Renegades Win streak comes to a Crashing Halt as Indy Prevails 14-8
An 11:30 start on a Friday between two teams who had never been to the finals. NBBA history was about to happen. The winner of this match would go to the finals while the loser would play again later in the day. There was a good chance this would be a preview of the finals. Both teams entered the day 6-0 on the week. Both teams entered this game looking fresh and faster than many of the teams in the league. Indy had a much easier path. On day one they crushed two teams that would place 19th and 20th. They slaughtered Athens 21-0 and then wrecked Rochester 24-1. Their toughest game on day one was against the Comets whom they easily beat 13-1 (The Renegades beat the Comets by just one run). In double elimination they took down the NJ Titans 13-3, the Indy Edge 9-5 and then beat the San Antonio Jets 20-12. The Renegades knew this team would be tough to beat as it was infused with a mix of youth and veterans with a championship caliber pitcher in Jarred Woodard. Their roster also was the biggest of any team in the Series. Boston would win another coin toss and elect to be the home team. With three one-run games in their arsenal, this home team advantage gave Boston a sense of confidence. In order to win this game, Boston would have to keep the ball away from the left short man, Eric Rodriguez and its own defense would have to be aggressive and quick. Many teams had been complaining about the Thunder’s high level of vision amongst its core of young players. During blindlfold checks, they were all using mind folds and it was clear they were just a super talented team. To lead off the game, Eric Rodriguez hit a hard shot to the right side, Rob Dias laid out a perfect superman and the ball hit him square in the “box” for an immediate out. A roar went through the Renegade team to make such an aggressive out to start the game. Rookie Gerald Dykus then scored on a sweet line drive up the middle of the field to give Indy a lead. Veteran, Kyle Lewis hit a ground ball up the middle which Rob Dias was able to stop for the 2nd out. Up came another young rising star, Zach Buhler. Buhler laced a shot into left field for a sure run. On the play, 3rd baseman Thanh Huynh turned his back to the field and raced after the ball. Joe McCormick also raced after the ball from the left center position as the players were aggressively trying to make an out. The run would score but this would be crucial later in the game. In the bottom of the first, Eric Rodriguez would stop both Christian Thaxton and Joe McCormick on grounders up the middle. Even though neither of those balls were hit well, both Renegades are tough outs due to their speed. Erod made the plays with much time to spare. Rob Dias, the hero of the day before, scorched a ball into left field for the first Renegade run. Larry Haile was then put out on a close play as Tyler Rodriguez made a stop on a ball hit up the middle of the field. After one inning, Indy led 2-1. Justen Proctor would make a nice stop on a pop fly off the bat of Adam Rodenbeck to start the 2nd. Eric Rodriguez would then hit a similar pop fly to the right side but Dias could not bring it in and Indy went ahead 3-1. Next, Guy Zuccarello stopped rookie sensation, Gerald Dykus for the 2nd out. Lefty, Kyle Lewis, to no surprise of the Renegades hit a line drive into left field that eluded Joe McCromick for a run. Zach Buhler would strike out and heading into the bottom of the 2nd Indy held a 4-1 lead. Shawn Devenish laced a shot into center field to lead off the 2nd on the 3rd pitch he saw. He had been put out just once all year on a ball like this, in the Chicago game when he missed the base. This time, Kyle Lewis made a diving stop and Devenish was out by a step as the Indy bench roared in applause. Guy Zuccarello would then hit a 42 foot ball to the right side and beat out Miguel Tello for the second Renegade run and show why there is no routine play in beep baseball. Up stepped Thaxton and as the Indy coach was calling the Thunder to watch for the pull hitter, Thaxton lofted a weak liner to the right side and was put out on a bang-bang play by Adam Rodenbeck. McCormick would end the inning after being given a second life after a late base call. He would be stopped on a grounder off the bottom of his bat to Erod (his 3rd put out in just two innings). Indy now led just 4-2. The Boston defense was gaining confidence and was flying around. Justen Proctor would stop Tyler Rodriguez on a 50 foot pop fly to start the inning. Guy Zuccarello would stop Adam Rodenbeck on a grounder up the middle and then Joe McCormick would make an outstanding play on a line drive to left field. What made it even more outstanding was the ball was dead and not beeping when McCormick hauled it in. The Renegades defense had pitched a donut and raced to the bench in anticipation. When Indy took the field in the bottom of the inning, Indy had subbed in long time all-star, Clint Woodard. Apparently, Tello had been hurt earlier on one of the plays. Woodard could be Tello’s father and this may have given the Renegades a boost as the speed of Tello appeared to be lost. Rob Dias hit a ball off the