Sunday, Sept. 9—The Renegades, facing a win-or-go-home playoff situation, took an early lead against Brooklyn and never looked back, thrashing the visiting Cyclones 8-1 to even their semifinal series 1-1. The teams face each other at 6:05 p.m. today at The Dutch to determine who will win the best-of-three series and move on to the finals to play the winner of the Auburn/Tri-City series, also tied 1-1 after the Doubledays defeated the ValleyCats tonight 5-2.
The Renegades posted single runs in the first, third and fifth innings, three in the seventh and two in the eighth. Brooklyn’s lone run came in the fifth on a leadoff homer by Eudy Pina. Please click here to read the game story on the Gades’ Web site.
Game 2 of each series was scheduled Saturday night but both contests were postponed when a line of thunderstorms and heavy rain pushed through eastern New York during the day, leaving soaked fields in their wake.
I arrived at The Dutch under a cloud-dappled blue sky in plenty of time for the 5:05 first pitch and was pleased that, while my season parking pass was not valid for the playoffs and I had to pay $5, the pass at least got me through a designated lane and into the lot quickly.
I had nice pre-game visits with many of the usual cast of characters, including Bev and Bob, Bob Hand, Hal, Grant and Alex. John, Colleen and Mike were in the Fleischmann seats, and the Fleischmanns themselves, fresh from the New York Jets football game, arrived later.
Unexpected rain began falling in the fifth inning, prompting me to reach for the faithful plastic bag I keep on my clipboard for such purposes while more sensible folks headed for shelter. (As I have said many times, my clothes and I will eventually dry out but a wet scorebook is problematic.) The rain, never heavy enough to disrupt play, lasted only an inning or so, but occasional sprinkles occurred throughout the later innings, just enough to be a nuisance.
The shouts of victory were followed by a nice six-minute fireworks display that left a pall of smoke in the cool, humid air over the field. I then made my way to the parking lot, where I caught up with pitcher Rob Finneran’s parents, up from Long Island, and eventually with Rob himself, who graciously signed my card of him (one of the few players who had not yet done so).
Marty Gantt gave Bev a personalized (in gold-colored lettering) cracked bat that he had signed, noting that he had used it only once before it shattered, a short lifetime for a $60 purchase. I said I thought the team provided bats; the team does, Marty explained, but many players prefer to purchase their own. (You learn something every day.) Marty and the bat posed with Bev and Bob, his host parents, while we all took pictures.
Celebration, as expected, was the theme of the evening, and I was pleased to share handshakes and congratulations with Leonardo Reginatto, who doubled in two runs in the seventh, and Jose Molina, among others. Bob, Paul, Hal, Grant and I had a nice chat with Curt and Nancy, local residents who come to enough games that they are thinking of taking the season-ticket-holder plunge. Donna shared some of the baseball cookies that remained after she had given them to the players.
The gathering eventually dwindled to the usual five of us, with Hal and Grant making a quick trip to get much-appreciated ham and turkey wraps to go with the usual chips, pretzels and beverages, since no leftovers came our way tonight. We invited the umpires to join us but they had other plans, although Tim Hromada said he had seen us in Brooklyn and they might be able to partake after Monday’s game. We also congratulated coaches Dan DeMent, Kyle Snyder and Ryan Thomas (and his family) and, when he finally departed, skipper Jared Sandberg.
One of the foxes appeared briefly a couple of times but the pickings must have been slim, because it did not linger. One of the skunks walked briefly along a fence behind the garbage bin, then disappeared behind a shed. We finally adjourned around 11 p.m.