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2018 World Series Day #4 game recaps

A bid for a top 4 finish falls short to the Jets 11-8

World Series photo of the team

Team photo of Your 2018 World Series Renegade team

Friday morning and the Renegades were just one of six teams still alive with hopes of a World Series title.  This was only the 5th year in team history this had ever happened, but it was the 5th consecutive time.  The Renegades opponent would be the San Antonio Jets.  The Jets entered this tournament as a team many felt would be in the finals.  They came in as the three seed but were knocked off during the week by the Bayou City Heat.  These teams had only played once historically as the Jets started their franchise in 2016.  Boston won that contest by a big margin.  Make no mistake, this jets team is run by a bunch of guys who have rings while playing for the Austin Blackhawks.  Boston would need to be on their game to face this big challenge

To lead off the game for the Jets,  Zach Arambula hit a grounder down the third base line.  Bryan Grillo groaned out the call giving Joe Yee a hint the ball was down the line.  Yee laid out too soon and did not track the ball well.  San Antonio was on the board and Boston was off to a tough start.  Axel Cox  brought his rings from Austin to the plate and whiffed for the first out.  David Crystal Smith worked the count to three strikes and then lofted a high fly ball which bounced of Shawn Devenish’s chest in left field.  Devenish could not corral it and San Antonio led 2-0.  Aaron Almanza then lofted a high fly ball down the third base line bouncing right near Joe Yee, but Yee hit the ground to early and the ball got away from him for a run.  The Almanza connection brought Rene to the plate and he lofted a deep fly into left field where Shawn Devenish made a nice play for the second out.  A great play for Shawn who had worked so hard on his defense since his rookie campaign in 2016.  Ricky Ruzika then hit a line drive to the right side off the chest of Rob Dias who was playing on the Right Shorty position,  Dias kept cool and picked up the ball in plenty of time for the out.  A rocky start to the inning ended with two great plays.   The Jets led 3-0.

For Boston, Christian Thaxton led off the inning with a hard ground ball bouncing of the left front man, Isaiah Wilcox.  As Thaxton raced toward first, Zach Arambula crept up from his left center position to pick up the ball in time for a big  Jets out.  Rob Dias then lined the 2nd pitch he saw to the right side and raced toward first base.  Axel Cox ranged to his right but Dias was too quick and put the Gades on the board.  Looking to the tie the game, McCormick laced the second pitch he saw into left center.  Zach Arambula ranged over and made a great play to nail Joe for a big out.  Joe Yee would then strike out to end the Renegade’s inning.  The defense of Arambula and Joe Yee would be a difference in this first inning.  The Jets led 3-1 after a full frame.

In the second inning, the Jets would be back at the top of the order.  Zach Arambula could not get going here and led off with a rare strike out, a gift for the Renegades.  Number two hitter, Axel Cox hit a hard grounder up the left side that eluded Justen Proctor and rolled out to the rover spot where Shawn Devenish laid out for his 2nd stop of the game.  Boston had a chance to get out of the inning unscathed.  Smith came up and hit another deep ball to left field right at Devenish.  Shawn had it lined up but when he hit the ground, his arms got pinned under his body like T-Rex, and these little arms could not grab the ball in time.  He made a great play to line it up, but he used poor mechanics and that would hurt. The pain continued.  On a fly ball  down the third baseline off the bat of Aaron Almanza,  Joe Yee hit the ground too early and could not pick the ball cleanly.  Rene Almanza would hit another line drive that would bounce of Rob dias’ hulking chest.  That “chest” made the stop.  The Jets were now up 5-1.  Boston had lined up 4 of the 5 plays but was playing too tight on defense.

Shawn Devenish led of the 2nd inning and with two strikes hit a weak grounder to Ricky Ruzika at the right shorty spot for a room service out.  Larry Haile came off the bench to pinch hit for Joe Buizon and hit the first pitch he saw down the third base line.  Haile raced down the third base line as Wilcox raced back to the line  Wilcox gave way to Almanza and that hesitation would be enough for this perfectly placed tweener to plate a Renegade run.  Back to the top of the order and Christian Thaxton dug in at the plate.  Down to his last strike, Thaxton laced a bomb into left to bring the Renegades back to a 2 run deficit.  Next, Rob Dias smoked a line drive up the middle, but Zach Arambula was in the right place at the right time and the ball kicked off his shin.  He was able to recover and put Rob out for the second out of the inning.  Isiah Wilcox would end the inning by making a nice play on a weak pop up to the left side off the bat of Joe McCormick.  The Jet’s defense was making more plays than the Renegades.

Leading of the third inning would be the six-hole hitter, Ricky Ruzika.  Ruzika who blasted on to the beepball scene in 2016 had not been practicing as often in 2018 and was not hitting during the series.  He led off the inning with a strike out.  Zach Arambula then hit a worm bunrer down the third base line.  Justen Proctor made a great play running back toward the line and gobbled it up for his first stop of the game.  Again, the Renegades had a chance for a 1-2-3 inning.  Axel Cox stood in the way of this goal.  With two strikes he hit a 40 foot dribbler to the 40 foot arc.  Justen Proctor raced in to the line and could not hear it.  Cox plated a gifted run.  On the very next pitch, Bryan Grillo called a short ball and Proctor raced in as the ball rolled past him.  He had to put on the brakes and run backwards.  The bad call cost the team a run and Smith had his 3rd run of the game.  Aaron Alamanza decided to pick on Justen Proctor again and hit a weak grounder to him.  The ball kicked off Proctor’s body.  He made a nice play to get to his feet and chase it down, but he could not hear it in the grass and the Jets had 3 straight runs off one of the best defenders in the game.  For the 3rd straight inning, Rob Dias would stop the bleeding and make a nice stop on a fly ball to the right side.  The Jets were up 8-3 against a shaky Renegade effort.

The bottom of the third inning would start with Joe Yee.  In a comic moment, Yee fouled the ball to the Renegade bench and coach, Jason Lenicheck caught it on the fly.  He then fired it over the head of Ron Cochran into the San Antonio bench, much like he did as a third baseman for Acton Boxboro High School.  Joe Yee then grounded a ball up the middle where Zach Arambula stopped him for the first out.  Shawn Devenish had no answer as he struck out.  Weissman gambled next.  Joe Buizon had hurt his hamstring against the Blind Jays on day one of the Series after scoring three times.  Buizon had told him he was ready to go and Weissman rolled the dice looking to get something going  down by 5 runs.  That gamble failed.  Buizon went down on 4 straight pitches.  Boston had a donut for the inning.

The Jets had a chance to put some distance between them and Boston and extend their five run lead.  They would start the inning by pinch-hitting for struggling Ricky Ruzika.  Will Lopez would get his first at-bat against the Renegades in his career.  Lopez,  a rookie in 2017 was hurt much of that campaign.  He wasted little time and on the second pitch hit a weak ball up the middle of the field.  Proctor ranged to his left and stopped it but could not pick it up.  A disturbing trend.  Zach Arambula delivered on the first pitch he saw.  Cox then hit a grounder up the left side that alluded both Proctor and Devenish.  At the start of the inning, Weissman had moved Joe McCormick over to third base.  David Smith hit a grounder past Proctor’s left.  McCormick ranged way to his left and made a big stop for the Renegades to pick up Justen.  Aaron Almanza then hit the first pitch he saw down the third base line.  Proctor raced to the line and as he went to the ground, the ball got tangled up in his legs and he pinned it and made the play.  Proctor was all smiles and never lost his cool.  Rene Alamnza then lofted the first pitch he saw to the right side.  Rob Dias tried to line it up and as he was making the play, Almanza missed first base.  Dias had the last out of the inning for the 4th inning in a row.

Weissman asked the team if they were done.  Haile led the team in a big cheer and Thaxton stepped to the plate.  On the third pitch, Thaxton hit a grounder down the third base line and scored for the second time.  The ball hugged the baseline and the defense could not pick the ball cleanly.  Rob Dias hit a shot into left center.  Zach Arambula was there again for a big stop taking the ball away from the Renegades.  Joe McCormick laced a weak line drive off the back of Ron Cochran on the first pitch that was headed to Arambula.  On the next pitch, he hit a weak grounder up the middle of the field and Wilcox made the play easily.  Larry Haile was looking to extend the inning as he was entering the game as a pinch hitter for Joe Yee.   Haile hit a line drive to the right side and on a bang-bang play, the umpire ruled in favor of Rene Almanza who ranged to make this play near the line.  Boston hit the ball well, but had just one run to show for it.  After four innings, the Jets held a commanding 11-4 lead.

In the 5th inning, The Jet’s brought back Ricky Ruzika who had been pinch hit for.  He would lead off the inning with a strike out.  That trend followed when Zach Arambula also struck out.  For the first time all game, Boston would get a 1-2-3 inning when Shawn Devenish made a nice play deep in the defense off the bat of Axel Cox.  For the first time, Boston had some momentum.  As things sometimes work in baseball, if you make a nice play on defense, you lead off the inning.

Lead off the inning is exactly what Shawn Devenish did.  The Renegades were down to their final 6 outs and down 7 runs.  That is scary math for sure.  Devenish would work the count deep as he would miss the first two pitches and then foul off three straight before lofting a pop fly  about 60 feet to the left side.  His new-found speed beat out the play.  This brought the experiment, Joe Buizon back to the plate.  Could he run was the question.  On the 2nd pitch, he hit a pop fly that traveled about 42 feet with back spin.  Ruzika raced in and struggled to find it.  Buizon was not running well and then resorted to poor base running technique when he flopped before the base.  Weissman was regretting letting him hit as he had not seen him run before the game.  Buizon was gutting it out, but his leg was just to injured.  He was playing with all heart at this time.  Thaxton then rolled his wrists over and hit a grounder to the left side and beat it out for his third run of the contest.  It was just the 2nd time in the game they had put up a crooked number in an inning.  Rob Dias was on fire.  He had three at bats leading up to this one and had seen just 4 pitches that resulted in three quality hits.  He stayed hot and hit a bouncer to the left side.  It got by Wilcox in the front but Arambula dove in head first on this ball and stopped Dias.  The Jets ran off the field..but there were only two outs.  The Jets influenced the Renegade battery and Weissman and Cochran limped to the bench.  When the confusion resolved, McCormick crushed the ball by the entire defense in right center.  Haile would get close as he crushed a ball down the third base line which would have been a run but it rolled foul by just a few inches.  He then struck out to end the inning.  Boston had pulled the game to a 4 run deficit and trailed 11-7.  They really needed a solid 6th inning of defense.

The Renegades were playing looser and more confident.  David Smith would leadoff the inning with three runs on the game.  Smith and Aron Almanza would represent 6 of the 11 Jet runs,  Smith hit the first pitch up the gut of the defense.  This time Joe Buizon (who re-entered for defense in this inning) made a tremendous stop on a bouncer for a big out.  Aaron Almanza and Rene Almanza would strike out giving Kevin Sibson seven strike outs in the game as the Jets went down on their second donut inning of the game.  They left the door open for the Renegades to come back.

The winner of this game would advance to the next round.  The loser would be eliminated.  Boston would have their 5-6-1 spots in the line up to start the inning and would need 4 runs to tie.  It was do-able for sure.  Boston had been hitting the ball better than the Jets. The key difference in this game was the play of Zach Arambula on defense who had six stops on defense in left center at this point of the game.  On Boston’s side, Justen Proctor was just 2-10 while playing defense at Left Shorty.

It would be an uphill battle for sure.  The 5/6 spots in the order were just 2-6 on the day.  Could Devenish light a fire for the Renegade offense as he did on defense all day?  He hit a hard bouncer up the left side that bounced over Wilcox.  Zach Arambula stole the show in this game with his defensive play. Arambula who had his best game of the tourney in this match ranged way to his right to make a nice stop.  Joe Yee re-entered the game for the hobbled Buizon and hit a dribbler to Wilcox.  Isiah misplayed it as it slowly rolled away from him as he was on the ground.  Yee took a perfect line down the third baseline and scored.  Christian Thaxton was next up and gave the Renegade bench a ton of hope.    On the first pitch, he hit a grounder right to Wilconx.  Isiah made the play like a hockey goalie on his knees.  A dangerous attempt for sure, but the out as made.  It was a huge out for the Jets.  Rob Dias was on fire and was next up.  He stayed hot and fouled off the first pitch he saw.  That was 6 pitches from Cochran in his 5 trips to the plate.  He made contact on every one of them.  Something happened, Maybe San Antonio Voodoo?  Cochran and Dias would suddenly lose it.  Three straight pitches and no contact.  A strike out, the game was over.  Boston was eliminated.

It was not a good defensive effort for the Renegades.  Boston actually may have hit better than the Jets, but the Jets defense was much improved, especially in left center.  The Jets would go on to play the Indy Edge next, and beat them.  They would eventually lose to the Bayou City Heat and finish 3rd in the World Series.  Boston would walk across the field to play the Austin Blackhawks.  An Austin team with many ties to the Jets as pitcher Kevin Sibson’s brother, Wayne was still playing with Austin.

Boston vs Austin for 5th place and Boston makes a statement

Hunter Weissman was the team intern in 2018, learning a lot to help with his sports management degree. He was your eyes and voice for all the live streams in 2018

Austin has more rings than any team in league history.  Boston is the only team that has ever risen from the doormat of the league to the top by using only players from their region.  Ron Cochran expressed his distaste for consolation games, which in some way, this game represented.   Joe Quintanilla was quick to state, the season is so short, every game counts.   Tornado sirens tore through the complex just before the Renegades found the field.   When the hour delay was over without damage, both teams would trot out their starting line ups and the battle was on.

Austin won the coin toss and chose home team.  Before the game, Christian Thaxton and Weissman decided to have Thaxton switch back to a metal bat.  Combine that with the fact, he felt the best had felt since his concussion 2 weeks prior and you could see Christian was almost back to himself.  On the second pitch of the game, Thaxton hit a bomb into left and scored.  Time was called.  The ball was dead and Thaxton had to return to the plate.  It was the first dead ball the Renegades hit all week.  On the very next pitch, Thaxton hit a rainbow into deep left for a score.  After a Dias strike out and a McCormick dribbler to the Austin left shorty, Darius Sterling, Larry Haile came to the plate. He hit a line drive into left that looked like a run, but deep man Brandon Chesser stopped him.  This had a similar feeling to the previous game when Zach Arambula of the San Antonio Jets killed Boston making grabs in left center.

In the Bottom of the first, Boston would catch a break as the Blackhawks lead off hitter struck out to start the game.  Boston was loose and that may have contributed to some of their best defense of the week, a sweet feeling after the stinker they played just an hour earlier.  Austin pitcher, Tim Hibner tried to test the right side of the defense in this inning and came up empty as Rob Dias stopped Steve Puryear at the right shorty spot.  Mike Finn then went to the right side and was stopped by first basemen, Joe McCormick.  boston led 1-0 and won the first inning.