handle of his bat up the middle that got by Erod, but his brother Tyler made the play to start off the third inning. Larry Haile then hit a line drive down the line into left field to bring the Renegades to within one run. Because defense was going to be a key factor in this game, Boston had been playing a platoon in the next spot of the line up. Thanh Huynh had been going in and out to play defense and Joe Yee would make an appearance for this at-bat. He would be put out on a weak grounder to Erod. Next, Guy Zuccarello would be put out on a nice line drive up the middle to end the inning. It was 4-3 and this game was turning into a defensive show. Zuccarello would make another nice stop on Gerald Dykus to start the 4th inning but he was unable to coral a high fly ball up the middle off the bat of Kyle Lewis. Buhler would hit a weak ground ball to Proctor and Tyler Rodrigues would whiff as Indy led 5-3 heading into the bottom of the 4th inning. Christian Thaxton would lead off the inning and have some trouble with his timing and after fouling off two pitches would strike out on just 4 pitches to start the frame. Joe McCormick would then hit another ball off the bottom of his bat and for the third time Erod was there to make a stop. Rob Dias then hit the first pitch he saw into deep left Center field to make it a 5-4 game. Larry Haile would end the inning with another out to Erod. Heading to the 5th inning, Cochran had struck out just one hitter while Woodard had racked up 3 strike outs. The problem was Erod had made 5 defensive stops and Boston was struggling to keep the top of the order away from him. Despite McCormick and Thaxton being a combined 0-6, Boston was just one run down and with the home field advantage Boston was confident they would turn it around on offense. Eric Rodriguez led off the 5th inning with a line shot to right center that Thaxton could not reach and Indy pulled ahead 6-4. Up stepped Dykus and this was the turning point of the season. Dykus launched a deep fly into left field much like the ball that Buhler hit in the first inning. This time McCormick and Hunyh would not be as lucky as the two players slammed into each other in a collision that could be heard on adjacent fields. Both players were down. McCormick was on his back dazed while Hunyh was rolling on the ground in pain. Thankfully, the Renegades had two doctors with them and it was in their hands at this point. As McCormick did an inventory on his body parts, all of his joints were ok…but he was dizzy. He was not concussed but his face was beginning to swell and his eye was turning black and blue. Mike Marciello decided his day was over and needed to check him out more thoroughly. Huynh was holding his leg as he had been stepped on during the collision. He would stay in the game for the time being. The Renegades were clearly shaken up but Weissman implored the team to take a “next man” up attitude. Into the game came Joe Yee, a player who was fresh and had scored 6 runs during the week. McCormick went to the bench with Marciello and Yuki Ara to be checked out. When play continued, Kyle Lewis would score on a pop fly down the 1st base line and Dykus would put it over everyone’s head into left center. Thanh Hunyh would then make a diving stop on a line drive up the middle of the field to stop Tyler Rodriguez and give the Renegades some hope. Indy led just 9-4 and Boston was hoping to get the bats going. It had come from behind multiple times this year and was not going to let the McCormick injury stop them. While on the bench, McCormick was continuing to struggle and an ambulance call was made. He would leave the bench during a time out and head to the hospital for a CT scan. Shawn Devenish would start off the 5th inning with a line drive into left field that Lewis would not get this time but Zuccarello and Thaxton would be stopped by Erod again. Joe Yee would strike out and the inning was over. The momentum shifted to Indy. After an Erod strike out to start off the 6th, they would plate four consecutive runs to push the score to 14-5. In the bottom of the 6th, Dias and Devenish plated runs. Weissman turned to Tim Syphers looking for a boost as he hit for Guy Zuccarello. Syphers was stopped by Rodenbeck. Thaxton would get on the board for his only run of the game but Joe Yee would ground out to Erod to end it. Indy won the game 14-8 and would advance to the finals. Eric Rodrigues would tally 9 stops on defense for the game and Thaxton and McCormick would finish the day 1-8. The Renegades would lose the game, one of their emotional leaders and some of their energy all at the same time. They needed to dig in deep. They awaited the winner of the Bayou City Heat and Colorado Storm game which seemed to be taking a long time. The Renegades were just hoping that game would go extra innings and the teams would wear each other out. The winner of that game would play Boston and it would be the 3rd game of the day for that team. Advantage Boston! All Boston needed was one more win to make the finals. McCormick would not return to the bench this day as he was struggling a bit at the hospital. Boston would see a franchise best 13-game win streak come to an end.
