There’s no tomorrow. If you lose, you’re done. The Hudson Valley Renegades knew they had to do everything they possibly could to claw out a win. And somehow, someway they pulled it out.
Short Season-A New York-Penn Championship Series Game 2: Hudson Valley Renegades 5, Tri-City ValleyCats (HOU) 2 (Series tied 1-1)
It was the Renegades’ worst nightmare. A Preston Tucker RBI double off Jesse Hahn in the first inning made it 1-0 Tri-City. Hahn pitched well, but Aaron West was dealing for Tri-City. He sent Hudson Valley down in order in the first, then the second, then the third, and then the fourth. And in the 5th, the ValleyCats scored another run on a Joe Sclafani sac fly to make it 2-0. The Renegades were behind just two runs. But it felt like a hundred. West just continued to shut them down. He continued his perfection through the 5th inning. Hahn departed after 5 innings for Hudson Valley, allowing 2 runs, 1 earned, on 4 hits, striking out 4 while walking 3 and posting a 9-1 groundout to flyout ratio. But it wasn’t good enough.
In the 6th, Jose Alberto Molina entered for Hudson Valley and tossed a 1-2-3 inning. Then in the bottom of the inning, the Renegades finally got a stroke of luck. An error by the shortstop Sclafani broke up the perfect game and gave the Renegades their first baserunner. Two batters later, Joel Caminero laced a line drive single to end the perfect game bid. Joey Rickard then grounded out, advancing the runners and leaving it up to Tommy Coyle. And Coyle delivered, singling up the middle to tie the game at 2. Coyle then stole second base, but Richie Shaffer grounded out to tend the inning. West went 6 innings allowing 2 runs, none earned, on 2 hits, striking out 6 while walking none.
In the 7th, Molina got two quick outs before Dylan Floro came in to get Tucker to ground out end the inning. But then bad luck struck again- Floro left with an arm injury to force Alex Moshier into the game for the 8th. But Moshier worked around a hit batsman and a single to work a scoreless inning.
In the bottom of the 8th, Caminero set the table with another single. Rickard bunted him to second base, prompting Tri-City to intentionally walk Coyle to get to Shaffer, who entered the game hitting just .176 in the postseason. But Shaffer was not going to wilt before the pressure again. Shaffer drilled a Jermaine Cotton offering into the left field seats for a go-ahead 3-run home run to make it 5-2 Renegades. And Ryan Garton struck out 2 in a perfect 9th as the Renegades stayed alive, winning 5-2 to force a decisive Game 3 in the New York-Penn League Championship Series. Caminero, Coyle, and Shaffer all stepped up when it mattered most and the Renegades will need to continue that in Game 3 to take the series.
This Renegades game was what the Rays’ game Wednesday could have become but didn’t. Both games were tied at 2 before the Renegades stepped up and the Rays collapsed. The Renegades had an incredible game, but the contrast between this game and the Rays game just makes the Rays’ loss even more depressing.