Shawn Devenish led off the second with a line drive up the middle, but Like Haile in the previous inning was stopped on a nice play deep in the defense by Mike Finn.  Joe Yee came into the game to hit for Joe Buizon and scored on a grounder up the middle that Finn could not find.  Thaxton then waving his metal bat hit a pop fly to the right side and flew down the line for his second run of the game,  Rob Dias then tagged a laser into right for his first run of the game.  The ball seemed to be jumping off the Renegade bats!  Joe McCormick was stopped on a weak fly to the right side by Jamie Sibson.  Guy Zuccarello was up next, he had entered for defense when Haile made the last out of the 1st inning.  On the 5th pitch he saw he hit a pop fly to the third base line and he beat out the defense.  Boston was up 5-0

Austin had their 4-5-6 hitters up.  Justen Proctor stopped Greg Roberts.  Next, Joe Yee, playing third base, made a nice grab to stop  Mariano Reynoso.  Darius Sterling struck out.  Boston had the momentum for sure!

The third inning would be a statement inning for Boston.   Larry Haile re-entered the game as Weissman was looking for some offense, and on 6 pitches, he struck out.  Back to the top as Thaxton was feeling hot.  He hit a bomb into left field which Chesser could not coral in time.  Rob Dias then scored on a grounder up the middle after hitting Cochran on the first pitch.  Joe McCormick lofted a fly ball to the right side for his first run and the top of the order went 1-2-3 with runs, something these guys pay attention to and celebrate.  Joe Quintanilla was brought off the bench on a hunch by Weissman to attack the right side.  Attack it he did, but the wheels fell off when he was running and he was stopped by Jamie Sibson on a play he would have scored on in previous years when he was younger and quicker and lighter.  Shawn Devenish joined the fun with a line drive into right, by everyone for the 4th run of the inning to bring the score to 9-1 as Boston was on the brink of something special.  Larry Haile then hit his second pitch into right field on a line and a 12 run game was in sight.  Thaxton, Dias and McCormick got the ball in the air for their second 1-2-3 run scoring trip through the same inning.  Boston led 13-0 and if they could hold Austin would put the game into a 12 run mercy rule.

Brandon Chesser started off the inning with a ball that got by Joe McCormick and Shawn Devenish on the right side.  If Austin could score one more run, the mercy rule would be avoided.  Justen Proctor had something to say about that as he stopped Puryear and Finn.  Ed Manning struck out in a pinch hit appearance for Greg Roberts.  Boston had 12-runned Austin for the first time ever in just three innings.

Now Boston had to play defense as Austin had 9 outs to work with.  Austin was capable of coming back and Weissman knew it.  They are a team that knows how to put the ball into play.  The Renegades would need to “flash the leather”!

In the 4th, Proctor would stop Reynoso.  Dias would stop the speedy Sterling and Dias would also get Brandon Chesser, their best hitter.  Tim Hibner kept aiming for the Renegade right side.  He would come up empty.  Dias did the damage in the 4th.  In the 5th, Hibner got it by Dias, but McCormick was the hero.  Joe Mac ate up Puryear and Finn before Proctor stopped Manning.  Now the attention turned to getting players playing time as both teams had huge rosters.  Soto went on to the field to play defense for Devenish.  Austin would go to the bench for the next three hitters.  Justen would make two stops in this frame and ball game!  Boston would get its 4th straight (and only four) top 5 finishes.

This game marked the 4th win by the Renegades by the 12-run rule in 2018. The Blackhawk coaches stood in shock and amazement at how well the Renegades hit.  Mike Maguire of Austin said the team had not hit like that since 2016 and wondered out loud why they were taking it out on Austin.  He may have been close in that statement.  The exact same thing could be said of the Boston coaches, only their surprise was that it took this long to show it.  For the game, Boston hit .591.  The Renegades have only hit .571 or higher 16 times ever in a game, but it was the 5th time in 2018.  On defense, it marked the 2nd time in the week Boston made 14 stops as the opponent only struck out 4 times.  Boston has only accomplished this feat 18 times in a 6 inning game ever!  In addition to this, Boston stopped 93.3% of the balls hit into play (14/15), which statistically is only the 9th best percentage.  However, it’s the highest percentage with so many balls in play.

The week’s defensive effort would rank the Renegades 2nd in the league in defense for the World Series behind only the Indy Thunder.  If that defense had played an average game vs San Antonio, the team could have had a top three finish.  The Renegades are an elite team in the NBBA.  After the game, the team had a long talk.  All the players could taste what had happened.  They knew they did not play well vs San Antonio.  They know they could have done better.  The talk turned to 2019 and the players seemed unified at working harder and getting faster.  Time will tell, but this team is a special team for sure.

Three major injuries kept one of their best defenders (Thaxton) off the field.  These injuries also kept Thaxton’s bat quiet early in the week and ended the season offensively for Sanchez and Buizon.  For a Renegade team to overcome this shows heart, grit and determination.  Only one team in this league other than Boston could overcome that, the World Champion Indy Thunder.  Be proud of your 2018 Boston Renegades!

To read more about the World Series, see our other posts

2018 World Series Day #3 game recaps

Boston taken to the Edge and mercy ruled for first time in 2018:  23-8

WS picture taken by John Lykowski Jr

David Sanchez puts a ball in play vs the Edge

A lot of league wide hot stove debates included the potential World Series fortune of these two franchises.  Their stories are very different.  On one hand, there is the Renegades where every single player and coach has grown up in the Renegade system.  A team with a former MVP on both sides of the ball (Guy Zuccarello and Christian Thaxton)  One of the all time top home-grown programs with a team that seems to improve every year.  A team who only played on the East Coast this year where the league always underestimates the level of ball in this region.

On the other hand is the Indy Edge, a new team name, but not many new players.  Lots of aging veteran players from Indy trying to get a ring.  They surround them-self with one of the most under rated pitchers in the game, a kid who grew up with the sport in Kyle Kennedy.  They also recruit from all over the country with players from New Jersey, Florida, Arizona, California and Kansas representing this team.  The Edge have three players who have won rings for other teams.  They have former MVP’s on both sides of the ball, who won them playing for other teams.  The Edge have a hall of fame roster made up of some of the all time greats of the game.  The Edge also had a rookie who was burning things up on both sides of the ball.  These teams were built very differently.

The Edge were pounding their opponents all week.  They were 12 running many of their opponents.  They slaughtered Cleveland 14-2, Seattle 12-0 and the Comets 21-7.  All of those games were won in a mercy rule fashion.  They also beat St Louis 21-13 on the first day of round robin.  Many expected the Renegades to be their first test.  Few gave the Renegades a chance.  The combined scores of the Edge games were 69-22. The combined Renegade scores were 32-7.

After playing on a slow field vs BCS, Boston needed to prepare for a faster track.  The Renegade hope involved the management of injuries to Sanchez, Thaxton and Buizon.  Were they healthy enough  to make a difference in this match.  Boston won the coin toss and was confident in its strategy.  It knew where Indy was going to attack.  It just needed to stop them.  Lupe Perez (former MVP for Austin) struck out to start things off.  Justen Proctor stopped rookie Sensation, Nick Mulherin.  Mark Morris got the team on the board with a run of his own.  Proctor would close the inning stopping Danny Foppiano (rings with Kansas and West Coast). A great start for Boston.

Back in the lineup and more confident was Thaxton whom-lofted the first pitch he saw into the air for a run. With one out, Rob Dias crushed a ball into left for the 2nd Gade run. That brought David Sanchez up who was pinch-hitting for Guy Zuccarello in the first inning.  Sanchez launched a bomb into deep left to show why he is one of the most exciting 2018 Rookies.  The score was 3-1 Boston.

The second inning was not kind to the Renegade defense.  Tobey Gregory who owned the Renegades while playing for the Thunder in the 2016 title game scored to lead off the inning.  With one out, stopped by Rob Dias, Lupe Perez came to the plate.  Drama would soon ensue.  Every year since 2015, there is a call that goes against the Renegades.

In 2014, Against Bayou City there was a huge debate on the legality of re-entering Seth Clark into the game.  The scorekeeper could not tell us when Clark left the game and we had marked down on our sheets that he was ineligible to return for a few outs.  Despite the fact we had it documented and the scorekeeper did not, he was allowed to enter illegally, and scored.  The Renegades lost this game by a few runs.

In 2015, Colorado entered a player into the game illegally and when Coach Weissman called them on it, there was no penalty.  Colorado won that game by one run.  In 2016, Weissman’s issues with Colorado continued in the semi-final game.  On this play, Larry Haile scored a run and Colorado complained.  At the start of the inning, Weissman told the scorekeeper Haile would pinch hit.  the scorekeeper confirmed this knowledge.  After the run scored  Weissman was told he had not followed the right protocol.  The run was taken off the board after a long debate.  Boston won that game by one run in extra innings.  In 2017, against Colorado, the umpire called Joe McCormick out of the batters box as soon as he made contact killing a Renegade Rally.  boston lost that game 4-2.  Boston had not faced Colorado in 2018, but the Drama would be vs the Edge.

Lupe Perez lofted a bomb down the third base line that landed about 150 feet down the line and one foot foul. The umpire called a fair ball.  Ron Cochran was convinced the umpire did not know the rule and challenged Weissman to ask.  Coach Rob approached the ump and asked if the ball had landed in fair or foul territory.  The answer given was the ball landed in foul territory,  but it passed the bag in fair territory.  An argument was just beginning as the Renegade defensive players all took a knee.  The ump was defiant that he knew the rules and that was a fair ball.  Boston protested on the spot verbally but nobody collected the money.  Cochran went to the rule book with the umpire and the two conferred for a few minutes.  After a conference, Cochran walked past Weissman and stated, “the ump read the rule book to me, and the rule says its fair.  I don’t believe it…but i don’t have my reading glasses.”  He sauntered back to the bench.  Weissman went to the rule book and asked where the rule was and started to read it as play resumed.  As Mulherin was swinging the bat, Weissman found the rule was read incorrectly.  Mulherin scored and the argument continued.  Weissman underlined a key word that said “NOT” to the umpire who had missed that word.  He had made the wrong call.  It was a foul ball.  Boston was adamant this needed to be corrected and stated they had protested it before.

It was not the Edge’s turn to gripe.  Another play had occurred after the one in question and this was what the Edge argued.   They did not want to turn back the play despite acknowledging the umpire made a mistake.  The Edge additionally complained about how the “rules” of handling a protest were not followed because the money was not collected at the time of the initial protest.  A call was made to the head umpire.  Play was stalled for nearly 15 minutes.  The edge knew the rule, they knew the umpire ruled incorrectly and they were willing to protest the game if the game was rolled back to that point in time.  The head umpire tried to reason and look for sportsmanship.  No compliance from the Edge.  Boston would be screwed for the 5th year in a row on a bad call where everyone on the field knew the wrong thing happened.  The umpire felt awful and even stated he did not want this pressure and would not ump again.   No volunteer should ever be put into that situation.  This was the travesty of the situation.   The Edge lack of sportsmanship and thirst for rings was clearly shown here.  Weissman was heard saying, he was done being a nice guy for future games.  The team works too hard to get screwed like this every year.

The Edge would score three more times in this inning and after one and a half , the score was 7-3.  In the bottom of the second, Boston showed little quit.  Thaxton, Dias and Haile all scored on well struck balls to bring the score back to a one run game.  At this time, it felt like that one run awarded on the foul ball would really hurt.

The third inning was a nightmare for Boston.  Even though the defense knew the ball was going to the left side, they could not stop it.  McCormick had 5 chances at balls on defense and came up empty.  Buizon had 4 chances and came up empty.  Proctor even had a pair and came up empty.  Mulherin and Foppiano each plated a pair in the inning to lead the Edge to an 8 run inning.  Boston had a whimper for an answer as only  Rob Dias would score.  It was 15-7.

The Edge put the hammer down in the 4th as Foppiano and Morris each plated a pair, leading the Edge to another 8 run inning.  Dias and Proctor led the Renegades in failed chances on defense this inning.  Larry Haile, Joe McCormick and Joey Buizon also struggled.  The 12 run rule would soon be in effect as the score was 23-7.  David Sanchez re-entered the game to lead off the 4th for Boston.  He came up limping after hitting third base and that was going to be the beginning of the end of his World Series.  Proctor and Thaxton were stopped in deep left by the rookie sensation, Nick Mulherin.  Boston had been mercy ruled.  This was the 4th time the team had been 12-runned since 2014, and the 2nd time against the Edge.

Boston would empty the bench and prepare to reload.  This loss was not the end of their week.  However, this loss would force the team to play three games on this day.  The final score was 23-8.  It was the 3rd worst loss in run differential in team history behind the 17 runs it lost to the 2008 West Coast Dawgs (which featured Mazareigos, Foppiano and Perez).  It was also the third most runs ever allowed by the Renegades behind the 27 runs scored by the Bayou City Heat (which featured Tanner Gers who played a tiny role in this 2018 blow out.  For just the 2nd time in our history a team scored 8 or more runs in an inning twice in the game.

Bottom line here was the Renegades were not ready.  The coaching staff knew where the defense needed to play.  The defense could not make plays.  The defense struggled to adapt to the speed of this field.  The offense was not clicking.  Even though there was a huge delay for a bad call, that play had nothing to do with the outcome of this game.  Eventually, the Edge would meet their match.  Their injuries built up over the week and they would lose to the San Antonio Jets 19-17 to take 4th place. Their rookie sensation would make the league forget about Christian Thaxton.  Mulherin would lead the league in 2018 hitting .706 in his rookie year.  The home-grown team would have to pick up their heads.  The Minnesota Millers were waiting, and they were hungry to knock off the limping Renegades.  Boston packed up the gear and trekked across the soccer complex.

It’s not miller time, Renegades wake up and win 17-7

World Series photo of Shawn, Mac and Thax, heroes of this game

Shawn, Joe Mac and Thaxton each scored 4 runs a piece

Both teams came into this game facing elimination.  While Minnesota was working its way through the losers bracket.  They had just eliminated the hopes of the East Coast New Jersey Titans.  On the other hand, Boston was reeling after getting mauled by the Edge.   Boston came into this match with a lifetime 4-0 record vs the Millers, the last time they faced was in 2016.

The Renegades came into this game extremely sluggish.  Thaxton struck out on 4 pitches and then Rob Dias was put out easily by Evan Van Duyne.  Joe McCormick then got things started with a run scoring pop fly up the middle of the field.  Larry Haile hit a laser up the middle and Boston was up 2-0.  It could have been more if not for a nice play made by Steve Guerra off the bat of Shawn Devenish in deep right field.  The Millers got one back in the bottom of the first when speedster, Josh Xiong scored the Millers lone run.  Joe McCormick made a play in deep left and Joe Buizon made a play up the middle.  This would begin to set the tone.  Boston would just start to prove it had more defensive depth beyond their former all-star, Justen Proctor.