Most exciting Renegade game ever! Renegades come back in 7 innings 11-10 and advance to Finals!
After the loss, the Renegades needed to regroup. Joe McCormick was not coming back and word from the hospital was he had multiple fractures in his sinus cavity. He was also going back in for more CT scans as he started to vomit. The team needed to find strength. A next man up attitude was critical. On field 5, the Bayou City Heat battled the Colorado Storm. The Renegades were awaiting the winner of that match up. The game was actually taking forever and as we rested, we were all cheering when we would see the teams continue to change sides. Texts were flying back to us stating the game was going into extra innings. The longer that game went, the more worn out they would be for our game. The Renegades had an advantage here because that team would be playing its 3rd game on this day when they came to our field while Boston was playing just its second. While this game was being played out, coach Weissman was looking for a strategy to play either team. At the same time, our medical staff declared that Thanh Hunyh was unavailable for this match. There was some concern that he may have a stress fractures in his shins. They wanted to wait for his adrenaline to wear off as he was badly limping. No matter whom we played, the Renegades were down two key players. It was gut check time. Joe Yee would be the first to be given a chance to contribute and would get the starting nod for this next match. Shawn Devenish and Larry Haile would also be moved up in the batting order to take Joe Mac’s spot. In time, we saw Colorado celebrating a 20-17 victory and the Renegade confidence grew as we had beaten this team yesterday. Boston was forced to make some lineup changes. We planned to have Larry Haile play the outfield spot but when possible, we wanted to play Joe Quintanilla there as well for defensive reasons so a platoon was planned. At third, the plan was to give Joe Yee the reps both ways. Since the Renegades won another coin toss (Rob Dias and Thanh Hunyh were super excited to let us know they won again), we elected to be the home team. This meant that Joe Quintanilla would draw the start in the outfield on defense. When the score sheet was turned in, Weissman told the scorekeeper that Haile would hit for Quintanilla when that spot came up in the order. The Colorado line up also looked slightly different from the previous day. They had moved Richie Krussel into the lead off spot and Jimmie Burnett would also be in the line-up replacing Rocky Zamora’s bat.
Colorado would start off the game with back-to-back scores by Krussel and Ethan Johnston but then Chad Sumner would strike out, Justen Proctor would stop Morrow on a grounder up the middle and then Mike Jackson would strike out. A defensive inning that started dreadful for Boston ended well and the team settled in as it came to the plate. Christian would quickly get the party started with a first pitch pop fly to the right side for a run. Ethan Johnston would stop Rob Dias on a grounder up the middle and then Shawn Devenish would strike out. Up to the plate stepped Larry Haile when confusion would ensue. Haile lofted a fly ball into the center of the field to tie the game up as the Renegade bench exploded. As Joe Yee was entering the batters box a conference was forming at the scorers table. Boston was being accused of batting out of order. Weissman argued and argued and argued that he had given the change before the game had started but he was not being heard. The head of umpires was called to the field and an argument was looking to be futile. Weissman argued that in other games scorekeepers had been asking for the subs before they happened. The inconsistency was a problem and it was unjust to take the run off the board. Weissman lost and the Renegade run was taken off the board and a strikeout was put in the stats against Joe Quintanilla. In the 2nd inning, Jimmie Burnett would hit a pop fly to the left side and be stopped by Proctor. Justen “JCP” would also stop Richie Krussel. But Johnston and Sumner would plate runs on a fly ball to left field and a line drive to the first base side to make the game 4-1 Denver heading into the bottom of the 2nd inning. Boston would have a rough inning. Joe Yee who had made great improvements in his swing would start off the inning and strike out on 4 pitches. Zuccarello would hit a grounder to the left side that Johnston would gobble up and then Johnston would nab Thaxton as well and Boston would throw a donut up for the