Thursday, Aug. 23—Marty Gantt scored a run for the Renegades in the first inning on a single by Richie Shaffer and that was all the offense they needed as they held on through an otherwise scoreless game to defeat the Tigers 1-0 and complete a three-game shutout sweep of the Connecticut visitors. Quite a difference from the previous night, when Hudson Valley posted 11 runs on 14 hits!
Jeff Ames (who got the win), Brandon Henderson, Marcus Jensen and Dylan Floro combined on the mound to limit the Tigers to three hits. The Renegades mustered five. Please click here to read the game story on the Gades’ Web site.
Team card sets were tonight’s featured giveaway, and just in time for any fans seeking the signature of pitcher Reinaldo Lopez, who emerged from the clubhouse afterward carrying a large plastic bag. It turned out that this was the right-hander’s final night at The Dutch; he has been promoted to Bowling Green, Tampa Bay’s long-season Class A affiliate. He follows in the footsteps of lefties Sean Bierman, who was promoted to Bowling Green earlier in the week, and Shay Crawford, who joined the Hot Rods a week or so earlier.
While we were happy for the players, we were loathe to be losing members of the team tapestry in the midst of a pennant race. As I and several other folks have remarked, there is something special about the 2012 Renegades. They support and energize each other, there is an intangible team chemistry, they work well together and the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. While Tampa Bay’s emphasis is on player development, not winning championships in Hudson Valley, we would prefer not to see a good thing broken up when things are going so well.
On the arrival side, lefthanded pitcher Jordan Harrison has joined the Renegades from the Gulf Coast League Rays, and a couple of other players are reportedly on their way up as well.
I had a nice chat before the game with young Thomas and his mom, including our adventures—and my surprise at seeing them—in Fenway Park. They had headed for Massachusetts Saturday morning and stayed over to see the Gades beat the Spinners in Lowell Sunday afternoon.
K-man Zach Kirksey came through for the fans tonight, striking out in his first two times at bat to win everybody a free found of miniature golf at Fun Central in Wappingers Falls. I shouted my thanks for the mini-golf and gave him a loud cheer when he stroked a solid single in the ninth; it seemed like a decent thing to do.
Out in the parking lot I collected signatures of several players with whom I had not caught up earlier and congratulated Marty on scoring the lone run of the game. For the second time in as many nights I had a great time socializing with his family. I also wished Reinaldo well in the best Spanish I could muster and thanked him for a great season with the Renegades.
Two foxes were scampering about the parking lot after most of the lights went out, and one of them devoured a few leftover hot dogs I had carefully placed near a light pole so I could see the creature better. The same fox came close enough to our end of the parking lot that I hoped I might take its picture, but was disappointed (yet not surprised, giving the limited light) when the image was a black rectangle with only the slightest suggestion of a rust-colored smudge where I think the fox was. Well, we still have another week to cultivate its friendship, plus, I hope, a couple of playoff games.