Boston got some bad news in the 2nd inning when they sent up David Sanchez to hit for the injured Joe Buizon.  The plan entering this game was to play a platoon in the 6 hole of the lineup because Buizon was nursing a hamstring injury.  Sanchez hit the first pitch  but his running looked awful and slow.  Weissman wanted to know why he looked slower than his own grandmother.  Sanchez was hurt and tried to play through it without being upfront about his injury.  Dr. Marciello would soon deem Sanchez to be out for the World Series with a potential back injury.  A crushing blow to the team and the Rookie for the Renegades.   The next time through the order, Thaxton and Dias would plate runs on well struck balls.  Evan Van Duyne would then make his second stop of the inning.  Boston would lead 4-1.  Van Duyne had 3 stops in 2 innings.

For the Millers, Matt McCoy would lead off  the second with a run that eluded the right side.  Larry Haile would check in with a stop on Chris Peterson at first base.  Evan Van Duyne then scored to make it 4-3.  Justen Proctor then checked in with his first stop of the game at left shorty and McCormick made his second stop in left field off the bat of Todd Paulson.  Through 2 innings, Boston had stops by 4 different players on defense.

In the third, Boston would continue to put up crooked numbers.  Shawn Devenish scored on a pop up to the right side.  Joe Yee would strike out.  Thaxton would score on a grounder up the middle.  Dias would strike out for the second out.  McCormick hit a line drive into left and Haile would strike out.  Though Boston plated three runs, it also whiffed three times.  The team was getting contributions, but just could not find momentum.  Boston led 7-3 but the Millers felt they were in this game.

In the bottom of the third, Minnesota continued to pressure the Boston defense.  Justen Proctor made his 2nd stop of the game off the bat of Riley Schmitz.  Matt McCoy would score another run on the right side of the Boston defense.  Joey Buizon stopped Chris Peterson for an out.  Lead off hitter, Evan Van Duyne then struck out for the 2nd time in the game, a dagger for the Millers.  Boston led 7-4.

Shawn Devenish was the sole offensive highlight for the Renegades in the 4th as he plated a run.  Guy Zuccarello, Thaxton and Dias all helped Van Duyne become an All Star to end the inning.  Evan Van Duyne had 6 stops through 4 innings.  Between him and the Renegades having 4 strike outs, the game was going the way the Millers wanted.  Boston clung to an 8-4 lead.  The momentum was shifting.

The Millers caught fire as Josh Xiong, Todd Paulson and Riley Schmitz plated runs to start off the 4th.  This time, the defense was able to stop McCoy as Zuccarello was cheating toward the line to make the stop.  Proctor stopped pinch hitter, Pat Lemke.  This brought the top of the order up.  They Delivered.  Van Duyne plated a run and then Josh Xiong plated his third run of the game.  The Millers led 9-8.

Weissman called his team together.  He encouraged them to wake up and get their energy level going.  Two innings remained and their season was now on the line.  They had found energy to come back vs the Titans two weeks earlier.  This time, Joe McCormick started things off with a 4 pitch strike out without making contact.  The team did not waver or panic.  Larry Haile then fouled off 4 pitches before scoring on a line drive up the middle.  Shawn Devenish kept up his seeing eye single magic when his hit eluded the Miller right side of the defense again for his third run of the game.  Joe Yee then struck out for the second time of the game and the second whiff of the inning.  This turned over the order.  Good things happened.  Thaxton, Dias and McCormick scored as the 1-2-3 punch.  Boston had its best inning of the game, plating 5 runs.  The score was now 13-8.

It was like the air came out of the Millers.  They had the lead but now their team lacked the energy.  Boston was playing with spunk it had not shown all week.  The bottom half of the miller lineup had no answer as Proctor and Dias made stops.  It was the first donut inning of the game.  Boston could smell blood in the water.  Again, the team came to Weissman who was proud of the turn in energy.  A cheer for insurance cried out!  “WE ARE FARMERS!”

That call for Farmers insurance was answered.  Devenish led off the 6th with another ball to the right side.  It would be the first time in his career, he would score 4 runs in a game!  After Zuccarello was put out by Van Duyne again, the order turned over.  On just 7 pitches, Cochran hooked up Thaxton, Dias and McCormick with their second 1-2-3 scoring inning.  That was the nail in the coffin.  Boston had 17 runs.

In the end, Boston had too much depth.  Offensively,the Renegades had scored 17 or more times in a game  for just the 14th time in team history.  Christian Thaxton, Shawn Devenish and Joe McCormick paced the way with 4 runs each.  Five Renegade hitters scored a pair or more!  That’s a great contribution!  Defensively, six different players made stops.  Proctor would pace the team with six. however, Rob Dias, Joe McCormick and Joe Buizon all had a pair of stops as well.  Comparing this to the millers, Evan Van Duyne had 7 stops but the rest of his team had just 3.  It was not enough.  Even though Miller pitcher, Dan Elliason pitched his heart out, only striking out 4…the Boston defense was too good.  Boston made 14 defensive stops in a six inning game for just the 17th time!  The Millers were eliminated and sent to the 9-12 bracket.  Boston would then get a surprise as they soon learned the Tyler Tigers had upset the Chicago Comets.

Renegades take it to Tyler  20-3

World Series picture of all the players

Total Team effort vs Tyler 11 players on the team scored at least one run!

There was a lot of noise in the adjacent field as the Tyler Tigers upset the Chicago Comets.  Tyler was assured their best ever World Series finish.  In a weird and awful schedule move…Boston, Tyler and Chicago were forced to move fields, despite Boston being the highest seed.  During this time, Coach Weissman grabbed his mentor, JT Herzog and asked what had happened and what to expect.  The mentor shared some info with the mentee and the Gades were off to play Tyler for the first time since 2015.  A Team they had not lost to since 2003. Weissman kept saying he felt like a student taking a test without a lot of preparation, as this Tyler team did not have a lot of history against the renegades.  Boston owned a 7-1 lifetime record vs the Tigers.

Weissman would hope the energy of the Miller game would carry over.  Thaxton led off the game with a run scoring ground ball.  Rob Dias would strike out on 4 pitches, Joe McCormick struck out on 5 pitches and then Larry Haile finished the trifecta with a whiff of his own on 4 pitches.  Not what Weissman wanted as he went to the bench cursing under his breath.  Things were not much better fo Tyler as their first two hitters struck out.  With two outs, Larry Reed came to the plate.  He had worked a lot with the Renegades early in Weissman’s career as the two teams started around the same time.  He hit a ball into the middle of the Renegade defense and Buizon, Dias and Proctor came up empty.  Game tied 1-1

In the second with one out, Weissman went to the bench to hit for Buizon and brought in Joe Yee.  Yee who was in the midst of his best season ever did not have a ton of success off Cochran.  He had been hitting against his cousin, Peter Connolly who had departed the team the day before.  In this at-bat, Cochran and Yee were in synch with a line drive up the gut of the Tigers defense.  This Tiger defense was set up to take away the lines.  That strategy worked against the Comets, but would soon be an issue against Boston.  Soon is the key word, but at this time, Boston limped into the bottom of the second with a 2-1 lead.  The bottom of the second started off with a nice stop at third base by Shawn Devenish who was gaining confidence in his defense.  Julius Artis struck out.  Lead off hitter, Ron Jordan (who was later honored for homering in 2017) struck out for the 2nd time of the game and the inning ended in a whimper.

Boston was aching to explode.  The party started when McCormick scored on a grounder up the middle.  The L-Train hammered a line drive into left for his first run of the game.   After a Devenish strike out (in which he hit Cochran with a bouncer that resulted in a “no pitch”). Guy Zuccarello got his first at bat in the rotational 6 spot as Yee and Buizon were unable to hit.  He hit the first pitch up the middle by Larry Reed for the 3rd run of the frame. Thaxton then scored on a pop fly down the 3rd base line and beat it out.  Rob Dias joined the fun with a line drive by everyone into right field.  Joe McCormick then scored his 2nd run of the game with a bomb into left field.  When the dust settled, Boston put up 6 runs in the frame and now led 8-1.

Tyler had no answer in the bottom of the third as Jason Gainey joined Ron Jordan atop of the order with two whiffs in two attempts.  Guy Zuccarello made a play on Larry Reed on a ball hit up the middle taking away a ball similar to the one he scored on in the first when Buizon was manning this position.  Derrick Loyd, the tallest player in the league at 6-8 struck out to end things for Tyler.

Like sharks sensing blood, the Renegades were ready to pounce on their prey.  Joe Smolka stopped both Zuccarello and Thaxton on grounders to the left side.  Rob Dias kept his cool and got one by Smolka to begin a rally.   McCormick hit a laser into right field.  At this time, Weissman chose to re-enter Joe Yee into the game to get some defense on the field and get Haile some rest.  Yee grounded  a ball up the middle and scored.  Shawn Devenish got on the board with a grounder to right field.  Zuccarello then played his second run of the inning.  Boston had now scored 11 runs in the past two innings and led 13-1.

Weissman had a quandary as Christian Thaxton was due up.  The game was now at a 12 run differential and if Tyler did not score, the Renegades would not hit for the rest of the game.  After playing three games in one day, it would be great to get the team back to the hotel.  Unsure of what the team wanted, Weissman looked to the bench for guidance.  Both Joe McCormick and Christian Thaxton quickly said….”Get everyone in, now!”  Off the bench popped Luis Soto who fouled off 4 straight pitches before striking out.   Aqil Sajjad also entered the game on defense.

Facing a 12-run deficit, Tyler would bring Carlos Black off the bench and Zuccarello stopped him cold.  Julius Artis then got a ball into play to the right side but Joe McCormick, playing at right shorty stopped him.  Ron Jordan and Jason Gainey, sitting at the top of the order finally got going helping prevent a 12 run mercy rule.  It was 13-3.

The Renegades would now cut loose.  Entering the game for Rob Dias would be Aqil Sajjad.  He scored on a line drive up the middle for his first run since day one of the Series.  Despite a 14-3 lead, The Renegade noise  level could make one think it was a close game.  This is Renegade culture.  We root for our teammates hard so that everyone succee

McCormick then scored his 4th run of the match as he had stayed in the lineup, but moved to Dias’ Right shorty spot in the previous inning.  Joe Yee scored on a grounder to the left side for his third run of the contest.  Joe Quintanilla came into hit for Devenish.  On the third pitch he saw, he tagged a line drive into right and scored his only run of the 2018 World Series.  After a Zuccarello strike out, Luis Soto got a second chance to contribute.  He hit a grounder up the middle and plated his first 2018 World Series run and the team energy was at an all week high.  Aqil Sajjad then scored his second run of the inning.  After Rosie Reed stopped Joe McCormick, Joe Yee plated his second run of the inning and 4th run of the game.  It would be his first career 4-run game!  Boston had plated twenty runs.  In team history the Renegades had scored 20 or more in a game for just the 7th time.

Tyler was exhausted.  You could see it in their body language,  on their bench and in their faces.  Five of their next six hitter struck out.  A team that had just defeated Chicago had nothing in the tank for the Renegades.  Tyler was off to the 7/8 seed game, and would eventually take 8th place.  That would be their best ever finish in a World Series.

For the Renegades, this game would be record-setting.  It broke a team record that stood since 2012.  This 17 run win differential eclipsed a 16 run differential over a team who played in one tournament from York, PA.  For Weissman, he praised his teams selflessness and was so excited to see his starting lineup rally to get their teammates into the game.  Seeing Sajjad, Quintanilla, Soto and Sajjad score in that 5th inning was a highlite of the year for sure.  The team chemistry  makes the Renegades special.  everyone pulls for each other.

 

To read more about the World Series, see our other posts

Game Summaries from Beast of the East

Renegades come home and wallop the titans 15-2
For the first time since 2015, the Renegades prepared to play in front of their home crowd.  The Woburn Host Lions would play host to the biggest beep baseball tournament in New England’s history.  The first opponent, the New Jersey Titans.  THe titans came into this match with a 2-1 record in the Beast of the East with a walk-off loss at the hands of the Long Island Bombers.  The titans were fired up at the start and when Deshaun Widener scored in a ball hit to the right side which Larry Haile could not find, he was jumping and rallying his team from the first base bag.  Coach Weissman voiced his displeasure with the defensive play as they had been working this play for the past two weeks in practice.  Next up was Alfonso Harrell who also hit a ball to the right side in similar fashion.  This time the L Train laid out and made the play to the joy of his coach.  WHen Marvin Morgan stepped into the box, many if the Renegade coaches were in awe of how large a man he is.  They were excited to hear he worked out for NFL teams before losing his sight.  Morgan made contact with his big swing and launched a ball i to deep left by a diving Joe McCormick.  The titans led 2-0 and were very pumped.  that lead would be short lived.  christian Thaxton hit a hard line drive up the middle for a run.  Joe McCormick (in his first at bat of the year) then grounded a ball to the left side and nearly missed the base as he grazed it with his foot for the 2nd run. Larry Haile then hit a hard grounder to the right side on the 2nd pitch.  shawn Devenish drilled the first pitch to the left side for a run.  After a two pitch at bat resulted in an out for Rob Dias, Guy Zuccarello stepped to the plate.  He lofted a 41 ft pop up down the first base line and legged out a run.  Thaxton would then hit the first pitch for a pop up to the left side and quickly the Renegades held a 6-2 lead.  THe Titans were feeling the pressure.  Rodriguez and Bordely would stirke out to lead off the 2nd  but when Widener came back to the right side in his at bat…the L train liad out again and made a stop.  Two innings, two stops and a run for Larry…a good start indeed.  Shawn Devenish would lead off the bottom of the 2nd with a blast into left field that went by everyone.  Shawn also ran by the bag.  The ball was hit so far, he had time to stop, tun around and come back to the base and score. Rob Dias then scored on a line drive up the middle to bring Guy Zuccarello to the plate.  Guy hit a line drive into left field but he missed the base and was not as fortunate as Shawn and was put out, earning the pink blindfold.  Thaxton would hit a bomb into left field and Haile would plate another run as well.  With Two out Devenish came back to the plate and hit a weak pop up to the right side and took off for first base.  This time he plowed it over and to the surprise of his coach, he exhibited some speed on this play.  Weissman roared with delight!  After two innings the score was 12-2 and The Titans were done, as they were now very quiet.  In the bottom of the 3rd, Guy Zuccarello hit another hard shot into left and as he approached the base with his shiny new pink blindfold, he slowed up and was put out.  Thaxton would score his 4th run of the game next on a first pitch swing.  Larry Haile would then plate his 3rd run of the contest on a first pitch line drive to the right side when Weissman went to the bench.  Off popped Luis Soto.  Soto hit the 2nd pitch he saw up the middle and scored a run as his team erupted.  then Rob “Hot Tub” Thayer came off the bench.  He hit a weak grounder to the right side that went speaker down and scored.  This may have been the first time that Soto and Thayer had ever scored back-to-back runs in a game.  the Renegade bench was very boisterous and excited.  Stick a fork in the Titans.  When the dust cleared Boston had invoked the 12 run rule. As Boston rotated its defense around to finish the game, the highlight defensive play came in the 6th inning with one out.  Lamont Bordley laced a line drive up the middle and Aqil Sajjad laid out for the stop.  The Titans would be shut out the rest of the way.  For the Renegades, this would go own as one of their best offensive outputs in team history.  The team batting average for the game was .625 (4th highest in history), the Strike out rate was a low 8.3% (only 2 games in history had been better) and the margin of victory was the 2nd most in history.  The game marked just the 14th time the Renegades had invoked a 12 run rule on an opponent (Though the 9th time since 2015).  It was the first time the Renegades had been close to full strength all year with its starters on the field and the team looked excited to be back together