frame. Colorado would lead off the third with number 5 hitter, Mike Jackson who Rob Dias would stop for the first out. Jimmie Burnett would then hit a grounder to Proctor for the 2nd out and this time, Krussel would strike out for a 1-2-3 inning. Jimmie Burnett was injured on the play and off the bench came Willie Clinton to play defense. Boston would feel the momentum shift quickly. Rob Dias would line the 3rd pitch he saw into center field for a run. Devenish hit the 1st pitch into the same area for another run when Joe Quintanilla’s spot would come up again in the line up. This time so everyone could hear it, Weissman announced with a big smile on his face that Larry Haile was pinch-hitting. On the 2nd pitch he lofted a fly ball down the 3rd base line to tie the game at 4 a piece. Joe Yee’s struggles would continue as he struck out on another 4 pitches. This was important because Cochran and Weissman had talked about Yee’s inconsistent swing between innings and he was going to be on a short leash. Something had changed in his stance causing the swing paths to change. After a Zuccarello ground out to Krussel, Thaxton faced a full count. He then scored on a grounder that eluded Johnston and Boston had its first lead 5-4 after three innings. That lead would be short-lived as Colorado would plate three straight runs to start off the 4th inning. Johnston, Sumner and Morrow pushed the Storm to 7 runs but Proctor would stop Jackson, Dias would stop Clinton and Proctor would stop Krussel to finish off the inning. Bad news for the Renegades in the bottom of the 4th. Devenish hit a pop fly to the left side and would be stopped by Johnston. Larry Would strike out and then Weissman decided to give Joe Yee another at-bat after trying to get him to stand higher. The result was his third strike out of the game and after 4 innings Colorado led 7-5. Ethan Johnston would score on a ground ball to the 1st base line to start the inning for his 4th run of the game. Rob Dias would stop Chad Sumner and Justen Proctor would stop Morrow before Jackson struck out to end the inning. Heading to the 5th inning Colorado had an 8-5 lead and their excitement was growing. Zuccarello would lead off the inning and on the 2nd pitch would ground out to the right side into the arms of Richie Krussel. Thaxton would lace a bomb into left field for his 3rd run of the game but Dias would come up empty with Ethan Johnston putting him out and Devenish would strike out. After 5 innings, Boston was down 8-6. And in the bottom of the inning would have their 4-5-6 hitters coming up. Leading off the 6th inning was pinch hitter Orlando Dominguez who had been battling a leg injury that left him limping bad. He would hit a weak grounder to the third baseline that Proctor would pick up. Krussel would then hit hard grounder up the middle of the field, but Zuccarello would make a huge stop for his first out of the game. This Brought Ethan Johnston to the plate with a chance to put this game away. After scoring 4 straight times, Johnston went down swinging. After 5.5 innings it was 8-6 Colorado. Boston had to find a way to get a run from the bottom of the order to give Thaxton a chance to hit. Statistically, the best chance was Larry Haile who really had scored twice in this game but in the books was only 1-2 due to the “batting out of order” rule that was called in the 1st. When this inning started, Weissman decided that the team would no longer use each player’s calling cards. Instead we would pay tribute to our fallen hero who was back at the hotel, Joe McCormick. Before each at-bat, Weissman would scream “Joe Mac” to the teams return cry of “Way Back”. Though he was not on the field with us, he was in our hearts. Haile fouled off the first pitch and then flailed three straight times. Weissman and Cochran were baffled at the change in his swing. One down and this time the decision was to bring Joe Quintanilla off the bench to hit for Yee. In typical Joe Q fashion, he took the first pitch. After three straight swings he faced a full count and hit a line drive up the middle of the field for a run. The Renegade bench erupted. Quintanilla had scored the first run of his World Series and picked a great time to do it. Zuccarello then hit a hard grounder up the middle, which got by Krussel and Johnston but on a bang-ng play was put out by Rocky Zamora for the 2nd out of the inning. The bottom of the lineup had done its job! Thaxton stepped into the box with a chance to tie it. He fouled off the first 2 pitches. He swung and missed on the 3rd pitch. He then fouled