The never-say-die Renegades (24-13) trailed 9-3 in the bottom of the seventh, but ran off six runs between the seventh and eighth innings to tie the game against the ValleyCats (26-11) before capping the comeback with a walk-off in the 12th inning. It was the second straight walk-off win at home for the 'Gades, and seventh consecutive win overall. The ValleyCats had a 13-game road winning streak snapped by the Renegades in a matchup of the top two teams in the New York-Penn League.
The ValleyCats opened the scoring in the top of the first inning. Joe Sclafani led off with a single to right, and moved up to second on a throwing error by 'Gades starter Reinaldo Lopez. A fly out to center advanced Sclafani to third, and he came home on a two-out single to right by Jesse Wierzbicki to make it 1-0 Tri-City.
The Renegades answered in the bottom of the first. Designated hitter Justin O'Conner drew a one-out walk from ValleyCats starter Vincent Velasquez, as did second baseman Tommy Coyle behind him. Shortstop Ryan Dunn bounced a ground ball through the right side to plate O'Conner and move Coyle to second. First baseman Luke Maile came through with a double to right field that scored Coyle and Dunn, and gave the Renegades a 3-0 lead.
Tri-City wasted no time getting back on the board. Ryan Dineen led off the second with a ground-rule double to center, and Jarrod McKinney singled through the middle to bring him home, cutting the Hudson Valley lead to 3-2. The ValleyCats tacked on another in the third inning when Austin Elkins led off the frame with a solo homer to right that tied the ballgame at three runs apiece.
The ValleyCats surged ahead in the fifth. New reliever Ian Kendall walked Sclafani, and plunked Elkins and Andrew Aplin to load the bases for Tri-City. Wierzbicki singled up the middle to score Sclafani and Elkins, with Aplin moving to third on the play. Wierzbicki swiped second base before Tyler Heineman hit a ground-out to Dunn at shortstop that scored Aplin. With one out, Wierzbicki stole third base, and tried to come home on a bouncer to Coyle at second. But Coyle's throw beat Wierzbicki to the bag, and catcher Jake DePew tagged him out, preventing any more runs. Nevertheless, Tri-City led 6-3 after the fifth.
Hudson Valley gave up more runs in the sixth inning. Kendall walked Preston Tucker and Dan Gulbransen to begin the frame, and Sclafani singled home Tucker, putting Gulbransen on third with nobody out. Elkins singled over Coyle at second, scoring Gulbransen and moving Sclafani to second. With two outs, Heineman mustered a single to left that scored Sclafani to make it 9-3 ValleyCats.
The Renegades got their offense kick-started in the seventh. Left fielder Marty Gantt led off with a single through the middle, and moved to second on a wild pitch by Tri-City reliever Travis Ballew. After DePew fanned, center fielder Joey Rickard drew a walk to put runners on first and second. With two away, Coyle ripped a double up the left-field line that scored Gantt and Rickard, allowing the Renegades to draw closer at 9-5.
Hudson Valley continued their offensive surge in the eighth. Maile drew a leadoff walk from reliever Brad Propst, and moved to third on a double from third baseman Leonardo Reginatto. Right fielder Deshun Dixon hit a single to shallow left that McKinney booted badly; the ball rolled all the way to the fence, allowing both runners and Dixon to race around and score. The play brought the Renegades back to a 9-8 deficit. Gantt drew a walk, and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by DePew.
That was all for Propst, who gave way to closer Blake Ford. But the Tri-City closer couldn't shut down Rickard, who popped a double to left that scored Gantt to tie the ballgame at 9-9. The Renegades couldn't bring Rickard around to score, though, and the score remained tied.
Tri-City threatened in the ninth inning, as Heineman doubled up the right field line, and moved to third base on a balk by reliever Rob Finneran. But with one out, a botched squeeze play left Heineman hung out to dry between third and home. DePew chased him back up the third base line, and tagged him out with a sensational diving play. The rally was extinguished.
In the bottom of the twelfth, magic happened again for the 'Gades. Reginatto hit a one out single up the middle off reliever Kenny Long (0-1), and moved up to second base when Long uncorked a wild pitch. Dixon flew out to center, bringing up Gantt with two outs. The Renegades left fielder laced a ground-ball single through the left side. Manager Jared Sandberg waved Reginatto around from third, and he slid home safely, beating the throw and starting the celebration for the Renegades.
Lopez gave up three runs over four innings of work; he allowed six hits and a walk. Kendall was pounded for six runs on five hits and three walks over four innings while fanning two. Finneran threw three stellar frames of relief, giving up just one hit and striking out two. Dylan Floro (3-1) pitched a perfect top of the twelfth to pick up the victory.
Velasquez threw five innings, allowing three runs on five hits and two walks while striking out four. Ballew allowed two runs on two hits and a walk over two innings; he struck out three. Propst was touched up for four runs on two hits and two walks, only recording one out. Ford blew the save, but pitched very well. He allowed two hits over 3.2 innings, and fanned four. Long took the loss, giving up the game-winning run on two hits in the twelfth.
The Renegades and ValleyCats will tangle again Thursday in a matchup of two elite pitchers. Righty Taylor Guerrieri will toe the bump for the 'Gades against ace right-hander Aaron West for the ValleyCats. First pitch from Dutchess Stadium is at 7:05 p.m., with Ben Gellman's pregame show beginning at 6:50 p.m. on 1450 and 1370 AM WKIP, as well as online at HVRenegades.com.