 

Renegades Rain bombs on the Lightning 15-2

The Lightning entered this contest with 1 win against four losses while the Renegades were undefeated in Beast of the East play.  Things got ugly right out of the gate for the Lightning. With one out, Casey Bahn stepped in the batters box.  Weissman and Bryan Grillo instantly looked confused.  Before a pitch was thrown, Weissman informed the Lightning they were hitting our of order.  No penalty would be enforced as the Renegades waived it.  The Lightning would go down in order on strikes. In the bottom of the first, Boston would set some history.  The bats would simply catch fire.  Thaxton led off with a pop up to the center of the field and cruised for a run.  Joe McCormick settled in and laced the first pitch he saw into left field for a run.  Larry Haile hit a 55 foot o pop up to the right side and scored.  Shawn Devenish then hit a grounder up the middle, missed the base and came back and tackled it in time to score the 4th run of the inning.  Then on the very next pitch, Aqil Sajjad hit a grounder to the left side to score the 5th run in a row  That was five consecutive runs on just five pitches from Ron Cochran.  Justen Proctor would strike out to end the streak.  christian Thaxton would come back up again and this time hit a pop up to the right side for the 6th Renegade run and the Lightning were stunned.  Joe McCormick scored his second run of the inning on a grounder up the middle and then the fun would start again.  Larry Haile, Shawn Devenish and Aqil Sajjad would then plate runs.  When we add Joe Macs run in…Cochran threw 4 pitches in a row for 4 more runs.  When the dust settles, the Renegades scored nine runs in the first inning.  This represented the 2nd most runs the team had ever scored in one inning.  Andre Foster would lead off the the Lightning in the 2nd inning and hit a grounder up the middle, but he would miss the base and Aqil Sajjad would make the stop.  The Lightning would go down 1-2-3 to end the 2nd inning.  Boston would start to rotate players in and out and would only score one run in the bottom of the second on a Joe McCormick run.  Sherlock Washington got the Lightning on the board in the 3rd inning and bring the Lightning to a 10-1 deficit but the defense would show up in this inning.  Justen Proctor would make two defensive stops.  Weissman was applauding on the bench because of the hard work they had done at practice was paying off. Proctor made a stop on a ball hit right at him off the bat of Casey Bahn.  He would then make a stop ranging to his left off the bat of Andre Foster.  The bench roared in applause.  Boston would deliver the hammer in the 3rd inning and put this game into the 12 run rule.  Aqil Sajjad led off the frame with a line shot up the center to start things off.  Justen Proctor then hit a laser into left field for the 2nd run of the inning.  With two outs, the team would catch further fire as Rob Thayer hit a well struck ball into left field.  If you ever watch a Renegade game, the loudest cheers happen when Thayer does something.  Joe Quintanilla then came off the bench to score a run to make it 14-1.  Aqil Sajjad then plated his 2nd run of the inning to cap the scoring for the Renegades, his second 4 run game in his career (his last was in 2012 vs Chicago).  Though the game was out of hand and Sherlock Washington would score a run to make it 15-2, one of the most exciting moments of the game would happen with two outs in the 6th inning. Dan Johnson would lace a hard line drive up the middle.  Joe Quintanilla would lay out and it would get by hum…but ranging to his left was Luis Soto to make the stop.  It would be Luis Soto’s first defensive stop in his career, something the Renegades celebrate!  Boston would move to 5-0 in the Beast o the East and would play in the 1/2 seed game.  The Lightning would head to the 5/6 game and play Rochester.  The offensive performance on the day was incredible with a lot of contact and 30 runs in just 6 innings of play with only 5 strike outs.  One more game would be left to win the Beast of the East.

Beast of the east champs again, as boston downs long island 15-2

In Beast of the East play, the Renegades were 5-0 and the Bombers were 4-1 with their only loss to Boston.  For the Bombers to win the Beast of the East, they had to beat Boston by more than 11 runs.  In most minds, the crown was clinched before the game was played.  Long Island would score two runs in the first inning on balls hit into right field.  Joe Dejesus scored first on a ball that bounced away from Christian Thaxton.  Alex Barrera also scored on a ball where the call from Aaron Proctor came out after it was already by Thaxton.  No worries for Boston, they got them back quickly Christian led off with a dribbler to the left side and sprinted to the base for the first run.  Joe McCormick was then put out by Meghan Fink (there is a running joke between Fink and McCormick that she owns him).  Haile scored on a bang bang play on a ball hit down the first base line and Shawn Devenish scored on a tweener that died between the layers.  Four runs on weakly bit balls and Boston led 4-2.  With one out in the top of the second, Joe Dejesus laced a ball down the right field line.  This time, Shawn Devenish laid out, the ball hit him in the ankles and rolled right up to his hands.  It was almost text book and represented the first defensive out Shawn Devenish had made in his career.  Maybe he angered the beep ball gods with this out as the wind started to really pick up and the skies went dark.  Teams took cover and eventually left the fields as thunder storms rolled through.  Roughly 30 minutes later, play would resume with a Chris Dejesus strike out, the 4th whiff in the first two innings for Long Island.  Boston would put the game out of hand in the bottom of the second, sending 12 batters to the plate.  Thaxton would get it started on a bomb into left field..  Joe McCormick would get even with Fink and score on a ball that bounced away from her.  Larry Haile would score on a weak pop up beating Matt Puvogel in a foot race.  Rob Dias would hit a spinning weak flare to the right side that hit the ground and spun away from the defense for the 4th run.  Guy Zuccarello would loft a high fly ball over the third baseman’s head for the 5th run.  Thaxton would then score the second run of the inning on a high pop fly that landed just about 80 feet, and beat it out easily with his speed.  McCormick plated his second run with a hard grounder up the middle.  Joe Quintanilla would be stopped on a nice hit and diving stop by Chris Dejesus on the right side for the 2nd out of the inning.  Shawn Devenish would then leg out a hit that rolled under Megan Fink at 3rd base and Rob Dias would close out the scoring with a line drive to the right side.  It was the Renegades 2nd time on the day it had scored 9 runs in an inning and only the third time in team history.   The score was now 12-2.  the defense would then become the story for the Gades.  Alex Barrera led off the inning with a blast into center field.  Joe McCormick ranged a long way to his left to make a huge stop in center field in the third layer of the defense for the out.  That would get the Gades excited.  In the bottom of the third, Boston would plate three loud runs. Christian Thaxton would hit a bomb into left field that left him giggling as he ran to first.  Joe McCormick hit a hard grounder down the third base line for a run.  With two out, Hot Tub came to the plate and laced what may have been his longest hit ever into right center field for a run and the 12 run rule was invoked.  For the third time on the day, the Renegades would score 15 runs in just three innings.  The defensive highlights for Boston would happen in each inning.  In the 4th, Rookie Derrick Anderson ripped a line drive up the middle that Aqil Sajjad laid out for to stop.  In the 5th, Joe McCormick would rob Alex Barrera again, this time he would nail him going toward the third base line on a deep out in the third layer.  Joe Yee would also make a fine stop on an over shift against Braulio Thorne on the right side in the third layer to end the 5th inning.  In the 6th, the front line made some nice stops.  Justen Proctor stopped Jim Hughes on a grounder toward the third base line which Proctor had to range for to defend.  Joe McCormick also made a fine play ranging deep to his left on the first base line to stop Joe Dejesus.  Boston would win 15-3 and be crowned the Beast of the East for the 7th straight time.  This game also represented the largest margin if victory Boston had ever had over Long Island.

Before the Rain delay

After the Rain delay

Renegades go through some Growing Pains in Bolingbrook and finish 5th

For the first time since 2014, the Renegades came to The Bolingbrook tournament.  This is the biggest non World Series tournament of the 2017 season and had some of the top teams in the league competing.  Boston would bring a green team to this set of games, as Jamie Dickerson would own the mound for Boston, having only pitched in some Beast of the East action.  On the defensive side of the ball, Boston brought two callers with limited and no experience in Ben Coiner (6 games experience) and Joe Bourque (0 games experience). Boston would also be without three starters from their 2016 season in Guy Zuccarello, Joe McCormick and Rob Dias.  The mantra for the weekend would be getting this squad some experience and learning together.  In addition to this, we would be up against some tough weather conditions with winds over 20 mph all day and gusts over 30mph at times.  It got so bad that our canopies would get destroyed leaving us to bake in the high 80-degree temps.  Let’s get to the Bolingbrook game results!

Game #4 Comets rally in the 5th to win 13-10

Bolingbrook game results - heroes of Game 1

Thaxton scored three runs while Larry and Shawn each scored a pair in this match against the Comets

The Chicago comets would be the first opponent of the weekend.  Boston owned a one game-winning streak over the comets as Boston bettered the Comets in the 2016 World Series for the first time in this rivalries history.  Christian Thaxton would make his 2017 debut and go down swinging without contact on 4 straight pitches.  Boston would go down 1-2-3 with 2 strikeouts in the first inning.  Nick Lopez would also struggle at the start as the Comet’s pitcher.  Through 2 innings Chicago held a 2-0 lead and each pitcher had 3 strikeouts.  Thaxton would lead off the third with a bomb over the head of the Comet Left fielder and then Shawn Devenish would score on a grounder up the gut to put Boston on the board.  In the Bottom of the 3rd the Comets would tack on two runs but their strikeouts were adding up as they now tallied five and Jamie Dickerson had more contacts than Nick Lopez.  The 4th inning was a good one for Boston.  Justen Proctor hit a shot up the middle and Coach Rob could be heard saying it was his best hit…EVAH!  That sparked a rally.  Thaxton then launched another ball to the moon into left field.  With one out, the L Train then hit a grounder to the right side for another Renegade score.  Joe Yee would cap the inning with one of his best hits as he blasted a shot into left field.  The Renegades had a 6-4 lead. Joe Quintanilla would make a stop to start the bottom of the 4th inning.  That brought up Big G who would hit a grounder up the middle that looked like an easy out.  The Renegade defense had multiple chances at it, but came up empty.  Juan Gonzalez would strike out.  The Comets then went to their bench.  Bernardo Barrera was 0-2 with two whiffs so they called rookie Frank Muso to the plate. Muso laced a pitch into right center and the Comets were tied up and excited that their rookie gave them a shot in the arm.  After 4 innings the Comets and Renegades were locked at six.  In the Fifth, the Renegades could not keep the Thaxton magic alive as he went down on 4 pitches.  Devenish and Quintanilla would plate runs and give the Renegades an 8-6 lead and a lot of hope. That hope would not last long Richie Schultz led off with a weak ball to the right side.  Thanh Huynh and Joe Yee could not get it time and Schultz had his first run of the game.  This would signify what would lie ahead in this inning.  The Comets would send 10 hitters to the plate and score 7 runs.  Many of these hits would elude the Renegade defense.  Five of the six Renegades would have multiple chances on defense and come up empty on defense.  It would go down as one of the worst innings in Renegade history.  Only 13 innings in Renegade history were worse than this.  The Comets had done it to Boston for the 4th time of those 13 forgettable innings.  Boston would put up some fight and score two in the top of the 6th but coach Weissman pulled Shawn Devenish in this inning as he felt tightness in his leg in this game running to third.  Though it was a loss, the Renegades were happy with how this team played.  A Few stops on defense was the difference in this match.

Game #5 Renegades clip the Scrappers 7-5

Bolingbrook game results - heroes of Game 2

Justen Proctor led the team with 4 stops on defense while Christian Thaxton scored twice to pace the Offense in this contest

In the first match up since 2012, the Renegades took on the Cleveland Scrappers next.    These teams played ten straight years from 2003 to 2012 but none since.  Cleveland has been in a rebuilding mode.  Their bench was thin and their line up had two rookies but one long-term veteran in 62-year-old Wilbert turner.  On the mound would be another Wiley veteran, Kevin Barrett.  Boston would start fast as Thaxton scored on a high pop up to the left side.  The best hit of the inning belonged to Shawn Devenish who hit a shot into left field where Jeff Dell made a nice play.  For the Boston defense the story would be the work of the front men.  Both Justen Proctor and Thanh Huynh would make stops for the Renegades in the first.  The 2nd was a bad inning.  Dickerson would throw 12 pitches and Joe Yee, Justen Proctor and Thaxton could not even earn a foul tip.   The Scrappers could not take advantage in their half of the inning as Christian Keeley and Steve Miller would whiff before Thanh Huynh would stop the infamous, Wilbert Turner.  In the third inning, Larry Haile would plate a run on a grounder to the left side and with one out Joe Quintanilla would hit a ball down the first base line that hugged the line for Boston’s second run of the frame.  Joe Yee would hit a laser into right field and Boston would hold a 4-0 lead. Cleveland had no answer in their frame as Barrett set Stanley Griffin and Jeff dell down on strikes.  Devenish would plate the only Renegade run in the 4th inning on a laser down the third base line to put Boston up 5-0.  Cleveland would wake up in the bottom of fourth.  Christian Keeley got the scoring started with a hard shot into right field that eluded Joe Yee.  Turner would then score on a similar hit. Up next, Jeff Dell scored the third run of the frame for the Scrappers on a ball which Larry Haile and Joe Quintanilla could not grab.  The Scrappers made it 5-3.  In the fifth, Justen Proctor answered the challenge and scored on a grounder down the third base line that Stanley Griffin could not get to on the 5th pitch he saw.  Thaxton then hit the first pitch for a run scoring grounder that rolled past Jeff Dell in left field.  Boston now led 7-3.  In the Bottom of the 5th, Cleveland had no answer and after Thanh Huynh made his third stop of the game off the bat of Christian Keeley, Steve Miller and Turner would strike out.  With a chance to put their foots on the throat of the Scrappers, Boston struggled.  14 pitches, 13 swings and just 4 foul balls and Yee, Proctor and Thaxton would strike out off Jamie Dickerson.  Justen Proctor would stop Stanley Griffin for his game leading 5 stops to start the 6th inning.  Jeff Dell would hit a pop fly up the middle, which Aqil Sajjad could not find in time to make it 7-4 and give Cleveland hope.  Rookie, Antonio Dobyne would strike out for the 2nd time in the game.  Christian Keeley would then hit a pop fly down the first base line.  Thanh Huynh broke to the line but the ball got by him and the Scrappers were now down just 7-5.  Rookie, Steve Miller was looming for some Abracadabra and for the first time put a ball into play.  Weissman had moved Thaxton and Yee mid game and this time, Thaxton laid out and made the play to close out the win.  Boston would now be 1-1 on the day and would break for lunch with the hungry Indy Edge awaiting them for the last game of the day.

