Friday, June 22—Fresh from a 3-1 series against Aberdeen, the Renegades returned home tonight against the Staten Island Yankees and earned a 6-4 come-from-behind victory to push their record to 4-1. Please click here to read the game story on the Gades’ Web site.
Tonight was my first opportunity to see the Gades since Opening Night. I missed Tuesday’s 8-3 loss to Aberdeen at The Dutch because I was covering a Peekskill school board meeting for Patch and still have not figured out how to bilocate, and the Renegades were in Maryland Wednesday and Thursday, beating the IronBirds 5-3 and 6-3, respectively.
Today brought an all-too-familiar weather pattern that set back the first pitch by a half hour after making me wonder if the game would be played at all. A third day of punishing heat (high 90s at my home) and humidity featured increasing overcast through mid-afternoon. I was driving through an increasingly heavy downpour as I headed north. The rain was easing by the time I stopped at the Fishkill Food Mart/Mobil station on Route 52 for a cup of coffee and had stopped by the time I got to the stadium (a little after 6 p.m.), where the grounds crew was hard at work to neutralize the usual wet spots in the outfield (especially short right field). Drainage has been an ongoing challenge because the water table tends to be close to the surface beneath the stadium and the neighboring woods.
The sky seemed to be clearing to the west, so, after washing down some tortilla chips with the coffee, I opted to leave my plastic poncho in my car but grabbed a bag and a rag as I headed inside. Both came in handy–the bag to protect my scorebook during a final pregame sprinkle and the rag to wipe off my seat.
I picked up a roster sheet and, while filling in the lineups, pointed out to Dave the Beer Man that, as he had noted Monday, the Gades were still tied for first place–this time after playing a few games. I had almost finished the Yankees portion of the scoresheet when I realized, much to my annoyance, that I had been writing in the names of the Renegades. Well, that’s why I do my scorebook in pencil and carry a large eraser. After a few rubs and some gritting of teeth I had everybody where they belonged, none the worse for wear.
Bob Hand was selling tennis balls at the third-base entrance to the concourse, so I hung out with him for a bit and helped a few fans find their seats. Bev stopped by and told us about Marty Gantt, the player she and her Bob are hosting this year, an outfielder from South Carolina. Bev and Bob used to host several players each season but, after downsizing their living quarters, now have room for only one. She promised to introduce us to him after the game.
I then caught up with Big Steve, another stadium stalwart, who has handled timekeeping duties at many a game my son, Dave, has announced at Walter Panas High School in Cortlandt. After we caught up on each other’s lives he graciously took a photo of me to accompany my Renegades blog on Patch.
Despite a few puddles in foul territory down the lines, the field was deemed playable and, as Zolz had announced several times, we were ready to play ball around 7:30. The Brewster Central School District was two-for-two on the national anthem at games I have attended; singing The Star-Spangled Banner tonight was a chorus from C.V. Starr Intermediate School.
The Renegades took a 2-0 lead in the first inning, added a run in the fourth and, after snuffing out a couple of Staten Island threats, were looking good with a 3-0 lead after five. The rain and accompanying cold front had passed through the area and, despite a bit of lingering humidity, it was a great night for baseball. Then the Yankees batted around in the sixth, scored four runs on five hits and took a 4-3 lead. But the Gades battled back (not always the case in past seasons), scoring three runs in the eighth and holding on to win, 6-4. Marty Gantt doubled home the tying run, Joel Caminero doubled home the winning run and Marcus Jensen struck out the side in the ninth to earn the save. Dylan Floro, whose two innings of work were marred only by a fielding error, earned his first victory. The game was followed by a fine display of fireworks that lasted seven minutes and featured numerous loud boomers.
Zolz gave a fourth-inning shout-out to Mount Saint Mary College, a sponsor of the Renegades (including an outfield billboard with the theme “leading, caring, innovating”), describing the Newburgh school as “a great institution, closer than you think.” I smiled when I heard this because Father Kevin Mackin, president of the college, is a weekend associate at my parish, the Church of the Holy Spirit in Cortlandt. We have shared many a Renegades story in the rectory between Sunday Masses.
Bill Richmond returned in the fifth for a few innings, snapping more photos that, among other uses, will become part of the team card set. He had his second massive new Nikon with him tonight, a slightly slower model than the one he had Monday and with a few different features. Meanwhile, I’m plugging away with the pocket-size Samsung digital camera I bought for $149 last October in Wal-Mart in Orangeburg, South Carolina, when I went to the Palmetto State for the wedding of my longtime buddy Ed Merwin.
After the game and fireworks I caught up with Bev and Bob in the parking lot and she introduced me and some other fans to Marty when he came out of the clubhouse. The gathering included an aunt and uncle of Yankees starting pitcher Tim Flight; they live in the area and had come to see their nephew pitch. It turned out that Marty and Tim had both played college ball at their respective schools in the Charleston, South Carolina, area – the College of Charleston and Charleston Southern University – though not at the same time.
I had hoped to meet Yankees third baseman Matt Duran, who hails from New Rochelle, but that will have to wait for another game. It’s always a treat to see players from this general area on a New York-Penn League team; compared with the southern and western states and Latin America the Northeast is not well represented.
Tonight’s socializing included leftover chicken sandwiches, hamburgers and hot dogs – not piping hot at that point but mighty tasty.
It was after 1 a.m. by the time I headed home. For a change of pace from the Interstate I headed down Route 9D through Beacon, where the city police were running a sobriety checkpoint. I mentioned to one of the officers that I had just left Dutchess Stadium; after deciding I was all right, he asked how we did. I enthusiastically described the come-from-behind victory, after which he waved me on with a smile and “Have a good night!”
Next home game: Tuesday, June 26, vs. Brooklyn Cyclones, first pitch 7:05