Renegades break ten game losing streak and hold off the comets 12-11
On a cool morning that left a few Renegades shivering, the Renegades took field ten to play the Chicago Comets. The Comets were instrumental in helping the Renegades grow in the early days. Their team was a model for the Renegades and these two programs have been two of the biggest programs in the world. Two top teams made of 100% home grown players. This game would be played along the road and often times would face delays due to trucks hauling through. In fact, in the very first inning there was an ambulance delay for a Colorado player who was having a seizure on the next field (he would be ok). Jamie Dickerson lost the coin toss and Boston would bat first (he was on a 3 game winning streak). The Renegades were focused, rested and ready to go winning all 4 games they had played. The Comets entered with a 3-1 record with easy wins over Rochester, Athens and Tyler and a huge loss to the Indy Thunder. In the first, Boston had a mix of results with Thaxton leading off on a grounder down the third baseline and a score. But Joe McCormick would swing and miss on 4 straight pitches, which led to some concern. Rob Dias blasted a shot into left for a score but then Larry Haile would go down on 4 swings as well. Shawn Devenish then blasted a shot into center field and the Renegades led 3-0. In this inning, Bernardo Barrera would have to come of the field with a finger injury. This meant Wally Modzierz would come off the bench for the Comets. Chicago would lead off with two powerful lefty hitters in Richie Schultz and Bill Landrum. Boston went into a shift for them but Schultz found a hole as it fell in front of Thaxton for a run. Landrum then scored on a pop fly up the middle of the field that Zuccarello could not pick up in time. After a strike out and a weakly hit ball to Proctor, Juan Gonzalez lifted the tying shot into left field and the game was tied. In the second, the Renegades could only push one run across as Thaxton plated a run on another grounder to the left side and beat it out with his speed. Joe McCormick struck out again without making contact. Thoughts of his 6 strike out performance in Philly crept into the mind of Weissman. This was not the time for this to happen again. Schultz would tie the game in the bottom of the inning on a blast that flew through an over shifted defense. Bill Landrum would then step to the plate and hit a ball down the first baseline. As Thaxton scrambled to find the ball, Landrum took a terrible line and was heading into the Renegade bench area along the first base line. The umpire verbalized the word “stop” and as that happened, Landrum corrected himself and hit the base. A huddle then took place on the first baseline as Herzog, Perry, Cochran and Weissman talked it over with Umpire, Kevin Miller. After a long discussion, it was determined that since stop was called and Landrum corrected his base running on that word, the runner would be called out. This would prove to be a huge out for the Renegades. Thaxton then made a nice play to stop Big Giovanni Francese. But before the inning was over, Mike Mcglashon would plate a run on a grounder through the left side and the Comets led 5-4. The third inning was pivotal. Devenish and Zuccarello plated runs and then Thaxton lifted a bomb into left for three straight runs. Up came Joe McCormick. Before this at-bat, he had a talk with hitting coach, Mike Marciello and Weissman. He was told to stop being blissful and calm and go up there and hit the crap out of the ball. While the rest of the team was playing well and staying calm, we wondered if Mac would benefit from just playing as amped up as he normally does. We told him we were going to give him another chance. This time, he put the ball into play and his confidence was back but he was stopped for an out. Rob Dias scored after this and the Renegades moved ahead 8-5. In the bottom of the frame, Proctor would make a stop on Wally. Then lead off hitter, Schultz came to the dish. He hit a laser down the first baseline into the diving body of Thanh Hunyh who fired up the Renegades with this big stop. With one out in the 4th, Thaxton, McCormick and Dias would score big runs. McCormick was loving his new amped up attitude and he was contributing again on offense. Only Juan Gonzalez would score for Chicago and Boston led 11-6 after four. The fifth inning did not go well for Boston. Zuccarello grounded out to the left side and then Thaxton struck out. Joe McCormick with his newfound confidence then hit a laser into left to give Boston 12 runs. In the bottom of the frame, only Richie Schultz could plate a run as he blasted it by Thanh Huynh. And Chicago piled up two more strikeouts in this inning. Going to the 6th inning Boston led 12-7. Boston had the 4-5-6 hitters up. They were 3-12 on the day. Haile went down on 4 swings. Devenish was put out on a weak grounder to the left side and then Zuccarello struck out. Boston took the field with a five run lead and a lot of excitement and confidence. Juan Gonzalez led off with his 3rd run of the game on a pop fly to third. Then Bernardo Barrera came in to pinch hit for Wally. Barrera has historically killed the Renegades but this time he would go down on strikes. Schultz would then score on another blast through the shift down the first base line. Landrum would score on a pop fly to the third baseline and Big Giovanni would score on a hit to the right side. The score was now 12-11. The Renegades had to get McGlashon out and he hit a pop fly to the third baseline. Proctor picked it up for a huge stop. Down by a run and with two outs, Juan Gonzalez stepped to the plate looking to tie the game. He was 3-4 on the day. He hit a weak grounder to the right side that Rob Dias gobbled up and the Renegades held on to a tight game to win 12-11. The Renegades exploded in excitement and surrounded Dias on the field. The comets scored four times in the last frame but fell just short. As the team stretched, Weissman thanked his angels for the stop call and poor base running of Bill Landrum in the 2nd inning. Boston would advance and still be alive without a loss. This was the first time ever Boston had made it 5 games deep in the World Series without a loss and they strutted an 11 game win streak into that game.