Game #6 Indy Edge have something to prove to the league mercy Ruling Gades 18-5

Bolingbrook game results - heroes of the weekend

Coaches Jamie Dickerson, Ben Coiner, Joe Bourque and Aaron Proctor formed one of the youngest coaching staffs in Gade history (not pictured – Rob Weissman)

The Indy Edge were a team in transition in 2016 due to infernal turmoil. It started with was some issues when they did not renew their team and lost their three seed, which they owned as the RHI Extreme.  Jarred Woodard left them in 2016 to pitch for the Thunder; this team took on a new look.  Then after some debate in the league office as to why they could not retain the RHI seed (they finished 3rd in 2015)…they walked away from their new pitcher, Lindsay Woodard and went with teenager, Kyle Kennedy.  The Edge would have a good World Series in 2016 as they had to climb from a seed that put them at the bottom of the league.  In the end, they finished 7th.  A very good showing for this team of veteran players and a rookie pitcher.  In a show of disrespect, the Edge were talking some smack on social media about how poorly the Renegades played in the title game.  They came into this 2017 match up looking to make a statement that they were a top tier team.  Kyle Kennedy impressed right out of the gate.  In the top of the first inning, Kennedy threw just 11 pitches.  They key was he faced 8 batters and only one hitter swung and missed…at just one pitch.  The Edge held a 4-0 lead.  Boston would answer.  Christian Thaxton scored on a hard grounder to the right side while Joe Yee would score on a grounder down the third base line and Aqil Sajjad would plate a run on a tweener that Marc Morris could not corral.   In the top of the second, Proctor would stop Chris Dunleavy and Joe Yee would make two stops against Brian Christian and Pete Trejo.  Larry Haile would be the only Renegade to score in the bottom of the second because Danny Foppiano would make two nice stops, one of them on a dead ball off the bat of Justen Proctor.   The Edge bats would heat up and Danny Foppiano would plate a pair of runs to pace the Edge offense to a five run inning as Aqil Sajjad and Joe Yee would have some struggles in the field.  Weissman was visibly upset at the play of Sajjad and would talk to him about how to lay out for a ball during this inning.  In the Renegades minds, this game was about getting experience for this green team.  On the other side of the field, the Edge were looking to burry the Renegades.   At this point, the Boston bats would go dark.  Marc Morris would stop Sajjad this time…and then Dickerson would struggle and strike out the next 5 batters over the next two frames.  Good news happened in the 4th inning.  The Renegades defense set the Edge down 1-2-3 as Proctor made two stops and Aqil Sajjad listened to his coach and made a diving stop on a ball off the bat of Brian Christian.  Around this time, the Edge started to complain to the ump.  Though they were up 10-4 in what looked like a lop-sided game, they were complaining about Dickerson’s cadence.  Weissman ignored them.  Dickerson toing the rubber was struggling to find consistency with his pitches and the result was bunches of strikeouts.  He was not cheating in any way.  The Edge complained he was telling the players when to swing the bat.  Nothing could have been further from the truth. Dickerson laughed it off saying “if I was cheating I sure am not doing a good job since we are missing so often” The Edge were simply looking for every edge they could get and tried to rattle Dickerson.  Things took a turn for the worst in the 5th inning.  The Edge would plate eight runs in this frame with Foppiano and Marc Morris each plating a pair in this inning.  The Edge had put up 18 runs and instituted the 12 run rule.  The Boston Renegades truly were getting a test.  As the 12 run rule was started, a few of the Edge were still complaining to the umpire about Dickerson as they showed poor sportsmanship.  Boston would get the hammer in this game and lose 18-5.  Kyle Kennedy would pitch a gem.  He would strike out just one batter.  His 3% strike out ratio was the best performance of any pitcher against the Renegades since 2009 when Darnell Booker achieved the same while pitching for the Indy Thunder.  This game was a big learning moment.  Luis Soto played the whole game at Rover on defense.  He saw more action on defense in this game than in his entire career.  He almost scored on a ball earlier in the game as well.   Aqil Sajjad played the whole game at Midfield and though he stopped just one ball in 9 tries, he showed promise that he understood how to lay out for the ball.  Coiner and Bourque each saw a ton of game action and improved their calling.  Than Huynh was filling in at Right shorty, a position he hates…but he was improving all day long.  Joe Yee and Justen Proctor were both working on their mechanics at the plate and though they were a combined 1-7 in this game, they showed promise of being able to make an impact.  Boston would be ok.  They were hot…very hot (as they were also the only team of the 8 teams without a canopy for this game due to the fact the winds damaged most of the canopies and there were no extras left).  They would need to regroup and prepare for the Austin Blackhawks in the morning.

Game #7 Renegades down Austin 9-7 to take 5th

Bolingbrook game results - heroes of Game 4

Thaxton plated 2 runs and made 2 stops on defense. Justen scored one and had a game leading 8 stops on defense. Larry scored three runs with two big stops in left field while Joe Yee delivered the go ahead run while breaking his finger

After playing three games in high winds, the weather was much calmer on this morning.  The Austin Blackhawks would finish their bracket with just one win over Minnesota and losses against the Indy Thunder and Colorado Storm.  This Blackhawk team looked very different from their world championship team of 2015.  On the mound was former world champ of the West Coast Dawgs, Tim Hibner.  This game started very oddly and ended in an odd way as well.  Thaxton led off this game by hitting a grounder into left field.  He felt the base was late and the umpires did not know how to handle this rule and did not agree the base was late.  Shawn Devenish then hit a dribbler to the left side but Darius Sterling could not find it because the speaker went down into the grass.  With one out, Justen Proctor also scored on a weak dribbler to Sterling with the speaker in the ground.  One of the best hits of the inning came off the bat of Joe Yee who laced a shot into left but he missed third base and was put out by Brandon Chesser.  After all of this controversy, the blackhawks came to bat.  Steve Puryear led off with a deep drive to left but Larry Haile made a stop in deep left for a big out that would set the defensive tone.  Brandon Chesser would plate a run before the Justen Proctor show would begin as he made two stops to end the inning.  Shawn Devenish would score his second run of the game in another dinker to the left side and then Larry Haile would score in a bang-bang play which had the Austin spotters upset with the call.  Boston would lead 4-0.  In the Bottom of the 2nd, Larry Haile would make another great stop in left field to shut out Austin.  The Boston bats were quiet in the third inning with only Joe Quintanilla managing to put a dribbler to the right side into play.  The bottom of the third inning was Thaxton time (and not the offensive kind).  He made back-to-back stops at first base against Brandon Chesser and even more impressive stop against Mariano Reynoso.  Ed Manning closed out the inning for Austin by hitting a weak ball to the left side and then standing at the plate without running while Proctor easily made a play.  His coaches stood there dumbfounded as Weissman giggled about thoughts of how many times a Renegade had done this in the past.  For Boston, the strikeouts would start to pile up.  Larry Haile would score the team’s only run in the 4th but Dickerson would strike out Devenish, Proctor and Yee for his 6th, 7th and 8th strikeout of the game.  Austin got a spark in the bottom of the 4th as Faith Penn scored on a ball up the middle, which Quintanilla could not grab in time.  Austin would feed off this like vultures circling road kill.  Darius Sterling then plated a run.  Thanh Huynh would stop Puryear but Chesser would score again and the score was now down to a 5-3 Boston lead.  Huynh and Proctor would close out the inning for the Gade defense.  Weissman went to the bench in the 5th and brought in Aqil Sajjad to hit for Quintanilla.  On paper, this move did not appear to pan out as Aqil struck out.  However, part of the move was to give Dickerson back-to -back targets in similar spots.  Quintanilla’s target is one of the higher ones on the team.  The result of this was Thaxton hitting a hard grounder into left for a big run.  Larry Haile plated an insurance run and Boston would head into the bottom of the 5th up 7-4.  Penn and Sterling would lead off the bottom of the frame with strikeouts.  They were only the 2nd and 3rd of the game for Hibner.  The top of the order would come up.  Puryear, Chesser and Reynoso would score with two outs and tie the game up.  Two of these runs would score on balls close to Thaxton and Yee, which were just off their fingertips.  Close calls do not matter and Austin had tied the game at seven.  Joe Yee would lead off the 6th and hit a first pitch grounder up the middle and he jetted toward third.  After missing the base in the first, he was determined and he plowed right into the base for the go ahead run.  He was not getting up though.  We feared he may have broken a finger the way he landed and the way he was flinching in pain.  Yee went to the bench a hero and uncertain of his health.  Sajjad would strike out again making Weissman look foolish on paper…. BUT…on Dickerson’s 5th pitch to Thaxton, he would score a big run to give the Renegades a 9-7 lead.  Yee would play defense in the 6th despite his hand (which would later be diagnosed as an evulsion fracture). Penn would lead off the bottom of the 6th for Austin and this time would be denied by Justen Proctor.  Speedster Sterling would come up next and hit a weak pop down the 3rd baseline.  Proctor ranged to his right and hit the ground.  As he hit the ground, the ball one hopped and landed in his hands, while he was laying on his back.  An amazing play that shocked Austin.  Boston was fired up and one out away.  Lead off hitter, Steve Puryear who had put three of his four balls into play- all of them deep, had just one run to show for it because of Larry Haile.  As the count went deep, the pressure mounted and Hibner struck him out.  Boston held on to win an exciting game and finish in 5th place.  An exciting win and a confidence builder for this inexperienced crew.  Justen Proctor would finish with 8 stops on defense and as a team; the Renegades would have 14 defensive stops.  On a day when the bats did not have much, the gloves came up big.  Proctor would go on to make the defensive all-star team with 23 stops on the weekend.  He finished second to Stanley Griffin of Cleveland.  He was the first Renegade defender since Dino Vasile to make a defensive all star team in Bolingbrook and joined Darren Black as Renegades earning this achievement.

 

Renegades Start 2017 Campaign with 3 wins

The Renegades start the 2017 Campaign with 3 wins in Lincroft New Jersey in their quest for another Beast of the East title.  As with ever year, this tournament posed some challenges.  From a roster standpoint, Christian Thaxton, Joe McCormick and Thanh Huynh did not make the trip.   Three guys who played a big role in the 2016 season.  Aaron Proctor would also be called in to duty to call his first ever series of games.  Throw in the fact that rain would delay the games for more than an hour and prevent the team from getting any pre game practice and It looked like an up hill battle the team was willing to take on head on!

Game #1 Boston puts out the Fire in Walk off style 5-4

The Renegades opened the season in Lincroft, New Jersey and to start the season, we had an hour rain delay.  For the first time in team history (excluding the dead ball era), the Renegades did not have time to take bp before the game.  This would have a huge impact on the game for both teams.  Philly sauntered on to the field without bp or any type of warm up routine.  They would go down on strikes three times to stat the first.  In a surprise move, Guy Zuccarello was named the lead off hitter for the Renegades and on the third pitch of the inning hit a 45-foot pop up to the middle of the field, to give Boston a run. From there Cochran whiffed the next 5 hitters with lots of timing issues and foul balls as 45% of his pitches were fouled off into the wet grass of Lincroft.  With two outs in the bottom of the second, Guy Zuccarello laced a line drive into left field and raced to the base.  It was a close play and the umpire ruled in favor of Guy being safe to the dismay of the Philly defense and especially Mike Coughlin who was “late” in getting to the ball.  After a debate with the new umpire, the ruling stood.  Rob Dias then extended the inning on the 5th pitch he saw in the at bat with his first run of the 2017 campaign and gave Boston 3-0 lead.  In the top of the third, Philly got on the board.  They had 5 strike outs in 6 trips to the plate prior to this point but Mike Coughlin led off with a line drive down the first base line that nobody was near for their first run of their season.  Scott Hogwood then took one of his infamous giant swings and hit a weak liner up the middle of the field that put Aqil Sajjad on his heels as his first instinct was to back up.  This big swing surprised Aqil when the ball landed so far in front of him that when he tried to change directions, he fell backwards on his ass.  By the time he recovered, Hogwood had beaten him to the bag to make the game 3-2.  Dom Natoli, the Philly pitcher would then strike out the next three hitters.  After three frames, Philly had 2 runs on 3 balls put in play and had racked up 8 of their 9 outs by striking out.  This pattern would continue for them all game.  Shawn Devenish led off the 3rd for Boston with a blast into left field.  However, he came out of the batters box with a terrible line, which made him very slow down to third base.  Despite the distance of the ball, Maneer, Tawam made his first career stop against Devenish out near 130 feet.  The first 2017 pink blindfold would go to Devenish.  Joe Yee and Justen Proctor would struggle and both would strike out on 4 pitches as they struggled a bit with their mechanics.  In the 4th, Gina Natoli led off for the Fire and put a ball into play off her brother Dom. Dom said after the play ” it was a nice hit but you are running in quick sand”. Justen Proctor gobbled it up with ease for his second stop of the day.  Mike Coughlin strode to the plate and on this attempt hit a ball down the first base line again.  This time it stopped rolling between Guy Zuccarello at Right Shorty and Rob Dias at First base.  Guy called for help, as he could not hear the ball well with first base going off.  By the time Rob Dias could come up on it, Coughlin had scored to tie the game.  Coughlin lives for beep baseball and beating the Renegades is one of his passions. He had given his team a 3-3 tie.  Hogwood and Randy George would go down on strikes to end the top of the 4th.  In the bottom of the 4th, the Boston bats showed some life and the possibility the lack of warm ups were starting to wear off.  Zuccarello hit the 2nd pitch of the at bat up the middle and was stopped by Randy George.  Rob Dias weakly grounded up the middle to George and then Joe Quintanilla hit a hard shot to left center on his first swing but Mike Coughlin would go a long way and lay out to make a nice stop to end the threat.  After four innings, Boston and Philly were knotted at three.  Philly went down on strikes in the 5th as Dom Natoli racked up 13 strikeouts to this point.  In the bottom of the 5th, Shawn Devenish led off the inning with a weak ground ball to the left side and this time corrected his base running woes to score.  He giggled that he could score on such a short hit but be stopped on his blast earlier.  Boston now had a 4-3 lead.  Yee and Proctor would continue to struggle, racking up a scorecard that looked like the K-K-K.  Zuccarello would end the inning with a grounder to the left side that Randy George gobbled up for his game leading 4 stops.  Going into the 6th, Coughlin had a chance to be a hero and he blasted a shot into right center field that looked like a sure run.  Joe Quintanilla ranged to his right at the rover spot and laid out for the ball making a great play and stopped Coughlin from tying the game!  Q made the biggest put of the game on defense and the team was fired up.  Next up the mighty Scott Hogwood went down swinging.  With two out and three strikes, Randy George was at the plate.  He had been 0-3 on the day with three whiffs.  Coach Weissman had flashbacks to 2016 in a similar situation with the same player.  George then lofted a fly ball down the 3rd base line.  The ball landed in front of Joe Yee.  Yee committed to early and hit the ground.  George raced to the base and beet the crawling Yee to the ball to tie the game at four.  It was the same thing he did last year to send the game into extra innings.  Going into the bottom of the 6th inning the game was tied at four.  Rob Dias led off with a 4-pitch strike out and Joe Quintanilla strode to the plate.  On his third swing, he hit a grounder to the right middle of the field, which Philly could not get in time as it died between their layers.  Q was safe and walked off to give the Renegades an exciting victory.  It was the 2nd time in q’s career he had walked off on Philly, the last time was in Boston in 2008.  It was an ugly game.  Philly struck out 15 times.  Boston struck out 10 times.  Boston made just three stops on defense.  Guy Zuccarello paced the team with 2 runs while Justen Proctor made two stops.  Joe Quintanilla was the hero of this game on both sides of the ball though with two clutch plays in the 6th inning.