off another two pitches. On the 6th pitch he put it into play with a line drive up the middle and raced down the line to tie the game. Boston’s hopes of another walk of win were in the hands of Rob Dias. Dias had a walk off hit against the Storm on Thursday. This time he lofted a pop fly to the right side and Johnston ranged over to make the play. Boston had tied the game and forced extra innings. Boston was fired up to have a second life while the Storm was dreading another extra inning contest. Colorado wasted no time. Chad Sumner gave them a lead with a blast down the first base line. While this was going on, Weissman went to his video to look at Haile’s last at-bat to see if they could find something to help. Justen Proctor stopped Demetrious Morrow on a ground ball. Mike Jaconson who had been scoreless in the game then lofted a fly ball up the middle of the field. Zuccarello could not bring it in and Colorado led 10-8. Proctor then would stop Dominguez and Krussel for his 10th and 11th stops of the game. Boston would need to find 2 runs to keep this game alive. Leading off in the 7th was Shawn Devenish who had been quiet (1-4 with 2 strike outs). He started the frame off with a ground out to Krussel. Up stepped Larry Haile. Weissman pointed to Cochran to take his lead on the target and on the first pitch they connected on this new target with a fly ball into left field as Haile plated a run to keep the dream alive. We needed a run from the 5/6 hitters to get the game to Thaxton. Joe Quintanilla stayed in the game after his big run in the 6th and strode to the plate. Again he took the first pitch. He managed to foul a ball off to the right side, swung and missed and fouled another off. For the 2nd time he faced a full count. This time he hit a ball down the first base line. The ball stopped about 105 feet and was not far from the base. Quintanilla took off and his line out of the box was not good as his momentum took him into fair territory. Miraculously, the Colorado first baseman raced past the ball into foul territory a split second before Quintanilla raced by the fielder in fair territory. The miracle was that the Storm fielder never could find the ball and that no umpire yelled stop to kill the play. Quintanilla was SAFE! Holy Moly, Quintanilla was SAFE. The Boston bench went insane as the score was now tied 11-10 with just one out. Zuccarello would have a chance to walk off. As he stepped into the box he turned to Weissman and said, “can you believe it we got Christian another chance to hit!” Weissman quickly asked if Zucarello was forfeiting his at-bat and the two of them had a laugh in a very exciting and tense moment. Guy then hit another hard grounder up the middle and on another bang-bang play was stopped by Demetrious Morrow. Up Stepped Christian Thaxton with the game on the line and a chance to walk off. Thaxton was 4-5 on the day. Thaxton fouled off the first two pitches and then swung and missed to bring the count to three strikes. He then fouled off another pitch as both teams waited in anticipation. With three strikes on him, Cochran delivered the next pitch and the timing was perfect but we caught it slightly off the top off the bat. A fly ball sailed toward the center of the field as Thaxton dashed down the third base line. He was SAFE. Boston had won! For the second time this week, they had come back to beat the Colorado Storm in extra innings. For the first time in team history, the Renegades would be playing for the National title! As the pig pile separated from the third baseline a few key stories were to be remembered. Justen Proctor made 11 stops in this game to tie his career high against this same team in 2011. Christian had his first ever walk off hit and paced the team with 5 runs scored. Joe Quintanilla came off the bench and scored two of the biggest runs in Renegade history. Joe McCormick was watching from the hotel proud of his teammates. So many people were happy to get this win…if not to keep their coach out of the insane asylum for the gaff that cost them a run (and maybe more) in the first inning. Boston would advance to play the only team who had beaten them all year, the Indianapolis Thunder. See the team celebrate after their walk off win here (Video by Sarah Cochran)
This game was actually captured on a Facebook Live video from a few of the Chicago Comets. If you would like to see some of that action shot from the 3rd baseline, visit this Facebook link
Also…If you want to read the game summaries from the previous days at the World Series, see them below