Boston Comes from behind and Beats Colorado in 7 innings 14-13
As the Renegades waited for their next opponent, We were surprised when the Colorado Storm were walking to our field as they had just defeated the Bayou City Heat by the score of 20-12. Colorado had been scoring a lot of runs this week and had just one loss in the round robin brackets to the Indy Edge. Boston and Colorado always play tight games and this one would be no exception. The last time these two teams met, Colorado started off hot scoring 8 runs in the first inning and then walking off on Boston in the 6th by the score of 17-16. This time, the Renegades would win the coin toss. It would be a slow start for the Renegades as the Storm scored three times in the first inning with some shaky defense. Boston got off to a bad start on offense as well. Thaxton struck out. Rob Dias would come to the plate at this point and before his at-bat began. A huge crowd noise would interrupt the game. The PA system from Jack Trice stadium was booming crowd noise. The noise could be heard all over the complex as every game had to come to a halt. The Renegades were on field 10, which was closest to the action and on top of the PA system and the road noise, it would be unfair to play in these conditions. Weissman joked with Denver that The Broncos used similar fake crowd noise to get their noise levels higher at home games as the NFL banter obviously led to deflated footballs. The games were being played on the Iowa State campus and after about 15 minutes, the stadium was contacted and complied to turn off the noise. Dias would eventually ground out to Morrow and then McCormick struck out as well. The Renegades were better in the 2nd on defense as Proctor and Dias made stops to start off the inning but Richie Krussell would score on a pop fly and Colorado pulled ahead 4-0. Larry Haile got the bats going with a pop fly down the first base line to start off the scoring in the second, But Devenish and Zuccarello would each go down on 4 pitches. Thaxton would plate a run on a pop fly down the third baseline before Dias would strike out on another 4 pitches. Boston had started the day with 5 of their 6 outs by the way of a strike out. A tough start for sure. The Boston defense settled in during the 3rd inning when they got a break as Mike Jackson missed a base as Christian Thaxton had extra time and made the stop. Larry Haile would then put out Rocky Zamora and then on fly ball up the middle, Joe McCormick made a nice grab to stop Ethan Johnston. McCormick would lead off the inning and in a battle would hit the 7th pitch of the at-bat and would leg out a run to make it 6-3. Haile and Devenish would be stopped and with two outs Guy Zuccarello would hit a grounder to the left side and beat Ethan Johnston to keep the inning alive and turn over the lineup. Thaxton would launch a bomb into left field to and the Renegades would now lead the game 5-4. Leading off the 4th inning, Chad Sumner laced a line drive into left field, But McCormick made another tremendous stop to prevent a sure run. Krussel would score again in the 4th inning on another ball that would travel less than 80 feet to get the Storm on the board. Morrow then scored on a grounder up the middle. The storm had pulled ahead 6-5. In the bottom of the 4th inning, McCormick would leg out another ground ball to tie the score at 6 a piece. With one out, Shawn Devenish hit a hard grounder up the middle and it looked like the go-ahead run but he would run by third base as Rocky Zamora would make the stop. Devenish was clearly upset at himself as this rookie was being put into some very meaningful situations. The 5th inning opened with Orlando Dominguez coming off the bench. He hit a pop fly that fell in front of Justen Proctor and he took off on a fast limp down the 3rd baseline. Proctor had him nailed but when he went to pick the ball up with one hand, he dropped it and Dominguez scored. Johnston would score on a 70-foot fly ball up the middle and then Proctor would stop Sumner for the 1st out. Krussell would then score on a fly ball to third base, which Larry Haile could not pick up in time and Morrow would score on a grounder up the middle. While all of this was going on, Weissman and Cochran were chatting on the bench. Cochran was saying that maybe the Renegades were just not mentally ready to play at this level quite yet. This fired Weissman up. Weissman went to Devenish to pick him up and talk him off the bad base. They discussed the importance of not hand tagging bases in bad hearing conditions. They discussed how much Devenish has done for this team. Devenish began to calm down. Colorado would plate 5 runs in the 5th and pull ahead 11-6. Boston would show no quit. Thaxton would lace a shot up the middle to lead off the inning. McCormick and Haile would also plate runs and pull the game to an 11-9 deficit heading into the 6th inning. The Storm would keep the pressure on. Morrow would score on a pop fly to the right side. Jackson would plate a run on 90-foot grounder up the middle and it was 13-9. The bats would fall silent as Dominguez and Johnston struck out to end the 6th inning. Boston was