 

Game #2 Boston Spanks the Bombers 14-3

Luis Soto scored a circus run in this contest while Peter Connolly became the 10th volunteer to pitch in Renegade history (we also scored on him)

Game two of the season brought the Long Island Bombers to the field to compete for the 31st time in team history. This storied rivalry was all Long Island in the start. As they reeled off seven straight wins from 2002-2007 before the curse was broken. Boston is currently riding an 11 game win streak at the moment before this match up. Coming into this game was a surprise that Long Island squeaked by Rochester in game one by a 2-1 score. Added to the line-up in this game was Larry Haile to lead off for the Renegades. Getting his first appearance of the season he lit a fire for the team by lacing a line drive down into left field to set the tone. The lack of accuracy in the previous game seemed to be a thing of the past quickly. In just 6 total swings by four different batters, Boston raced out to a four-run lead as Zuccarello, Quintanilla and Devenish scored 4 straight times. Haile would tack on his 2nd run of the inning and after the first half of the 1st inning Boston held a five run advantage and was feeling very good. On defense Justen Proctor would make a stop on the leadoff hitter. Alex Barrera would then be involved in a strange play in which h hit a grounder to third base and raced to first. Joe Yee struggled a bit to find the ball and booted it away from himself. Alex dove at first base and fell short. As he attempted to regroup and get to the bag Yee, beat him to the ball on a bang-bang play. Proctor would make the next stop to end the first inning. After just one inning of play, Boston had matched their offensive and defensive output of the previous game! Joe Quintanilla would keep his torrid start to the season alive with his 2nd run of the game to lead off the 2nd inning on a pop fly to the left side. The Long Island defense was truly struggling. They would right the ship as Alex Barrera (1) and Matt Puvogel (2) would make stops to get them out of the inning. It would be the only inning they would make three stops on defense the whole game. On defense for Boston, it would become the Justen Proctor show. Every Boston defensive out from the second inning on was either by the way of a strike out (Long Island ended with 8 of these) or a stop by Justen (he would finish the game with 9). Boston cruised from here and started to get their bench in the game in the third inning. Fast-forward to the top of the 5th inning and Boston held a 9-2 lead. Luis Soto would lead off the inning with a grounder up the right side into no mans land in front of Edgar Erickson. Soto raced to first base and missed it. He then screeched to a halt and changed directions to hit the base again…and missed it for the 2nd time. As he was bout to make a third attempt at it a roar came from the Long Island bench to “keep playing”. As Edgar picked up the ball, Soto found the base. He would be called safe because the Long Island bench cannot give verbal direction. Soto would have his first run of the season on a totally botched play but would not be given the pink blindfold because he scored! Justen Proctor followed this up with his first run of the year. Then Aqil Sajjad got into the fun with his 2nd run of the game. This would be Aqil’s first multi-run game since game #2 of the 2015 season!  In the top of the 6th, Weissman went to the bullpen and brought in Peter Connolly.  Peter became the 10th pitcher in team history to throw a pitch in a game.  After striking out the first two batters he faced (Sajjad and Thayer), Larry Haile cam to the plate and scored a run.  this run moved Peter ahead of Justin Manjourides for 9th place all-time in runs allowed by our pitchers (Justin never had a runner score against him). Boston would cruise to a 14-3 victory led by Larry Haile scoring 4 runs and Guy Zuccarello scoring three times. Quintanilla and Sajjad would also score a pair. This game would go down in the history books at the biggest Renegade lopsided victory over the Bombers in the 31 game history with an 11 run victory. Justen’s 9 stops on defense were also the most he had ever made in a 6 inning game (he has been involved in three extra inning games where he has made 10-11 stops). This game was caught on facebook live:

 

Game #3 First ever Match up against Boston and Rochester as Renegades prevail 4-0

After finishing the 31st game ever against Long Island, Boston trekked across the field to face the Rochester Pioneers for the first time in history. This team got started in 2015 and joined the Beast of the East for the first time this season. They had lost to Long Island 2-1 and then lost to the host New Jersey Lightning 5-3. Their team captain was calling this game the Boston Massacre before it ever started. Though neither team was too worried about who would win this contest, the Renegades were more worried about the fact that some giant trees were standing out at about 155 feet away. This would be one of the most challenging fields the Renegades would ever step foot on. Left field was up hill. Right field was down hill. A giant tree stood in dead left field and another one in Right center. Much of the 150-foot line was filled with roots and divots. Not the best place to play a game for sure. In addition to this, the bases were some of the weakest beeping bases we have ever used. The field next to us would have their third base sound off and it would be louder than our first base. Any stiff wind that blew would make it impossible to hear the base. Weissman instructed all hitters to stay at home until they heard the base. No guessing at the direction to run. Both teams were at the same disadvantage. Earlier that morning, Coach Rob promised that Boston would go easy on Rochester and would not play many of the big bats in this game. Rochester would win the coin toss and in fashion would choose to hit first (a common practice of the Renegades in the early days when playing some of the better teams in the league) Larry Haile and Aqil Sajjad would score runs to give Boston a two run first inning. Rochester would send 7 batters to the plate before journeyman; Tony Santiago would put their first ball into play (Stopped by Justen Proctor). In the bottom of the 3rd after Luis Soto plated a run to give Boston a 3-0 lead, Rob Thayer would come to the plate. After a loud Rub-a-dub-dub call. Tub would be looking for his first hit and would it a weak grounder to the left side but because the bases were so hard to hear, he chased the ball into the field. As he lumbered into the field, Leah Werner of Rochester could not hear the ball and stood her ground. Thayer was so deep into the field and was about to make a left turn to the base when for some reason, the new ump called “foul”. There was no fear of collision as Werner and Thayer were not moving quickly; But Thayer was so in the wrong here. It was not a foul ball and Thayer was likely able to get to the base without interference. In the end, it was ruled a foul ball and he later struck out for the 4th time on the day. In the bottom of the fourth inning, Peter Connolly would take the mound again for the 2nd time today. Joe Quintanilla would score a run against him for Peter’s 2nd run is his career as a pitcher! Following him would be Joe Yee. For the 2nd time in history, Boston would have a family member pitching in a game against another family member. The only time this has happened was in 2012 when Joe Duggan faced his son in Haddonfield, NJ (they hooked up for a run). This time it was two cousins, Peter Connolly and Joe Yee. Sadly, the result was a strike out. The game would be a victory for Boston, as the Renegades would win 4-0. Rochester would strike out 16 times. The funniest moment of the game may have been a mistake by their captain, Kirstyn Smith when she took strike four in her final at-bat. In beep baseball, you are allowed one take. The 2nd take is a strike. She had forgotten the count and took a called strike 4. Score that as the first ever backwards K in the scorebook in the first ever game against these teams. To see the game live watch our facebook live stream:

Joe Quintanilla named to the Cambridge Athletic Hall of Fame

On April 29th, Joe Quintanilla was named to the Cambridge Athletic Hall of Fame.  “Q”,  who owns the Renegade record for most games played entered got his start in sports long before he started playing ball in 2000.  Q’s roots as an athlete started long before the Renegades.  He ran 11 different seasons as a member of the cross country and indoor/outdoor track teams before graduating high school in 1994.  Joe Also ran the Boston Marathon, ran as part of Boston College and made the 1996 Paralympics team in Atlanta as a representative of the United States.  Congrats.  You are not an Average Joe!

Thanks to Chris Cavallerano, we have a copy of this video on our youtube channel

 

Attached is a picture of his article in the program that the Hall of Fame published for that night

Joe Quintanilla's Hall of Fame article from the April 29th induction ceremony

 

 

The Renegades have athletes with a story and Inspiration!

The Renegades have athletes with a story and Inspiration!  Watching a beep baseball game you will be amazed at what you can see.  You will see a high level of competitive spirit.  You will see athletes running top speed and swinging for the fences.  You will also see defensive players throwing their bodies on the ground trying to make a key defensive stop.  You will see coaches creating strategy and helping players improve their game.  It is just an impressive sport to watch.  It is inspiring!

Then you look closer and see these athletes are all wearing blindfolds and many of them can’t see at all.  Now the game is even more impressive.  The level of trust they have in each other to fly around at top speed not knowing what is in front of them.  How amazing their hearing must be to track a ball rolling on a huge field or hear a base buzzing in tough windy conditions.  It is inspiring!

It’s impressive and it’s fun to watch.  But there is so much you don’t see that makes the Boston Renegades and so many of the other teams in this league even more impressive.  First, let’s start with coaching.  Most coaches teach by showing someone.  “Watch me and do what I do”. That is often how most sports are coached at the start.  How do you teach someone to hit a ball that has never seen a swing before?  Creativity, verbal communication, the sense of touch all become critical to the success of a coaching staff.  Often times what we see, is not what the players hear.  That perception alone can lead to some interesting coaching moments!

Go a tad further and you begin to realize, the Renegades have been at this since 2002.  It took years to learn how to coach this sport effectively and we are still learning every day.  The coaches of the Renegades have made a huge difference in these players skills.  However, this is not the most impressive thing about the sport either.

The most impressive thing that sets this sport apart from even the highest levels of sport is the stories.  Each and every player in this league has a story.  They do not represent the average blind person.  Not even close.  Many people who lose their sight would have no desire to have a ball hit at them or run full speed into a buzzing base.  Many of them actually lose a desire to even stay in shape.  A beep baseball player has normally overcome so much more than most other athletes.  They have overcome so many obstacles to even play the sport.  They are truly inspirational and many of them would make amazing mentors at how to overcome adversity.

Since 2002, roughly 50 players have tried to play in a game for the Renegades.  Each and everyone of them is unique and has a story to tell.  For brevity, let’s talk about a few of the current Renegades and what they have accomplished on and off the field and what makes them truly an inspirational athlete:

Joe Quintanilla

Joe Q crashes into a base in 2005

On the field – Joe has played in more games (181) than any other Renegade in team history.  He is the only Renegade in team history to play at least one game in every season the team has existed.  With age, he has moved from the lead-off hitter in 2003 to more of a role player in 2016.  However, he has never let a big moment scare him.  He delivered big time in the 2016 world series coming off the bench for his injured teammate and coming up with two giant hits at the end of the game to help us get into extra innings and eventually win.  This 2 run performance sent us to the championship game for the first time in team history.

In 2013, Joe Q sports his uniform from the 1996 Paraolympics

Inspiration– Joe lost his sight as a kid and he never let that stop him.  At that time, he would never play ball like his idol, Jim Rice.  Instead, he took to running.  He became a huge part of his high school running program.  He even ran competitively in college.  He was so good at distance running that he made the paraolympic team as a marathon runner in the Olympic games in Atlanta in 1996.  Joe is always ready to talk distance running.  He has helped his friends prepare for their first marathon and he has helped make blind runners in Boston feel special by being one of the minds behind the Blindfold challenge, a 5K race for people to run or try to run with a blindfold on.  On aril 29th, Joe will be inducted into the Cambridge Athletic Hall of fame for his feats at Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School as a member of the Cross country, indoor and outdoor track teams.  For more about Q, see an article on him in the Rochester Post in 2010

Christian Thaxton

 

Thaxton races toward third base in 2015

On the field– Thaxton burst into the scene in 2015 when he joined the Renegades in Mid season.  Though he was injured the day before the world series, he still managed to hit a team record .719 in his rookie year at the world series.  He followed that up hitting .651 in the 2017 series.  Both seasons, he was named to the league all star game for offense.  Many would argue, he is the best pure hitter in the league today after only playing two seasons.  He has home run power and lights out speed.  His teammates sit on the bench quietly when he comes to the plate to watch the “show” and listen to him make the beep ball squeal like a little piggy when he sends it deep into left field.  What makes him even more valuable is his investment in his teammates and he works hard with the coaches and players to teach them how to swing with better mechanics.

Christian (middle) shows off his 2016 all star award with his pitcher, Ron Cochran and catcher, Rob Weissman

Off the field – Christian was born to play baseball.  It’s in his families blood.  He grew up a baseball stud in Oklahoma.  He even played  junior college baseball at Redwoods Community College in 2012.  That is when he found out he had a rare eye disease called Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy.  As you would imagine, hearing the news you would be legally blind would be painful.  Christian went through some very rough times.  In 2015, his healing was on the way and he decided to come to Boston.  His attitude is amazing.  He has not only learned how to live with this disease, but he has done it in a city he was not familiar with, far away from his family and support system who is still in Oklahoma.  Christian is now enrolled at Umass and is working to complete his college degree.  All of this within three years of being told he would go blind.  Truly someone who looks at the positives in life, has faith and does the right thing!

Joe McCormick

 

Joe McCormick showing his excitement after scoring a run

On the field – Joe McCormick busted on to the Renegades scene in 2012 and has become one of the best two way players in team history.  Mac was named to the league offensive all star squad in 2013 when he hit .600 at the World series.  At the time, he was only the second Renegade to ever make an offensive league all star.  In team history, Mac ranks third all-time with 158 runs scored (in just 5 years of play) and 5th in defensive stops (121).  In fact, he is just one of three players in team history to break the century mark in both categories.  He is also only one of three players with a career batting average over .500 as he ranks 2nd all-time with a .541 batting average.

Joe Mac proudly holds the Beast of the East trophy which he has helped win 4 times

Off the field – Joe began to lose his sight in his senior year of high school to Leber’s Hereditary Optical Neuropathy.  Like a hitter taking a called third strike, he quickly accepted it and never slowed down.  Instead, he just figured it out.  He was accepted to and attended Harvard University the following year and he graduated in 2014 with a degree in Computer Science.  Never letting anything slow him down he plans to wed his high school sweetheart in the spring of 2017.  For more info on Mac, check out this amazing article in the Boston Globe from 2014

 

 

Larry Haile

 

Larry Hailes tumbles over a base in Philly, 2017. He was safe!

On the field – Larry joined the team in 2006 and at that time had zero confidence in his ability to play the sport.  He had no idea how to swing a bat but he loved to run.   He did not let that bother him.  He worked and he learned.  We helped simplify his approach and the rest is history.   He is now the all time leader in Renegade history in runs scored with 233 (only player in history that has eclipsed 200) and he is 5th all-time with a career .431 Batting Average

Larry is one of 4 players who have been part of all 6 Beast of the East Championship runs!

