STATEN ISLAND – The old adage pitching wins ballgames is tried and true. Couple that with strong defense and timely hitting, and suddenly you’re looking at an entirely different animal. These three ingredients carried the Hudson Valley Renegades to the (yes, here it is again) 2012 New York-Penn League Championship. So far, the mix has extended into the early roots of the 2013 season, where first-year manager Michael Johns has led the team to a 6-0 record following a 4-2 victory against the Yankees on Saturday night. The contributions have come from all parties, and the rookies have helped lead the charge.
Jordan Harrison took the hill to try and complete the sweep following six dominant innings on Opening Day against Aberdeen. Despite issuing walks in the first and second innings, the lefthander pitched his way out of each inning with three strikeouts along the way.
For the fifth time in six games, Hudson Valley scored first by opening the second with one-out singles by Oscar Hernandez and John Alexander. The pair moved to second and third following a wild pitch by Yankees starter Giovanny Gallegos, setting the table for the bottom of the order. James Harris delivered a sac fly to deep center before Ryan McChesney’s RBI single made it 2-0 Renegades in the blink of an eye.
With big right-handed reliever Andy Beresford coming on in the sixth, more pop was provided after Jonathan Quiñonez picked up another double to begin the inning. The next swing would be the biggest one of the night, as Patrick Blair tucked his first professional home run inside the left field foul pole to give the ‘Gades a 4-0 lead.
But the Yanks responded quickly in the home half of the inning thanks to a leadoff home run by shortstop John Murphy and consecutive singles by Mike O’Neill and Brandon Thomas. But Harrison calmly got a 4-6-3 double play ball off the bat of the dangerous Yeicok Calderon which scored the run, but cleared the bases and made the score 4-2. He would then strike out Kale Sumner to end the sixth as well as his night, giving him eight in total.
Both offenses quieted down the rest of the way and the Renegades would only collect two more singles over the final three innings. Fortunately, Corey MacDonald was there in relief following two perfect innings in his season debut earlier in the week. With the tying runs on and two outs in the eighth, the former University of Hawaii Warrior got Calderon to ground out. Later in the ninth, he got a huge double play around the horn during a 1-2-3 inning to pick up his first save and keep the undefeated streak intact.
One more reminder that great seats are still available for upcoming Renegades home games. Call 845-838-0094 or visit www.hvrenegades.com to purchase your tickets now.