Thursday, July 19—The Renegades survived a ninth-inning scare and held on to defeat the Aberdeen IronBirds 5-4 in a game marred by costly wild pitches by both teams. But it was a victory for Hudson Valley, with lower temperatures and humidity adding to the enjoyment of the final score.
The Gades built a 5-0 lead after five innings, including a solo 368-foot homer by Marty Gantt in the second, and were up 5-1 after eight innings with victory readily in sight. But, as I told some spirited folks in the Interstate Battery seats who were thinking of leaving early to avoid traffic congestion, there is no clock in baseball and a game isn’t over until it’s over. (Thanks to legendary New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra for that insight.) Sure enough, Aberdeen loaded the bases with the help of inaccurate pitching, scored three runs on a wild pitch and a single and had the tying run on first before Marcus Jensen came in from the bullpen to strike out two IronBirds and end the threat. Please click here to read the game story on the Gades’ Web site.
En route to the stadium I stopped in Garrison to pick up my friend and Van Cortlandtville Historical Society treasurer Dan Bailey, who was able to join me tonight for his first Renegades game because I had acquired two of the Fleischman seats. After a stop at Gulf Express for coffee we met up in the stadium parking lot with Anne de Neuville (a historical society director and a fellow choir member with me at the Church of the Holy Spirit), who had driven straight to The Dutch from her job in Connecticut. We dealt with some historical society matters and then headed for the gate.
Anne was wearing her personalized Renegades T-shirt and I was wearing my customized jersey. I offered Dan another of my Gades jerseys but he was content with his new T-shirt from Long Beach Island, NJ, where he had recently vacationed.
Charlie the usher welcomed us warmly at the gate and we confirmed that the time between games Monday had been a most enjoyable experience. I filled in my scorebook with tonight’s lineups, then thanked Tom “Hubby” Hubmaster and Kyle Mondschein, director and manager, respectively, of stadium operations, for the efforts of everyone who helped make the field playable after Wednesday’s downpour. They thanked me for my appreciative words.
Dan gave me some good-natured ribbing about my cowbell early in the game, to which Anne replied that he had not seen or heard much of anything from me yet. She was correct; in addition to the usual chanting, clapping and yelling, I was doing the “Hey! Ho!” after each Renegade score and in the third inning got up and did the Chicken Dance.
Conrad Huss, father of Kristen (director of ticket sales), stopped by early in the game to inform me that the annual memorial benefit for his late son, Eric, would be Saturday, July 28, before the game against Williamsport. Ironically, as luck would have it, while we were talking a ball slowly rolled toward us—exactly the sort I can reach under the padding and grab. I did not realize what was happening until too late as a ball boy grabbed it. So be it; I was involved in a good cause and there will be other slow rollers. One of the great traditions about baseball – there’s always tomorrow, another game.
Anne and Dan were unable to join the post-game gathering in the parking lot because they had to go to work early in the morning, so, after saying our farewells by Anne’s car, I went solo to the corral, where I was pleasantly surprised to reconnect with Q, Matt Quatraro, former manager of the Renegades and now a hitting director for the entire Tampa Bay Rays organization. Bob, Paul, Hal, Grant and I, among others, welcomed him warmly and he obviously remembered a lot of us. He was unable to linger tonight because of a family commitment but hoped to spend time with us after a future game.
Bev was waiting for Marty to emerge from the clubhouse so we could congratulate him on his home run, but he was delayed while getting caught up with Creede Simpson, the IronBirds’ designated hitter tonight by way of Auburn University, with whom he was connected through college ball. A group of us cheered and clapped loudly when Marty finally arrived.
Bob had tracked down some leftover pepperoni pizza, which made for a fine post-game snack along with potato chips and honey mustard pretzels from Hal and Grant, rounding out a delicious (if not exactly nutritionally balanced) culinary evening that began with reheated hamburgers from last night (which Dan and I had on the way up) and continued with nacho chips, cheese and french fries that Anne and Dan were unable to finish.
Exactly as forecast, rain began falling at midnight, which, combined with the fragrance of a skunk, promptly brought the evening to an end as Bob and I—bringing up the rear, as usual—retired to our cars and headed home.
Next home game: Friday, July 20, vs. Aberdeen IronBirds, first pitch 7:05 p.m.