Off the field – Larry lost his sight as a kid.  He competed in the Maryland area at track as part of the school for the blind.  But what makes Larry’s story amazing is his mobility.  Larry has a passion for public transportation.  In fact, when the team travels, he often times spends his nights taking a tour of the city in his own.  YES! On his own.  He does not let his lack of vision stop him.  He wears a gps around his neck and off he goes.  Larry has traveled the world by himself to far off places like Japan.  His knowledge of public transportation is so amazing that he helps our new players learn how to ride the train and the bus.  He even can pretty much help anyone quickly figure out how to get from point a to point b using the subway and busses with just his memory.  For more about Larry, check him out on Chronicle in 2012

 

 

Aqil Sajjad

Aqil takes a rip in 2010

On the field – Aqil had never played baseball before.  The closest he had come was playing cricket as a kid in Pakistan.  In a short time, he became a steady presence on the Renegade roster and during the first few years of his career, he led the team in games played and was one of the hardest players to strike out (he ranks as the 6th toughest player to strike out in team history at 19.7%).  Aqil is 100% self made as we have taught him everything he knows including how to run which was difficult since had never run before playing with the team.  While attending Harvard, he had a two bedroom apartment.  One of those rooms was dedicated to his beepball swing which after tens of thousands of practice swings he had crafted one of the most repeatable swings on the team.

Off the field – Aqil has no sight and has not had any since he was a teenager in Pakistan.  That has never stopped him.  In fact, in 2014, he The Renegades have a theoretical Physicist that could be on the big bang theory. Of course his "big bang" was the walk off hit he had against New Jersey last weekend! How can he do physics without his sight? He is WICKED SMAHT!graduated Harvard university with his PHD in theoretical particle physics.  That topic is hard enough for most people but Aqil had to learn how to do all of these equations without the use of sight.  He is currently working at Perkins school for the blind on a project to help blind people do math while he ponders his next scientific achievement.  for more about Aqil, check out a page we created for him with many of his articles

Top 10 Renegade moments of 2016

As we close the book on 2016 and welcome in a New Year, let’s pause and reflect on the Top 10 Renegades moments of 2016.  Each year this team takes steps at improving and 2016 was no exception.  On and off the field we had a lot of fun and a lot of success.  As we have done in previous years, Let’s review the top 10 moments of the season through the eyes of Coach, Rob Weissman.  We will post one post a day for the next 10-12 days…so please check back to remember some of the top moments of the year.

#10 Soto finds his Rhythm

Boston Renegades -Ben Coiner Lifts Luis Soto in the air in celebration

Ben Coiner Lifts Luis Soto into the air after he scored a pair of runs vs the NJ Titans in Long Island

Often times, the things that are memorable happen off the field.  What is great as a coach of the Boston Renegades is seeing hard work off the field pay dividends on the field. Luis Soto entered the year as a third year player.  With his blindness comes problems with his memory which is all due to how he lost his sight as a kid.  When the season started, we took a team stance of the importance on learning the mechanics of hitting.  We asked all the players to explain to the coaches the key mechanics we were focusing on.  From day one, Soto was frustrated and went into a shell.  He was frustrated he could not recall things and was concerned he would not be able to contribute.  I spent many hours on the phone with him in the spring trying to coach him up and show him that athletically he is quick and has raw power.  We talked about the fact, he was in better shape than many guys on the team.  We talked about the main thing holding him back was his confidence.  Coming into the season, soto was a career .056 hitter with just one run in 18 at-bats.  In our first tournament of the year in long island Soto had a great game against the New Jersey Titans.  In his 2nd trip to the plate he hit a ball into the ground which did not go very far but his speed beat the defense and he scored.  The team erupted.  Later, in the same game, he hit a laser into the deep outfield and cruised into the base for his first career multi run game.  He scored more runs in this game than he did in his whole career!  What was so memorable for me here as a coach was two things.  First, it was amazing to see his confidence turn so quickly in that game and to see a smile return to his face where it had not been all year.  Secondly, Lisa Andrews captured a moment on camera that I loved (see the above picture).  First year coach, Ben Coiner was so pumped for Soto that he lifted him into the air.  I was a proud coach at that moment.  Proud of Soto and super proud of the culture on this team to see a first year coach so excited at that moment.  It was priceless and a top 10 moment of my 2016 season.

 

#9 The Knock out Punch

Mac and Than at the Banquet

Thanh and Mac two days after the collision. Mac has a black eye to show for it

Not every moment we have is memorable for a good reason.  Some of the most painful things tend to stay with us, especially in sports.  That happened in our bracket game against the Indy Thunder.  In this game, we had one of the worst injuries in team history.  We entered this game undefeated on the year.  We were facing off against the only other undefeated team at the World Series.  The winner of this game went to the title game while the loser went to the semi finals.  The score was 6-4 and the Indy Thunder was leading going into the top of the 5th inning.  Gerald Dycus hit a laser into left center field that was most likely going to be a run with his blazing speed.  As the ball sailed past Third Baseman, Than Huynh, he turned his back and chased after it.  Joe McCormick was taking an angle to the ball from his left field spot and before anyone could react, the two collided in a loud bang.  Both players went down.  At first, it looked like these two tough guys would shake it off as it looked like Thanh may have gotten the worst of it since he is literally half the size of Joe McCormick.  There was no blood which was a good sign.  When we got to them, Thanh was a little shell shocked but Joe was dizzy.  As Mike Marciello assessed the situation, we saw Joe’s face begin to swell and swell quickly.  His game was over as Mike pulled him.  Thanh on the other hand remained in the game as he was playing on pure adrenaline.   A short time later, we called for an ambulance and Joe was taken to the hospital.  Thanh was later pulled from the game and was limping very badly the rest of the tournament. Thankfully, these two players would eventually heal and be ok.  In the 15 years of playing ball, this went down as the worst in-game injury, and one of the worst injuries we have seen in team history.  In the end, Joe had fractures in his face and sinus cavities.  Thanh had bone bruises to his leg and foot.  This collision changed the outlook of the World Series and helped the Thunder win this game.  Boston showed its resolve by digging deep and winning the semi final game against Colorado without these two players.  The team truly supported each other.  You can be sure that moment will be discussed and a lesson taken from it as the Renegades look to improve in 2017.

#8 Feeling after the San Antonio Game

Thaxton scored 5 times, Haile 4 times while Rob Dias had 3 runs and 3 stops and Justen Proctor made three stops to lead the Renegades over the Jets

Before the season started, we spoke about the fact it could be a very special year.  The excitement was there from pre season through the entire year. As the World Series brackets were getting created, it became apparent that we could be the recipient of some poor seeding.  Because the league had a lot of turnover, two new teams were formed with many talented veteran players.  These teams were seeded at the bottom of the brackets.  We were supposed to be playing the 19th seed as our first game at the World Series.  A game in which the strategy would have been to rest some of the starters and get some valuable playing time for the rest of the team.  Instead, we got the upstart San Antonio Jets and one of the top pitchers in the history of the sport.  We had two ways to look at this.  We could have complained at how unfair the system was or  shut up and prove to the world what we can do.  We chose the later.  As the league discussed on social media which teams were going to get beat, The consensus claimed the Jets would beat the Renegades.  What happened?  We decided this was a great opportunity.  If we lost, who cares, it had no effect on the rest of the World Series.  If we won, the confidence would help us all week.  What happened, We came out and played well.  We put up huge numbers and won 20-9.  When the game was over, I overheard a few of the Jets players and coaches saying wow, Boston is for real.  Looking around the Renegade team you could see the confidence in the squad.  It was a special feeling and we knew right there, it looked good to set the team up for an amazing run.  Playing a team who we predicted would finish top 5 in the league and beating them set this season up to be the most special in our 15 year team history.  By the way, the Jets did finish in 5th place!

#7 Eight inning win vs Philly Earns 6th Beast of East Title

Team photo of the Renegades in Philly

Team photo of the team we took to Philly which clinched the Beast of the East title

With 5 teams in the Beast of the East for the first time, the format had changed a little bit. We adjusted things so we would only play each team once and the top three teams would play each other a second time.  We entered the day 3-0 and needed to get a win against Philly.  A win here would surely secure another Beast of the East run as it would help us with many tie breakers.  One major hurdle was they recruited one of the game’s best pitchers, Johnny Walker from Colorado.  Walker has owned the Renegades through history including a walk off win in the 2015 World Series with the Colorado Storm.  To make things worse, the fields were lightning fast.  Almost like a putting green, we knew that putting a ball into play would result in a run the majority of the time.  On the bump for the Renegades was Jamie Dickerson in only his 2nd year as a pitcher.  The game started slow as both teams went scoreless.  The runs would soon come  After three innings, Boston held a 5-3 lead but in the 4th, Philly tied it at six.  Boston pulled ahead in the 5th 9-7 but could not hold the lead as Philly scored in the bottom of the 6th to tie the game and force extra innings.  Both teams scored a pair in the 7th but in the 8th inning Dickerson connected with Christian Thaxton, Rob Dias and Shawn Devenish and the defense held in the bottom of the inning as Boston held on to win 17-15.  It would be 1st of 3 times the Renegades would come back and beat a Johnny Walker team in the 2016 season.  The team was fired up.  This team did all of this while Joe McCormick went through an epc struggle with 6 strike outs in 7 trips to the plate.  He was left in the game because of his power potential and the fact he led both teams in defensive stops with 5.  This win gave the Renegade squad confidence it could play in a tight game, it could win with conributions from players up and down the line-up and it was a huge step for Jamie Dickerson as a pitcher.  We were on his back this weekend as he grows in this league.  For the first time since 2006, we went on a trip relying soley on a 2nd year pitcher.  He delivered big time.

#6 Lucas Lectures the team About Hard Work

Lucas joined the squad in 2015 and in 2016 his voice was a part of our success

Before every practice, the team huddles to discuss a few things.  Before one of our practices we had a discussion about walking the talk.  The team had been talking a lot about winning  world title.  There was a buzz from the start of the season.  I had challenged the players early in the season to see if they were truly working toward that goal.  At this point, the message was i felt they could do way more.  We went around taking turns talking about what players were doing off the field.  There was not enough work going on.  At some point during the talk, 2nd year coach Lucas Schwallie had something to say.  This 17 year old had earned the respect of many of the players with his work in the cages with them.  After being mostly quiet in his rookie campaign, Lucas felt more comfortable this year.  He had the floor and firmly said “Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work”.  He then told us this was from Kevin Durant.  As a coach, I was totally fired up hearing this.  Here was a High school junior telling these guys to work harder and most importantly, they listened.  I was just loving the culture of this team.  Though Lucas did not travel with the team, he was one of the unsung heroes of the season.  He was a steady presence at practice and was our primary hitting instructor for most of the year because of his ability to be at Wednesday practices.  He watched videos, he analyzed swings and gave feedback.  But this moment stood out to me.  Not only did I love the moment, I recognized how special Lucas is and that he will go anywhere he wants to in this world as he gets ready to go to College in the fall of 2017.  We are lucky he found us one day in the streets of Boston when he asked one of our players how a blind guy with a cane was holding a bat.  Just a tremendous, accountable outgoing young man!

#5 – Put it Behind You Rook, We Need You

Shawn Devenish scoring a run in Philly by hand tagging a base. this burned him in our game against Colorado..and he learned from it

It’s the 12th game of the season.  Boston has 11 wins vs zero losses and facing the Colorado Storm.  The same team that knocked the Renegades into the losers bracket in 2015.  The team that wins this game is guaranteed a top 3 finish in the World Series and will be one of just 2 teams still alive without a loss in the winners bracket.  Colorado had just scored 2 runs to take a 6-5 lead heading into the bottom of the 4th inning to retake the lead in a dog fight.   Joe McCormick led off the bottom of the 4th to tie the game.  With one out, Shawn Devenish came to the plate representing the go-ahead run.  On the 3rd pitch, he grounded a ball up the middle deep into left center field and raced to third base.  It looked like a sure run.  But in beepball, nothing is certain.  Devenish raced to the base and threw his right arm out to tag it…and he missed.  As panic struck, he put the brakes on, stumbled and tried to reverse direction.  Colorado’s Rocky Zamora had the ball in the air and Shawn Devenish was out.  He was now 0-3 in this game.   Things felt worse when Guy Zuccarello struck out to end the inning and the game was now 6-6 and we failed to turn over the line up to our top hitter, Christian Thaxton.  Shawn was visibly very upset at his misfortune.  As the team took the field, I took the opportunity to make sure he was looking at things differently.  I calmly approached him (historically, not my strength), put my arm around him and we talked.  We talked about the play.  We talked about how he needed to be more aggressive at hitting the base dead on when it was harder to hear.  We talked about the wrist injury he  suffered earlier in the year which he hurt going over third base in Long Island.  We talked about mental toughness and focusing on the moment.  We then talked about how important he was to the team.  We talked about the fact his presence in the lineup was a big reason we were 11-0.  We talked about the most important play in the game being the next one.  Shawn’s body language changed.  It was a good talk, possibly one of my best ever.  With anticipation, he came to the plate in the 5th inning  and struck out on 4 pitches.  It did not phase him.  I was excited to see that.  We entered the bottom of the 6th inning down 13-9 and staring at the losers bracket.  but the Renegades don’t ever quit.  With one out, Rob Dias, Joe McCormick and Larry Haile plated runs to make it 13-12.  Shawn Devenish came to the plate representing the tying run.  With three strikes, he hit a laser into right center.  As he ran to the base, I watched closely.  He ran with confidence.  This time there would be no hand tag.  He tackled the base.  Game Tied!  He went from feeling like crap to pure joy.  His smile was as big as they get.  The team was fired up and screaming for joy.  Colorado was slumped over in the field and their body language showed that momentum had shifted.  This game was not over.  More importantly, Shawn showed everyone just how coachable he was and that he is a ball player who is able to learn from his mistakes and make his game better.

#4 The student finally beat the Teacher

JT Herzon of the Chicago Comets has been a mentor to Rob Weissman and The Renegades for years

The biggest influence on our Renegade coaching style from outside our organization has been JT Herzog of the Chicago Comets.  When I first started coaching in 2003, JT told me he would be willing to share some ideas with me.  He spent a few hours on the phone with me that off season and in-season after this.  He was always willing to share his ideas on drills, coaching, game management and ways to make the league better.  I soaked up everything he said.  Not only did I know he was a great coach, but he had won a World title in 2003 and he had built the largest program in the country.  Chicago was a model to try and achieve.  Every year, JT would always have kind words for the improvement we had made and encouragement for the players that things were moving in the right direction.  Though the team was having success, it had never beaten Chicago.  Most everyone who follows the Renegades is aware the Long Island Bombers used to own us.  They had a 7 game winning streak before we ever beat them.  What most don’t know is two teams have done more damage to us.  The Kansas All-stars and the Chicago Comets.  The Comets had beaten us 10 straight times including three times in 2013.