down 4 runs and had not scored more than three in an inning thought this game. They believed in themselves and knew they could score at least four to keep this dream alive. Christian Thaxton was leading off. Thaxton was over swinging a bit and grounded to third to start the inning. Rob Dias laced a line drive into center field for the first run on the 1st pitch he saw. Joe McCormick lofted a high fly ball into left field for the 2nd run and the Renegades were fired up with two bombs in a row. Larry Haile would lace the 1st pitch into right field for a line drive that went by everyone and with one out the score was 13-12 with rookie Shawn Devenish coming to the plate. He and Weissman had talked about the importance of keeping his head in the game. With three strikes he laced a line drive up the middle of the field and took off for the base. This time he nailed it with his whole body and the ball game was tied. The rookie had come through and the Renegades had two chances to walk off on the Storm. The Storm had not seen this firepower from the Renegades all day. Guy Zuccarello had the first chance and with three strikes, grounded out to Richie Krussel. Christian Thaxton came up next and he was hitting .704 to this point of the tournament. The bench was ready to erupt. Thaxton over swung on his first swing. He made an adjustment on the next pitch but Ethan Johnston stopped him on an amazing play and the ball game would head into extra innings. The momentum had shifted and Boston had some extra hop in their step. Sumner and Krussell would start off the inning with strikeouts as the Storm had now struck out 4 times in a row. This brought Demetrius Morrow to the plate. He put the ball in play and Guy Zuccarello would make a diving stop to put the Storm down 1-2-3 for just the 2nd time all game. On the first pitch of the bottom of the 7th inning, Rob Dias played the hero as he scored on a grounder to the left side. The Renegades had done it, they had come from behind to beat the storm. They celebrated on the field and piled on Rob Dias. Boston had just won two one run games in a row. They held off a Comet come back and then they came from behind to beat the Storm. They had clinched a top 3 seed in the World Series and if they could win one more game would be in the championship game on Saturday. This comeback showed Cochran this team had what it took to play at this level. Guy Zuccarello was even heard saying that Weissman did an amazing job keeping the team calm. The two wins meant that Boston could sleep in again the next day as it looked to face off against the only other undefeated team, the Indy Thunder.
To read about our exciting 2016 World Series…You can read about Day 1 here:
You can also read about day 2 here:
I so enjoyed the World Series in Ames. I brought my 12-year-old grandson on the trip with me (we live in Ontario, Canada). Joe, my grandson, has been affected by Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy since September of 2013. Listening to Joe McCormick on YouTube, I found their stories very similar (except that my Joe was much younger).
Rob and Ron very kindly took the time to show Joe how to hit the ball while wearing a blindfold. It was the highlight of our visit! I plan to follow the Renegades for years to come.
Thanks for the kind words! We have four players with this disease. Joe McCormick, Christian Thaxton, Guy Zuccarello and Tim Syphers! I’m sure they would all be happy to talk to him at some pint if he needs any advice, a mentor or someone to talk to. Its such a rare disease…and we have 4 guys on our squad with it. They all do amazing things despite it! Mccormick graduated Harvard. We have so many things you can read about these guys and their journey that you may find exciting. Check out our page on media/news…and scroll down to the Boston Globe article on Joe that came out in 2014. Also Guy was on Chronicle, a local TV show. Tim is the host of our Renegade report podcast and he is starting a career in radio. Christian has an amazing story of perseverance as well….he also ha made the all star team the past two years for our sport..and may be the best hitter in the league! make sure to like us on Facebook…we update that every day with something small that you may enjoy. Please keep in touch with us. Glad we got you to be a Renegade fan 🙂
OH and by the way…..there is a runner in the paraolympics this year from our area…his name is Chaz Davis. He also has the disease. Google his name and University of Hartford…there is an amazing article on him. May be inspirational for you and Joe.
Where does your grandson live? maybe we can help get him on a team? I know the coach from Iowa..if that is where he lives. best way to work together if he wants to play is to email us at [email protected] or ping us on Facebook
By any chance…did you grab a photo of him hitting? Maybe we can share this story on our Facebook page? We had no idea he was losing his sight..and we are so happy he enjoyed it. Thats what this sport is about…helping people gain confidence. We would love to share this story..as the series is more than winning games…the fact we won your hearts is equally as important!