Connolly. That was 14 runs. The biggest Renegade challenge was this happened before Weissman could get enough people off the bench and into the game.
The twelve run rule would go into effect as only John Gilroy could plate a run and the Renegades had a 13 run lead after two. Joe McCormick would continue to gobble up balls on defense as he would make 4 stops in the 3rd, 4th and 5th innings.
The 6th inning was some fun for the Renegades. Alex Barrera would lead off the inning and hit a hard grounder to third base, Chris Kimball laid out and caught the ball in his hand while laying out for his first ever defensive stop. After Shayne Cantan stopped Puvogel for his second defensive stop of the day, Dan Jonson stepped to the plate with two outs. He would hit a short ball up the middle. Defensive sub, Brittany McDonald and Joe McCormick arrived at the ball at the same time and McCormick stood back to let McDonald make her first put out of her career. That would be a great way to end the game. Two Rookies making outs in the last inning of the game. Boston would finish on a high note by celebrating the rookie’s accomplishments.