As we entered our game against them on Thursday morning, I felt good this game could be different.  We were clicking and confident.  This was our 11th game of the year and we were 10-0 on the season.  For the first time, I looked at their bench and they looked thin.  The days of them having 20 players were over.  The Comets won the coin toss which made me a little nervous and reminded me of a 2009 game which we lost to them in extra innings.  The game started as a dog fight.  The first two innings saw one of their best players go down with a hand injury, another one of their players almost run into our bench and a long friendly debate on how that play should have been called.  After two innings despite this drama, Chicago clung to a 5-4 lead.  Our bats woke up. Boston scored 7 runs in the 3rd and 4th and after 4 innings Boston was ahead 11-6 and the general feeling was this was going to be our game.   Then we struggled in the 5th as Thaxton struck out for the first time all game. Cochran struggled over the final two innings and we scored just once against 4 strike outs. To make things worse, Chicago is well coached and showed no quit.  They battled back.  With just one out in the 6th inning they had pulled the game to a one run deficit.   Mike “Hoodlum” McGlashon would have the first chance to tie it.  I was calmly pacing the sidelines and talking to the defense.  I spoke to them calmly and tried to keep them focused.  He grounded out to Justen Proctor.  That brought up Juan Gonzalez who had scored three times in this contest and was killing us.  I’m not going to lie.  I had a hard time watching him hit….but when contact was made..I knew it was not solid.  Rob Dias raced to make the stop and we held on to win.  The celebration on the field was like we won the Series.  It would be a huge victory this week..and this confidence would carry over in our other games.  I will never forget Guy Zuccarello telling me after this game…that he was shocked that I actually helped keep the team calm during the Comet’s comeback.  Though JT is no longer the head coach on the squad, his influence is still heavily soaked in on that team.  He approached me with a smile and a big congratulations.  We had finally beaten them.  I had finally beaten my mentor.  It only took us 14 years to make it happen!

 

Rob Dias at the plate

Rob Dias takes a hack during the early rounds of the Series. His biggest hit would come against Colorado and in just three seasons he is tied for the all-time lead in walk-off hits with 2

#3  Dias Gets His 2nd Career Walk-Off

Our first match against Colorado is going to make the top 10 list again.  This time, I need to focus on another moment.  In the 5th top moment of the 2016 season, I spoke of the talk with Shawn Devenish.  We spoke about how big it was to see him tie the game.  As the game went extra innings, we took the field for the 7th inning.  The beepball gods must have smiled on us at that moment.  Chad Sumner led off the inning with a strike out.  Then Richie Krussel who had scored 4 times in the contest also struck out.  This marked their 8th whiff of the game.  More amazingly, five of those 8 whiffs came in the last two innings.  Colorado was struggling.  Demtrious Morrow would end the inning with a ball hit up the gut of the defense.  As he lugged his pulled hamstring to the base, Guy Zuccarello made the stop.  The Renegades floated back to the bench they were so high.

Christian Thaxton had an up and down game. He had scored three huge runs but came up empty in the 5th and 6th as he was trying too hard.  Rob Dias started the game 0-4 but had scored to start the 6th inning rally.  He was so pumped to lead off this inning that he told me he was going to end this game.  One pitch and he launched it by everyone into left field.  If he could have seen that hit, he may have done some sort of bat flip and walked to the base.  This is beepball..and as we saw with Shawn, running the base can be hard at times.  Dias sped to first and hit it with ease.  Walk off!  We were off to play Indy.  We were just one of two teams still alive and undefeated.  The sense of accomplishment was amazing.  Sadly we did not have a ton of time to revel in the victory as Indy awaited us.  Seeing Rob’s confidence and watching him hit that blast was awesome.  The team mobbed him at first base.  It was just a magical day.  First holding off the Comets (that moment was #4 on my list…and Rob made the final clinching defensive stop in that match) and now he comes back with the big hit.  In just 3 years of play Rob has 2 walk-off hits (no-one in team history has more).  Dias will go down as one of the biggest clutch hitters in Renegade history.   It’s just too bad it took an encounter with Bryan Grillo in a department store before he came down.  So many lost years he could have been racking up stats and helping this ball club grow.

#2 We Made the Show and We Did It Our Way

Renegades pre-game for the National Anthem

The Renegades lined up on the 1st Base line before the title game

The night before the Championship game I took some time to reflect.  I did a lot of thinking about how we could win the title game.  But I also got caught up in thoughts about how happy I was to have made the final game.  I thought about all the hard work every past Renegade coach and player had put in.  I thought about how happy they would be for us and themselves to be involved in what we have built.  I truly felt torn about calling everyone to let them know we made it and doing what it takes to prepare to make sure the guys were ready for the big game.  Clearly, I picked the later, but I was equally as excited to make sure every person who had ever supported us or played for us knew we had achieved a goal.  For many of us, this was a goal we had never truly thought about.  Every season, I was quoted as saying, we are not going to the world series with the goal of winning a title.  Most of the league knew this when we booked flights to leave during the title game.  A few times, I even said, I would personally pay for the flights if we ever had to actually play in that title game.  It was not meant as disrespect to the league, it was a way to save the team thousands of dollars.  The first few years of this message, it was often greeted with anger from a few players whose heads were in the clouds about the true reality of how stacked things are against a home grown team.  2016 was the first year in 14 seasons, I told the team, we would take a true shot at the title if people worked hard.

Our team is unique in this league.  We do a lot of stuff differently.  We do a lot of stuff our own way.  Part of it is the culture we have built, part of it is the style we bring to our team as coaches.  At times in recent years, I had always wondered, would we ever get a shot at the big game and what would that feel like.  For me personally, getting there was confirmation that what we have built….though different is very effective.  A we stood in front of the crowd for this game, when they announced our team…I took great pride in what we had built.  My only regret at the time was we just didn’t have enough time to celebrate the success.  Since there is no history book on beep baseball, the game’s stats can be hard to come by.  I know for a fact since 2003 the Renegades were the first team to play in a title game where EVERY player and coach on the roster played 100% of their career in our uniform.  That should be a goal of more teams.  That is the definition of a team.  Though we lost the game, we got there as a team and I believe we did something that may not have happened since the 1970’s.  A rare feat…for a rare team that I was so proud of that week.  This day was validation that the hard work of every coach and player to ever wear the Renegade colors helped us grow to the team we have become today.  It was a very proud moment to be a Renegade.

#1 The Amazing Comeback

The team erupts after Christian Thaxton’s walk-off hit sends us to the title game. Coach, Jamie Dickerson is fired up!

We are playing on the championship field in the semi-finals against Colorado.  Joe McCormick is in the hospital with coach Mike Marciello and Thanh has been relegated to the bench by Mike and Yuki.  We are in the top of the 6th inning and I’m sitting on the bench with Ron looking at the situation. we are down 8-6 and they have their 6-1-2 hitters up.  If we can hold them, we still have a lot of work to do.  We have our 4-5-6 hitters coming up in the last inning and they are a combined  1-9 with 5 strike outs (though one of them was on me due to a gigantic mistake in the first inning).  Somehow we needed to shut them down…and then score just one run from the bottom of our line up to turn the line up over for Christian Thaxton.  Justen made the first defensive out, Guy made the next defensive out and then one of the best two way players, Ethan Johnston who had scored 4 straight times in this game miraculously struck out.  We were still breathing.  Larry Haile represented our best chance for a run and he went down swinging.  We had decided that we were going to hit for Joe Yee who had gone 0-3 with three strike outs.  Joe Quintanilla was the choice.  We just felt he was not going to let the moment get to him and had hopes he could get a knock to right field.  With three strikes on him he tagged a line drive up the middle and scored.  It was the only run he had scored all week.  We were pumped.  And we achieved our goal of making sure the line-up turned over, After Guy was put out on a close play, our lead-off hitter, Christian Thaxton then gave everyone more drama.  On the 6th pitch he saw, he hit a line drive and tied the game.  Our season was still alive.

In the 7th as Ron and I sat on the bench celebrating Quintanilla’s hit we again assessed the situation.  Due up for us was our 3-4-5 hitters.  We knew it would get hard if Colorado scored.  While they batted, I was looking at video and I saw why we had been struggling with Larry.  I showed Ron and we decided to try something different when we pitched to him.  Colorado plated 2 runs.  We now needed 3 runs to win in a game where we had only scored 8 runs in 6 innings.  With one out, Larry came to the plate.  The adjustment was on.  On the first pitch, he hit a pop fly to left and scored.  I was pumped that the analysis we did worked.  It gave us life!  That brought one of the heroes of the 6th inning up.  If either he or Guy could score we could get it back to Thaxton.  Again with three strikes, Quintanilla then hit a grounder up the first base line.  I watched him get out of the box with a horrific line.  He was running in fair territory.  I was just waiting for the umpire to yell “stop”….but then something amazing happened.  The first baseman ran into foul ground looking for the ball.  Q ran by him in fair territory.  The umps said nothing, there was no collision other than Q hitting the base and tying the game.  Holy crap, he tied the game on what sure looked like a play that would be called dead!  Q had scored twice in two at bats.  He had only scored three runs in the entire season before this game!  Thaxton would get his chance to be the hero with two outs and on the 5th pitch he hit a weak pop fly to the right side and jetted down the 3rd baseline and was SAFE!  We came back…again!  We made the title game!  We did it with Joe McCormick in the hospital and Thanh sidelined.  Mac was in our hearts and for the last few innings of that game we changed every player’s calling card to “Joe Mac” …”Way back”. As a way to honor our fallen teammate…and in hopes he was listening to the game on facebook. The fun thing was that no matter how little sight a player had…they all found their way to Thaxton at thirdbase and celebrated.  It was the biggest win in team history.  It was a thrill, it was a surprise, it was a total team effort and  it was an honor.  To see the moment right after Thaxton scored, Sara Cochran caught it on a facebook video here:

Thank you for taking time to read these posts and relive some of these moments with us.  These are the things that drive the passion.  These are the moments we work for.  These are the things that keep our volunteers and players coming back for more each year.  These are things that make us an Exciting team to be a part of!  To relive some of the top 10 moments of the past you can see them here dating back to the 2013 season when we started this tradition:

The Renegade Report Podcast & Joe Quintanilla

Our very own Tim Syphers hosts the Renegade Report Podcast

Our very own Tim Syphers hosts the Renegade Report Podcast

Our 8th installment of the Renegade report features Tim Syphers talking with Joe Quintanilla.  “Q” is the longest tenured player on the team as he is just one of two active players still playing from the original 2002 World Series team.  As one of the guys who was there when the team first started, he has seen a whirlwind of change through the years.  He has gone from the best hitter on the team to a savvy veteran who was called on two deliver two of the biggest runs in team history during our march to the title game in 2016.  To date, Joe Quintanilla is the team leader in games played (181 of the 205 total), at0 bats (575) and strike outs (143).  He ranks 2nd in team history with 170 runs scored and at the time of this post is 10th all time in defensive stops with 71 and 13th in history with a .290 batting average.

To get the podcast started, we have created an account on soundcloud and you can find the podcast here

Please follow Tim and his Journey to tell our stories!

Tim worked with us to develop this podcast to improve his radio skills and to help the team.  If you have a passion you want to pursue whether its journalism, fundraising, project management, design, Public relations…We have plenty of opportunities…just ask us at bostonrenegades@gmail.com and maybe we can partner with you!

If you want more…you can listen to our other pod casts below

Episode 7 – Rob “Hot Tub” Thayer – Rob joined the team in 2011.  As a child his doctors said he would never be able to play sports.  Then he found Beep Baseball.  Rob is motivated to be part of this team because it has done so much for his health.  He credits playing ball with the team as a big factor in his weight getting to its lowest point in many years.  Its also staying off!  His goal is to keep losing weight to see if he can rid himself of the Diabetes he battles every day.  Rob is one of the best teammates you can ask for.  No matter when he gets in the game, you will always hear the team get fired up with a Scream of “Hot Tub”.  Rob has played in 44 games in his Renegade career to date and Coach Weissman has deemed 2016 as the “year of Hot Tub”

Episode 6 – Melissa Hoyt – The only active female player on the team.  Melissa has played battles more than just blindness when she plays.  Her health problems make it very hard for her to compete.  Sometimes winning for her is just being able to be on the field with her teammates.  She has a different perspective on things and she loves to play ball.  When she is healthy, she can play some solid defense!

Episode 5 – Shayne Cantan – The man we call Hawaiian Punch owns the single season record for most runs, at-bats and batting average when he scored 50 runs and hit .617 in the 2010 season.  He is just one of 2 players to top .600 in a season for the Renegades in a season.

Episode 4 – Jason Lenicheck one of the long time volunteers with the Renegades.  Ace has been with the team since 2004 and has helped shape the culture of the Renegades and coached all facets of the game including hitting and as a defensive caller.

Episode 3 – Christian Thaxton, The rookie sensation from 2015 who took the league by storm and made an all-star team as a rookie

Episode 2 – Larry Haile, the All-time Renegade leader in runs scored and one of the most amazing visually impaired people you will ever meet

Episode 1 – Guy Zuccarello, a former defensive MVP of the World Series and one of the leaders of the Renegades

 

Joe Quintanilla is Not Your Average Joe

During the month of May, Not Your Average Joe’s in Watertown is running a promotion to help the Boston Renegades.  If you dine there on a Sunday in May the Boston Renegades will received 15% of your check (excluding tax, Tip and booze) if you give them a copy of this flyer (or show it to them on your phone).  Please let us know your interest and share our Facebook event with friends

Not Your Average Joe's coupon

As many Renegade fans know we have had many players on our roster over the years named Joe…and they are definitely Not Your Average Joe.

Joe Q SAFE!Joe Quintanilla was the first “Not Your average Joe” to join the Boston Renegades back in 2001.  As a young kid, Joe Q wanted to be the left fielder for the Boston Red Sox!  When asked in school what do you want to do when you grow up, he would answer “the left fielder for the Boston Red Sox, like Jim Rice!”  Retinitis Pigmentosa got in the way of Joe’s childhood dream, and he was never able to play little league.

In 2001, everything changed, Joe Q was one of the first players to join the Boston Renegades.  “Hitting a ball that is pitched to you was and is an awesome experience!” He says.  “I finally was able to play the outfield and wear number 14!”  For sixteen years, Joe Q has been patrolling the outfield for the Renegades and leads the team in most games played and 2nd in runs scored.  Join him at Not Your Average Joe’s Sunday!

While at the 2010 World Series in Minnesota, the Rochester Post Bulletin ran a few articles in the sports page about the athletes at the Beep Baseball World Series.  One of those articles was about our very own Joe Quintanilla.  The article was titled “Leads by Example” and was subtitled “Nearly blind, Boston man has blazed an inspiring trail”.  The article is no longer available on line but we have a picture of the article that appeared in print with a full color picture of Joe in his batting stance and blind fold on.  We apologize for not having the text in a format for screen readers.  Click the photo to read the article.

Article in the Rochester Post Bulletin from 2010 on Joe Quintanilla